The big question mark heading into the season for the Boise State Broncos was whether their young talent could match the high standard that's been set for the program.
Head coach Chris Peterson has done nothing but compile winning seasons since he took the helm in 2006, but the loss of 15 NFL-caliber players the past two years has made this season a difficult one.
While it's early to doom their entire season and say they won't be successful, I believe the team's inexperience on both sides of the ball will prevent them from making a name for themselves in the AP Top 25.
If their first game two weeks ago against Michigan State was any indication, the Broncos will struggle against the top talent in the country. The Broncos could not run the ball against the Spartans' stout attack, and struggled in the red zone, with the team turning it over once and settling for two field goals.
Quarterback Joe Southwick also struggled in the team's opening game, going 15-for-31 for 169 yards and an interception. He will not be as precise and dominant as Kellen Moore was for this team, and one game is not enough evidence to say he won't have a good season or career. But that stat line, coupled with very little experience, suggests he will struggle again when facing a ranked opponent.
It's certainly easy to point out that the Broncos were going against an extremely tough opponent in the Spartans. Michigan State has Le'Veon Bell, who may be a Heisman candidate this season and absolutely shredded their defense for 210 yards on a beefy 44 carries.
Sixth-year running back D.J. Harper is the only marquee name (if you want to call it that) on the team's roster, and his presence alone will not be enough to make the Broncos efficient enough on the offensive side of the ball. He struggled in Week 1 (who didn't, really?), but has shown in his career he can be reliable.
The team's offensive line has a strong veteran presence, but I can't imagine them doing enough to protect Southwick while allowing Harper to have a dominant season.
The Broncos have had their feet strongly planted in the Top 25 for many years, but 2012 is going to be a transition year for this program, and the learning curves are going to abound.