Boise State Spring Game

Boise State STUD Curtis Weaver (99) signs an autograph for a young fan following the Broncos’ spring game in April 6.

File photo | Idaho Press Tribune

The Idaho Press is counting down the top 20 questions facing the Boise State football team heading into the 2019 season. The next entry in our series is question No. 10: Do the Broncos have a chance at getting to the Cotton Bowl?

As discussed earlier in this series, the Boise State football team probably won’t be as talented as some in recent years, but the Broncos’ schedule allows for them to potentially have a better record.

The question is whether it will be good enough for the Broncos to land in their fourth New Year’s Six bowl game in the past 14 years. In 2019, that game would be the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The top Group of Five team heading into 2019 will likely again be UCF, which has appeared in the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl the past two seasons. Others in the mix probably include Houston, Marshall and Mountain West teams Fresno State and Utah State.

Boise State gets a couple of marquee games early in the season, including the opener against Florida State in Jacksonville, Florida, and a Friday night game the following week in the home opener against Marshall. Win both of those, and the hype will start for the Broncos as the top Group of Five team.

Boise State really only has three games on the schedule that wouldn’t be big upsets if it lost. The Florida State game will probably be the toughest, with road games at Utah State and BYU close behind. Aside from the Marshall game that the Broncos should win since they are at home, the other eight games are all ones the Broncos wouldn’t appear to have much trouble with.

Working in Boise State’s favor is that the league schedule really lightens up this year with the departure of San Diego State, Fresno State and Nevada from the schedule and the additions of San Jose State, Hawaii and UNLV. Every two years the teams flop due to the unbalanced scheduling, and this year starts the two-year rotation in which the Broncos don’t play the three toughest teams in the West Division and instead play the three worst.

So that helps a lot, as does having Air Force, New Mexico and Wyoming all at home this year. The only divisional road games are at Utah State and at Colorado State, both in late November.

Should the Broncos find a way to win two of the three tough games, not stub their toe anywhere else and win the Mountain West Championship with a 12-1 record, they probably would put themselves in a strong position to get back to a New Year’s Six bowl game for the first time since 2014.

The three previous appearances have all been in the Fiesta Bowl, but the Fiesta Bowl is one of the semifinal games for the College Football Playoff in 2019. The Group of Five representative will instead play in the Cotton Bowl this year due to conference affiliations of the other New Year’s Six bowls.

A lot has to happen for the Broncos — like upsetting Florida State and not suffering an unexpected, bad loss — but it’s not crazy to think they could finish as the top Group of Five team. The schedule is a perfect mix of a few high-profile games and several easy games that would probably be enough to get them to the top spot should they find a way to win the Mountain West and finish with a 12-1 or 13-0 record.

Is it likely? Probably not. Is it certainly possible should a few breaks go their way? Absolutely.

Countdown to Camp Questions{/span}

No. 20: Can Boise State’s injured players return to form?

No. 19: Do the linebackers have enough talent and depth to produce?

No. 18: Will Boise State’s wide receivers be a strength?

No. 17: How will playing time shake out in the secondary?

No. 16: Which true freshmen could make immediate impacts?

No. 15: What are the toughest games on Boise State’s schedule?

No. 14: Who will take over at kicker and punter for the Broncos?

No. 13: What should be expected from the defensive line?

No. 12: Which stats do the Broncos need to improve the most?

No. 11: Will the tight ends get back involved more with the offense?

{span class=”print_trim”}No. 10: Do the Broncos have a chance at getting to the Cotton Bowl?