The 2012 college football season ended over a month ago, but for coaches, players and most die-hard fans, the season never stops. After the bowl games comes national signing day, and not far behind that is spring practice.
In between those key stops on the trail there is never a shortage of an abundance of various analysis, speculation, prognostication and, of course, way too early season predictions.
Welcome to the latter.
With the 2013 college football season six months away, it is certainly time to do some premature forecasting about how Boise State will fare in the last season of the current BCS system.
The Broncos will of course be members of the Mountain West, which does not have an automatic qualifier into the big dance.
As if Boise State fans need to be reminded of that.
But, to make one of the big games, head coach Chris Petersen and his team will need to be nearly perfect, if not absolutely perfect when it comes to wins and losses.
So, with that in mind, let's look at how it might all transpire in 2013 as Boise State seeks to climb the BCS mountain one more time.
Boise State will have four non-conference games on the 2013 schedule.
Of those, two pose a serious threat to another BCS run. However, the two others shouldn't slow the Broncos down at all.
On September 7, 2013, Boise State will host Tennessee-Martin. The Skyhawks went 8-3 overall in 2012 with a 6-2 record in the Ohio Valley Conference. Yes, that is an FCS conference.
This game has the potential of being a trap game for most teams. It will be the week following the opener against Washington, and many teams could overlook such a game. However, under Chris Petersen, the Broncos aren't just any team.
Petersen knows how to motivate his guys, and it is hard to imagine that the Broncos won't be ready for Tennessee-Martin.
Prediction: Boise State 56, Tennessee-Martin 7
On September 28, 2013, Boise State will host Southern Miss.
The Golden Eagles weren't much of a match for the Broncos in 2012. However, they should be better in 2013.
In Hattiesburg, Boise State dismantled Southern Miss by a score of 40-14, but it wasn't really that close. The Golden Eagles were being led by first-year head coach Ellis Johnson who had quite the rebuilding job to do. His team should be better this season, but probably not good enough to upset the Broncos on The Blue.
Still, it should be a more competitive game in 2013, but the score might end up nearly the same. Look for the Broncos to handle this one.
Prediction: Boise State 45, Southern Miss 17
When Boise State travels to Provo on October 26, 2013, it should be a good one. For Bronco fans, they probably shouldn't expect a 7-6 game this time around.
In 2013, the two teams battled it out in Boise and bored many of the most loyal fans. The Broncos failed to score a single offensive touchdown during the game.
In the end it was a blocked pass by linebacker J.C. Percy on a failed BYU two-point try that sealed it for Boise State.
This year however, it should be much more of an offensive battle, but that isn't saying much.
With Joe Southwick and most of his receivers returning, the timing should be there to move the ball. D.J. Harper is gone, but impressive backup Jay Ajayi should be able to get his yards at running back.
Ajayi is tough, physical and has enough speed to be dangerous. He is the type of bruising back that can give even a very good BYU defense headaches.
In the end, look for Boise State to prove they are the better team.
Prediction: Boise State 21, BYU 16
August is hardly the month most think of when it comes to college football. However, this August it will be Boise State traveling to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies.
Opening games are always interesting. You never really know what to expect, and teams are usually a mystery to each other.
Well, not so much this time around.
Boise State and Washington played in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, and both teams have enough of the same players returning to have a fair amount of familiarity. It was a good game last time, and it will certainly be that in 2013.
The key to the 2013 opener for the Broncos will be containing Washington quarterback Keith Price and slowing down running back Bishop Sankey.
The Washington running back almost sank the Bronco's ship in Las Vegas with 205 yards on 30 carries. However, Boise State was without one of their key defensive lineman, Demarcus Lawrence, who was suspended for the game for an unspecified team rules violation.
If Lawrence and the rest of the Boise State defense are able to contain Price and keep Sankey under wraps, it should bode well for the Broncos. If not, it could be the second opening season loss in a row for Chris Petersen and his team.
Prediction: Boise State 31, Washington 28
Boise State has a target on their back. They have had one for years because of their success, but it got bigger after all of the Big East drama.
When the Broncos decided to return to the Mountain West Conference before ever leaving, they did so with what some perceived as an unfair advantage.
And so the target grew.
Some in the Mountain West might have a bit of extra motivation now that the Broncos are staying. To upset the Broncos is a badge of honor for any team in the Mountain West, but in 2013 that badge carries even more weight.
Of course, the Broncos have their own chip to carry, and they are used to being the hammer and not the nail.
There are three games on the MWC slate for Boise State 2013 that seem to be very winnable. There are also five games that could give the Broncos some trouble.
The three MWC games the Broncos should be able to handle are New Mexico and Wyoming at home and Colorado State on the road.
Even though New Mexico scared Boise State with a near second-half comeback in 2012, don't look for the Broncos to let down in 2013. If anything, last year's game will serve as a reminder and motivation for the 2013 Broncos.
Prediction: Boise State 44, New Mexico 14
Wyoming will return to The Blue in 2013, and it should be a game where the Broncos take care of business. In 2012, Boise State went into Laramie and dominated the Cowboys 45-14. It should be at least that in Boise.
Prediction: Boise State 47, Wyoming 10
Lastly, Colorado State.
While the Rams should be improved in 2012, they will still be facing a superior Boise State team. It was 42-14 in 2012, but look for it to look a bit closer in 2013.
Prediction: Boise State 42, Colorado State 17
When Air Force flies into Boise in 2013, you can expect the Broncos to be ready for the triple-option ground attack of the Falcons.
In 2011, which was the last time these two teams played, the triple-option gave Boise State fits. Last season, New Mexico gave the Broncos headaches with the same kind of offense.
However, this time around expect Petersen to have his team ready to go. Still, it will be a challenge, and the Falcons will probably keep it close until the second half.
Depth will come into play, and the Broncos will be much more able to spread the field in 2013. With that kind of recipe, it doesn't look good for Air Force.
Look for the Falcons to fly back to Colorado feeling much more blue this time around.
Prediction: Boise State 52, Air Force 21
Boise State has a pattern against Nevada. They build a lead and then give their fans near heart attacks.
Last season was no exception. Up 17-0 at half time, the Broncos allowed the Wolf Pack back in the game late. With 14 Nevada points in the fourth quarter, the final score ended up 27-21 Boise State.
With several returning players including quarterback Cody Fajardo the real question for Nevada is running back. Who will replace future NFL Draft pick Stefphon Jefferson who decided to forgo his senior season?
Nevada will also have a new head coach in 2013. Brian Polian replaced the legend Chris Ault in the offseason, so it really is anyone's guess what the Wolf Pack will look like in 2013.
Still, the more things change, the more they will probably stay the same.
Look for a close game, as usual. But, talent-wise, the Broncos have the edge.
Prediction: Boise state 37, Nevada 21
Boise State will travel to Fresno to take on the Bulldogs in 2013.
In 2012, the two teams played a gritty, sometimes ugly battle on The Blue. In the end, the Broncos won the game 20-10, but it wasn't the blowout of recent seasons.
New head coach Tim DeRuyter has his Bulldog team playing with a serious chip on their shoulder. They finished 2012 9-4 overall and 7-1 in the MWC. They shared the title with San Diego State and Boise State.
They will be good again in 2013.
Look for this coming season's game to be another battle. However, the offense for Boise State should be much improved, and the defense should be formidable once again.
Fresno State has some issues at offensive line, and you can count on the Broncos defense to cause some havoc.
Prediction: Boise State 38, Fresno State 24
This would have been a more intriguing game had Gary Andersen remained at Utah State. Instead, he left for Wisconsin and it left the Aggies in limbo.
Enter Matt Wells.
Wells is the former offensive coordinator under Andersen and he also played quarterback for the Aggies in the early 1990s.
This should be a tough game for the Broncos. Utah State is similar to Boise State in many ways. They play with a chip on their shoulder, and they aren't afraid of anyone.
They finished the 2012 season 11-2 overall and ranked in the top 20 in every poll. They have a considerable amount of talent returning, and they will no doubt be hungry to prove they can succeed without Andersen.
In 2012, Utah State held opponents to just 15.4 points per game, which was even better than the Broncos 15.8 points allowed per contest.
It should be a bruising battle in Logan.
Prediction: Boise State 31, Utah State 21
Boise State had two losses in 2012.
The first loss was to Michigan State, and while painful for most fans and certainly the team, the Broncos rebounded nicely and looked to be on their way to another BCS appearance.
Then San Diego State came to town in early November.
After being upset by the Aztecs, the Broncos finished runner-up in the BCS non-automatic qualifier beauty pageant to Northern Illinois, and you have to believe they won't forget that in 2013.
Look for Chris Petersen to have his team motivated and prepared when they travel to San Diego. It should be a good game, but the Broncos most certainly have the talent to take home a win.
Prediction: Boise State 38, San Diego State 19