Boise State officially enters a new era Saturday at Colorado State, when the Broncos begin league play in the Mountain West.
They can only hope to have the same success they enjoyed in the WAC. During their 10-year run in that league, Boise State won eight league championships and posted a 75-5 mark in league games. That includes a perfect 40-0 record at home. To be sure, the Mountain West should provide more difficult competition.
But Boise State has never played many of the teams in the league before, so that provides one challenge. This will be its first ever game against the Rams.
"That's what everybody around the country is all about -- trying to win their league," coach Chris Petersen said. "We are under no illusions how difficult winning your league can be the first time you enter a new league with all the unknowns that come with it. We're excited to play. It's like you've been working the first part of the season to get yourselves ready for league play."
With TCU out of the Top 25, Boise State has no more ranked teams on its schedule right now and will be favored in every game the rest of the way. Many expect the No.5 Broncos to run the table and make it back into a BCS game. But much the same was expected last season, before an upset late in overtime against Nevada. The Mountain West has its share of bad teams the way the WAC did. Boise State should have no problems with UNLV (1-4), Wyoming (3-2, one win vs. FBS team) and New Mexico (0-5).
Potential road blocks?
Oct. 22, Air Force. Granted, the Falcons just lost badly on the road to Notre Dame, but they do have a unique offense to try and stop. They have been hit hard with injuries on defense, so they are probably not as good as many thought they could be when the season started. Still, Tim Jefferson is one of the better quarterbacks in the league, and they do have the No. 2 rush offense in the country.
Nov. 12, TCU. The Horned Frogs do not have the same dominating defense that they have had the past three seasons, but they played much better in a win against San Diego State last week. These teams have developed a nice rivalry over the past several seasons, splitting their past two bowl appearances. Boise State will have an edge in this one, but this should be the toughest game on the schedule.
Nov. 19 at San Diego State. The Aztecs also might not be playing as well as people anticipated after a breakthrough season in 2010. Ronnie Hillman ranks No. 5 in the nation in rushing, but the Aztecs are still looking for some consistency out of their wide receivers. They rank No. 78 in the nation in passing. This is a game that should not be overlooked, because San Diego State is capable of putting up a big fight, and it comes on the heels of an emotional game against TCU.