Boise State has seven consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins and is 84-8 under coach Chris Petersen.
The Broncos had to replace a handful of key players last season – including quarterback Kellen Moore and running back Doug Martin – yet still finished with an 11-2 record. Boise State’s only losses came by four points to Michigan State and by two points against San Diego State.
Although Boise State returns only nine starters, there’s plenty of talent for Petersen to lead this team to a BCS bowl once again. The offense has plenty of firepower, especially with the return of quarterback Joe Southwick and receiver Matt Miller. Five starters return from a defense that ranked eighth nationally in points allowed, but cornerback is a position of concern for coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski.
Boise State’s schedule is challenging, but Petersen should have his team in the mix for an unbeaten record.
What will Boise State's record at the end of the 2013 regular season? Athlon’s panel of experts debates:
Boise State's 2013 Game-by-Game Predictions
8/31 at Washington
9/7 UT Martin
9/13 Air Force
9/20 at Fresno State
9/28 Southern Miss
10/12 at Utah State
10/25 at BYU
11/2 at Colorado State
11/23 at San Diego State
11/30 New Mexico
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Even though Boise State returns only eight starters, this team still has plenty of talent to make a run at an unbeaten record and a BCS bowl. In a “rebuilding year” last season, the Broncos finished 11-2, with their only losses coming by four points or less. Quarterback Joe Southwick should be more comfortable in his second year as the starter, and the rest of the supporting cast on offense is solid. The biggest concern for coach Chris Petersen is a secondary that will have two new starters at cornerback. Boise State’s schedule isn’t easy, especially with road dates at Washington, Fresno State, Utah State, BYU and San Diego State. The opener in Seattle is a revenge game for the Huskies, but the Sept. 20 date against the Bulldogs could decide who hosts the Mountain West title game. I think Boise State loses once during the regular season. However, the Broncos will play in a BCS bowl this January.
Drew Roberts, (@MyBrainIsSmart), OBNUG.com
Do I actually think Boise State will go undefeated this year? Probably not, but it's well within the realm of possibility and even though they could drop roadies at Fresno, Utah State, BYU or UW—I honestly don't know which one is "most lose able" because frankly, they're all winnable. Boise State is used to being the best team in the league and I don't think this year is any different, but all the toughest games this year happen to be on the road. Generally, that's a recipe for an upset or two, but I think Boise State can get on a roll if they handle business in Husky Stadium at the end of the month. Even if my belief in an undefeated season is tepid, you need at least one homer on this thing and Bronco fans are known to never stop believin', just like that Journey song "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin.'"
Braden Gall (@BradenGall)
Boise State lost two games a year ago while in complete rebuilding mode and fans are ready for more. Nothing could indicate more where expectations have been placed in Idaho than that. The schedule is more intriguing this year than last and the team, especially on offense, should be better as well. The Mountain West has gotten much better around the Broncos and it will create a few more "tougher" challenges than this team is accustomed too. That said, a perfect league record is well within reach. In fact, road non-conference games with Washington and BYU are more likely to determine the overall upside of this team. Look for this team to be on the fringe of the BCS with an outside shot at something special.
Even with just eight starters returning on both sides of the ball, I fully expect Chris Petersen to do what he has done in his previous seven seasons leading Boise State — win a bunch of games. In my opinion, the Broncos only have to truly worry about three games on their schedule. The season opener at Washington won't be easy, especially if the Huskies are able to move the ball early and often on the Boise defense, and the trip to Provo to face BYU also will be a tough test.
Outside of those two games, the Sept. 20 date in Fresno to play the Bulldogs is probably the only other matchup all season in which the Broncos won't be favored. Fresno State has more than enough offense to make things tough for the Petersen's defense, and it remains to be seen if the Broncos can match the Bulldogs' firepower. Win or lose, this most likely will be just the first of two meetings between Boise State and Fresno State, with the other coming in the inaugural Mountain West championship game in early December. If the Broncos don't want to make a return trip to central California, then they need to make the most of their first one.
David Fox (@DavidFox615)
Boise State’s conference opponents — chiefly Fresno State, San Diego State and Nevada — have improved at the same time the Broncos have dipped ever so slightly. Still, I think Boise State gets out of 2013 with only one blemish against a Fresno State team that stacked on offense. I like Boise in the opener against Washington simply because its tough to bet against Chris Petersen in an opener, despite an ugly-for-both-teams loss to Michigan State before last season. Road trips to BYU and San Diego State will be tough, but Joe Southwick has had a year as the starter. People forget he threw nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in the final four games last year.
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