It makes sense for those inside and outside the Boise State football program to compare it to those in the Pac-12. Geographically, the Broncos are close, the recruiting footprint is the same, and the high-scoring offense is comparable to the conference’s best.
And Boise State doesn’t shy from wanting to show how it can compete with those teams. Coming off a bye following their 31-28 win Sept. 10 over Washington State, the Broncos travel Saturday to Oregon State.
“A lot of people obviously think the Mountain West isn’t as strong as the other conferences out there, so that’s how we gain our respect,” senior offensive tackle Mario Yakoo said. “You see the history at Boise State, we’ve done a great job stepping up to the challenge when we play a Pac-12 team.”
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There’s no doubt the Broncos have earned the Pac-12’s respect, going 9-3 against the conference since 2006, winning their last three meetings against the league.
By comparison, Oregon State has two wins in its last 18 conference games.
“It’s a program you have to respect, in my opinion, if you like football,” second-year Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said. “They’re a good team this year. You watch them on tape, there’s not a spot where you look at them, say there’s a glaring, ‘Oh my goodness, they’ve got some holes.’”
Andersen said Monday he’d prefer not to play a team like Boise State on his nonconference schedule. He cited that Boise State is a team located nearby, and he isn’t disparaging the Broncos, but it’s “just strictly a recruiting mindset.” He prefers to play in places like Texas or Florida.
Since the Beavers beat the Broncos in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, a game that Yakoo said “just didn’t seem right” after coach Chris Petersen departed, the staff in flux and quarterback Joe Southwick’s dismissal, the teams have taken divergent paths.
Boise State has gone 23-6 since, Oregon State 8-18. But in addition to proving themselves against a Pac-12 foe, the Broncos also face a rare program against which it has a losing record, going 3-5 all-time against the Beavers.
“We’re losing the series between us and Oregon State, that’s something we’ve focused on and said we’re going to try and go out and fix,” senior linebacker Ben Weaver said. “That’s the chip on the shoulder you have to find every single game, whoever it is you’re playing, you’ve got to find something to allow you to create an edge for yourself.”
Need more motivation? The Broncos have never beaten the Beavers in four meetings outside of Boise, including an 0-3 mark at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.
“They obviously have our number, we haven’t beat them. ... We’re going to emphasize that all week, we’ve got to understand we’re going into a place we’ve never won at,” Yakoo said.
In the same span as the Broncos’ 9-3 mark against the Pac-12, they are 13-5 against teams from the Power 5 conferences. But they have not faced them in consecutive games, another shot for Boise State to prove itself in a new way.
“Being able to go against back-to-back Pac-12 teams is pretty big for our program,” Weaver said.
LATE KICK FOR NEXT HOME GAME
Boise State’s home game against Utah State on Saturday, Oct. 1, is set for an 8:15 p.m. start, televised on ESPN2, the school announced Monday.
Under the Mountain West’s bonus structure, that means $500,000 for Boise State. Playing on ESPN or ESPN2 (or a large network like ABC or CBS) in a Mountain West-controlled game on a Saturday nets teams $500,000, or $300,000 for weekday games.
Boise State will earn at least $1.9 million in bonus money this season (two Saturday games and three weekday games), with broadcast plans for the Oct. 15 home game against Colorado State still to be announced.
Boise State at Oregon State
- When: 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday
- Where: Reser Stadium (45,674, FieldTurf), Corvallis, Ore.
- TV: Fox Sports 1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, Bruce Feldman)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Records: Boise State 2-0 (0-0 Mountain West); Oregon State 1-1 (0-0 Pac-12)
- Kickoff weather: Low 70s and partly cloudy, little to no chance of precipitation
- Vegas line: Boise State favored by 13 points
- Series: Oregon State leads 5-3 (last meeting: Beavers won 38-23 in 2013 Hawaii Bowl)