Murphy: Beat the heat with Boise State football predictions

June 30, 2013 

With the temperature threatening to bust triple digits for the entire week, we're willing to do just about anything to stay cool.

If the river and the pool, the air conditioner and the fan, the ice cream truck and the lemonade stand all fail to beat the heat, there is one sure way to keep your mind from melting: countdown to football season.

So even though the NBA Finals just happened and Major League Baseball hasn't even counted every All-Star vote yet, it's not too early to start counting down the days until Boise State kicks off the 2013 season at Washington.

Hint: It's less than nine weeks away.

The preseason magazines have been on (air-conditioned) store shelves for weeks, their glossy pages offering fans from every school a glimpse of hope.

I picked up four preseason magazines last week for a quick preseason study session. You've got to have something to read when you're at the pool, right?

Each of the magazines offer the same basic story line for the Broncos' season.

Here's the general recap:

Head coach Chris Petersen is back. His record is remarkable. Need proof? The Broncos went 11-2 in a "rebuilding" year. The Broncos made the right move in sticking with the Mountain West. We're not dumb enough to pick against Boise State in the MW.

All four predict the Broncos will win the Mountain West's Mountain Division, and all four predict the Broncos will play Fresno State - champions of the league's West Division - in the inaugural Mountain West title game.

That's where the predictions divulge - and pretty wildly.

Athlon, which ranks Boise State at No. 11 in its preseason poll, projects Boise State (12-1) to lose one non-conference game, but run the table in the league, beat Fresno State (10-3) in the title game and play Oklahoma State (10-2) in the Fiesta Bowl.

The magazine doesn't indicate if the projected loss is at Washington or at BYU, both of which Athlon pegs for 7-5 seasons. It's hard to see the Broncos making the BCS with a loss to such an average foe, but it would be fitting, in this the last year of the Bowl Championship Series, for Boise State to play in its third Fiesta Bowl.

Phil Steele predicts a far worse fate for the Broncos in his College Football Preview, the thickest, most dense and most detailed of all the magazines. He has Boise State losing to Fresno State in the title game followed by a regular-season rematch with Air Force in the Dec. 26 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.

For Steele, it all comes down the schedule.

Though he envisions a return to form from the Boise State offense under "now-veteran" quarterback Joe Southwick and ranks the Broncos as one of his best non-AQ teams, he concludes that road games at Washington, Fresno State, Utah State, BYU, Colorado State and San Diego State are too much of a challenge.

The Sporting News has the Broncos winning the Mountain West for their first outright conference title since 2009, but making their fourth consecutive trip to the Las Vegas Bowl (against Arizona). BSU is No. 15 in the magazine's poll.

Lindy's, which has Boise State at No. 17, doesn't make a prediction on the title game outcome - "another MW title will take some work" - but it also doesn't have the Broncos in the BCS, where Alabama is a consensus pick to play for the national championship game.

Everyone is high on defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who is a unanimous preseason first-team All-Mountain West selection. The magazines like wide receiver Matt Miller, too, but are divided on whether center Matt Paradis or left tackle Charles Leno will be the team's best lineman.

Athlon gives the Broncos the league's best offensive and defensive lines and the second-best defensive secondary.

Even though Southwick played extremely well in the final four games of last season, none of the magazines have him as an all-league QB, not with Fresno State's Derek Carr and San Jose State's David Fales around. Athlon ranks Boise State's quarterbacks as the sixth-best in the league.

Let me make a prediction: If Southwick plays like the league's sixth-best quarterback, the Broncos won't be ending the season in the BCS or anywhere close to it. They'll probably be watching the first-ever Mountain West title game, too.

That possibility should be enough to give all Boise State fans a chill - no matter how hot it gets.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service