They play their football on a blue field…and that is why the Joboo College Football Preview begins in Boise, Idaho. Well, the other reason why Joboo is starting with the Boise State Broncos is that we realize we can’t preview ALL of the college football teams, so we’re going to try to give you previews of teams that you might not typically see a preview for. ESPN certainly isn’t going to give you much Boise State coverage, but, they’ve got Notre Dame covered.
Also, be sure to check out Ryan Doherty’s post about wanting to find a college football team to root for and toss in a suggestion.
Boise State Profile
2005 W/L Record: 9-3, 7-1…Tied for 1st in the WAC
Schedule Know-How: Their toughest Conference opponent will be Fresno State, and they have that game on the Blue. Also, their series with Pac-10 Oregon State is on the Blue as well.
The key for the Boise State Broncos is their defense. But, we’re not going to start with their defense, as it just hasn’t been good over the past couple seasons. Their offense, however, has been dynamite and the key to getting this team the exposure that got last season’s head coach Dan Hawkins a job in the Big-12 with Colorado. Offense has put them on the map, and will likely win them a lot of ballgames this season, especially with the amount of returning starters to the team. The biggest returning start being quarterback Jared Zabransky.
Zabransky threw for 2500 yards and 18 TDs last season, but also threw 16 interceptions, a number that was up from his sophomore performance. Still, Zabransky should be able to tear apart WAC defenses.
Last season Boise State gave up 10 points to Oregon State in the fourth quarter to drop the game at Oregon St by a field goal. That game will be played in Boise this season. While it certainly would not be a program altering win, a win over a mid-level Pac-10 team on their own field would at least signal that Boise St is doing something right. Without that win, they’re just a mid-major team that runs an exotic offensive scheme that is good enough to defeat other mid-majors.
Offensively, they’re going to be able to do that, but the problem against Oregon St and other big games over the years, was that Boise was unable to get big stops when they absolutely needed them. For Boise to really make the jump they need defense. Hawkins, as coach, carried on what had been started at Boise, offense. Why change the status quo before you have to? But, then again, it probably wasn’t all mental. Boise as a team last season was bigger, stronger and faster. This season, new head coach Chris Peterson needs to focus on defense as a key to success because the offense will be fine.
His promotion from offensive co-ordinator to head coach may not exactly scream defensive changes, so they may run into some problems there. Instead of going out and finding somebody that can make the talent better on defense, they’re likely just hoping that the defense will be better, naturally rather than artificially through coaching, based on a better quality of recruit coming in to the team. In short, they maintained their status quo rather than going out and picking up a coach that could change the defensive mentality over night. Their offensive mentality is set, it has been for years. Their defensive mentality is what they need to work on.
That’s why defense will be the key for this team, while offense will be the catalyst. You won’t be able to see the defense play out on a weekly basis, given the Conference that Boise plays in. Boise will certainly make it to a Bowl Game, but their ability to win that Bowl hinges on how they play defense in several key games. It starts with Oregon St, but the game to really watch to see if Boise St. will compete on a National level are select Conference games, specifically the team that defeated them last season, Nevada, and another high powered offense that got to show off that offense last season against USC, Fresno St.
Boise St. has been solid for several seasons now and they need to make a leap at some point. Otherwise, they risk their program hitting a wall and that’s something recruits will notice. They need to continue to be a program on the rise, rather than falling into a gimmick. They do that through defense.
This was the first installment of the Joboo College Football Preview. Other teams that I think I’ll cover in this preview, again, we can’t cover it all and we’re trying not to give you the same things ESPN and other College Football previews key in on. I’ll get this out of the way now, Notre Dame loses at least two games this season with Brady Quinn having Heisman numbers. Any one of the first four games and then USC. There’s really not that much more to go into with them. Other things I’m thinking about writing about this week (preview of the preview, sort of), are the Florida Gators outside of Leak/Tebow, the West Virginia Mountaineers, probably a Big Ten team at some point, Auburn or LSU maybe. Hell, whatever, I don’t see enough of on ESPN, really.