Boise to Men

One step left for Broncos: a berth in the national title game, and 2010 may be the year
January 18, 2010

At some point we're going to have to stop doubting Boise State. Sure, the Broncos (right) play in the weak WAC, but whenever they get on the big stage, all they do is win. They opened 2009 by beating eventual Pac-10 champ Oregon and closed their season in the Fiesta Bowl by shutting down then undefeated and fourth-ranked TCU, a team many felt deserved to face Alabama in the BCS championship game.

Next fall Boise State returns all but one starter (defensive back Kyle Wilson), with quarterback Kellen Moore (3,536 passing yards, 39 touchdowns, three interceptions in 2009) triggering an attack that tricks foes with such plays as Riddler, the fake-punt call that set up the winning touchdown in the Fiesta. But in stifling the Oregon and TCU offenses, the Broncos showed they can play a little defense too. What's more, an upgraded nonconference schedule could bring enough style points to get Boise State into the BCS title game, to be played on the same field where the Broncos knocked off TCU. Athletic department officials are in talks to move the Oct. 2 game against Virginia Tech in Landover, Md., to prime time on Labor Day weekend, and on Sept. 25 the Broncos play host to Pac-10 runner-up Oregon State. An early forecast for next season's top 10:

1. ALABAMA

Defending champ returns eight starters on offense, faces tougher schedule

2. BOISE STATE

Takes best shot at becoming first non-BCS team to play for championship

3. OHIO STATE

QB Terrelle Pryor looks like Heisman contender, and defense remains stout

4. TEXAS

Freshman QB Garrett Gilbert provided glimpses of things to come in title game

5. IOWA

Led by DT Adrian Clayborn, Hawkeyes are primed for Nov. 20 visit from Buckeyes

6. OREGON

All 11 starters are back from an offense that scored 36.1 points a game

7. TCU

Experienced Frogs look to be tested early with opener against Oregon State

8. GEORGIA TECH

Count on the option remaining potent, even without RB Jonathan Dwyer

9. VIRGINIA TECH

Hokies favored to repeat in ACC but must travel to top challenger Miami

10. WISCONSIN

John Clay and Montee Ball will run behind one of the nation's best lines

PHOTOJOHN BIEVER

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)