Boise State Football: Breaking Down the Broncos' Preseason AP Poll Ranking

Martin Sondermann@@GamedayreporterAnalyst IIAugust 19, 2012

Boise State Football: Breaking Down the Broncos' Preseason AP Poll Ranking

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    Boise State is no stranger to the preseason Associated Press Poll. The Broncos have appeared in the poll six times in the last eight seasons with their highest ranking being No. 3 in 2010. They also landed at No. 5 last year.

    Fast forward to this year's preseason poll and the Broncos find themselves much further down the list at No. 24. It was 2007 when the Broncos showed up at that same spot. That was the same year BSU was coming off an amazing win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and had to replace then-starting quarterback Jared Zabransky with senior Taylor Tharp.

    This season Kellen Moore will be the one the Broncos will try to replace, and while that task is probably impossible, someone will need to step up and lead the offense. That someone at this point looks to be redshirt junior Joe Southwick. How far he can take them is anyone's guess at this point, but the team will start ranked to begin the year.

    The No. 24 spot has some fans of Boise State upset, thinking that they deserve to be higher on the poll. However, there are others who think the Broncos shouldn't even be on the list because of the number of players they will have to replace.

    Which group is right?

    With this in mind, let's take a closer look at the Boise State football team and its ranking.

Are the Broncos Ranked Too High?

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    Some college football fans and experts are claiming the Broncos are ranked way too high this season, and you really can't blame them.

    Boise State lost an absolute absurd number of starters and contributors from last year's squad. With that kind of changeover, talent alone isn't the only thing that has to be replaced.

    The way a team works together can be just as important. In the Broncos' case, the players gone from last year's team were together for a long time, and they are going to be missed.

     

    Just look at the list:

    Quarterback: Kellen Moore

    Running Back: Doug Martin

    Offensive Line: Nate Potter, Thomas Byrd, Chuck Hayes and Cory Yriarte who was lost to injury

    Wide Receiver: Tyler Shoemaker

    Tight End: Kyle Efaw

    Defensive Line: Shae McClellin, Billy Winn, Jarrell Root, Chase Baker and Tyrone Crawford

    Linebacker: Aaron Tevis, Matt Wilson and Byron Hout

    Safety: George Iloka and Travis Stanaway

    Cornerback: Cedric Febis, Antwon Murray, and Quaylon Ewing-Burton who left school

    Nickel: Hunter White

    As you can see the Broncos lost more than a significant amount of talent from last year's team. If anyone was missed on the list, it is probably because of the sheer volume of it all.

    So, you can't blame those who are not fans of the Broncos for being skeptical. How could a team rebound from this kind of loss?

Are the Broncos Ranked Too Low?

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    Some Broncos fans probably believe their beloved team should be even higher than the preseason ranking in the AP poll of No. 24, and they may have a case.

    Since 2009 the Broncos have finished the season ranked in the Top 10 of the final AP poll. Of course, critics point to all those personnel losses and claim this year will be different. However, most Broncos fans know that as long as coach Petersen is at the helm, the boys in blue have a chance.

    Petersen has an incredible overall record of 73-6 since taking over in 2006 as head coach for Boise State. That is pretty incredible, and it proves that there is a system in place to produce winners.

    As long as Chris Petersen is the head coach of the Broncos there will always be a chance for his team to be a Top 25 team. This season is no different.

    How high it should be ranked is really a mystery at this point, but when you look at the teams ranked ahead of the Broncos, it would be feasible to see them as high as No. 20.

    They probably couldn't be placed higher than that simply because of the talent of those other 19 teams in front of them and the unproven commodity that is the 2012 Boise State football team.

Where Do the Broncos Belong?

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    With the fall scrimmage out of the way, it is now a little easier to assess the 2012 BSU football team. Overall, it looked good, and it certainly looks to be a top 25 contender.

    Whether the Broncos should be ranked higher in the preseason AP poll is really only guesswork. Until August 31, when they take on Michigan State in East Lansing, the mystery will continue.

    If the Broncos take the game from the No. 13-ranked Spartans, you can believe they will jump quite a bit from No. 24. It wouldn't be surprising if they cracked the Top 15 after a win like that.

    If they lose that game to Michigan State, they will fall in the poll. How far they would fall in this hypothetical scenario depends on how the game transpires. If the Spartans were to handle BSU easily, the Broncos would fall far and fast.

    If however, the contest is a close game, they would probably only sink a little bit, and have the opportunity to re-enter the rankings a few weeks later when they faced BYU at home.

    Right now, the No. 24 ranking is reasonable. Broncos fans should be honored to think that voters think enough of BSU to include them in the Top 25 after losing so much talent.

    You don't often see that kind of respect for even so called BCS conference teams, and it is actually a huge compliment to the program, the players, the coaches, the school and the fans that BSU has been given that much praise.

Where Will Boise State Be Ranked at the End of the Season?

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    The way it looks right now there are three scenarios that could play out for Boise State in 2012.

     

    Scenario No. 1:

    The Broncos beat Michigan State and roll to another magical season. This is possible, but probably a longshot. Still, Boise State is known for overcoming huge odds and living the underdog dream. If this happens, BSU will easily end up in the Top 10.

     

    Scenario No.2:

    The Broncos lose to Michigan State, but they win every other game during the season. If this happens they would have a legitimate shot at a BCS bowl game. With no other mid-major program really in the hunt this year, the chances for BSU are better than previous seasons to land in a big money game.

    Again, in a scenario like this one, the Broncos would no doubt finish in the Top 10.

     

    Scenario No.3:

    Boise State loses a few games during the season. Michigan State, BYU, Southern Miss and Nevada are all going to be tough games for the Broncos. Lose two or three of those and Boise State goes to a lesser bowl and finishes either just outside or just inside the Top 25.

    Bronco fans are obviously hopeful for one of the first two scenarios over the third. However, any of them are possible, and at this point it is anyone's guess.

    No matter what happens, it will sure be fun to watch.