Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports
On paper, this game looks like Washington should be favored. Of course, that happens many times to the Broncos.
First, it is a home game for the Huskies in a very loud and newly renovated stadium.
Second, the Huskies have many players back from the Las Vegas Bowl team that gave the Broncos all they could handle and then some. The Broncos, on the other hand, bring back just nine starters on offense and defense combined from that 2012 team.
Next, coach Sarkisian seems very confident in his team right now, and he should be. The Huskies have a powerful offense and a much-improved defense. They had a good camp and injuries are at a minimum.
The Broncos have an extremely talented and potent offense as well. They should have a solid ground game and a very good passing attack. Washington is going to have a difficult time shutting down all the weapons Boise State has at its disposal.
The offense will certainly be better than the team that scored 28 on the Huskies last December, and the Boise State defense has some individual talent that is comparable to the unit that finished No. 12 in overall defense last season.
The hype of the game won't get to Boise State but it could cause a late drain on the Husky players that get way too pumped early on.
Comparison and separation
When you compare defenses, the Huskies have the edge because of experience. When you compare offenses, the Broncos get the edge because of the numbers of weapons at their disposal.
Boise State is going to have a very good special teams unit this year. They have a load of young talent just ready to make their mark, and they have a very solid field-goal kicker.
Yes, you read that right. Boise State has a very good field-goal kicker—at least in practice. But, it should translate. Junior Dan Goodale improved immensely over the summer. He came into camp as a kicking machine.
As good as the kicking game might be, the kickoff- and punt-return game might be better for Boise State.
Sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes and redshirt freshman running back Charles Bertoli should bring some excitement on kickoffs. Williams-Rhodes should also turn some heads on punt returns.
Special teams is an area where Boise State should also have the advantage.
The last factor in all of this has to be coaching. Chris Petersen is a master at getting his team ready for big games. He has been very successful at Boise State leading his team into hostile territory and bringing home a victory.
Steve Sarkisian, on the other hand, has to be feeling the heat a bit.
After a lackluster season last year, you have to believe another mediocre endeavor could find Sarkisian somewhere other than Seattle in 2014.
There is tremendous pressure on him and his team going into this game and this season.
Boise State should be able to score points. If they can play solid defense and simply slow down the Huskies they will be in good shape.
Look for Washington to come out strong, but look for Boise State to rise later in the game.
The offense of the Broncos has enough weapons to counter most of anything Washington does on defense. Also, the Boise State defense may be young, but they have looked incredible in fall practice. They return more starters this season than last, and all they did last year was finish No. 12 in total defense.
Chris Petersen's team will not be overwhelmed by the surroundings, and in the end they should outlast the home team.
Final score prediction: Boise State 38, Washington 27