Who Are Boise State's Toughest Opponents In The 2011-2012 Football Season

Sam YoshidaContributor IJanuary 21, 2011

Who Are Boise State's Toughest Opponents In The 2011-2012 Football Season

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    What will this year have in store for the Broncos?Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    2010 was an exciting year for the Boise State Broncos. They spent the whole year in the media spotlight as the first non-AQ team that could play in a national championship.

    Even though Auburn and Oregon went undefeated, Boise State was still just a short field goal away from playing in the next most prestigious bowl game in college football, The Rose Bowl. 

    Even though the Broncos didn't go to a BCS bowl, they showed how good they were by beating up on a ranked Utah team in their bowl game.

    The Broncos will be back next year, poised to make another BCS run. Mark Schlabach, ESPN writer, has them listed as No. 5 in his very early top 25 for next year.

    Boise State returns quite a bit of starters, including Heisman finalist Kellen Moore and running back Doug Martin.

    They do lose their top two receivers in Austin Pettis and Titus Young, but will hopefully have those shoes filled at least somewhat by the younger players.

    Boise State will have a pretty decent schedule next year in their first year in a new conference. We might see them struggle a little more.

    Not because they are tougher teams necessarily, but that they are all new teams that they are not so familiar with as their usual WAC foes.

    With that, here is a list of the Broncos schedule from the weakest to the strongest.

New Mexico (Date To Be Determined)

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    New Mexico should be an easy win for the BroncosEric Draper/Getty Images

    New Mexico is coming off a horrendous 1-11 season in which they were outscored by an average of 27.5 points per game.

    They bring back their coach, Mike Locksley, which is a mystery to me, to help make this team get better, but there is no way that they can beat Boise State, especially on the Blue Turf.

Wyoming (Date To Be Determined)

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    Wyoming looks to avenge its embarrassing loss in Laramie last year.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Wyoming got embarrassed by the Broncos in Laramie last year by a score of 51-6. The game was over before it really started.

    According to ESPN.com, Wyoming's starting quarterback, Austyn Carta-Samuels, is transferring to a different school.

    We'll have to see if they can muster up any points before they are able to upset the Broncos in Boise.

At UNLV (Date To Be Determined)

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    At least UNLV isn't the worst in the conference.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    UNLV is in the same boat as New Mexico. UNLV was outscored by 21 points per game by their opponents. They never played in a close game (Their two wins were 45-10 and 42-16 to New Mexico and Wyoming, respectively).

    They clearly show that they are not the worst team in the conference, but they will be using a new quarterback due to their starter graduating. The game is in Las Vegas, but that still won't help much.

At Colorado State (Date To Be Determined)

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    Colorado State is still a pretty young team.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Colorado State didn't have much success this season. At the beginning of last year they started 3-0, but this year that was the total amount of the games they won all year.

    We should see some improvement from this team. They will return their quarterback, Pete Thomas, who will only be a sophomore.

    They will also return their leading receiver, Lou Greenwood, who will be a junior. This team will be better, but may need a couple more years to be able to compete with Boise.

At Toledo (Sept. 17)

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    Toledo is looking to build upon last year's success.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Toledo is coming off of an impressive 8-5 season, and is looking to make a run for the MAC West title next year, but got creamed by the Broncos 57-14 in Boise this year. 

    They will return their quarterback, Austin Danton, as well as top running back (Adonis Thomas), and top receiver (Eric Page).

    While the score may be a little closer next year. Boise State should be a 20+ point favorite next season.

Nevada (Oct. 1)

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    Will Boise State get revenge against Nevada?Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Oct. 1 will be the date that all of Bronco Nation will have circled on their calendars as the day of revenge.

    No one will ever forget what Colin Kaepernick and the Wolfpack did to Boise in Reno this year, but now that Kaepernick and Taua have graduated, it will be interesting to see how the new players try to fill in those shoes.

    They will play earlier than they normally do due to the fact that Boise will be in the MWC and Nevada will still be in the WAC. Boise State should get its revenge against an inexperienced Nevada team.

Air Force (Date To Be Determined)

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    Air Force comes back experienced, but will it be enough?Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    I had to debate for a while on who would be the tougher team: Nevada or Air Force. I picked Air Force, because they are returning their leading quarterback, running back, and receiver.

    They are also a new team that Boise State isn't used to playing, but Boise State's defense has done an excellent job the past couple years of defending the run.

    If Boise can gain a lead on Air Force quick and force them to pass, it could be an easy win for the Broncos.

At Fresno State (Oct. 8)

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    Will Fresno do better than a 51-0 drubbing next year?Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    Fresno State is another WAC rival that will continue to play out while Boise is in the MWC. Fresno State lost their starting quarterback as well as their leading receiver.

    Even though Fresno gets blown out in Boise, they tend to play Boise close in Fresno. Boise should win by 10+ points, but it will be an interesting game to watch.

San Diego State (Date To Be Determined)

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    Will SDSU suprise everyone again next year?Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    It's hard for me to decide how good San Diego State will be next year. This team took a huge step last year. They lost four games by a combined 15 points, and all of their losses came to teams that were ranked in the coach's poll at one time during the season.

    They are returning their quarterback, Ryan Lindley and also their freshman running back from their high powered offense last year, but also lost their head coach to Michigan.

    It will be interesting to see how this team responds, but I don't expect them to beat Boise at Bronco Stadium.

At Tulsa (Sept. 24)

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    Tulsa could offer an early upset for Boise StateChris Graythen/Getty Images

    Tulsa is coming off of an impressive 10-3 record, and ended the year by crushing WAC opponent Hawaii in Hawaii.

    Tulsa will be returning their 3,500 yard passer, G.J. Kinne, as well as their all-purpose player, Damaris Johnson.

    Some analysts have put Tulsa in their early preseason top 25 so this will definitely be no gimme. 

    If you remember correctly, Boise had a tough time against Tulsa two years ago when they played there.

    Boise State might have an even tougher game against them. This could be an early upset.

At TCU (Date To Be Determined)

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    TCU and Boise will close the trilogy of the two best non-aq teams next year.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    TCU was this year's BCS buster. There has been a little bit of a rivalry going on between these two teams as the premier BCS buster.

    TCU won in 2008. Boise won in 2009, and both of them competed against each other for position in 2010.

    This game might get more and more controversial as the offseason goes on after reports of the possibility that the Mountain West may move the game to Boise to give the Broncos a little bit of an edge.

    Boise should hold the advantage either way. TCU is losing their star quarterback, Andy Dalton, and electric receiver, Jeremy Kerley.

    TCU is still loaded with talent, and the deciding factor could be where the game is played.

Georgia (Sept. 3)

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    Just like Virginia Tech, Boise's game against Georgia will set the tone for the rest of the year.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Although TCU might be a better team than Georgia, there are many reasons why this game will be tougher than TCU. Boise State is not as familiar with Georgia, and the game is the very first of the year.

    Recently, this has been an advantage for Boise, but you always hold your breath at early, high-caliber games, because they can go either way. 

    Everyone remembers when Georgia creamed Boise in 2005 by a score of 48-13, but this will definitely be a different game. If Boise can win this game, they might be on the road to another incredible year.

Conclusion

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Boise State has the schedule makings to make another run at possible a national championship game.

    Of course they will have to win all of their games and have all of the BCS schools lose at least two games to be considered, but if they can go undefeated, then I think there is no reason to keep this team away from a BCS game.