Eight notes on Boise State football's 2011 schedule ... now with more Ole Miss

The Broncos signed off yesterday on a 2011 season opener against Ole Miss, completing BSU's nonconference schedule for next next season and setting into motion some way-too-early predictions and analysis. Like this.

After the jump, get eight bits of info about BSU's 2011 schedule, including how big the Ole Miss game could get and what happens if Boise State joins the MWC, and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

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1. Will the Boise State vs. Ole Miss game attract ESPN's College Gameday?

If a Boise State Gameday experience does not happen this season (BSU vs. Oregon State may be the most likely date), then Bronco fans may not have to wait too long into 2011 to see Gameday dreams finally achieved.

With an assist from the Internet, here are the top games scheduled so far on opening weekend 2011.

  • Louisville at Georgia
  • East Carolina at South Carolina
  • Oregon at Kansas State
  • BYU at Oregon State
  • Minnesota at USC
  • Northwestern at Boston College

To recap: Blowout, defensive struggle, just plain weird, irrelevant west of the Rocky Mountains, gross, and boring. Lee Corso had better get his stuffed Bronco head ready because BSU-Ole Miss seems like a pretty good possibility.

One factor potentially standing in the way is the matchup in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. On 2009's opening weekend, the ESPN crew visited the Georgia Dome for Alabama vs. Virginia Tech at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic and they were at the Classic the year before that. With the two teams yet to be decided for 2011, a big-time matchup is still a possibility.

2. Boise State's complete home and away schedule

The non-conference schedule is set in stone and the WAC schedule, since it rotates every other year, will be the same as 2009's. As such:

  • Home games: Utah, Tulsa, Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, San Jose State, New Mexico State
  • Away games: Ole Miss, Toledo, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Utah State

3. Boise State's complete home and away schedule if there is a God and he loves BSU enough to put them in the MWC

Of course, there definitely still exists the possibility that the Broncos will not be playing in the WAC in 2011 if Craig Thompson and his MWC brain trust get their act together. The realignment rules:

For Boise State to be a MWC member in 2011, they must be invited by July 1, 2010.

If so, here are the teams that would be on the Broncos' 2011 schedule

  • Air Force
  • BYU
  • Colorado State
  • New Mexico
  • San Diego State
  • TCU
  • UNLV
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Adding Boise State would make the Mountain West a 10-team conference, and since you typically only play eight conference opponents per season, one of these schools would likely be left off Boise State's 2011 sked. Please let it be New Mexico.

Note: For speculation sake, here is my best guess at home and away games on a MWC schedule. Home: Utah and Wyoming (already home dates in 2011), Air Force, San Diego State. Away: BYU (already a home game in 2012 ), TCU, Colorado State, UNLV.

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4. How Boise State's schedule changes if the Broncos get invited to MWC

You may have noticed that Boise State already has two Mountain West teams on its 2011 nonconference schedule with home games against Utah and Wyoming. Those nonconference contests would become conference ones if Mountain West moving becomes a reality.

That means Gene Bleymaier would have some more work to do (and not just in figuring out appropriate compensation for the contracted series with Wyoming and Utah that were never finished). The Broncos have five non-conference opponents in 2011 because a road game at Hawaii is on the schedule (the NCAA allows an extra game to traveling teams to recoup some of the costs of the long trip). With no Hawaii, Boise State will almost certainly lose the ability to have the extra game.

That leaves one opening in 2011. What might Bleymaier and the Broncos do with the open date?

  • Schedule Idaho. OBNUG reader Loque was johnny-on-the-spot with this one. Could the Broncos really have a schedule without the Vandals? I doubt it.
  • Schedule another BCS conference team. Bleymaier has become oddly adept at getting big-name teams onto the Broncos' schedule, so there is a good chance that he would look for another one to add even more credibility to BSU's strength of schedule. The only problem is: Would he need to? The Broncos wouldn't be in the relatively weak WAC any more, and the schedule would automatically include games against Utah, BYU, TCU, and Air Force. That may be good enough.
  • Schedule Fresno State, Nevada, or Hawaii. It's too bad that Toledo and Tulsa are on the schedule because they will most certainly be replaced with former WAC teams once Boise State settles into the MWC. It will be fun to keep old rivalries alive, but with Idaho and a BCS team vying for a spot in 2011, the timing is unlikely.
  • Schedule Weber State. No thanks.

5. Boise State returning starters in 2011

2010 is the year that Boise State is supposed to challenge for a national championship. So what is 2011? Chopped liver?

For sure, the Broncos will not return as many starters as they do this season because, really, who has ever heard of any team returning 20 of 22 starters? Here is a list of the starters who will be gone after 2010.

Of course, the Broncos will have Kellen Moore coming into his senior season, a healthy stable of running backs, pretty much the entire offensive line, and enough working parts on defense to give opposing teams fits.

6. Labor Day or bust or maybe even Thursday night

The Broncos are going to give this Labor Day thing a try in 2010 and they were guinea pigs for a very successful Thursday night opener last season against Oregon. Might something similar come of the matchup with Ole Miss in 2011?

7. Where have all the Pac-10 teams gone?

The Pac-10 has been a willing partner in past years for Boise State non-conference games, but those times are changing, according to Jeff Caves' Twitter.

BSU AD Gene Bleymaier said PAC 10 schools wont pay 900k to visiting teams and ESPN wants to bcast Ole Miss game nationwide

 

I can understand. I won't pay any more than $1.00 for an Ashton Kutcher movie. (edited 7:15pm)

8. ESPN gets what it wants and wants what it gets

In its continuing quest to blur the line between journalism and collusion, the Worldwide Leader was instrumental in making the Ole Miss - Boise State matchup happen because whatever is in the best interests of ESPN is obviously in the best interests of humanity.

This is another good example of why the SEC’s huge television deal with ESPN over the next 15 years is important. UM assistant athletic director John Hartwell said ESPN was very instrumental in helping broker this matchup because they knew it would be an attractive television game.

I imagine that ESPN did not think the same thing about Nevada vs. San Jose State last season.

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