Boise State Season Win Total Prediction
A nine-win campaign is nothing about which to be embarrassed. For a program of Boise State’s ilk, though, 2015 ended in disappointment.
The good news: Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien’s enormous upside promises to put the Broncos right back in that double-digit picture. In fact, online sports book Bovada.lv projects Bryan Harsin’s team for 10 victories. That’s no small task, given the increasingly competitive Mountain West landscape.
Boise State represents one of the conference’s eight reigning bowl squads. The perennial powerhouse, however, wasn’t performing cartwheels after traveling to Qualcomm Stadium last December. An out-of-character November swoon relegated the Broncos to the nondescript Poinsettia Bowl.
Ceding the division title to San Diego State certainly stung, too. Rypien’s talents alone may ensure a different result this fall. As a true freshman, the Spokane native threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns in 11 contests. The coaching staff also lauded his leadership skills during spring drills. Don’t be surprised if Rypien already challenges a few of campus legend Kellen Moore’s single-season records.
The signal-caller doesn’t lack for weapons either. Senior receiver Thomas Sperbeck comes off a year in which he totaled 88 catches for 1,412 yards. Then there’s junior tailback Jeremy McNichols, who merely amassed 1,337 yards and 20 TDs on 240 carries. When you take into account that O-line guru Scott Huff welcomes back four of five key contributors, it’s easy to imagine the offense averaging 500 yards per tilt again.
On the other side of the ball, the defensive line requires a fair amount of polish. SoCal prep sensation Curtis Weaver essentially needs to wreak havoc off the edge as soon as possible. The interior looks especially vulnerable, as the Broncos return just one tackle with significant game experience.
An examination of the linebacker corps yields further optimism. Ben Weaver has paced the crew in tackles in two of the past three seasons. Meanwhile, NFL scouts are extremely high on Tanner Vallejo. At 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, he possesses immense pass-rushing potential and next-level quickness. Joe Martarano, another fundamentally sound glue guy, rounds out the main trio.
In the secondary, veteran corner Jonathan Moxey provides stellar technique and guidance in equal measure. He’ll assume even greater prominence in 2016, considering Darian Thompson’s move to the pros. The intimidating, punishing Chanceller James runs the show at safety.
Boise State’s September isn’t a walk in the park. Nonetheless, the following month features the real intrigue. Utah State, New Mexico and BYU will all test the Broncos’ mettle. A Thanksgiving weekend clash vs. Air Force could well make or break Harsin’s New Year’s Six aspirations. We’re not prepared to bet against a group with this much explosiveness.
SUNDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL FREE PICK: BOISE STATE BRONCOS OVER 10 WINS