Everyone knows what the BIG games are. Look at the schedule: Aug. 31 at Michigan State, Sept. 20 hosting BYU, Oct. 6 at Southern Miss…three key games, to be certain.
Then there are the trap games, those innocuous weekenders that look like they should be a breeze for a strong Bronco team, but might actually close in on BSU if it is not careful or overconfident. Traps are open and inviting—right before they snap shut and cause a lot of pain.
The naysayers are reading this and thinking, “yeah, right—these are no contests!” If there is one certainty in the world of sports it is that games are played on the field and not on paper. These games look simple enough, but all it takes is a callous attitude and there could be a mark in the loss column.
So which games might catch BSU by surprise? Well, here’s an offering on games that might be traps in the schedule…
Wyoming kept the Broncos close on the blue in 2011. The Cowboys actually carried a 7-0 lead into the second quarter and then gave up 29 points in the second and third quarters. The final was 36-14.
Wyoming has been looking good in fall camp and have some new coaches to infuse new life and attitude into the team. Though 8-5 a year ago, it was the best record Wyoming has posted in 14 years.
Passing was problematic a year ago. In the 2011 game, Wyoming only managed 78 yards through the air. If Wyoming can get its aerial attack on track, with the game in Laramie, this might be a chance for the Cowboys to lasso the Broncos.
Fresno State has a history of being the kind of team that will battle from whistle to whistle. The Bulldogs have some solid returning players in running back Robbie Rouse and quarterback Derek Carr. They also have a new head coach in Tim DeRuyter, a defensive-minded journeyman whose coaching stops have included Air Force, Ohio, Navy and Texas A&M.
Fresno State has six games before taking on the Broncos, including a trip to Oregon and hosting Colorado. That means plenty of time to tune up and get ready to play on the blue.
This looks like a breeze for the Broncos. The Aztecs have not fared well against BSU in years past and the Broncos are playing this game on their home turf.
In 2011, Boise State came out of the gate quickly and had a 42-14 lead at the half. While San Diego State scored throughout the second half, it was primarily against the second and third team—players that are now starters for BSU.
SDSU was also 8-5 in 2011, and like Boise State, the Aztecs will be in the Big East in 2013. What a better way to say goodbye to the Mountain West and set the tone for the Big East by beating BSU. While quarterback Ryan Lindley is gone, the Aztecs have talent in the lineup and could be a surprise team in the Mountain West.
Nevada wasn't supposed to be an offensive power in 2011 without quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Wolfpack were 7-6 in 2011, but the offense was still on fire. Nevada averaged 31.7 points per game, averaged 247.5 yards on the ground and 259.2 yards through the air per game.
Quarterback Cody Fajardo is back behind center, and he has a veteran offensive line in front of him. That means that Nevada could improve on the numbers from a year ago against anyone who is not fully prepped to play it.
Without TCU in the picture, some have picked the Wolfpack to finish second in the Mountain West behind Boise State. That alone should be an incentive to wrap up the regular season with a win.