The Boise State Broncos are most experts pick to win the Mountain West Conference in 2012. A year after falling short by a game to 11-2, 7-0 Texas Christian BSU doesn't have to deal with the Horned Frogs this year. TCU bolted to the Big 12 making the MWC's chances of being elevated to a BCS conference seem to be still marred in a dream-like state. TCU eked by the Broncos 36-35 on the Blue Field Nov. 12. This year Boise State's run toward an NCAA Championship begins Friday, Aug. 31 at 11-3, 7-1 Michigan State.
Offense: The Broncos are hoping no more super stud quarterback Kellen Moore still means ample BSU wins. With Moore moving on head coach Chris Peterson is likely going to pass the keys over to junior QB Joe Southwick. Although leading receiver Tyler Shoemaker graduated the Broncos still have many weapons for Southwick to spread the football to including junior wide receivers Geraldo Boldewihn, senior Mitch Bourroughs and sophomore Matt Miller. Boise State also got some great news with senior running back D.J. Harper being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
Defense: The Broncos are hopeful Harper will be available for all games as are they hoping the defense remains healthy and focused. BSU returns defensive tackles senior Mike Atkinson and junior Ricky Tjong-A-Toe, but lost all four of their defensive linemen. The Broncos will have to replace more than half of their starters also losing linebacker Byron Hout and safety George Lloka who were Boise State's top two tacklers last season. If the Broncos can copy 2011 by yielding less than 20 points per game BSU has to love their chances at another 10+win year.
Special Teams: While the Broncos have a placekicking controversy between sophomore Dan Goodale and senior Michael Frisna, Mitch Burroughs who led the MWC in punt return average a 13.3 yards last season. Punter Brad Elkin also must be replaced this year. Junior Trevor Harman will likely be filling in there having 10 punts for a 44.7-yard average during his career.
Expectations: Starting with the Spartans has Boise State fans geeked up that this will be the year the Broncos crash not only the BCS party, but the BCS Championship Game festivities. BSU will have two weeks to soak in whatever happens at the end of August in East Lansing. 10-3 Brigham Young, 4-8, 3-5 Miami(Ohio) and at 12-2, 6-2 Southern Mississippi are other key non-conference clashes for the Broncos. At 7-6, 5-2 Nevada on Nov. 24 could once again be Boise State's final hurdle to playing for the national championship. With the four-team playoff idea coming to fruition soon I only hope the Broncos make a mess out of the 2012 season by running the gauntlet.