Which Is Best Regular Season MW Broncos’ Team?

By

Jeff Caves

The comparison between the 2019 Boise State football team and all the previous Mountain West Conference editions is almost complete. Boise State still has to beat Hawaii to win the MWC and then see where a bowl game will land them. Here is a comparison of great Broncos MWC teams for the conference regular season only. Here are the contenders in order of how I see it for Greatest MWC teams and their record in the conference:

 

#1

2011 6-1

Coach Pete

BCS Rating before Bowl Game: #7

Conference Schedule: TCU was the toughest opponent and that game was at Bronco Stadium. They were not ranked at the time they beat Boise State 36-35 but won the MWC that season with a 7-0 record. Boise State destroyed most of the rest of the teams with 21 point wins or better. No teams were ranked in the Top 25 when they played Boise State. Air Force came the closest losing 37-26 and made it a 1 possession game late. 

Championship Game: None existed

Bowl Game: beat unranked Arizona State in Vegas Bowl 56-24

Key Players: Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Shea McClellin, Tyrone Crawford, George IIoka, Billy Winn, Nate Potter, Jamar Taylor, Matt Miller, Charles Leno, Chase Baker, and Tyler Shoemaker.

 

#2

2017 7-1

Harsin

Cfp Rating before MWC Championship Game: Not rated

Conference Schedule: A win on the road vs #19 San Diego State was the biggest moment for Boise State. The Leighton Vander Esch led defense declared themselves dominant that night in a 31-14 victory in front of a rare San Deigo St crowd of 49,000. No other MWC team was ranked at the time they played Boise State. The season was marked by the decline and rise of Qb Brett Rypien and the clutch play of running Qb Montell Cozart.  Boise State lost to Fresno State in a meaningless game on the road 28-17 not wanting to show anything for the rematch for the MWC title. The Colorado State road comeback win in OT was a thriller. Boise State had a tight 28-14 home win over New Mexico and the 4th quarter come from behind win over Josh Allen and Wyoming 24-14. They blew out Utah State, Nevada, and Air Force.

Championship Game: Beat Fresno State at home coming back from a 14-10 4th quarter deficit to win 17-14. 

Bowl Game: Beat unranked Oregon 38-28 in Vegas Bowl. 

Key Players: Leighton Vander Esch, Brett Rypien, Ced Wilson, Curtis Weaver, Tyler Horton, Mason Hampton, David Moa, Alexander Mattison, Jake Roh

 

#3

2019 8-0

Harsin

Cfp Rating before MWC Championship Game😕 At least #19

Conference Schedule: Boise St. faced no ranked opponents this season. The biggest wins were a close 30-19 win at home vs Air Force and blow out wins vs Hawaii at home 59-37 and on the road vs Utah State 56-21. A 4th quarter comeback win on the road vs San Jose St, an OT win at home vs Wyoming and 31-24 road win over Colorado St were all back and forth testy. New Mexico was terrible and a 42-9 victory as was UNLV bad and another huge 25 point victory. 

Championship Game: vs unranked Hawaii at home

Bowl Game: Cotton, Vegas or?

Key Players: Curtis Weaver, Khalil Shakir, Jaylon Henderson, Hank Bachmeier, George Holani, David Moa, Ezra Cleveland, Sonatane Lui 

 

#4

2014 7-1

Harsin

Cfp Rating Before MWC Championship Game: #22

Conference Schedule: Air Force was the lone loss that season, 28-14, on the road. The Falcons lost 3x in the MWC that season. BAD LOSS. No teams in the MWC were ranked when they played Boise State.  Boise State had to come from behind in the 4th quarter to beat New Mexico on the road and San Diego State at home. They were tied going into the 4th with Fresno State and won a wild win-or-lose-the-conference game at Nevada 51-46. They blew out Utah State, Wyoming and pretty much Colorado State. 

Championship Game: Beat Fresno State at home holding onto a 28-7 4th quarter lead to win 28-14.  

Bowl Game: Beat #12 Arizona in Fiesta Bowl

Key Players: Jay Ajayi, Grant Hedrick, Thomas Sperbeck, Matt Miller, Marcus Henry, Kamalei Correa, Tanner Vallejo, and Darian Thompson. 

 

#5

2012 7-1

Coach Pete

BCS Rating before MWC Championship Game:#19

Conference Schedule: Boise St faced no ranked opponents. They lost at home to San Diego St 21-19. They had a close win on the road 32-29 over New Mexico and at end of the season at Nevada 27-21. They dominated CSU, Wyo, Fresno, UNLV, and Hawaii by an average of 32 points. 

Championship Game: None existed

Bowl Game: Vegas Bowl beat unranked Washington 28-26

Key Players: Joe Southwick, Joe Kellog, JC Percy, DJ Harper, Demarcus Lawrence, Charles Leno, Matt Miller, Matt Paradis, Chris Potter, Jamar Taylor

There is no arguing that the 2019 team did what no MWC Boise State team did before them by going undefeated. The strength of the MWC has improved in my opinion since 2012 and the conference championship game has added something that the 2011-12 teams did not have to play.  The divisional format has increased the intensity of games as teams fight for divisional titles. The fact is though that only the 2017 team faced a ranked opponent. The 2011 and 2012 teams each had a loss but blew out the rest of the Mountain West teams for the most part. Harsin’s teams hammered 3 teams each season and lost or had tight games with the other 5. The 2011 team easily had the most impressive roster of key players and the highest BCS/Cfp ranking. I see Rypien/Cozart as a more effective tandem than the 3 headed monsters at QB that Boise State has developed in 2019 and more accomplished players. The 2017 loss to Fresno was half-hearted. Boise State should beat an unranked, freezing Hawaii to move their MWC record to a perfect 9-0. BUT, I think the 2011 and 2017 teams would beat them. Your turn. 

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