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Bullet points: thoughts on Boise State’s 2016 regular season

Boise State v New Mexico Photo by Adria Malcolm/Getty Images
  • Believing that a 10-2 season is a success is a choice and you should probably make that choice because it’s psychotic to believe otherwise. Boise State did not achieve their greater goal of a MWC title and a NY6 Bowl. That sucked. By any other measure this season was wildly successful. Boise State was not only about a half yard from sending the Air Force game to OT...they were 9 points from PERFECTION. Would you rather be Oregon...who isn't even bowl eligible? Houston...who was getting CFP buzz at the start of the season and ended up with 3 losses and looking for a new coach? Idaho...who is Idaho?! Some of the Boise State luck may have run out, but we haven't had a losing season since Bill Clinton was in office. Cool those jets.
  • Now, success has plenty of indicators, and while I just argued that Boise State was successful by the most important metric (winning) metric where they caused some general bafflement was against-the-spread. You don't have to be a gambling man (or woman) to see weekly point-spreads as at least a useful gauge of expectations and Boise State was expected to win every game they played. They almost did, to be sure...but they were just 3-9 against-the-spread on the year—including 10 points or more worse than the spread in a full SEVEN contests. Successful or no, Boise State underachieved in the score column.
  • So, speaking of scores...I think with one game left to play it's safe to say that Brett Rypien did, in fact, encounter the dreaded "sophomore slump". His 23-6 TD/INT ratio was an improvement over his true frosh season but I think given that Brett was expected to take a bigger leap as a sophomore, we're going to at least call it a mini-slump. His ineffectiveness in the last two regular season games were both baffling (UNLV) and infuriating (Air Force). Chicks dig the deep ball...but the better part of valor is discretion and Ryp could've used that discretion a time or two and just moved the sticks.
  • My segue game is on point today as Rypien's effectiveness dovetails nicely into the receiving game which was both amazing (two 1,000 yard receivers) and puzzling (our third leading receiver was our running back). The tight ends, of which we have MANY, largely disappeared and only Alec Dhaenens had double-digit receptions. Akilian Butler, Sean Modster, and AJ Richardson combined only had 12 grabs.
  • Cedrick Wilson was every bit as good as advertised and we should all be thanking the good lord that he wasn't lured away by Virginia Tech.
  • Jeremy McNichols had one of the best regular seasons in Boise State history with 2,113 yards from scrimmage and a dizzying 27 TDs. The crazy thing is that he picked the worst possible year to do it as RB-palooza struck the MWC and despite J-Mac's incredible season he might not even make first team All-MWC. The Weapon cares not about accolades! Just get out of his way!
  • This wasn’t one of the best Bronco defenses in memory, but it might be the scrappiest. Coach Avalos did a heckuva job with this rag-tag group...a group that lost SEVEN D-linemen (including a high draft pick) and two all-timers in the secondary and still only allowed about 22 ppg. They weren’t turnover machines, and their sack numbers fell off a cliff midseason...but this unit had no quit in them and developed some great depth. Guys that are coming off redshirts next season could make this D really hum again.
  • On the offensive coordinator end of the spectrum, we had a mixed bag. Some games we appeared to score at will and others we really had trouble finding a rhythm. Of course, with Hill, Huff, Harsin, and Adams all with their hands in the playcalling crockpot it's hard to know who gets the cheers and who gets the jeers. Overall, I think the offense performed admirably, but like Rypien's sophomore baby probably wasn't the well-oiled machine we expected it to be. Execution is always a factor, but play-calling swung wildly between brilliant and predictable.
  • The Broncos played a load of true freshman this regular season and several put in fairly eye-catching performances. Alexander Mattison looks like the heir-apparent to McNichols and can catch, run, and run fools over like his mentor Jeremy. DB Deandre Pierce played a lot and for a still-smallish freshman can hit like a Mack truck. Tyson Maeva, Kekoa Nawahine, Sonatane Lui, Reid Harrison-Ducros and Chase Hatada all showed some flashes as well—flashes that will become commonplace over the next couple of years.

Your turn

What bullets are in your chamber? Anything we should be discussing now that the longish bowl layoff is upon us?