Nearly two months after the Boise State Broncos were slated to kickoff the 2020 season, football will finally be back on the blue. And while things will definitely be different in this shortened season, one goal remains the same: win the Mountain West Conference.
The Broncos begin defense of their 2019 title when they play host to the Utah State Aggies early Saturday evening.
In 2020, there will be no Mountain division. No West division. Instead, the 12 Mountain West schools will all be thrown together in a race for the top two spots. What remains to be seen is how many teams will complete their eight-game schedule. More than 30 games have already been postponed/canceled since the FBS started their season on September 3. The Mountain West didn’t take long to add to this list, as the New Mexico game against Colorado State game scheduled for this weekend was forced off the docket.
The Broncos are scheduled to host Colorado State on November 12 and do not play the Lobos.
There is little wiggle room for error for the Broncos, perhaps even more so than in previous seasons. The term “controlling only what you can control” takes on a different meaning this season, but for the Broncos the blueprint remains the same. A talented team will be on the field this autumn and another Mountain West title is certainly in the team’s crosshairs.
Of course, they’ll have to do so without the aid of in-stadium fans.
Boise State Broncos: Rising above the challenges
Crowds have been instrumental in Boise State’s dominance on the blue turf over the years. There’s nothing quite like the magic and buzz of over 30,000+ fans making noise to help stop a key third down or celebrating a huge Boise State score.
This has been an adjustment most teams have had to make this season. One that hopefully Boise State will handle with (relative) ease.
The good news is that the Boise State Broncos have an experienced staff and roster to help ease the transition to playing in front of cardboard cutouts. (Okay, maybe there’s really no true way to transition to that. Expect for maybe harkening back to playground days of playing for a victory. And pride.)
On offense, the skill positions are abound with talent. Quarterback Hank Bachmeier looks to make a leap his sophomore season, as does running back George Holani. The duo were both impressive in their freshman campaigns, with Holani crossing the 1,000-yard mark.
Bachmeier will have plenty of options when dropping back to pass. Wide receivers Khalil Shakir, CT Thomas, and Octavius Evans bring plenty of experience, as does tight end John Bates.
More questions might arise on the defensive side of the ball. On the defensive line, familiar faces are still present but will now be tasked with being the focus. The linebackers could be the strongest group they’ve had since the Leighton Vander Esch days. And Kekaula Kaniho, Avery Williams, Jalen Walker, and Tyreque Jones lead a very talented secondary.
Check out the full initial depth chart here.
The chase for the title
Boise State has eight games to rise to the occasion in 2020. Seven conference games plus a matchup with the BYU Cougars on November 6. BYU — currently ranked number 12 in the nation — likely will have already played seven games by the time they meet Boise State, who will be playing their third.
Even with a different kind of season ahead, much of it boils down to this: the game being played is still football. That’s something the Boise State Broncos are pretty good at.