Who will be the tougher opponent: Nevada or Fresno State?

BOISE, ID - OCTOBER 01: Head Coach Chris Ault of the Nevada Wolf Pack talks with his players during the game against the Boise State Broncos at Bronco Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)

With two weeks to go until real, live football, I thought I should maybe get around to previewing Boise State's 2012 opponents. Here are some now. They are not as good as Michigan State.

Some of Boise State's former WAC punching bags (the most competitive punching bags in the WAC, for what it's worth) are now Boise State's current Mountain West companions and represent some of the Broncos' toughest competition for earning the MW championship. Can either Nevada or Fresno pull off what the mostly failed to do in a prior, WAC-y life? You tell me. Vote in the poll and leave a comment as to which former WAC rival presents a tougher test for the Broncos this year.

Three reasons why Nevada will be a tough opponent

1. Cody Fajardo is apparently a big deal

He did not play against Boise State last year due to a "shoulder injury" that I have put in sarcastic quotation marks because Fajardo's own head coach said after the game that he thought Fajardo could have played and did not make much of an effort to do so. So there's that.

When he wasn't dodging the Bronco defense, Fajardo was making plays against others: 13 yards per carry against Texas Tech, almost 400 total yards against Fresno State and Hawaii, and 200 passing and 100 rushing against eventual conference champion Lousiana Tech. Unless Fajardo contracts an acute case of the electric flu before the Bronco game this year, BSU will have its hands full.


2. We can no longer make fun of Nevada's defense

Shame, too. Those jokes were gold.

The defense has been consistently good for two years running now, and they have the secondary support and depth to keep that trend going. The Wolf Pack should excel in pass defense, so D.J. Harper better bring all his knee ACLs to the de facto Mountain West championship on December 1.

3. The motivational play-making of WR Brandon Wimberly

For a guy who got shot - literally, with a gun - less than 13 months ago, Wimberly has no business playing football again, much less playing it so soon after getting out of ICU and so well as to be Nevada's No. 1 receiver this fall. That is sure to make Chris Ault's motivational speeches easier, and should the Wolf Pack enter the Boise State game at 9-2 or 10-1, your ears will beg for mercy from all the Season of Destiny talk.


Three reasons why Fresno State will be a tough opponent

1. Derek Carr and a Fresno State offense that revolves around Derek Carr

The brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr may very well be the MW's most talented passer, and the Bulldogs are going to put that theory to the test with a new no-huddle, fast-break offense that will go as far as Carr will take it. He'll be throwing to new receivers and standing behind 2/5 of a new line, but what Carr lacks in supporting cast, he makes up for in self-confidence. Just ask him. I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you all about it.


2. Robbie Rouse rushed for 1,500 yards last year

Mighty Mouse Robbie Rouse, like Carr, is one of the MW's best at his position, although you would probably put up good numbers too if you got 35 carries a game (well, maybe not you but a 21-year-old, athletic version of you). Rouse is a little guy (5-foot-7, 185 pounds) but plays like a workhorse, and while the offense is a-fast-breakin' it will be sure to get Rouse the ball as much as possible.

3. New coach Tim DeRuyter knows his defense

He coached Texas A&M to Top 30 finishes in scoring defense 2010 and 201. His attacking 3-4 is a DeRuyter trademark and will be fun to watch if not wildly successful.

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