ESPN Insider's 20 teams that can win it all series is previewing each of the top 20 teams in Brian Fremeau's five-year program metric (for a full explanation, and links to all of the previews as they are published, click here), with the help of ESPN's Stats & Information group. This is the entry for Boise State.
Perhaps the shakiest plank in this wacky world of conference realignment is the fact that most decisions and rumors feel so short-sighted. Administrators, media and fans obsess over teams and conferences as they are right now, when the wisest course of action would be to pause and speculate as to who looks to be in the best position for the future.
Exhibit A: The Boise State Broncos.
If someone had come to you in the spring of 1999 and said, "Hey man, you won't believe how good these guys are going to be," you would have told them to move to a lower altitude. They were a recently graduated Division I-A program that had managed to make the I-AA playoffs only three times since 1981. And, oh yeah, they're in Idaho.
Yet here we are, 14 seasons later, and over those years the Broncos have posted a record of 146-22 with only two non-double-digit win years and 12 bowl berths, including a pair of BCS bowl victories. They became the folk heroes of the barren wasteland of the non-automatic-qualifying conferences, a chip in the conference realignment game and the poster children for why the current postseason system needed to be blown up and rebuilt.
This season would appear to be Boise State's last as residents of that wasteland. As of now, they are slated to join the Big East in 2013, though seemingly every day another potential change threatens to complicate that move.
But regardless of where they end up next year and beyond, how good of a team will the Broncos be this season? Let's take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of their BCS title case.