The 2013 college football season is quickly approaching. For fans, the season can't come soon enough, but for coaches, the days are probably advancing far too rapidly.
Chris Petersen enters his eighth season as the head coach for Boise State, and expectations are high as usual.
The Broncos return several key starters on offense. Senior quarterback Joe Southwick will be looking to lead his team back into offensive domination in 2013. He will get help from sophomore running back Jay Ajayi and a very talented group of wide receivers led by junior Matt Miller and senior Kirby Moore.
The line is probably the biggest question mark on offense. However, with three players who have starting experience returning and several others with previous game-time action, they should be up for the challenge.
The defense has questions in a couple of areas. Freshman All-American Sam Ukwuachu was removed from the team for unspecified reasons, and that leaves some big cleats to fill at defensive end.
Starting linebackers will be new; however, the Broncos have some serious talent in waiting. Junior Blake Renaud and sophomore Tyler Gray will lead the way and should continue where Tommy Smith and J.C. Percy left off last season.
Safety is in good shape with Jeremy Ioane, Darian Thompson, Taylor Loffler and Ebo Makinde, but the corners will need to prove themselves.
Bryan Douglas, Donte Deayon, Deon'tae Florance and Cleshawn Page are going to be pressed early and often. They should all be up for the challenge, but only time will tell how they'll meet it.
Overall, the 2013 version of the Broncos is a very talented group with loads of potential. Depth could become an issue if the injury bug bites, but as a whole, Chris Petersen has another good team at Boise State.
|August 31||@ Washington||FOX Sports 1
|September 7||Tennessee Martin||TBD|
|September 13||Air Force||ESPN|
|September 20||@ Fresno State||ESPN|
|September 28||Southern Miss||TBD|
|October 12||@ Utah State||CBS Sports|
|October 19||Nevada||CBS Sports|
|October 25||@ BYU||ESPN|
|November 2||@ Colorado State||CBS Sports|
|November 23||@ San Diego State ||CBS Sports|
|November 30||New Mexico||TBD|
When trying to determine what the under/over would be for Boise State victories in 2013, the schedule seems to break down into three categories.
Five Games the Broncos Should Handle
The home opener against the University of Tennessee at Martin is a game that Boise State should win, and it should dominate. The second home game against Southern Miss is another the Broncos should win.
Colorado State, Wyoming and New Mexico are Mountain West Conference games that the Broncos should also take without a major challenge. However, any one of these five teams listed could surprise Boise State if the Broncos take any of them lightly.
With Chris Petersen at the helm, however, don't count on that.
Five Games that will be Challenging
The next group of games on the schedule are those that will certainly give Boise State a challenge. They are all Mountain West Conference games, and what makes them even more difficult is that many of them are on the road.
Home against Air Force on September 13 will bring the usual challenge of trying to slow down a pesky option offense. But this year, coach Petersen will probably have his team more ready than ever to take on the ground game of the Falcons.
At Fresno State on September 20, is the first big MWC road challenge. This game will be a battle and should be close throughout. The Broncos beat the Bulldogs last season, but it was a hard-fought game. New head coach Tim DeRuyter has his Fresno State team playing inspired ball.
At Utah State on October 12 will be another challenge for Petersen and his team. The Aggies were a Top-25 team last season, and even though they lost their head coach when Gary Andersen decided to take the head coaching job at Wisconsin, they return some good players and should be poised for another solid season in 2013.
Home against Nevada on October 19 and at San Diego State on November 23 are the other two very challenging games on the Broncos' MWC schedule. Nevada has a new head coach, and when the Wolf Pack play the Broncos it always seems to be interesting.
The Aztecs upset Boise State last season in Boise, but you know the Broncos want to return the favor in 2013. It won't be easy, but the team Chris Petersen has definitely has what it takes to get the job done.
Two Games that Are the Biggest Challenges for the Broncos
The season-opener at Washington is an extremely challenging game for Boise State for several reasons.
First, the Broncos just beat the Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl last December. It was a close game, and you know revenge will be a factor.
Second, the Huskies will be playing in a newly revamped Husky Stadium to open the season. It will be a nationally televised game on the new Fox Sports 1 channel, and the home team usually benefits from the energy and excitement of the crowd.
Lastly, the Huskies are good. They proved that in 2012 when they beat Stanford and Oregon State. However, they also showed their youth last year when they lost to Oregon in a rout and let one slip away against a very poor Washington State team in the last game of the regular season.
This season, the Huskies are one year wiser and should be more like the team that beat Stanford rather than the team that fell to the Cougars.
Speaking of Cougars, the other very challenging game on the Broncos' schedule in 2013 is when they travel to BYU on October 25.
The Cougars of Brigham Young are no doubt in the mood for a rematch. They lost a sloppy game to the Broncos in 2012 by an unimpressive score of 7-6.
BYU has a fair amount of talent returning, and the Cougars' defense will be solid once again. It was one of the best defenses overall in 2012, and Boise State found that out the hard way.
The only upside for the Broncos is that they should be much better on offense in 2013, and they play the Cougars later in the season.
Over/Under for the Regular Season
You can't include a Mountain West Championship game or a bowl game appearance in these totals. Those are unknowns at this point, and Boise State has 12 other games before either of those is possible.
A look at the schedule shows five games the Broncos should win, five games that will be challenging and two contests that will be very difficult for Chris Petersen and his team.
All of that leads to an over/under of 10 for the 2013 Boise State Broncos.
How many games will Boise State win in the 2013 regular season?
That number is even more important for a very big reason. If the Broncos win 10 games, they will probably be visiting another bowl destination like Las Vegas.
However, if those same Broncos win 11 games, depending on the one loss, they may find themselves back in the BCS one last time before the new BCS playoff format begins in 2014.
Boise State could also do what it has done three other times in the last eight years and go undefeated in the regular season. If the Broncos do that, they will certainly be in the BCS, but the only question will be, where they will play?
It should be another eye-popping, hair-raising, exciting season for the Broncos. The most well-known BCS buster could once again be crashing the party.