Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:59 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
For the last time in its history the Mountain West released a college football schedule on Thursday. Next year the Mountain West and Conference USA will merge to form a new conference. So if you are a Mountain West geek (A Mountie? Westy? An MWCrazy?) cherish this one, because it's never going to happen again.
TCU has already left for the Big 12 and teams like Boise State and San Diego State will be leaving for the Big East in 2013.
Making matters worse for the conference this year, without TCU around, it seems that Boise State is the clear-cut favorite to win the conference without much standing in its way.
Though stranger things have happened, and you'll definitely want to see Boise's games against San Diego State in Boise on November 3, and when Boise travels to Nevada to play on November 24.
The Broncos will be looking to avenge 2010 and Kyle Brotzman's nightmare that night.
You can check out the entire Mountain West schedule here.
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Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2011 4:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
For all the critics out there that enjoy claiming Boise State receives too much attention, a study of the last five years' worth of preseason AP polls has a little surprise in store.
According to Pollspeak.com and their review of the AP's initial ballots from 2006 through 2010, no team in the nation has been more underrated in the preseason than the Broncos, who have outperformed their initial ranking by a collective 38 spots in the final poll. 2010 aside (when BSU slipped six spots thanks to Kyle Brotzman's infamous shank job against Nevada), the Broncos haven't received enough preseason attention--particularly in 2006, when Boise entered the season unranked and finished it fifth after their legendary win over Oklahoma.*
If there's a common thread among the study's most underrated teams, it's that they come from outside the sport's traditional power programs. Cincinnati came in second behind the Broncos thanks to three straight years of Brian Kelly's overachieving, followed by TCU, Utah, Stanford and Oregon.
The most underrated team in the SEC? Alabama, despite last year's plunge from No. 1 to 10, thanks to massive underrating three of the four previous years.
On the flip side, the most overrated team also comes as something of a stunner: the Cal Golden Bears, who failed to outperform their preseason ranking all five years and finished well short of it three times. That's a lot of preseason mileage Jeff Tedford appears to have gotten out of those classic USC battles from the mid-Aughts, but it hasn't helped him much once the season starts.
Coming in behind the Bears on the overrated list? Texas, USC, Georgia, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Florida State. Of course, it's not really so much of a disgrace to appear in this space; when you're ranked as high as USC has been, for instance (6th, 1st, 3rd, and 4th in the first four years of the study) there's almost nowhere to go but down.
Still, it doesn't seem wise to bet on the Bears or Trojans (or top-ranked Sooners) to wind up maintaining their preseason expectation this year. And as for Boise? The preseason AP ballot isn't released until this Saturday, but if the media follows the coaches' lead in placing the Broncos seventh, one win over Georgia would have BSU well on its way to proving the pollsters wrong ... again.
*Would you like to watch the highlights of that game right now? Of course you would. Here you go:
HT: Idaho Statesman.
Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2011 4:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Boise State , who opens spring camp next Monday, March 7.
Spring Practice Question: Who'll become the Broncos' new playmakers on the edge?
The conventional wisdom was that 2010 was Boise State's now-or-never moment where the national championship was concerned, their make-or-break campaign as a legitimate BCS title contender. The Broncos lost just four seniors from their undefeated 2009 squad, had the prerequisite preseason poll positioning, got the legitimizing road win at Virginia Tech ... this was supposed to be their one big chance, and Kyle Brotzman blew it all in Reno.
So it's almost shocking to look over the Broncos' depth chart and realize how much talent they still have at their disposal. There's Kellen Moore, of course, but there's also 1,260-yard rusher Doug Martin, first-team All-WAC offensive linemen Thomas Byrd and Nate Potter, their team leaders in sacks (end Shea McClellin) and tackles-for-loss (opposite end Tyrone Crawford), first-team All-WAC safety George Iloka ... all in all, the Broncos have a healthy seven starters returning on both sides of the ball, many of them among the nation's best at their positions. And, most important of all, Chris Petersen is still in Boise, too. 2010 was a great opportunity, no doubt, but it's far from time to start writing the Broncos' obituary as a nationally-relevant college football team.
But that doesn't mean there aren't holes to fill, and as it turns out, nearly all of them are on the edges of the field. Start on offense, where both of the Broncos' bookend deep threats at wide receiver -- Austin Pettis and Titus Young -- are moving on to the NFL. Their primary replacement will likely be senior Tyler Shoemaker, a capable veteran who averaged an impressive 18 yards per-reception in 2010. But behind him, pickings are slim; the only other wideout with more than 8 receptions last season was redshirt freshman Geraldo Hiwat, a converted track star originally from the Netherlands who finished with 11. Hiwat has prototypical size (6'4") and speed, but is still learning the game. If he and the rest of the non-Shoemaker receiving corps can't keep defenses from blanketing Shoemaker, Boise's typically wide-open attack could find the field unusually compressed.
On defense, the Broncos must find replacements for arguably their two best defenders in end Ryan Winterswyk and linebacker/safety hybrid Winston Venable. Though Winterswyk rarely made a large impact on the stat sheet (with just 1.5 sacks in 2010), he did a terrific job of holding the edge against opposing running games--a big reason the Broncos finished the season ranked seventh in the nation in rush defense. Venable was a first-team All-WAC player who made plays all over the field, including in the backfield, where he totaled 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks. No other player outside of the defensive line came close to those numbers.
So Boise's absorbed big losses both in terms of their ability to hold up against the run on the outside and to attack the backfield from there. There's players who can take up much of that slack -- McClellin, Iloka, Crawford, and memorable LeGarrette Blount- goader Byron Hout chief among them -- but at Boise, top-shelf athletes who can dominate on the edges just by taking the field are hard to come by. (It won't help that corner Brandyn Thompson and All-WAC safety Jeron Johnson have also moved on). The first question Petersen will have to answer this spring is who on defense will prevent the Broncos from giving their opponents a leg up on the outside ... and what receivers might give them that same leg up on the other side of the ball.
Tags: Austin Pettus, Boise State, Brandyn Thompson, Byron Hout, Chris Petersen, Doug Martin, George Iloka, Geraldo Hiwat, Jeron Johnson, Kellen Moore, Kyle Brotzman, LeGarrette Blount, Mountain West, Nate Potter, NL, Ryan Winterswyk, Shea McClellin, Spring Practice Primer, Spring Previews, Thomas Byrd, Titus Young, Tyler Shoemaker, Tyrone Crawford, Virginia Tech, WAC, Winston Venable
Posted on: December 23, 2010 1:53 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Boise State overcame a sluggish first half to shut down the Utah Utes, 26-3.
Offense: The Broncos committed an uncharacteristic four turnovers tonight, and that doesn't count the blocked field goal or the dropped pass on a fake punt. And yet, Kellen Moore still threw for well over 300 yards and got over 200 yards on the ground from his running backs. Moore and Austin Pettis combined for 11 completions, 145 yards, and a score -- all of which were bigger numbers than the Utah passing game accomplished altogether (Pettis also threw a two-yard completion to himself, which was as silly as it sounds). And while Boise didn't convert 10 of its 18 3rd downs, only one resulted in a punt, and that was a masterful 47-yard directional punt out of bounds. Still, the low point total could have been disastrous. Grade: B-
Defense: Utah quarterback Terrence Cain struggled all day long against the Boise defense. While some of those struggles were exacerbated by mental mistakes by his receivers -- more on that in a bit -- he also faced constant pressure from the Broncos' front four, often forcing sacks or quick and errant throws. Utah would only manage eight first downs on the entire day, and even the Utes' short-field drives (five of which started past the Utah 40) were by and large fruitless. Grade: A
Coaching: At times, Chris Peterson was a little too cute with his playcalling, and it led to potential problems for the Broncos. Most notably, we're talking about Peterson's fake punt reverse pass that ended up being thrown to punter/placekicker/scapegoat Kyle Brotzman , who was open on the play but displayed zero receiving acumen as he tried to catch the pass with his stomach. There's a reason not to throw these guys the ball, y'know. But even after that dropped pass and all the groaning by people reminiscing about Brotzman's awful night against Nevada last month, Peterson never hesitated calling his kicker's number, and that's commendable. Grade: B+
Offense: It's hard not to fall into the familiar "A's for winners, F's for losers" model of game grading, especially when dealing with a starting quarterback who's seen limited action this year like Terrence Cain. Cain started in place of injured Jordan Wynn and underwhelmed, as his final numbers bear out: 10/24, 93 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; 14 rushes, 19 yards, 0 TD, one fumble lost. And yet, Cain had several good throws come up empty; the announcers estimated that six of Utah's 14 incompletions were on dropped passes (some of which were unconscionable), a pass to inside the 5-yard-line was called back on a dubious illegal downfield receiver, and a touchdown pass was waved off after an easy holding call. Cain could have done better; his supporting cast didn't give him much help, though, and that's clearly a problem when facing a defense like Boise's. Grade: D+
Defense: Give the Utah D some credit; by and large, it held the Boise rushing attack in check. If it weren't for that 84-yard run by Doug Martin to open up the Broncos' scoring, Utah would have given up just 118 yard on 36 carries, a 3.3-yard average. That's ordinarily very good! It's just, Martin's run did happen, and it changed the momentum of the game. Boise State's 26-second touchdown drive to cap the first half didn't help Utah much either. But other than those two quick strikes, the Utes largely held the Broncos in check. Boise's 26 points, in fact, were the least it had scored in any game this year. Not a bad performance, and that doesn't include the turnovers forced. Grade: B-
Coaching: It's tough to hang too much of the blame for Utah's struggles on Kyle Whittingham tonight; after all, he wasn't the one out there committing penalties or dropping passes. Still, though, his playcalling left a little to be desired; too often, Cain would drop back on first down, something the Boise State pass rush and linebackers were routinely ready for. Matt Asiata , Eddie Wide III , and Shaky Smithson each had a rush for over 20 yards on the day, yet the three players combined for only the same amount of carries (14) as Cain had on the day. That's not putting the offense in position to make plays. Grade: C
This could have been a good game, but Utah spent so, so much time blowing opportunities in new and exciting ways (fumbling in Boise territory, committing backbreaking penalties, making Cain face over 10 yars on all but a couple of his third downs, etc.) that once Boise State was up 16-3, the game just felt over. That's a departure from Boise State's usual bowl play, which routinely features 60-minute, one-possession contests, but c'mon; the Broncos even tried handing the Utes a big lead in the first half and Utah couldn't capitalize. It's too bad such a high-profile game turned into such a snoozer (I have literally fallen asleep three times since starting this article), but Boise State is a very good team, and this is what very good teams do to sloppy teams. Grade: C-
Posted on: November 30, 2010 1:02 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Before last weekend, only Boise State fans and a few college football diehards would have known the name Kyle Brotzman . But after the dependable senior shockingly missed a pair of short field goals that helped doom his Broncos to a 34-31 loss and knocked them out of the national title debate, Brotzman found himself the subject of highlight reels and water-cooler discussion coast-to-coast.
Unfortunately, this being the 21st-century and all, Brotzman also quickly found himself dealing with online threats and taunts from disgruntled "fans." Would it have made Brotzman (or his antagonists) feel any better to know that he had actually made his critical kick at regulation's end, which sailed tantalizingly close to the unusually-short uprights at Nevada 's Mackay Stadium and had many Bronco supporters claiming the refs had botched the call? Maybe. But according to the WAC offices, Brotzman won't have that solace, either :
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Brotzman’s miss at the end of regulation was reviewed Sunday by Jim Blackwood, the WAC’s supervisor of officials.Whether you love or hate the Broncos, there's little question that it's a shame (and more than a little unfair) that a sterling and uplifting career, one that began as a walk-on, has to end with Brotzman becoming the Buckner-esque face of Boise's failure to get over the national-title hump.
But here's something that really might make him feel a little better: this Facebook page , titled "The Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman," which now has some 26-27,000 messages of support for the embattled kicker. It's a nice reminder that while some fans are always going to take their football a little too seriously, they're also always going to be in the vast, vast minority.
Posted on: November 27, 2010 3:12 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
So, Boise State lost at Nevada tonight, after leading 24-7 in the third quarter and 31-24 with under 5:00 to play. Did you watch? Please tell us you watched. While Nevada's comeback against the vaunted Boise defense was certainly startling, and the Kellen Moore bomb to Titus Young with 0:01 left to set up a game-winning field goal was one of the greatest plays of the year, all anybody will be talking about tomorrow will be the 26-yard field goal that Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman missed(?) in regulation that sent the game into overtime.
Here's the video of the kick, which from the end zone angle looked so good that ESPN momentarily gave the points to Boise State on the bottom ticker:
Now, immediately after the kick, many viewers thought the kick was good, and wondered why there weren't any referees under the goalposts -- it's hard to see any signals coming from the usual spot, right? Blame the camera angle and fans, though; as the picture to the right shows, the referees were there, just completely obscured from the televised angle until well after the kick (which, annoying as it may be to viewers, doesn't prove that the referees weren't in correct position at all).
As to whether the kick was good or not, that's plainly impossible to tell from the end zone angle there -- the ball "crosses" (relative to the camera's angle) the upright when its path is above it, so anybody who declares an answer one way or the other based on that footage is just a self-sure speculator, and lord knows the world doesn't need more of those. For what it's worth, I thought it was good when I first saw the kick. I also know there's a reason referees don't use that camera angle.
More to the point, though, it's a wonder in this day and age that it takes the judgment of two referees to determine whether a field goal travels through the uprights or not. I've been (pardon the term) kicking this idea around for a while now, but what's to stop college and pro football from developing a more foolproof solution to this? After all, Arena Football doesn't need two referees under its uprights, because the equipment itself is sufficient: outside the two uprights are two tight nets designed to bounce the ball back into play, while inside the uprights is a looser net designed to catch a successful kick. There is never, ever any controversy as to whether a kick is good or not with this setup.
Obviously, Arena Football's outside nets are completely useless in college football, but designing a new goalpost with its loose netting attached to the uprights all the way down to the crossbar seems like an obvious choice -- as would be raising the posts to a regulation standard of 37 feet, to minimize judgment calls like what Boise State and Nevada just went through. Considering the vast sums spent on college football programs this season (and, ahem, the ludicrous amount the NCAA and its conferences receive from television contracts), it seems unfathomable that all I-A teams could not easily afford a new set of goalposts designed to take judgment out of the "is the kick good" equation once and for all.