Final pregame thoughts on Boise State versus UNLV

Otto Kitsinger III

Thought No. 1: The pros and cons of Boise State's upcoming schedule

Have you seen the list of upcoming opponents for the Broncos? It is Pastry Perfection-levels of cupcake.

Boise State's next five opponents have combined for eight wins.

Two of those wins are over Lamar and Idaho.

Four of Boise State's next five opponents have one win total.

Here are the Jeff Sagarin computer rankings for the next five teams on Boise State's schedule. For reference purposes, Southern Miss is No. 102, and yes, there are only 124 D1A teams (Sagarin includes all D1 schools).

Team Rank
UNLV 130
Wyoming 97
San Diego State 61
Hawaii 144
Colorado State 148

*Nevada, for what it's worth, is ranked No. 58 by Sagarin.

Personally, I have seen enough bad football and close games this season to last me for a couple years. I am looking forward to cupcakes and to blowouts. I recognize those may not be a given with this year's team, but at least the possibility exists.

The flip side of that coin is that Boise State is in the thick of a BCS beauty pageant, and this schedule is not going to do them many favors.

Would you rather have more winnable games or better odds at a BCS bowl?

I'll take the winnable games and trust that the BCS stuff sorts itself out. Life's too short to get ulcers watching the Broncos win 7-6 over good teams. My sanity needs some cupcakes. Who's with me?

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Thought No. 2: Boise State's short short list of all-conference players

The Broncos are used to stacking end-of-year all-conference teams with their own stars, but this year might be different. Chadd Cripe is calling for J.C. Percy to be first-team all-conference at linebacker, something the Broncos haven't had since the Korey Hall days. Beyond that? There aren't a lot of obvious picks (and Percy is far from a sure thing). Here is my view.

  • Percy. He is currently third in the conference in tackles, behind fellow linebackers Austin Niklas of Air Force and John Lotulelei of UNLV. Colorado State's Cory James leads the conference in sacks and is listed as an LB.
  • D.J. Harper. He is the best thing the Bronco offense has going, but first-team honors will belong to Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson (a Heisman candidate - not a joke - okay, kind of a joke) and Air Force's Cody Getz. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Robbie Rouse - D.J. Harper all-MW second team, but even that is no sure thing. Harper is seventh in the conference in rushing.
  • Matt Miller. The Mountain West takes two wideouts on each all-conference team, and Miller's stats will make cracking the top four difficult. He is seventh in catches and ninth in yards. The best thing in his favor is that several of the names above him are from Fresno, so Fresno fatigue might be a benefit.
  • Joe Southwick. Maybe, maybe second-team all-conference. That tells you something about quarterback play in the MW.
  • Mike Atkinson. The Boise State defense figures to get some respect on the awards circuit, and Atkins certainly deserves all-conference recognition. He has the stats to back it up.
  • Demarcus Lawrence. He is currently third in the conference in sacks, top ten in tackles-for-loss, and second in forced fumbles. I wouldn't be surprised if his name gets floated for MW Defensive Player of the Year, much less a first-team all-conference nod.
  • Jamar Taylor. Who knows how the MW chooses its all-conference corners. Taylor should be somewhere among the top four, either on the first or second team.

Thought No. 3: Remember when we all voted on the color scheme for this week's game?

Boise State sets its color schemes before the season begins, and it let fans vote for the scheme for this Saturday. Or at least it gave us the impression we were voting on it. I'm sure someone, somewhere suggested a blackout, but the marketing department kind of steamrolled the purity of fan feedback when it pitched this week's game based on new jerseys and Blue and Orange Store e-commerce. I don't feel like my voice was heard, so allow me to voice my voice in all caps. HOW ABOUT A PINK OUT FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS?

Thought No. 4: How good is this defense? (rhetorical question)

I liked this line in Tom Scott's Scott Slant, regarding the preseason question of whether Boise State was reloading or rebuilding.

The defense has reloaded, and the offense is rebuilding ...

Proof of that is no more evident than in Boise State's scoring defense, which ranked No. 11 after last week's game and figures to improve over the next five weeks, barring some garbage time fireworks from the opponents. If you were to look at the numbers, you wouldn't even notice that the Broncos lost a gaggle of great defenders to the pros.

Year Points Rank
This year 14.7 11th
2011 18.7 12th
2010 12.8 2nd
2009 17.1 13th
2008 12.6 3rd
2007 21.6 25th

Thought No. 5: The irony of the BCS

The possibility exists that Boise State makes a BCS bowl with Joe Southwick at quarterback during a season where the offense fails to score a touchdown in two games and the Broncos never sniff the Top Ten. Meanwhile, Kellen Moore played in two straight Vegas Bowls with two of the greatest teams in school history.

The irony is not lost on me.

This would be a fitting way for the BCS, which made little sense over its 15-year run, to end.

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