Less than four weeks away from their 2017 home opener, the Boise State Broncos football team has wrapped up their first week of practice.
Summer may have only “officially” arrived in Boise a week ago with the opening of floating season on the Boise River. For the Boise State football team, the mindset has already flipped over to autumn mode.
The pads have been put on, the cleats laced up. Position battles are being waged as newcomers get acclimated, all leading to the September 2 opener at home against Troy.
The build is topped off with words fans love: Saturday. Day game.
To many, those three words help describe what college football is to them. Sunny days, blue skies and the thrill of their beloved Broncos taking the field at a time of day good for friends and family alike.
And for Boise State, it begins their first game in a quest for reclaiming the Mountain West throne. A throne they haven’t seated themselves upon enough over the past few years.
A non-conference slate starting with Troy–plus Washington State and BYU, among others–will prep the Broncos for what should be their true focus. Big bowls will come, but only if they take care of their conference as well.
Experience backed by a whole lot of youth
Starting quarterback–and junior–Brett Rypien is entering his third season as a starter. His numbers look good, but another proverbial leap will be needed for the Broncos to return to the top.
Rypien is one of the unquestioned leaders of this young team; one that will most likely have a starting lineup peppered with sophomores.
The good news? There is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and there isn’t a huge cloud of national expectations bearing down on this team.
The first coaches’ poll has Boise State with 49 points, four spots outside of the Top 25. Expectations are still there on a national level just not as high as in the best. (South Florida is the only non-Power 5 team in the top-25, sitting at number 21.)
Mountain West preseason predictions still have the Broncos favored to win the mountain division. Each year, though, dissenters rise up to pick–maybe rightfully so–against the Broncos. One team becoming a trendy pick: the Colorado State Rams.
Boise State’s defense will be making up for the loss of three players currently in NFL training camps, including two members of the secondary. Throw in the loss of the three top linebackers and back end of the defense has some work to make up.
The first look at the depth chart shows a fair amount of sophomores and juniors topping the list. On the plus side, the players there have a lot of experience, led by linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and defensive tackle David Moa.
As for Rypien, he will have Cedrick Wilson to throw to. Jeremy McNichols is gone from the backfield, most likely leaving the starting job to sophomore Alexander Mattison.
All three–plus many on this team–will also be facing rivals San Diego State and Nevada for the first time.
Due to the rotation of the Mountain West schedule, Boise State has not faced either the Aztecs or the Wolf Pack since 2014.
San Diego State is once again fielding a strong team. Nevada, on the other hand, will be working in a new coach, running back, and a transfer quarterback.
Road games also loom large for Boise State–conference and non-conference alike–and might make or break this young team.
- 9/2: vs Troy
- 9/9: @ Wash. St.
- 9/14: vs New Mexico
- 9/22: vs Virginia
- 10/6: @ BYU
- 10/14: @ San Diego St.
- 10/21: vs Wyoming
- 10/28: @ Utah St.
- 11/4: vs Nevada
- 11/11: @ Colo. St.
- 11/18: vs Air Force
- 11/25: @ Fresno St.
Boise State has stumbled in the past couple of years in terms of titles. The kids and the coaches are putting in the work in near triple digit temperatures to earn their way back to the top. It might be a slog, but for Boise State to get their, nothing will come easy.
Welcome to 2017, Boise State football. May the odds be ever…well, you know the rest.