If I am being completely honest, I am getting a little bored of writing Boise State previews. After all, things really don’t change. They are a strong, deep team with exceptional coaching. They are superior to their conference foes by a wide margin, and the success of their season will be defined by how they fare in their biggest nonconference test early in the season. That is true of this year, but has also been true for the last several years. I really should just cut and paste.
On a general level, the best news about this team is that they are again competing in the Mountain West. They flirted with what would have been a ridiculous move to the Big East, but they ultimately landed right back where they belong. It was a rare case of common sense winning out in the realignment era. From a competitive level it is also probably a good move for the Broncos — they don’t have to play Louisville, and each of their opponents is familiar to them this year.
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The offense was the least effective that it has been in more than a decade last year, so it could be seen as a concern that their offensive skill positions are essentially intact this year. Senior QB Joe Southwick is competent, though. More significantly, head coach Chris Petersen became aware in the offseason that his offense had lost direction and become more complicated than necessary. He has worked hard to streamline the playbook, and that should have a solid impact for the team. It’s also important to remember that while the team struggled relative to themselves, they still averaged more than 30 points a game, so they were far from incompetent.
The defense is more of a question than it has been for years. Over the last five or six years we could just close our eyes and be sure that the team was going to be tough when they didn’t have the ball. That could again be the case this year, but they have lost eight starters, including all three linebackers, so there are serious shoes to fill. The depth of the team will be well tested — especially since their toughest game is their first one.
Boise State Schedule Analysis
Stop me if you have heard this one before — the Broncos have a schedule that makes an undefeated season and a BCS berth a real possibility. That’s what we have basically come to expect from this team, and this year is no exception.
The biggest test of the year comes on the opening day of the season. They travel to Washington to play the Huskies. It’s the second time in a row those teams have met — Boise State won the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas 28-26 over the Huskies on Dec. 22. If the Broncos can repeat that win then they control their destiny the rest of the way. It’s not a pushover of a schedule — home games against Air Force, Nevada and Southern Mississippi and road trips to Fresno State, Utah State, BYU and San Diego State could all be a challenge. The Broncos should be good enough to win each of those games on their best days, though. The question, then, is whether they can maintain their highest level of play for 12 games.
2013-14 Boise State Betting Odds and Trends
The oddsmakers show us the tough situation that Boise State is continuously in — they are a longshot to win the National Championship at +12500 despite having a decent chance at going undefeated, but are clear +110 favorites to win the Mountain West yet again. Their opener is quite possibly the only game all year in which they won’t be favored — they are 2.5-point road underdogs at Washington. (All odds are from BetOnline) Boise State was perfectly average against the spread at 6-6 ATS. They went “under” the total seven times in 12 tries.
2013-14 Boise State Predictions and College Football Picks
The defense is a concern, but I am not going to panic. Led by DE Demarcus Lawrence, there is plenty of talent, and the coaching is strong. The offense should be significantly improved, and that will take some pressure off the defense as they grow as well. There are some tough games — most notably the two road games at Washington and Utah State. I don’t see a game that I am confident that they will lose, though. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them lose, but at this point I actually expect 12-0 to be the most likely outcome of the year. BCS bound yet again. The magic of the blue carpet is not waning yet.
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