Bronco Nation's dreams are coming true next week. Boise State is close to finalizing a deal to fill the final slot in its 2010 nonconference schedule, and all signs point toward it not being UC Davis.
"It's going to be a good one," said BSU president Bob Kustra, who would not disclose the opponent or the game location.
With the Broncos already full up with nonconference games in weeks two through four, the thinking is that Boise State will be scheduling its big-time opponent for opening week, September 4, 2010. A big-time opener against a BCS school? I could get used to that (provided this year's opener doesn't go horribly wrong).
Check after the jump for the possible "mystery team."
The following list of opponents was constructed with a few assumptions in mind. Assumption #1: Boise State wants a big-money game regardless of whether or not a home-and-home series is involved. Assumption #2: Boise State will not be moving around its current 2010 nonconference dates to accomodate anyone new. Assumption #3: No team with four nonconference games already scheduled in 2010 would want to take the Broncos. Assumption #4: I have some clue what I'm talking about.
So which teams does that leave? Plenty.
Michigan: They go to Notre Dame and host Massachusetts and Bowling Green. Chances that they are the mystery team: Great. Tom Scott wants it to happen. Karl Benson probably wants it to happen. I wouldn't mind if it happened (especially if Michigan continues to be bad).
Arkansas: The only team I can find on their 2010 nonconference sched is Texas A&M. Chances: Mediocre. Boise State has been there, done that, but this should not take away from the fact that an SEC team is an SEC team.
Oklahoma State: Troy and Tulsa are the Cowboys' only two 2010 opponents. Chances: Decent. I'd like OSU's chances a lot better if both Troy and Tulsa weren't already home games.
Virginia: Travels to USC and has a TBA against Richmond. Chances: Eh. The USC game will probably be the Cavaliers' biggest nonconference splash, and they may want to avoid any other out-of-conference losses in the remainder of the noncon schedule (good start with Richmond, by the way).
Washington State: Curiously, only a game at SMU is on the sched. Chances: Not bad. Few in Boise would welcome the Cougars onto the schedule due to WSU being non-marquee, terrible, and boring. But the fact is that the Broncos would fill that stadium (as much as they could), and it would be a great opportunity to get their second road win against a BCS school.
Duke: Alabama, Elon, Army. Chances: Bad. After all, Kustra did describe the mystery opponent as being "a good one."
Michigan State: Visits Florida Atlantic, hosts Notre Dame, and TBA versus Western Michigan. Chances: Okay. It seems that Big Ten teams tend to pack out their schedules more than some other conferences. I have zero statistics to back this up. A nonconference slate with Notre Dame and Boise State wouldn't be too much for the Spartans to handle.
Minnesota: Two open dates in addition to games against South Dakota and USC. Chances: Better than I'd like to think. The idea of a road game in Minnesota does not excite me. However, unless the Golden Gophers think like I think Virginia will think like, Boise State could make sense.
Mississippi State: Presently on the nonconference sched: UAB, Memphis, and Houston. Chances: Plausible. The Bulldogs have played WAC teams before (a LaTech loss last year), and unless they're wanting to guarantee a loss against a nonconference BCS school, Boise State could be just the test they're looking for.
Pittsburgh: Has a TBA with New Hampshire in addition to dates at Notre Dame and versus Miami (FL). Chances: Not good. The Fighting Irish and the Hurricanes will probably suck up all the energy Pitt has prior to its conference season. They'd be better off with a middle-tier MAC team.
One thing's for sure: If my research is correct, the mystery team will not be Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have big plans to host Purdue on September 4, 2010. This must make Brian Murphy very disappointed.
In addition to looking up schedules, I also spent time scouring the news wire to see if there were any other rumors coming from any of these schools about their 2010 schedule. Nothing. Not a word. It's as if the fans at these schools actually have lives in the offseason. What is up with that?
As such, I guess it is up to us Boise State diehards to make guesses and pass them off as fact.
My pick for the mystery team: Oklahoma State.