BSU Football: What the Broncos Need to Do to Get Back in the Rankings

Michael LaffertyCorrespondent IISeptember 10, 2012

BSU Football: What the Broncos Need to Do to Get Back in the Rankings

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    When you enter the season ranked No. 24 and lose your opener, it’s a given you will drop out of the Top 25 rankings. That’s what happened to Boise State when it fell to Michigan State on Aug. 31 by a final of 17-13. Granted, the Broncos were within the seven-point spread oddsmakers had given MSU, but the loss exposed some concerns about the Broncos.

    The offense sputtered, both in the passing attack and running the ball. The defense played well and scored the only BSU touchdown of the game, but wore down after being on the field for more than 39 minutes. The list could go on.

    The polls that came out following the loss had BSU drop from the AP poll after being on that list for 62 consecutive weeks. The latest poll still has the Broncos at No. 26 in the AP, but BSU fell out of the Top 25 on the USA Today poll (after 63 weeks) to No. 26 as well. Brigham Young has moved up to replace the Broncos.

    So what does BSU have to accomplish to move back into the rankings and start moving upward? Here are some ideas…

Offensive Showcase

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    This sounds like belaboring the point, but the Boise State offense only had 209 yards of total offense and didn’t score an offensive touchdown against MSU. Yes, MSU has a very good defense and, through two weeks, has not surrendered a touchdown. (The Central Michigan touchdown this past Saturday was a pick-six.)

    Offensive lineman Joe Kellogg, in a story published by the Idaho Statesman, stated that MSU outplayed the BSU front line and admitted the Broncos “could have executed better.”

    The Broncos only had 37 yards rushing, and quarterback Joe Southwick was a paltry 15-for-32 for 169 yards and one interception.

    That has to change, and change quickly.

    Boise State was, under offensive coordinator Brent Pease and quarterback Kellen Moore, an offensive powerhouse. That duo, as well as running back Doug Martin, wideout Tyler Shoemaker and offensive lineman Nate Potter, are gone.

    Still, Boise State has talent at all the skilled positions. The Broncos need to show off that talent against Miami and use the coming game as a launching pad for the rest of the season.

Impress with Win over Miami (Ohio)

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    Back on the Blue Turf, with a bye week to work on the areas of concern, Boise State takes to the field under some favorable conditions. The opponent, Miami (Ohio), lost its opener big to Ohio State (56-10), but beat Southern Illinois, 30-14.

    Sure, Southern Illinois is not a big-time power team, but a win is a win, and the RedHawks lost the yardage battle but won the time of possession battle against the Salukis. The majority of Miami’s offense came from its aerial attack, which plays to one of the defensive strengths of the Broncos—the defensive secondary.

    Boise State’s defense should be able to hold the RedHawks in check, giving the offense the opportunity to showcase its (hopefully) improved abilities.

Hope MSU Continues to Win, and Win Big

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    The Spartans hammered Central Michigan Saturday, 41-7, while putting 495 yards of total offense on the board. And for the most part, the Spartans did it without having Le’Veon Bell carry them to the win like he did against Boise State. Bell only had 71 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

    It seems feasibly that Bell was being saved, because the Spartans’ schedule starts to ramp up with Notre Dame on Saturday, with Eastern Michigan before the Big Ten Conference schedule.

    Some have picked MSU, with Bell and its top-ranked defense, as Big Ten title contenders. That would bode well for Boise State. To have MSU steamroll to a conference championship would benefit the Broncos’ attempt to get back up the rankings.

Beat Brigham Young

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    Brigham Young is currently sitting at No. 25 in the AP poll and at No. 30 in the USA Today poll. The Cougars take on Utah (1-1 after its 27-20 overtime loss to Utah State, now 2-0) Saturday. The Cougars racked up 532 yards of offense in Week 2 against Weber State and had 426 yards of offense in Week 1 versus Washington State.

    A big win against the Utes should secure BYU in the Top 25, giving BSU a chance to knock off a ranked team in the home game on Sept. 20. A BSU loss will hurt any chance of cracking the Top 20 and make easing into the Top 25 an iffy proposition.

    The Broncos need to win both the Miami and BYU games and hope that propels them to an undefeated run the rest of the way. If the Broncos can finish 11-1 and MSU wins the Big Ten, that will speak volumes for the BSU case in the rankings.

Pray for Upsets

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    Arkansas went from No. 8 in the polls to out of the Top 25 following its overtime loss to UL-Monroe. It was, according to some reports, a historic upset and drop in the polls. Of course, Boise State doesn’t need that to happen to all the teams in front of it in the polls, but some big losses to teams ranked No. 15-25 will help the Broncos move up.