1. Boise State Broncos
They were No. 1 on this list last year, but a midseason loss to BYU was a killer.
It wasn’t really fair – the Broncos were blasted at quarterback and only lost 28-25 on the road to the Cougars – but it was enough to keep them out of the New Year’s Six.
A 38-7 Las Vegas Bowl loss to Washington didn’t exactly provide any after-the-fact juice to the Memphis vs. Boise State debate for the spot.
There are some key losses on the offensive line, and not having do-it-all defensive star Curtis Weaver hurts, but QB Hank Bachmeier is back along with just enough overall offensive talent to be even better.
The defensive front needs reworking, but the back seven is going to be a killer. Will it all come together right away?
The Broncos have a tough opener against Georgia Southern and its option offense, but it’s a good tune-up for what’s coming with a trip to Air Force to follow. And then comes the big moment.
Beat Florida State for a second year in a row, follow it up with a road win over Marshall – and everything else should fall into place from there.
Even with one loss, get hot, win another Mountain West championship, and this time around, the Broncos should get the nod.