2010 Boise State Preview
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
Boise State QB Kellen Moore
Posted Jun 23, 2010

21 returning starters, five lost lettermen, a 14 game winning streak, a 63-2 home record and a 112-17 overall record since 2000. It's time Boise State is finally included in the national title chase, and this year's team is worthy of the attention. Check out the 2010 CFN Boise State preview.

Boise State Broncos

Preview 2010

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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Chris Petersen
5th year: 49-4
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 26, Def. 26, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 5
Ten Best Boise State Players
1. QB Kellen Moore, Jr.
2. DE Ryan Winterswyk, Sr.
3. RB Jeremy Avery, Sr.
4. WR/KR Titus Young, Sr.
5. WR Austin Pettis, Sr.
6. SS Jeron Johnson, Sr.
7. OG/OT Nate Potter, Jr.
8. DT Billy Winn, Jr.
9. NB Winston Venable, Sr.
10. PK/P Kyle Brotzman, Sr.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 6 at Virginia Tech
Sept. 11 OPEN DATE
Sept. 18 at Wyoming
Sept. 25 Oregon State
Oct. 2 at NMSU
Oct. 9 Toledo
Oct. 16 at San Jose St
Oct. 26 Louisiana Tech
Nov. 6 Hawaii
Nov. 12 at Idaho
Nov. 19 Fresno State
Nov. 27 at Nevada
Dec. 4 Utah State

September 6th. Virginia Tech. Landover, Maryland.

After all the success and all the wins (122 in 11 years with four unbeaten regular seasons in the last six and two Fiesta Bowl victories in the last four), the battle with Virginia Tech will be bigger than anything the program has ever done. It'll be more important than the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, bigger than the 2009 opening day win over Oregon, and bigger than all the WAC titles combined. All of those games were steps to get to this point, and it's the position that every non-BCS program dreams of getting to.

It has taken over a decade and it has taken win after win after win after win, but finally, Boise State is being given the same honest look as the big name programs when it comes to the national title chase. Even last year there was still a sneer when it came to discussions about how the program fit into the bowl picture. There was the light and breezy WAC slate, the one game regular season (Oregon), and, when push really came to shove, the ongoing stigma of being Boise State. Remember, had Oklahoma State not lost to Oklahoma, or if Nebraska had held on to beat Texas in the Big 12 Championship, the Broncos would've been shut out of the BCS.

Yeah, a lot of very good programs would have had the same success with the same Boise State schedules, and yeah, it's different when you have to turn the lights on for one or three games a year while coasting the rest of the way, but past biases and all the disrespect doesn't matter anymore. This year, Boise State controls its own destiny (for the most part), and this year, a 12-0 record might mean a second straight trip to Glendale, only this time with a national title at stake.

Fine, so an undefeated SEC champion and an unbeaten Ohio State play for the national title no matter what Boise State does, and there will be some screaming and yelling if an unbeaten Big 12 champion isn't in the title game, but the preseason ranking will be high enough, and the respect will be there, to finally be in a position to break through the ceiling and play for the whole ball of wax.

As long as the season starts with an impressive win over Virginia Tech.

There's a home game against Oregon State, but Boise State doesn't lose on the blue turf. There are potentially dangerous games on the road at Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada, and the home games against Toledo and Fresno State could be shootouts, but whatever … any team that can even say the words national title should win those games in a walk. And for a team this good, anything less than 12-0 and being in the picture would be a disappointment.

This is the best Boise State team ever, and it's not even close. The team loses five lettermen from last year's dominant, unbeaten squad. Five. The program lost four games in four years, and now it has to find a way to replace just five players with 21 starters back (and that's not including Kyle Brotzman as two for serving as both the punter and the placekicker), there's ridiculous depth (the second team would win the WAC), and there's a real Heisman candidate in quarterback Kellen Moore to lead the way.

Naysayers will complain that they've seen this act before. The 2005 Broncos were supposed to make some noise by getting their shot at Georgia to start the season, and then they wet themselves between the hedges in a 48-13 loss. This team is far better, this team is different, and Boise State is in a different place in the college football world. This time, most will ignore the WAC schedule if the Broncos can go 12-0. This time, everyone will be thinking of Boise State as a Mountain West team and will be given more respect. This time, everything is in place … as long as there's an impressive win over Virginia Tech.

What to watch for on offense: The offensive line combination. The front five was terrific last year giving up a nation-low five sacks and dominating (for the most part) for the ground game. However, there was a lot of juggling and a lot of shifting around. Credit the coaching staff and the offense that the production didn't stall, but it would be nice to have one starting lineup and be able to stick with it. If the line is great again, the tremendous skill players will take care of the rest.

What to watch for on defense: The second corner spot. Kyle Wilson was an All-American and a first round draft pick. As good as Boise State might be, it still hurts to lose a talent of his level. Brandyn Thompson did a nice job when picked on, but he was a wee bit inconsistent and has to show he can handle being the main man on one side while junior Jerrell Gavins will have to prove he can handle himself on the other. He has experience and he was more than fine when he got his chances, but the second corner spot is the only opening on the veteran defense and the spotlight will be on.

The team will be far better if … it can generate more of a pass rush on defense and can convert on more third down chances on offense. Ryan Winterswyk came up with nine sacks and tackle Billy Winn generated six. The rest of the team came up with ten sacks. The pass rush wasn't bad, and there wasn't a problem generating pressure into the backfield, but the more shots on opposing quarterbacks, the better (considering most teams will be throwing to try to keep up). Offensively, the Broncos converted a pedestrian 38% of their third down tries, good for 73rd in the nation. The leader, BYU, converted 55.6% of its tries.

The schedule: There are some interesting road games with four dates away from the blue turf against bowl teams. However, it'll be a shock if the Broncos don't beat Wyoming, Idaho, and Nevada by double digits. Of course, the game of the year is in the beginning against Virginia Tech, and there's another nice test against Oregon State, meaning the Broncos will end up playing two teams good enough to win their respective BCS leagues. The home WAC games shouldn't be a major problem with Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Fresno State and Utah State all decent, but not special, and it's going to take a special effort for any league team to come within double digits. No one in the conference came closer than ten points of the Broncos last year.

Best offensive player: Junior QB Kellen Moore. As far as pure talent on an NFL scale, Moore is, at very best, fifth on the list of Bronco offensive players, but he's a whale of a college quarterback who's only getting better. He's a brilliantly sharp decision maker and he's as cool as they come under fire. He gets rid of the ball quickly and he has just enough mobility to get out of the pocket and make plays. After throwing 39 touchdown passes and just three picks, with only one interception thrown in the final nine games, the national spotlight will be on to see if he can do even more against the two BCS teams (Virginia Tech and Oregon State) on the slate.

Best defensive player: Senior DE Ryan Winterswyk. The former walk-on showed immediately that that he was a playmaker right away. After dominating practices as a redshirt, he was a pass rusher from the moment he got to see the field making 5.5 sacks in 2007, 4.5 in 2008, and nine last year while coming up with at least 40 tackles in each season. He's quick off the ball, disruptive, and great against the run. As the team's lone pass rushing threat on the outside, the pressure will be on to come up with one more big season.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore OT Faraji Wright. The coaching staff is toying with the idea of taking All-WAC left tackle Nate Potter and playing him at guard. For that to work, considering Potter was the best part of a line that gave up five sacks in 14 games, Wright has to be terrific. He saw a little bit of time as a reserve, but he has the talent to be a star for the next three years. At least, the hope is that he'll be a rock on the outside.

The season will be a success if … the Broncos go unbeaten. You can only control what happens on your slate, and if Boise State wins out and is on a 26-game winning streak, and with wins in 38 of its last 39 games, it'll be hard to not be in the hunt for the national title. If the SEC champion, Ohio State, and/or the Big 12 champion are unbeaten, the Broncos might get left out, but again, all the team can do is take care of its own business (and do it impressively).

Key game: September 6 vs. Virginia Tech. Consider this a playoff game. It's this simple, Boise. Win, and you're in the hunt for the national title. Lose, and no one will care about an 11-1 record, a BCS game might be out of the equation, and there might not be another honest shot to be in the national championship picture until you join a BCS conference. No pressure.

2009 Fun Stats:
- 2nd Quarter Scoring: Boise State 220 – Opponents 64
- Sacks: Boise State 26 for 156 yards – Opponents 5 for 32 yards
- Interceptions Thrown: Opponents 24 – Boise State 3

- 2010 Boise State Preview | 2010 Boise State Offense
- 2010 Boise State Defense | 2010 Boise State Depth Chart
- Boise State Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006