Bronco Beat

Outside top 25 in final polls, some see Boise State as a ranked team entering 2017

Harsin: "I think guys would say Alexander Mattison has a future."

Boise State loses running back Jeremy McNichols to the NFL but returns Alexander Mattison who, as a true freshman, showed he's capable of picking up some of the load.
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Boise State loses running back Jeremy McNichols to the NFL but returns Alexander Mattison who, as a true freshman, showed he's capable of picking up some of the load.

The final Associated Press media and Amway coaches polls were released late Monday night, and the Boise State football team is among three Mountain West teams that received votes.

San Diego State is No. 25 in both polls, while Air Force received 30 points in the AP and 18 points in the coaches polls. Boise State had 19 points in the AP and 20 in the coaches polls, finishing seven and five spots, respectively, out of the rankings.

Clemson, which won the outstanding national championship game Monday, is No. 1, followed by Alabama and USC. Washington and former Boise State coach Chris Petersen finished No. 4. Click here for the full, final AP poll and here for the coaches.

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As has become tradition, national writers put out their “too early” top 25s the day after the final game, and Boise State makes some appearances.

The Broncos are No. 19 in CBS Sports’ rankings, saying they should be a New Year’s Six favorite again, and are No. 25 in USA Today’s rankings. Both mention junior quarterback Brett Rypien as a key in the early praise.

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I wrote a ton of notes from Boise State coach Bryan Harsin’s meeting with the media Monday here. There’s stuff on who will be in and who is out for spring, updates on the search for a new assistant, Rypien, and more.

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Here’s my final AP top 25; I heavily considered Tennessee and Air Force, but couldn’t quite pull the trigger. I also was apparently the most consistent AP voter, so take that for what you will:

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. USC

4. Oklahoma

5. Washington

6. Penn State

7. Ohio State

8. Florida State

9. Wisconsin

10. Michigan

11. Oklahoma State

12. Stanford

13. LSU

14. Virginia Tech

15. Florida

16. South Florida

17. Western Michigan

18. Colorado

19. Louisville

20. West Virginia

21. Auburn

22. Miami (Fla.)

23. Utah

24. San Diego State

25. Georgia Tech

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Looking ahead to next season, without knowing of possible attrition, injuries or whatever, here are my top five national college football teams to watch for 2017:

Alabama: The Tide will be fired up, plus they return their quarterback, a strong group of running backs and their always-scary defense.

USC: Love Sam Darnold at quarterback, recruiting has been great and I bet the defense makes improvements, too.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes got clowned by Clemson, but tons of key guys are back, including quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Florida State: Deandre Francois is a developing star at quarterback, and though running back Dalvin Cook is gone on offense, the D will be stout.

Washington: I thought the Huskies might’ve been a year ahead of schedule, and with Jake Browning back at quarterback, they could be in CFP again.

A few darkhorses I like are Oklahoma State, South Florida (for the NY6 spot) and Georgia.

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As far as the Mountain West goes, it’ll be an interesting season, as some of the stalwarts should be on top, but with perhaps more question marks and more competition than ever. Here’s my rankings going into next season:

MOUNTAIN

Boise State: Tough schedule, but still the most talent in the conference on both sides of the ball.

Wyoming: If Josh Allen returns at QB, the Cowboys will be contenders as D will improve, but losing Hill is big.

Colorado State: The Rams’ offense will be perhaps the MW’s best, but defense is still iffy.

Air Force: Never count out coach Troy Calhoun, but the Falcons lose 10 starters on defense, six on offense.

New Mexico: The Lobos should again score plenty, but they lose running back Teriyon Gipson and the defense loses eight starters.

Utah State: Coaching turnover hurt, so did injuries, and the Aggies lose most starters on both lines after a 3-9 year.

WEST

San Diego State: Running back Donnel Pumphrey is gone, but still tons of talent on offense with a vicious defensive system.

Hawaii: Coach Nick Rolovich has the swagger back following a 7-7 year, and plenty of key players return.

UNLV: Coach Tony Sanchez hasn’t been a failure, or a big success, and needle-pointing toward a possible bowl game.

Fresno State: Bottom three in West are going to be brutal, but the Bulldogs have the most talent among them.

Nevada: Coach Jay Norvell’s system will make for a fun, pass-heavy team, but 2017 will see major growing pains.

San Jose State: The Spartans were awful in 2016, and with a new coach, probably will be the worst team in the MW in 2017.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_southorn

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