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Game prediction: Boise State 48, Nevada 17

Let's be real, people. A repeat of last year will not happen again in a million, billion years. So can we dispense with the revisionist history?

In a sense, talking about "what was" is doing a disservice to "what is." Both Boise State and Nevada are better teams than they were a year ago. The Broncos are a Top 10 team with a fantastic freshman quarterback and a stout, highly regarded defense. The Wolf Pack are a ground game machine with one of the most elusive backfield duos in college football and a pass rushing attack that is tops in the conference. There's no reason to keep living in the past of 69-67 when the only thing that matters on Saturday is the present.

So let's get right down to it.

We're picking the Broncos to win because we always pick the Broncos to win. It's what we do. But like usual, our pick has plenty of evidence to back it up. This Boise State team is superior to Nevada in a lot of ways, and that difference should make itself painfully clear by the end of the game.

People think that Nevada will get its points and yards on Saturday. But how? The Broncos haven't given up much of anything to spread option attacks this season thanks to the pressure of the defensive line, the speed and tackling of the linebackers, and the play of the safeties and corners. The Pistol is essentially a mutated spread option. Colin Kaepernick and Vai Taua are great players, but it's hard to see them being as successful as usual against the Broncos.

On offense, the gameplan seems simple enough for the Broncos: pass, pass, pass. The Wolf Pack secondary is one of the worst in the country. If Kellen Moore can avoid the pass rush (which he can), then he should be finding plenty of open receivers downfield. Of course, the Broncos rarely do anything as expected, so they could very well come out running the football, too, and playing keep away from the Nevada offense. Even though the Wolf Pack defense is strong against the run, we wouldn't put it past the Broncos to find running room inside. Even "long hand-offs" on receiver screens or running back flairs should be effective.

In about the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game, we should be able to tell whether we are in store for another Bronco blowout or a closely fought game. Either way, we don't see the Broncos coming out on the losing end of this one.

If the Broncos and Wolf Pack played 10 times, Boise State would win nine of them. We'll take those odds and assume that lightning and 4-OT games never strike twice.

Other predictions:

  • Kyle Brotzman makes more field goals than he misses.

  • Ian Johnson does not get the first carry of the game.

  • Colin Kaepernick breaks something (hopefully not a long run).

  • Mark Johnson and Tom Scott completely butcher Vai Taua's name.

  • Kellen Moore throws for over 300 yards, and Jeremy Childs goes over 100.

  • The Broncos return a kickoff for a touchdown.

  • It takes the Broncos an hour and a half to do the traditional post-game high-five for every Bronco fan in attendance.