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Why the 2011 season may be Boise State's best chance at a BCS title for quite some time

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Hello. To pass the time between now and August, OBNUG will be writing essays about football things. Many of these essays will be true. Some may be fan fiction and involve Blizzards. Here is an essay now.

I don't mean to alarm you, but there is reason to believe that this season may be Boise State's last, best chance at crashing the BCS title game for the foreseeable future. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. No way Jose. Boise State will be good forever, and you, Kevan Lee, are a boob. I couldn't agree more. But at the same time, there have always been those people who believe hard times will come to Boise State sooner or later, and there is more than a little evidence to think that "sooner" could be the 2012 season. 

Why so hasty in my end-of-days proclamation? Well, have you looked closely at Boise State's roster for next year? 

Incredibly, the Broncos will undergo almost a complete team turnover from the 2010 team that was preseason Top 5 to the 2012 team that will take the field next fall. There will be only two starters from the 2010 team still around in 2012 - CB Jamar Taylor and OG Joe Kellogg. Have you been mentally preparing for Joe Kellogg banners hanging from Bronco Stadium on your 2012 commute? I know I haven't.

Here is the breakdown of depth charts:

Pos 2010 2011 2012
QB Kellen Moore Kellen Moore Joe Southwick
RB Doug Martin Doug Martin D.J. Harper
FB Dan Paul Dan Paul Chandler Koch
WR Austin Pettis Kirby Moore Kirby Moore
WR Titus Young Geraldo Hiwat Geraldo Hiwat
WR Tyler Shoemaker Tyler Shoemaker Aaron Burks
TE Tommy Gallarda Kyle Efaw Gabe Linehan
OT Matt Slater Charles Leno Charles Leno
OG Will Lawrence Jake Broyles Jake Broyles
C Thomas Byrd Thomas Byrd Matt Paradis
OG Joe Kellogg Joe Kellogg  Joe Kellogg
OT Nate Potter Nate Potter  Brenel Myers
Pos 2010 2011 2012
DE Ryan Winterswyk Tyrone Crawford  Tyler Horn
DE Shea McClellin Shea McClellin  Kharyee Marshall
DT Billy Winn Billy Winn  Michael Atkinson
DT Chase Baker Chase Baker  Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
LB Byron Hout Byron Hout  Tommy Smith
LB Aaron Tevis Aaron Tevis  J.C. Percy
CB Brandyn Thompson  Jerrell Gavins  Ebo Makinde
CB Jamar Taylor Jamar Taylor Jamar Taylor
NB Winston Venable  Hunter White Dextrell Simmons 
SS Jeron Johnson  Cedric Febis Jeremy Ioane 
FS George Iloka George Iloka Quaylon Ewing

To take it one step further, the starting lineup for 2010 was basically the exact same as the lineup in 2009, minus Kyle Wilson. Translation: Boise State has had the same guys starting at the same positions for three-plus years. And in 2012, someone presses the reset button. 

So what does it all mean?

Meaning No. 1: Rebuilding

False. The Broncos don't rebuild, they reload.


If you believe that the Broncos will simply reload over and over again with talented teams, then the roster exodus is probably not that big of a deal. Certainly there is reason to suspect that Boise State can reload based on their sustained success for the past decade and the fact that they continue to recruit better and better players. This is not the 2007 Hawaii team we are talking about. You cannot get rid of Boise State that easily.

Meaning No. 2: The end of an era

At the same time, Bronco fans should recognize that this season will be the end of a truly special era in Bronco football. Boise State has fielded one of its greatest teams of all times, essentially, for three consecutive years. That doesn't happen, and it isn't likely to happen this way ever again. 

Meaning No. 3: The all-or-nothing season

I am not entirely sold on this premise yet, but here goes: Boise State needs to win this year because they will not have the same preseason rankings and hype and opportunity once the roster turnover is complete. Also, they may not have as good a team in 2012 as they will in 2011 with so many new faces in starting roles, including a new quarterback and entirely new defensive line. Expect Harris Poll voters to forget they exist, in other words.

Overall, the impact of Boise State's roster turnover really remains to be seen. The fact of losing 20 of 22 starters over two years is undeniable, but what to make of the aftermath? Will the Broncos find themselves in the Top 25 as easily after everyone is gone? Will the team continue its success with a brand new crop of players? I know some outsiders would like to think that the Bronco empire will take a siesta following the 2011 season, but we Bronco fans know better.

Boise State football is always good. It's just that in 2012, no one knows the details yet.