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2011 Preview: Boise State Broncos

With QB Moore Back, Broncos Should Once Again be in the BCS Hunt

By

Kellen Moore

Kellen Moore was a Heisman finalist in 2010.

(Getty Images)
Updated January 31, 2011
Boise State is the most consistent program in all of college football.

During the program's remarkable rise to prominence in the 2000s, the Broncos racked up a record of 112-17, best in the nation.

And with coach Chris Petersen spurning an offer from Stanford and choosing to remain in Boise this past winter, it seems unlikely that the Broncos' winning ways are going to change anytime soon. So for now, all of you Boise haters may as well accept the fact that this team is not going away.

They've been great for the better part of the past decade. They'll be great again in 2011. But how great? Find out here, in our 2011 Boise State preview.

OVERVIEW: One loss derailed what could have been a dream season for the Broncos in 2010. Boise came into the season with higher hopes than ever before--20 starters back, a Heisman-contending quarterback in Kellen Moore, and an opening-week showcase game against mighty Virginia Tech. What the Broncos didn't plan on was that meltdown by kicker Kyle Brotzman, which led to a heartbreaking late-season loss to Nevada. With that single loss, Boise went from national title contender to BCS outsider. They ended up playing in the Las Vegas Bowl. Not quite what they had in mind. So, suffice to say, they're probably looking at 2011 as an opportunity for redemption.

THE CEILING: A BCS bowl. The Broncos aren't quite as loaded heading into 2011 as they appeared to be heading into 2010, but Moore is back for a fourth year as the starting quarterback and underrated tailback Doug Martin returns, too. Much of the offensive line will remain intact, as will the core of the defense--including defensive end Shea McClellin and linebacker Byron Hout. The schedule also sets up nicely; the season opener against a rebuilding Georgia team should be a win, even though it's a de facto road game (in Atlanta), and the Broncos also get Nevada and Air Force at home. The entire season figures to hinge on the late-season showdown against TCU. A win there probably sends Boise to the BCS.

REASON TO WORRY: Moore is awfully good, but he'll need to break in a few new wideouts in 2011. Both of his favorite targets from last season--Austin Pettis and Titus Young--are gone, and yes, that's a concern. It will be interesting, especially, to see how the new wideouts react in that season opener against the Bulldogs. Georgia is hardly a powerhouse these days, but they've still got talent, and the Georgia Dome is sure to be rocking.

THE SCHEDULE (key games in bold): 9/3 vs. Georgia (at Atlanta); 9/17 at Toledo; 9/24 vs. Tulsa; 10/1 vs. Nevada; 10/8 at Fresno State; TBA vs. Air Force; TBA vs. New Mexico State; TBA vs. San Diego State; TBA vs. Wyoming; TBA at Colorado State; TBA at TCU; TBA at UNLV.

THE VERDICT: Given all of this program's success over the past decade, and given that the Broncos have already gotten over that BCS hump, it's quite clear that the only goal that remains for Petersen is the national championship. Just getting to a BCS bowl isn't enough these days, not for a program and a fan base that has come to expect only the best. A national title run certainly isn't out of the question in 2011--the talent is here, and the schedule is favorable--but as always, the Broncos are going to have be absolutely perfect (even "close wins" cost this team with the voters) and hope that pretty much everyone else in the nation stumbles, too. It didn't happen in 2010. I don't think it will happen in 2011, either. REGULAR SEASON PREDICTION: 11-1

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