For all the wacky scheduling the Boise State football team has endured over the past decade, rarely have the Broncos faced the challenge thats at hand this week.
No. 24 Boise State and BYU will clash Thursday night at Bronco Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN) with just five days of rest and preparation.
The Broncos have only done that twice in 2005, for a loss at Fresno State, and in 2003, for a win at BYU. They are 33-4 in regular-season, non-Saturday games.
It changes everything, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. Since Ive been here, weve played on every night of the week and the only game that I really dont like playing is Saturday to Thursday. Its really hard on the kids. Its really hard to get a great game-prep week.
Even on a normal week youre scrambling, trying to get your best stuff in and put your best foot forward. Its really hard when it takes two days away from you.
BYU is in an even worse spot. The Cougars are coming off a dramatic, 24-21 loss to rival Utah that didnt end until 11:58 p.m. Saturday, they have to travel, and the program doesnt do any work as a team on Sundays for religious reasons.
Players told The Salt Lake Tribune they would begin reviewing video of the Broncos on their own Sunday.
We need to get (the Utah loss) out of our system, quarterback Riley Nelson told the Tribune. It will tell us a lot about what kind of team we are (at Boise State), because if we dont come prepared, they will embarrass us up there.
Both teams will have to cram about seven days of work into five.
Boise State coaches stayed on campus after Saturdays 39-12 rout of Miami (Ohio) to get a head start. Usually, they would enjoy the win for an evening.
The team reviewed the video of the game Sunday afternoon, lifted weights and met Sunday evening to begin BYU preparation.
The Broncos will hold full practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the same practices that usually fall Tuesday-Thursday.
To make that work, players give up their Monday off-day theyll get it back after the game and coaches lose a full day of prep work.
Weve got to maximize our week, Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick said, and just be the most efficient we can. Our guys will do that.
Wednesday serves as a combo day the team will hold its usual Thursday practice in the morning and hold its usual Friday meetings in the evening.
On Thursday, players will attend any classes they can make before the pregame routine begins.
Physically, I feel fine, tailback D.J. Harper said after Saturdays game. The biggest thing will be mentally. It will be a quick turnaround for us and it should be a challenge.
The reward: valuable national exposure.
This is the only time all season that ESPNs Thursday night showcase doesnt include a team from a Bowl Championship Series conference. The A-list announcing crew includes Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack and Samantha Steele.
Boise State hasnt played on ESPNs Thursday night package since the 2009 season opener against Oregon.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said at BYUs media day in June that he had no reservations about playing on a short week. The Cougars status as a football independent requires them to be creative in scheduling.
With (independence), I am willing to then knowing exposure is very, very important concede that some elements of risk have to be inherited, he said. Boise State has the same number of days to prepare as we do. So to me, that game, on the biggest stage Thursday is a bigger stage than Saturday is a great thing for our program. So I was excited about it.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat