ESPN’s Colin Cowherd loves Boise State.
In July of last year, Cowherd pegged the Broncos’ over 10.5 wins as his “best single bet” for the 2011 season, saying, “To me, they’re a 12-0 football team.” (Boise State finished 11-1 but, still, the over was a winner.)
Now, this year, he’s going with them again.
Boise State’s over 9.5 wins is—drum roll, please—Cowherd’s “single best bet.”
“They’ll win more than [9.5],” Cowherd said on his radio show Wednesday morning. “Don’t be swayed by their losses to the NFL Draft. Same coaching staff for six or seven years. They are loaded, they are deep, guys will step in and make plays.”
Cowherd cited the opener at Michigan State and the finale at Nevada as the only two possible losses because they’re the only two programs that “physically are in the same class” as Boise State.
“Even though they lost a ton of upperclassmen, they’ve got six to seven players who will be all-conference,” Cowherd said. “They’re in a bad conference, they’re exceptionally well-coached, they’ve got swing games all at home.”
Let’s agree on one point: The Mountain West is a very, very weak conference.
But saying that Boise State plays in a terrible conference, and then saying it’ll have six or seven players who will be all-conference is … counter-intuitive. Even if it’s true they’ll have that many all-conference players (which is arguable at best considering they only have seven returning starters), you negate your own point by saying it’s a conference devoid of talent.
Second, how is Nevada the only other team besides Michigan State on the same talent level? The Broncos play BYU in a Thursday night game on Sept. 20 (projected 7-point favorite) and at Southern Miss two weeks later on Oct. 6 (projected 6-point favorite).
Aside from Michigan State in the opener, those are the Broncos’ toughest games.
Look, Boise State has won at least 10 regular-season games every season since Chris Petersen took over as coach in 2006.
He’s in the BTB Hall of Fame for best active spread-covering coaches in the country, he’s consistently proven he can “do more with less,” and he’ll probably be able to reload again this year. When Jared Zabransky graduated after the 2007 season, most expected a fall-off in 2008 with redshirt freshman Kellen Moore taking over.
All Moore did was go 12-1 in his first season and then set the record for most career wins ever by a college QB.
But Petersen still hasn’t decided on Moore’s replacement, and even more concerning is the defense, where just two starters are back from a Top 20 unit.
If forced to pick a side, we’d probably go with the over, but 9.5 is a very solid number that is more worthy of a “no play.”