Sowegalive Preseason Top 30: #19 Boise State Broncos

By | August 8, 2016

Boise State Broncos Boise State Logo
Bryan Harsin – 3rd year (21-6)
2015 Record: 9-4 (5-3, T-2nd)
Albertson’s Stadium (36,387)

Statistically, the Boise State Broncos had a marvelous year in 2015. Their freshman quarterback threw for well over 3,000 yards, their tailback had over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and their defense allowed just a shade over 20 points per game on the season. But when the dust settled onto the blue turf at the end of the season the Broncos were out of first place not only in the Mountain West Conference but in the ‘Mountain’ division as well. back-to-back touchdown losses to the likes of New Mexico and Air Force are unacceptable up in Bronco country so third year coach Bryan Harsin will need a season like his first (12-2) and not his second if he wants to stay off of the hot seat.

Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin

Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin

The good news is that the young quarterback and tailback return to lead an offense that has averaged over 30 points per game for over a decade. At quarterback, Brett Rypien returns lead the Broncos back to the Mountain West Championship Game and if his name sounds familiar it’s because his father Mark Rypien is a former Super Bowl MVP and two-time Super Bowl winner with the Washington Redskins. The young Rypien threw for 3,353 yards and 20 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions in the 2015 campaign. Rypien wasn’t the star of the offense last season. That title belongs to tailback Jeremy McNichols who carried the ball and unbelievable 240 times last season for 1,337 yards and 20 touchdowns. Rypien & McNichols will have three returning offensive lineman in front of them so I expect the offense to continue to click in the running game. It most likely won’t miss a beat through the air either with seniors Thomas Sperbeck & Chaz Anderson returning to their receivers spots from last year as well as junior tight end Jake Roh. This unit averaged over 500 yards per game last season & with nearly everyone coming back it wouldn’t shock me if that number goes up significantly in 2016.

The Bronco defense returned eight starters last season and brought their points per game average down by almost a touchdown from the year before. In 2016, the Boise State defense returns just five starters so they will need to work even harder to keep that number down. The defense will be led by the three returning linebackers junior Joe Martarano and seniors Ben Weaver & Tanner Vallejo who as a trio combined for 178 tackles last season. There will be four new lineman up front for the Broncos defense so Sam McCaskill, David Moa, Elliot Hoyte & Gabe Perez will need to learn on the fly and provide enough pressure to let the skilled linebackers to their thing. On the back end sophomore Dylan Sumner-Gardner & senior Jonathan Moxey lead the way with newcomers Tyler Horton & Darreon Jackson who as a unit only allowed 210 yards per game through the air last season. Even with just five returning starters this will be another great year for the Boise State defense.

Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols

Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols

Boise State should breeze through their 2016 schedule but the first two games may be more difficult than they anticipated. The Broncos open the season on the road down in the bayou against the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday, September 3rd. I’m positive that every player on Boise State’s team isn’t from Idaho but I doubt many have been in the swamps of Louisiana in September where it can get pretty muggy. The next week Boise returns home to face Washington State, who is fielding the best team in three decades in 2016. The Broncos get their bye week the following week before travelling to Corvallis, Oregon, to take on the Oregon State Beavers in the final September game of the season. October opens with the Mountain West Conference slate beginning with Utah State at home. The Aggies mopped the floor with Boise State last season by 26 points and were the beneficiaries of 7 Bronco turnovers. The following Friday night the Broncos head to the Land of Enchantment to take on the New Mexico Lobos followed by a home game against Colorado State. It will be another short week the next week when Boise State travels to Provo, Utah, to take on the BYU Cougars who beat Boise last season on a last minute hail mary. Boise State wraps up October the following week on the road against a Wyoming team that will be coming off of their bye week. November begins with a home Friday night game against the rebuilding San Jose State Spartans followed by the long road trip to Honolulu, to take on the Hawaii Warriors. Boise wraps up the regular season with back-to-back Friday night games against the UNLV Rebels at home and a road game against the Air Force Falcons. This is by no means a difficult schedule but every game is a great situation for the other team or is a revenge game for Boise. Expect high drama in more than a few of these contests.

This is a classic Boise State Bronco football team. They are young, talented and proven on offense but need to show what they can do on defense. Their schedule doesn’t quite stack up with a Power 5 team’s schedule so they will need to go with style points to impress voters and the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. They have the offense to do it but the defense will need to do their part. I’m not saying that they could crash the CFP party but they have the potential to do it in 2016.

2016 Boise State Broncos Schedule

Sept 3rd          at UL-Lafayette
Sept 10th        Washington State
Sept 17th         BYE WEEK
Sept 24th        at Oregon State
Oct 1st             Utah State
Oct 7th            at New Mexico (Fri)
Oct 15th          Colorado State
Oct 20th         BYU (Thurs)
Oct 29th         at Wyoming
Nov 4th          San Jose State (Fri)
Nov 12th        at Hawaii
Nov 18th       UNLV (Fri)
Nov 25th       at Air Force (Fri)

Albertson's Stadium - 1970 - 36,387

Albertson’s Stadium – 1970 – 36,387

#30 – Arkansas Razorbacks
#29 – Texas A&M Aggies
#28 – Nebraska Cornhuskers
#27 – Washington State Huskies
#26 – Northwestern Wildcats
#25 – Miami Hurricanes
#24 – North Carolina Tar Heels
#23 – Baylor Bears
#22 – Oklahoma State Cowboys
#21 – Michigan State Spartans
#20 – Louisville Cardinals
#19 – Boise State Broncos
#18 – Tuesday, August 9th
#17 – Wednesday, August 10th
#16 – Thursday, August 11th
#15 – Friday, August 12th
#14 – Monday, August 15th
#13 – Tuesday, August 16th
#12 – Wednesday, August 17th
#11 – Thursday, August 18th
#10 – Friday, August 19th
#9 – Monday, August 22nd
#8 – Tuesday, August 23rd
#7 – Wednesday, August 24th
#6 – Thursday, August 25th
#5 – Friday, August 26th
#4 – Monday, August 29th
#3 – Tuesday, August 30th
#2 – Wednesday, August 31st
#1 – Thursday, September 1st

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