The Mountain West released its long-awaited 2013 football schedule Thursday. The dates for Boise State's games are firm now; the TV information and game times will be announced later, likely within a month. Here are a few observations.
THREE FRIDAYS, TWO BYES: The Broncos will be off for five of the first 14 Saturdays of the college football season. They'll open Mountain West play with back-to-back Friday games - vs. Air Force and at Fresno State. Both are expected to air on ESPN or ESPN2. The school previously announced a Friday game at BYU on ESPN.
The Broncos also have two byes because the college football calendar includes an extra week this year. They hope to add one more Saturday to their schedule - Dec. 7, the 15th week, for the Mountain West championship game. The division winner with the highest BCS ranking will host.
FRONT-LOADED TEST: Boise State faces seven 2012 bowl teams this season - six of them in the first eight games.
The Broncos' division - the Mountain Division - also has a front-loaded feel. Air Force plays favorites Boise State and Utah State in the first three weeks, while the Broncos and Aggies meet Oct. 12 in Logan, Utah.
REMATCH POSSIBILITY: The Mountain West did not shy away from risking a late-season rematch in the championship game. Boise State plays San Diego State of the West Division on Nov. 23, 14 days before the title game. Boise State, San Diego State and Fresno State are the defending co-champions.
SHORT-WEEK BLUES: Boise State will have short turnarounds for two games - most notably for Air Force, whose option offense gave the Broncos absolute fits the last time they met.
$1.1 MILLION AND COUNTING: Boise State receives national TV bonuses for its home or conference games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC (and select other networks). The bonus is $500,000 for Saturdays and $300,000 for other days. Based on the dates released and ESPN's obligation to show at least three Boise State home/league games on its marquee channels, the Broncos are guaranteed at least $1.1 million in bonus money. That number likely will increase when the full schedule is released.
THANKSGIVING IN BOISE: The Broncos are home for the holiday this year but they don't have a traditional foe. New Mexico will be here for the Senior Day game.
OFF THE SCHEDULE: Boise State does not play Hawaii, UNLV or San Jose State from the West Division. Those teams come back on the schedule in 2015.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat