Bronco Beat

Boise State is 2nd-highest Group of Five team in football playoff rankings

The College Football Playoff rankings were unveiled for the first time this season Tuesday evening, and Boise State checked in at No. 24.

Only Western Michigan is ahead of the Broncos among Group of Five conference schools, and those Broncos are just one spot ahead, at 23rd. That could be big for Boise State, which would earn a Cotton Bowl berth as the top Group of Five team ... if it also wins its conference championship. Of course, after losing to Wyoming on Saturday, the ranking may be moot if they finish behind the Cowboys.

USA Today ranked Western Michigan’s schedule 108th out of 128 teams, while Boise State’s schedule is aided by its win over Washington State. The Cougars are No. 25 in the first rankings.

Should Boise State wind up in a three-way tie with Wyoming and New Mexico atop the Mountain Division, the determining criteria will be CFP ranking, which would likely give the Broncos the berth into the conference championship. If the rankings remain similar, and Boise State reach the Mountain West title game and beat San Diego State, which would possibly be 11-1, it could vault the Broncos into that top Group of Five spot.

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For the most part, the Boise State defense has been solid when it has been put in a tough situation this season. But it’s also not like the offense has had it very easy at all.

A lack of turnovers created, some special teams miscues on the Broncos’ part, and even good Mountain West punters has made the offense’s road to the end zone a little longer than usual.

In Saturday’s 30-28 loss at Wyoming, the Broncos’ average starting field position was their own 16-yard line. The best they managed was their own 29 in 13 possessions, five starting at or inside the 10.

“We were backed up more than they were, you at least want to move the ball and give Sean (Wale) a chance to back them up ... we’ve had more scoring drives this year from a further distance, which is a good thing, but we don’t want to do that,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.

Added co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Scott Huff: “on offense, there’s nothing better than being set up.”

All season, it has been a struggle for Boise State:

▪  Against BYU, the average start was their own 24, four at or inside their own 10 (one started in Cougars’ territory)

▪  Against Colorado State, the average start was their own 21, three at or inside their own 10 (one started in Rams’ territory)

▪  Against New Mexico, the average start was their own 28, one inside their own 10 (none started in Lobos’ territory)

▪  Against Utah State, the average start was their own 23, one inside their own 10 (one started in Aggies’ territory)

▪  Against Oregon State, the average start was their own 25, two at or inside their own 10 (one started in Beavers’ territory)

▪  Against Washington State, the average start was their own 22, three at their own 12 (none started in Cougars’ territory)

▪  Against Louisiana, the average start was their own 28, one inside their own 10 (one started in Cajuns’ territory)

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Earlier, I posted a blog on Boise State coaches and players trick-or-treating with kids from St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital on Halloween. Some good costumes there.

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