The Boise State football team has won 14 straight home games going into the season opener Sept. 4 against Washington, tied for the third-longest streak in the nation.
And the Broncos will be heavy favorites to extend that streak to 20 by the end of the regular season.
Boise State is a 10 1/2-point favorite against Washington. Only one of the other five home opponents — Air Force — played in a postseason game last year.
Here’s a primer on the six home games. We’ll take a look at the road schedule later this week.
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Game info: 8:15 p.m. Sept. 4, ESPN
Coach: Chris Petersen (8-6, one season at UW; 100-18, nine seasons overall)
Last year: 8-6 overall, 4-5 Pac-12
Returning starters: 5 offense, 4 defense, 2 specialists
Series history: Washington leads 2-1
Outlook: The Huskies have some offensive talent but, like the Broncos, are dealing with a wide-open quarterback competition in camp that will determine how good they can be this year. The defense was gutted by the NFL Draft, leaving coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski with a rebuilding job.
Game info: 7 p.m. Sept. 18, CBS Sports Network
Coach: Mike Kramer (14-32, four seasons at ISU; 91-107, 17 seasons overall)
Last year: 8-4 overall, 6-2 Big Sky
Returning starters: 9 offense, 6 defense, 1 specialist
Series history: Boise State leads 24-6
Outlook: The Bengals’ ascent under Kramer could peak this year with so many returning starters and high expectations. They’ll need to break in a new quarterback (replacing national passing leader Justin Arias) and find a way to improve a defense that ranked 91st last year with 31.4 points allowed.
Game info: Oct. 3, ESPN Networks (time TBA)
Coach: Norm Chow (8-29, three seasons)
Last year: 4-9 overall, 3-5 Mountain West
Returning starters: 8 offense, 6 defense, 0 specialists
Series history: Boise State leads 10-3
Outlook: The Warriors could be dark-horse contenders in the West Division after losing six games by 10 points or fewer last season. The missing ingredient: solid quarterback play. USC transfer Max Wittek, a senior, gives Chow hope that his offense will break out this year.
Game info: Oct. 24, ESPN Networks (time TBA)
Coach: Craig Bohl (4-8, one season; 108-40, 12 seasons overall)
Last year: 4-8 overall, 2-6 Mountain West
Returning starters: 5 offense, 4 defense, 1 specialist
Series history: Boise State leads 9-0
Outlook: The Cowboys remain a program in transition in the second year under Bohl, who won three straight FCS national titles at North Dakota State. He has just eight seniors listed on the preseason depth chart. One of them is Indiana transfer quarterback Cameron Coffman.
Game info: Nov. 14, ESPN Networks (time TBA)
Coach: Bob Davie (11-26, three seasons; 46-51, eight seasons overall)
Last year: 4-8 overall, 2-6 Mountain West
Returning starters: 7 offense, 7 defense, 2 specialists
Series history: Boise State leads 6-0
Outlook: The Lobos scored a season-high 49 points against Boise State last season, a number that certainly will be on the Broncos’ minds for this game. Davie embarked on a long-term rebuild job at New Mexico and has collected some talented skill players on offense. But the defense has been an annual mess.
Game info: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20, ESPN2
Coach: Troy Calhoun (59-44, eight seasons)
Last year: 10-3 overall, 5-3 Mountain West
Returning starters: 6 offense, 4 defense, 0 specialists
Series history: Boise State leads 2-1
Outlook: The Falcons were one of the nation’s best turnaround stories last season with wins against Boise State and Colorado State. But fewer than half of the starters return, which creates significant doubt that they can play at that level again this year.
Best team: Washington
The Huskies still are at least a year away from contending in the Pac-12 North, but they possess far more talent than the rest of the teams on the Broncos’ home schedule. If coach Chris Petersen turns the Huskies into a Top 25 team in the next couple years, it will be with the players who will be on the blue turf this year. “This is going to be young — really young,” he said.
Game that will be the most fun: Washington
Petersen was the face of Boise for eight years and the man who receives the most credit for transforming Boise State football from a regional success story into a national sensation. Now he returns to Albertsons Stadium with his new team, just 21 months after he left. Even without the added intrigue, this game would be huge — it’s the first time a Pac-12 team has visited the Blue since Oregon State in 2010 and the first time the Broncos have opened at home since Oregon in 2009.
Game that could surprise: Idaho State
The Bengals might be one of the top three teams visiting Albertsons Stadium this year. They likely will be ranked in the Football Championship Subdivision Top 25 when they arrive and they’ll clearly be motivated to knock off the state’s marquee program. Plus, Boise State will play on a short week after the emotional opener against Washington and a treacherous trip to BYU.
Players to watch
1. Max Wittek, QB, Hawaii: Wittek started two games for USC in 2012 as an injury replacement for Matt Barkley. He transferred to Hawaii in 2014 and was named the Warriors’ starter and a co-captain in the spring.
2. Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force: Steelhammer secured his All-Mountain West first-team selection in the Falcons’ upset of Boise State in September. He recorded four tackles, including two for loss and a sack, and three interceptions. He finished the season with six interceptions.
3. Eddie Yarbrough, DL, Wyoming: The two-time All-Mountain West first-teamer is in the conversation for the league’s best defensive player. He made 63 tackles last season, a huge number for a lineman, including 10.5 for loss.
4. Madison Mangum, WR, Idaho State: The Timberline High grad led the Bengals last year with 83 catches for 1,234 yards and 10 touchdowns. He averaged 112.2 yards per game
5. Will Dissly, DL, Washington: Dissly was one of the recruits who flipped from Boise State to Washington after Petersen left. He played as a true freshman at UW and looked dynamic in the spring scrimmage, when he recorded two sacks among three tackles for loss.