The Boise State Broncos put together another ten win campaign in 2016. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to play in the Mountain West Championship finale. The Broncos bring back just eight starters from that unit from a season ago.
Luckily, one of them is quarterback Brett Rypien. With Rypien’s return, the offense should remain productive. Even so, new play makers need to keep stepping up if they hope to repeat the 10 win performance.
The defense also has a lot of question marks coming into this season. Again, there are pieces to work with in each level of the defense. Despite all of the uncertainty and inexperience, head coach Bryan Harsin should have enough talent for Boise State to remain a threat to win the Mountain West Conference.
The Boise State Broncos moved the ball down the field without to much resistance in 2016. As a whole, they led the Mountain West conference in total yardage. Unexpectedly, all of the yardage was not equating to points on the scoreboard. The Broncos were sixth in the conference in scoring at 33.8 points per game. The point total was their second lowest since 1998.
Junior quarterback Brett Rypien will start his third season under center. All told, the experienced quarterback had a pretty good year in 2016. First of all, he came on as a freshman with a respectable 3,350 yard, 20 touchdown season. Last year, he was even better.
The gunslinger hit 62 percent of his passes for over 3,600 yards and 24 scores. More importantly, he didn’t make a lot of mistakes. He served up three picks in the victory over Washington State. Then he threw for two more in the win over BYU. Lastly, he gave two more away in the loss to Baylor. That means he just threw for one in the other nine games. Not bad.
This year might be a completely different story. Brett Rypien loses the school’s all-time leading receiver in Thomas Sperbeck. Sperbeck was huge for the Broncos, catching 80 balls for nearly 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns.
Senior wide out but Cedrick Wilson hopes to build upon his 56 catches for 1,129 yards and 11 scores in Thomas Sperbeck’s absence. He better, the rest of the receiving corps has combined for 28 career catches.
Boise State’s backfield also took quite the hit after 2016. Running back Jeremy McNichols left to play for the Buccaneers. With him went his gaudy numbers that literally carried his team to their ten win campaign. McNichols racked up over 1,700 yards on over 300 carries and scored the ball 23 times.
Now, sophomore Alexander Mattison will get his chance to become the next great Boise State running back. Last season, Mattison only got to carry the ball 67 times in mop up duty. Those hand-offs produced 328 yards and four trips to the back of the end zone. It’s Mattison or bust, because only one other running back on the roster has played in a game for the Broncos.
Three players graduated from the Broncos offensive line, but senior tackle Archie Lewis and senior center Mason Hampton return. Both linemen were solid last year. Boise State allowed only 19 sacks last season, which is 12 less than the previous year.
Boise State finished the 2016 season as the second rated defense in points allowed in the Mountain West. The problem was that they couldn’t manage to muster up any turnovers. The Broncos created just nine altogether, two fumble recoveries and seven interceptions. Those numbers are the lowest in school history.
The Broncos front four led the nation with 17 sacks in the first four games, but had only 12 in the final nine. A huge reason was that the defensive line wore out as the season progressed.
Two starters from that foursome have graduated. Now, junior David Moa (8.5 sacks) will be asked to carry the load. Four other first-year players who saw time in 2016 will have to step up if Boise State hopes to keep teams honest in the running department.
The linebacker corp has lost three of their top five tacklers. Defensive captain Joe Martarano was one of them. He departed in March to pursue a baseball career. Junior Leighton Vander Esch who was injured for the lion share of last season will be guy. The former 8-man football high school star, needs a big year at the weak-side spot.
The Broncos will field four different safeties who made at least one start last season. Even though they just had one start, all of them played key minutes throughout the campaign. On a not so positive note, interception leader Chanceller James (3) graduated.
Head coach Bryan Harsin has accumulated 31 wins in three years roaming the blue turf. Nevertheless, the Broncos’ performance within the Mountain West Conference must improve. Boise State has played in the Mountain West Championship Game only once in its four years of existence. Furthermore, Boise State is just 4–5 in the last nine games against teams from its own division.
Out west they call the Boise State Broncos’ football program reload university. Well, that better be the case again this year. Having an experienced signal-caller back is always a positive thing, but there are tons of questions surrounding the rest of the team as a whole. It can’t just be Brett Rypien to Cedric Wilson all day long.
Whether or not the dominate run of the last decade plus has come to an end is yet to be seen. Obviously Las Vegas doesn’t think so. Odds makers have the Broncos’ team win total at 8.5, with an almost unplayable -160 to the over. They also have them as the clear cut favorite to win the Mountain West Conference title at 1 to 1 (+100). Heck, Sin City even threw them in their top 35 to win it all at 300 to 1 (+3000).
9-2 vs. Troy
9-9 @ Washington State
9-14 vs. New Mexico
9-22 vs. Virginia
10-6 @ Brigham Young
10-14 @ San Diego State
10-21 vs. Wyoming
10-28 @ Utah State
11-4 vs. Nevada
11-11 @ Colorado State
11-18 vs. Air Force
11-25 @ Fresno State
The getmoresports.com NCAA College Football Throwdown Podcast will be returning to the air on August 24th. We will be highlighting the first five games on August 26th of the 2017 NCAA College Football season. That will be the first of three installments leading into the first week of the season. We also we will be covering our expectations for the Heisman Trophy front runners as well as predictions for conference winners and team totals.
Our second NCAA College Football Throwdown is penciled in for August 29th. In that installment, we will discussing all the games that will be played on August 31st and the 1st of September.
Our third segment will officially be airing on August 31st. In this addition of the NCAA College Football Throwdown, we will be covering all the relevant games for Sept 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Keeping with tradition, EJ the Rainmaker and Erik the Hun will give their predictions for the contests. On top of that, we will be providing our dog play of the podcast as well as cash money plays for the week. Join us for all three opening episodes and improve your college football knowledge while increasing the size of your sports book betting account. Come join us and help everyone make it rain. #moneytreesgrow
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