Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin pleased with spring game
Let's just get this out of the way — yes, the rankings mean nothing at this point.
But if major national publications' pre-summer college football top 25 rankings are any indication, Boise State will be perhaps the top contender for the Group of Five's berth in a New Year's Six Bowl.
The Broncos have been ranked by the Associated Press in the preseason once during coach Bryan Harsin's tenure (No. 23 in 2015). Considering the wealth of talent returning on defense, plus senior quarterback Brett Rypien and 1,000-yard rusher Alexander Mattison, come August, that should make it two preseason rankings in five seasons.
Here is what those sites are saying about the Broncos and where they are ranked:
"With a fourth-year starter returning at quarterback, along with an experienced offensive line and defense, the Broncos look like a leading candidate to grab the Group of 5's spot in a New Year's Six bowl."
"The Broncos should be the preseason Group of Five New Year's Six bowl favorite. Coming off an 11-win season, coach Bryan Harsin will count on quarterback Brett Rypien and 1,000-yard rusher Alexander Mattison."
"In terms of depth, experience and returning production, this looks like the best team in the Group of Five."
"The Broncos are coming off their third double digit-win season in four seasons under Bryan Harsin, and there's no reason to expect any different in 2018. There isn't a team on Boise State's 2018 schedule, sans Oklahoma State, the Broncos can't beat."
"College football’s top Group of 5 team for 2018 resides in Boise. ... With 15 returning starters, including the Mountain West’s top quarterback in Brett Rypien, it’s hard to find a glaring weakness on Boise State’s 2018 team."
The Broncos' top offensive weapons are also getting a little bit of love, as CBS Sports has Rypien the No. 74 NFL Draft prospect in 2019, and The Sporting News has him the 19th-best quarterback in the nation. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Mattison No. 5 among underclassman running backs on his early 2019 NFL draft rankings.
And because it's never too early, Vegas Insider has offered betting lines on the opening weekend of college football. The site has Boise State as 9-point favorites Sept. 1 at Troy.
Harsin cautioned his team during one of its last spring meetings to prepare for the likely hype train.
"If we start getting too far out of it and start thinking about this and that or what somebody is telling us that we haven’t even accomplished ... we all know at the end of the year that’s when it really matters — we have a long way to go," he said.