What teams should Bronco fans be rooting for in Week Four? Join me and Mr. Badger for a rundown of Bronco Nation's rooting guide for this week's games. First stop: Those Boise State guys.
Part 1 – Your favorite hometown / alma mater team
Boise vs. Tulsa
6PM MT – Your Local Stadium
Line: Broncos by 28
Root for: Good Guys
The Golden Hurricane put up a good fight the last time Kellen and Co. faced them (28-21 in 2009). Here’s hoping the last time it’s within 7 points is at the 10 minute mark of the 1st Quarter. Make no mistake though, Tulsa is a strong D1 team – and this has been marked on their calendar for the past 2 years. Like everyone else this season, we are their "Georgia".
Part 2 - Opponents - hoping our Opponents do well is the purpose of this section
Georgia at Ole Miss
10:20AM MT – ESPN3
Line: Dawgs by 9
Root for: Dawgs
In what many are touting the Richt Bowl (win or lose his job), expect an inspired performance from the Bulldogs. All the pressure is on Coach Richt to pull off an SEC victory – STAT! If the Dawgs don’t pull it off, Richt’s job will be on life support the rest of the season. So will our chances of a NTG. Go Dawgs!
Toledo at Syracuse
10AM MT – ESPN3
Line: Orange by 2
Root for: Rockets
After coming off two consecutive losses to AQ teams, it would be only right for this tough Toledo team to bounce back and knock off the ‘Cuse, their 3rd – and final –AQ opponent this season. Plus, the Orange moved to the Dark Side after abandoning their conference during Part 2 – or is it 22? – of MegaConferenceMania.
Nevada at Texas Tech
5PM MT – Fox College Sports
Line: Red Raiders by 20
Root for: Wolfpack to hold Red Raiders under 100
Having barely escaped the San Jose Spartans by a score of 27-22 (looking ahead much?), the Pack will have more than their hands full with the Red Raiders. Here’s hoping Coach Ault has a whole other set of offensive plays he’s saving for this game. You do have them, right Coach?
Fresno State at Idaho
3PM MT – ESPN3
Line: Bulldogs by 3
Root for: Bulldogs
Rarely do you associate respectable Fresno State with playing cupcake FCS opponents like North Dakota: Fresno has built an image of taking on the Big Boys. Alas, the Bulldogs couldn’t help themselves to what they thought would be an easy victory against the Fighting Sioux last week (Did you know the Fighting Sioux’ next game is against "powerhouse" Black Hills State? And no, Mr. Badger says he did not make that up. Black Hills State? Who in their right mind would want a degree from… or name a college… oh, nevermind.)
Anyhooo, Idaho just happened to schedule these Fightin’ Sioux the very same year Fresno did. Only the margins of victory were decidedly different. Fresno barely squeaked by with a come-from-behind 5-point victory, while the Vandals took care of the tiny school a week earlier with a 30-point margin. Let’s hope these results do not portend the results this Saturday. Mr. Badger is starting to sharpen his claws, Fresno. If I were you, I would take this very, very seriously.
Colorado State at Utah State
6PM MT – ESPN3
Line: Aggies by 9
Root for: Rams
It’s yet another MWC vs WAC contest. Go WAC 2.0, I mean MWC!
Utah State has some power to its punch, having nearly knocked off Auburn in Week 1, and blowing out hapless Weber State 54-17 in week 2. Coming off a Bye Week to heal up, the Aggies will be hungry for another victory – hoping to prove to the world that the "Near-Tiger-Takedown" was no fluke. Colorado State hung tough with their in-state rival Buffs last week and must be careful not to let the emotional loss have a carry-over effect. A victory against the Aggies would be a great step for the Rams, and a nice boost for our SoS.
Air Force vs Tennessee State
1PM MT – The Mtn
Root for: Falcons
The Falcons, coming off a Bye week, essentially have a scrimmage at home this week against the Tigers before travelling to Annapolis to face the powerful Midshipmen and South Bend the week after to face the Irish. If all goes as planned, the Falcons will use this weekend’s game as a tune-up to hone fundamentals and gain confidence. If this game is not a blowout by midway through the 3rd, expect trouble against Navy and Notre Dame.
UNLV vs Southern Utah
7PM MT – No Coverage
Root for: Runnin' Rebs
Any time you haven’t heard of your opponent or are playing an opponent not worthy of a line, expect a blowout. This one has both. Even UNLV can pull this one off. With its improbable victory against Hawaii last week, the Runnin’ Rebs have a great chance to be 2-2 come Sunday. Yippee!
Next Saturday’s Postgame Locker Room Speech
Runnin’ Reb Coach: "Team, you did an amazing thing. For the first time in our history, we are at .500 or better 4 games into the season."
Runnin’ Reb players: "That’s great Coach! We’re so excited to play for the Rebels!"
Runnin’ Reb coach: "That’s right boys! I’m so proud of you! Now go out there and celebrate, ‘cause you ain’t got a chance in BW to win anything else this year."
TCU vs Portland State Vikings
Noon MT – No Coverage
Root for: Horny Toads
The only thing worth covering about this game is Portland State’s logo. It looks eerily similar to the Buffalo Sabres’. So the real riddle is… Who’s Cheatin’ Who?
San Diego State at (22) Michigan
10AM MT – Big Ten Network
Line: Wolverines by 10
Root for: Aztecs
Mr. Badger usually thinks waking up before 2PM – much less on the weekend – is a crime. But he is already starting to set his internal clock ahead so he can catch all of this game. Should SDSU prevail, it could be the Mountain West’s "runner-up game of the year" (to the Broncos’ victory over the Dawgs, of course). Expect a high-scoring game, as neither team has much of a defense. Wanna play "last man with the ball wins?" This is most decidedly the "Game of the Week".
Wyoming at (9) Nebraska
5:30 MT – Versus
Line: Huskers by 23
Root for: Cowboys
Why must the Cowboys put themselves through such abuse year in and year out? Playing a challenging opponent is great; playing Nebraska is stupid. Trading dollars for losses never seems right. Coaching is about putting your players in the best position to win – not get crushed and demoralized by a steamroller. Expect the "mini-miracle" of a season that the Cowboys started this year with its 3-0 record to be snuffed out in Lincoln. Should the Cowboys pull off a new miracle, Beer’s on any Wyomingan(?) for the rest of the year. Yes, we do have enough change saved up in the "sunny day jar" for that Mr. Badger!
New Mexico vs Sam Houston State
4PM MT –
Root for: Los Lobos
Sam Houston reminds me of Yosemite Sam. Why don’t they just call themselves that instead? It’s the only thing that would make me pay attention to them. And I’m sure no one would care. After all, we already have the South Dakota State (Jack)Rabbits and University of South Dakota Coyotes. They could play themselves in a round-robbin format all season long. With the Rabbits winning every time, of course.
Part 3 – Hoping for the collapse of all ranked teams around us is the purpose of this section.
(1) Oklahoma vs Missouri
6PM MT – FX
Line: Sooners by 21
Root for – Tigers
The only way we crash the NTG party this year is if all AQ conferences have at least 1 loss. After escaping the Noles last week during ESPN’s Game Week, it’s possible the Sooners are in for a trap game. Let’s hope so. If the Tigers can’t take down Oklahoma this week, the Sooners face 4 more ranked opponents til the end of the season. There’s gotta be a loss in there somewhere… right?
(2) LSU at (16) West Virginia
6PM MT – ABC
Line: Tigers by 5
Root for – Mountaineers
It’s true, lots of fans will root for the Tigers to win out so we can beat "the best team in the country" and our NTG chances won’t be "tainted". I can’t argue with that line of reasoning, but it’s too early in the season to start predicting who will run the table and be NTG-bound. For now, there’s nothing I’d like more than for one or more of the three teams above us to start accumulating L’s. Morgantown is a tough place to play regardless of who straps it up against their Mountaineers. This week’s decibel level should be earplug-inducing.
(3) Alabama vs (14) Arkansas
1:30MT – CBS
Line: Tide by 12
Root for – Razorbacks
Ooh! I’d forgotten just how much Mr. Badger despises me mentioning Nick Saban. Now he’s all hackled up again… just when I’d gotten him settled down after his morning tea. There he is, scratching at the floor growling at me. (I’m not ashamed to say I’m standing on the kitchen chair right now.) Lucky for me, I’m picking the team that is not Alabama this week, mainly because they’re ranked one spot ahead of us. However (loud voice) I’d root against those dastardly Tide any day of the week anyhow, now wouldn’t I?
(6) Wisconsin vs. South Dakota
Ho-hum, gimme a game, not a scrimmage
(7) Oklahoma State at (8) Texas A&M
1:30MT – ABC
Line: Aggies by 4
Root for – one of these teams to lose
Now this is a game! Fortunately for us, it doesn’t really matter who wins, because one of these teams will lose. Go… that team!
Part 4 Mr. Badger’s "Mascot game of the week"….
Thankfully, the Rattlers got stomped by the Bulls last week (70-17). This week, Mr. Badger is rooting for San Diego State.
San Diego State at (22) Michigan
A victory against Michigan would truly legitimize the Aztecs – and the MWC. Plus, there’s Mr. Badger’s whole inferiority complex with the Wolverines. Ahem! Yes, I mean those Wolverines sure are wimps compared to you, Mr. Badger.
Ok, that’s it for this week. I know there’s more parts, but Rome wasn’t built in a day you know. /fingers crossed that analogy somehow works.
Plus, there’s always next week!