Boise State in 2011: National Championship on the Mind of the Faithful

Derrick StacyCorrespondent IIAugust 6, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22:  Quarterback Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos warms up before playing against the Utah Utes in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State Won 26-3.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Chris Petersen and Kellen Moore have the faithful in Boise thinking championship—National Championship.

The Boise State Broncos are making a transitional move to confines that may appear a bit more unfriendly upon first glance. Boise will join the ranks of the Mountain West Conference in an attempt to bolster their schedule strength and continually play against tougher competition, an avid attempt to help them within the Bowl Championship Series standings.

With their national title dreams shattered last season following a disappointing loss to Nevada, Boise appears poised and ready to rebound.

We will know at the beginning of the season whether or not this team is for real. They will travel to Atlanta on September 3 to play a pseudo road game with the Bulldogs of Georgia. Petersen and company attempted this feat last season and proved to be successful with their early season victory over Virginia Tech.

The early-season victory of 2010 provided the Boise faithful with hopes and dreams of a BCS Championship appearance, but all came crashing down during the faithful trip to Nevada.

However, not  all is lost in the land of the Bronco and potatoes. Boise State returns 14 starters, including a Heisman hopeful at the quarterback position, Kellen Moore.

Moore will lead a powerful offense that averaged over 45 points per game last season and returns six other starers alongside the star quarterback. The Broncos offense has an opportunity to be not only good, but great.

Doug Martin will also join Moore in the backfield, and give the BSU offense a 1,300-yard rusher to provide plenty of punch from the tailback position. Martin supplemented his 1,300 yards with 12 crossings of the goal line and he has his sights set on a 1,500-yard, 15 touchdown season.

Moore will need some rather inexperienced players at the wide receiver position to step up and replace the loss of Titus Young and Austin Pettis, two 1,000-yard receivers. Attempting to fill the void will be Chris Potter and Geraldo Hiwat, neither of whom received much playing time last season. However, the transition will be much easier with the amount of time Moore expects to receive while dropping back to pass.

The Boise offensive line returns eight of their top 10 players, including two lineman that were named first team all-conference in the WAC last season. Left tackle Nate Potter and center Thomas Byrd both return to anchor a stable and potent offensive line.

The Broncos have plenty of talent returning on the offensive side of the ball to place their name among the elite in the record books next season, and a national title berth is in their grasp if the defense plays as well as last season.

Boise returns seven starters on defense, led by defensive end Shea McClellin, a senior All-American candidate whom produced 9.5 sacks last season, while helping Boise limit teams to under 13 points per game. McClelllin will be joined by senior Byron Hout in the front seven. This unit will be needed to bring pressure and help ease in a secondary that appears weaker than the past couple of seasons.

If Boise is able to maintain on the defensive side of the ball and sneak past the two toughest games on their schedule, Georgia and TCU, they will be in the running for their first ever National Championship appearance. It is set to be a very exciting season in the state of Idaho.

Last Year’s Record: 12-1

Projected 2011 Record: 11-1