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Boise State went 5-2 in 2020 and was affected worse than others with COVID. So, it is tempting to just draw a line through last season as if it never existed. The Broncos return 16 starters with experience and talent and will be breaking in a new coach. Andy Avalos was a standout player at Boise and served as the defensive coordinator so he knows his way around the MW and what is expected of this program. Don’t expect much of a drop-off if any in the coaching department.
Offense: Boise needs better play out of returning starter Hank Bachmeier in 2021. He has struggled to make plays and his stats are just so-so. Former USC transfer, Jack Sears will push him and might win the job before it is all said and done. The running back position will be very good if George Holani can return to his 2019 form when he rushed for 1,014 yards. He tore his MCL after four games in 2020. Standout receiver, Khalil Shakir has caught 131 passes for 13 touchdowns in his career and he will be joined by CT Thomas who has 117 catches for 10 touchdowns. So, there is very little to worry about there. The offensive line will be a strength with 4 starters back.
Defense: Both linebackers return to head up the defense. Riley Wimpey has 18.5 tackles for loss during his career and Ezekiel Noa will join him with his 11.5 tackles for loss. DE, Shane Irwin had six sacks last year and both tackles return with him. Nickelback Kakaula Kaniho returns to lead the secondary and Markel Reed and Demetri Washington will be back after suffering injuries in 2021.
9/4 at UCF
9/18 Oklahoma State
10/9 at BYU
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is a difficult schedule with quite possibly 3 losses out of the four games. Road games at UCF and BYU are very iffy and Oklahoma State thumped the Broncos in Stillwater a couple of years ago. If they can split them and go 2-2, I think they would take it.
9/25 at Utah State
10/16 Air Force
10/30 at Colorado State
11/6 at Fresno State
11/20 New Mexico
11/27 at San Diego State
The conference schedule isn’t too bad with the road schedule fairly easy. Games at Colorado State and San Diego State won’t be easy but Boise State is supposed to win those games. The Utah State is a must win and the game at Fresno will be of major importance in deciding who plays in the title game. Home games against Air Force and Wyoming are probable wins and New Mexico is a must. It’s too bad the game with Nevada is so early in the season because it might be a preview of the MW title game.
Summary: Boise State needs improved play out of the quarterback position and to be strong enough mentally to survive a brutal non-conference schedule where they could lose three games. The conference schedule is doable and they have a chance to win the MW title but whether they are the Boise teams of old is another question.
Predicted Finish: 1st Place in the MW Mountain Division
Overall Record: 8-4
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