Thanks in part to Kyle Brotzman's 2 missed fieldgoals, the Boise State Broncos ended their season on a sour note. Will they be able to make a run for the BCS Championship this year?
November 26, 2010, is a day that will live in infamy in the
annals of the Boise State Broncos (12-1 in 2010-11). The No. 3 Broncos were
poised to kick a field goal to move to 11-0 and closer to a BCS berth, when
kicker Kyle Brotzman booted the ball wide-right. He then over-adjusted in overtime,
sending a field goal wide-left. The Nevada Wolfpack took advantage and kicked a
field goal to defeat Boise State 34-31, relegating the Broncos to the MAACO Bowl
in Las Vegas.
State will continue to
seek an elusive spot in the BCS National Championship Game for a non-BCS school
in its first year in the Mountain West Conference. Bodog.com has the Broncos
listed as a 14-1 shot to win the BCS Title Game. Will this be the magical year
for Chris Petersen’s squad?
When Texas and Mack Brown
came calling for Boise
coordinator Bryan Harsin, Petersen quickly made the move to replace him
internally with Brent Pease. The two have been together for Petersen’s entire
tenure at Boise State, so we should not expect changes
in the offensive philosophy.
Seniors Kellen Moore and Doug Martin will lead the offense
in 2011. Moore
will be entering his fourth season as the Broncos’ starting quarterback, and
should be a Heisman Trophy contender again (depending on the development of his
receivers). He threw for 35 touchdowns and 3,845 yards in 2010. Expect more of
the same in 2011.
While we often think about Boise State’s
passing game, the rushing game (20th in NCAAF in 2010) does not get
enough credit. Martin will be the primary back in 2011, and I anticipate that
he will at least equal his numbers from last season (12 td, 1,260 yds). D. J.
Harper will also contribute if he is fully recovered from ACL surgery.
Wide receiver is a bit of a question mark for the Broncos,
as Titus Young and Austin Pettis have departed. Those two contributed 19
touchdowns and over 2,100 receiving yards to the offense in 2010. Boise State
will look to Tyler Shoemaker (5 td, 582 yards) to step up to lead the receiving
The offensive line returns three starters, led by senior
center Thomas Byrd and senior tackle Nate Potter (both All-WAC). Spring and
fall practice will determine the final two spots on the line, but Petersen and
Pease are confident they have players ready to claim the roles.
State’s defense was
underrated last season by the average college football fan. The Broncos
finished second in points against, with 12.8 per game. They, admittedly, did
not play in the top conference in the country, but the numbers are impressive.
The front seven is absolutely loaded with senior talent.
Shea McClellin will lead an experienced defensive line, while Byron Hout will
be the top returning linebacker. In addition, Boise State’s
recruiting class was heavy with defensive talent. Look for true freshmen Samuel Ukwuachu and Jeff Worthy to work their
way into the rotation (unless Petersen redshirts either of them). Recruit Blake
Renaud could see playing time as a linebacker.
Senior George Iloka
will anchor the secondary at safety with assistance from returning starter
Jamar Taylor at cornerback. There will be open competition for the other
secondary spots. Dextrell Simmons is a JUCO player that I would expect to see
significant time at safety in 2011.
The Broncos will get
a chance to prove themselves immediately in 2011 as they travel to the Georgia
Dome to meet Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs. This game, win or lose, will
dictate the remainder of their season.
interesting/key contests will include visits by Nevada,
Air Force, and TCU to the Smurf Turf, and a road trip to always-dangerous Fresno State.
Those would appear to be the only truly dangerous games on the schedule.
Boise State has more talent than Georgia, and I think they’ll win
the game, even though it is in the Georgia Dome. Assuming that result occurs,
the Broncos will be favored by the College Football betting odds in the remainder of their games. I actually do like
Boise State to go undefeated in the regular
season. The problem is that they will not be able to pass two or more BCS
undefeated teams to get to the title game.
14-1 is worth a small shot
with this club, but be prepared for BCS politics to shut the Broncos out once