Boise State Football Schedule 2010: Eight BCS Teams With an Easier Slate

Travis CookeCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2010

Boise State Football Schedule 2010: Eight BCS Teams With an Easier Slate

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    LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 06:  Safety #23 Jeron Johnson of and cornerback #21 Jamar Taylor of the Boise State Broncos celebrate defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies 33-30 at FedExField on September 6, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Boise State's 33-30 victory over Virginia Tech on Monday night puts the Broncos in legitimate contention due to their relatively easy regular season schedule. Home matchups against Oregon State and Fresno State present the biggest road blocks to Boise going undefeated for the second consecutive year, but the Broncos have only lost two conference games since 2005 and this is their strongest team yet.

    The debate will rage on among fan bases over whether or not Boise State should go to the BCS National Championship game, if indeed the table is run again. Playing teams like Utah State and Idaho will inevitably give a team its doubters.

    But when Utah State loses at Oklahoma by just seven points and Idaho dismantles an opponent, albeit a IAA opponent, 45-0, you can't exactly look at the Broncos' schedule as quite a cake-walk anymore.

    While Boise's detractors will discount their legitimacy because of their perceived weakness of schedule, let's look at eight BCS-conference teams whose schedules are easier than the Broncos'.

Wisconsin Badgers

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    LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 04:  The Wisconsin Badgers, including mascot Bucky Badger, take the field for their game against the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium September 4, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Wisconsin won 41-21.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    The Wisconsin Badgers will host title-contender Ohio State on October 16th, and will travel to Iowa and...Michigan? Michigan State?

    After the Buckeye and Hawkeye matchups, it's hard to choose exactly what the Badgers' third-hardest game is.

    Out of conference, Wisconsin is challenging itself with the likes of San Jose St., Austin Peay, and a not-that-good Arizona State team.

    The Badgers have what it takes to possibly run the table in the last year of the 11-team Big Ten, just not a schedule that is conclusively harder than Boise State's.

Kansas State Wildcats

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Runningback Daniel Thomas #8 of the Kansas State Wildcats carries the ball against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on September 19, 2009 in Pasadena, California. UCLA defeated Kansas State 23-9.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty I
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Having beaten UCLA this weekend, the WIldcats have completed their toughest out-of-conference game. Missouri State, Central Florida, and a season-closer at North Texas are none too intimidating.

    The most difficult games on Kansas State's schedule are meetings with Nebraska and Texas. However, these two games will be played in Manhattan, giving the Wildcats a leg-up on two programs that are a year away from being championship contenders.

Illinois Fighting Illini

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 4: A.J. Jenkins #8 of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini scores a touchdown against the University of Missouri Tigers during the State Farm Arch Rivalry game on September 4, 2010 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missour
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Fighting Illini have one of the toughest schedules on this list, but their slate is one Boise would have a legitimate shot at going undefeated against.

    The Broncos would have beaten Missouri this weekend in St. Louis, and Illinois gets its toughest game, Ohio State, at home.

    Road games at Penn State and Michigan State will be challenging for Zook's squad, but are comparable to Boise's matchups with Oregon State and Hawaii.

    Meanwhile, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois are not opponents the Illini should be gloating over after beating them in Champaign.

Boston College Eagles

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 04:  The Boston College Eagles line up to enter the field before the game against the Weber State Wildcats on September 4, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Boston College benefits from playing in the Atlantic Division of the ACC, where foes such as NC State and Maryland are not exactly elite teams.

    The Eagles will face Florida State on the road, but will host Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Notre Dame in their other most difficult games of the season. Boston College will be glad to not face Miami, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech this year.

    Other than the matchup with the rebuilding Fighting Irish, out-of-conference games against Weber State, Kent State, and Syracuse give the Eagles perhaps the easiest schedule in the ACC.

Michigan State Spartans

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    EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 05: Tackle D.J. Young #59 and Linebacker Greg Jones #53 of the Michigan State Spartans sack Quarterback Mark Iddins #16 of Montana State during the second quarter on September 5, 2009 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michig
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    A few weeks back I picked Michigan State as a dark horse team to win the Big Ten.

    Their schedule was one of the main factors.

    A home game against Notre Dame highlights an otherwise unimpressive out-of-conference slate featuring Northern Colorado and Western Michigan.

    Meanwhile, the Spartans can rest easy in not having to face Terrell Pryor and the Buckeyes during his Heisman-hopeful season.

    Traveling to Penn State and Iowa will be tough tests for Michigan State.

    Home games against Minnesota and Purdue? Not as tough.

Connecticut Huskies

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 21:  Jordan Todman #23 of the Univeristy of Connecticut Huskies carries the ball during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on November 21, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/G
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Another of my dark horse picks (aren't you glad you've been following that series?), the Connecticut Huskies have an easy schedule low-lighted by four out-of-conference scrubs.

    Though the Huskies lost to Michigan in the Big House this weekend, the next four weeks present the following opponents: Texas Southern, Temple, Buffalo, and Vanderbilt. Most certainly easier than Boise State's out-of-conference slate, even with the Michigan game factored in.

    Meanwhile, in the not-much-to-brag-about Big East, UConn will host its three toughest games against West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati.

    Road trips to Louisville and Syracuse should pose little threat to UConn, and would pose even less of a threat to Boise State.

Northwestern Wildcats

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats directs play against the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl January 1, 2010 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Another Big Ten team benefiting from not having to play Ohio State, the Wildcats also have an easy out-of-conference schedule.

    While Vanderbilt posed an unexpectedly tough test in the opening week, Illinois State, Central Michigan, and Rice should be much easier opponents for Pat Fitzgerald's young squad.

    A home game against Iowa and a season finale at Wisconsin are the two toughest games on Northwestern's slate.

    While the inexperience on the offensive side of the ball could lead to a handful (or more) of losses for Northwestern, Boise State's 10 returning starters on each side of the ball would likely fare much better.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 04:  The Nebraska Cornhuskers  defense swarms Bobby Rainey of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the first half of their game at Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Western Kentucky 49
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    In their final season in the Big 12, Nebraska has a relatively easy conference schedule paired with a very manageable out-of-conference slate.

    The 'Huskers will host a Texas team with a lot of firepower missing from last season, and do not have to face the Oklahoma Sooners. Road trips to Oklahoma State and Texas A&M highlight the rest of an overall non-intimidating conference schedule.

    Western Kentucky played tough against Nebraska in the opening week, but are not going to be making a bowl game any time soon.

    A trip to Washington in week three is Nebraska's hardest non-Big 12 game, as South Dakota State is a I-AA cup cake and Idaho faces both Nebraska and Boise State, making that a wash.

    While Boise State will not receive as much credit for winning the conference again, which would be their ninth time in 10 years, the Broncos have the talent, experience and coaching to win several other conferences this year. The Big 12 is one of those conferences.