When the Boise State Broncos announced that Bryan Harsin would be the man for the job after Chris Petersen left for Washington, I immediately applauded they hire because Harsin was the perfect fit for the Broncos head coaching position. He played quarterback for Boise State, was a graduate assistant at Boise State and was the offensive coordinator at Boise State before eventually becoming a head coach at Arkansas State. Coach Harsin inherited a team loaded with talent but not a lot of experience but that didn’t stop the Broncos from finishing the season 12-2 as Mountain West Champions and a Fiesta Bowl win over Arizona. Not a bad start as head coach of your alma mater.
The Broncos will have to find replacements at quarterback and runningback but return everyone else on offense including all five offensive lineman. Needing a new quarterback and runningback isn’t as tall of a task when you’ve got all five linemen returning. Boise State averaged over 200 yards rushing per game in 2014 and they will miss runningback Jay Ajayi but Stanford transfer Kelsey Young is poised to have a breakout year on the blue carpet. Boise State has had six consecutive seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher and 2015 will be no different.
The Boise State offense is loaded and the defense is not far behind with eight starters returning including seven of their top eight tacklers from 2014. The defensive line will be led by junior defensive end Kamalai Correa who led the Mountain West in sacks with 12 and if the defensive end opposite Correa, Tyler Horn, can provide any kind of pass rush it wouldn’t surprise me to see Correa’s numbers improve even more. The star of the defense can be found at linebacker though, as junior Tanner Vallejo is as ‘throwback’ as they come. When you turn on the television to watch Boise State the guy on defense wearing number 20 just jumps out at you because he is literally involved with everything that is happening on the field. Somehow he is everywhere at all times and his 100 tackles & 13.5 tackles for loss back it up.
The Broncos’ schedule is not murderer’s row in 2015 but Boise State did schedule fairly aggressively out of conference with road games at BYU and Virginia and one home game against Washington. The season opens with the Huskies in Boise on the first Friday night of the season in a game against former coach Chris Petersen who I’m sure the current Bronco players would love to earn a win against. The following week the Broncos have to travel down to Provo to take on the BYU Cougars followed by a home Friday night game against instate FCS opponent Idaho State Bengals. Then the Broncos get to make the 2,300 miles trip to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers before traveling home for their first conference game against Hawai’i. Its back-to-back road games for the Broncos against Colorado State and Utah State which might prove to be the trickiest stretch on their entire schedule. Boise State will close out the month of October with a home game against the Wyoming Cowboys before another road game against the UNLV Rebels in Las Vegas. The month of November begins with a much needed by week before back-to-back home games against New Mexico and Air Force on a Friday night. The Broncos finish the regular season on the road against San Jose State in Friday night making the Broncos have as many Friday night games as they have Saturday games.
Last season the Broncos sort of came out of nowhere to earn that Fiesta Bowl bid but this year, everyone on their schedule will be gunning for the longtime big boy on the mid-major block. Boise State is poised to have another great season and if they can get solid play from the quarterback position, they have a chance to finish the season undefeated and have an argument for being a part of the College Football Playoff.
2015 Boise State Broncos Schedule
Sept 4th v. Washington (Fri)
Sept 12th at BYU
Sept 18th v. Idaho State (Fri)
Sept 25th at Virginia (Fri)
Oct 3rd v. Hawai’i
Oct 10th at Colorado State
Oct 16th at Utah State (Fri)
Oct 24th v. Wyoming
Oct 31st at UNLV
Nov 7th BYE WEEK
Nov 14th v. New Mexico
Nov 20th v. Air Force (Fri)
Nov 27th at San Jose State (Fri)