Second-half outlook: Boise State

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson


Boise State is the nation’s best nonautomatic qualifying team and the Broncos continue to prove it week in and week out with wins. They’ve been a model of consistency, which has aided in their high ranking and the respect they’ve earned around the country. Here are the scenarios for the second half of the Broncos' season:

Best-case scenario: Win out. Bose State is in a great position to earn a BCS bowl berth as long as it stays undefeated and some other things go the Broncos' way. Right now, Boise State has the No. 36 schedule, according to the Sagarin Ratings, one of the five computers that make up a third of the BCS formula, but it’s pleasing the human polls that will make the difference. Boise State is one of the most respected programs in the country and if the Broncos keep winning, that shouldn’t change.

Worst-case scenario: If Boise State loses a game, the quest for a BCS bowl berth is likely done. The Broncos have struggled some in their last two games, especially with finishing. However, coach Chris Petersen stressed that it was a change in strategy that led to the slow finishes, not execution. The schedule doesn’t get much more difficult as the season progresses, but there’s always that fear of becoming complacent and running into a team on a roll such as Nevada or Idaho.

Prediction: Boise State is going to go undefeated. After the Broncos got past Oregon, there wasn’t a team on the schedule that could beat them. I think it would be tough for voters to keep an undefeated Boise State team out of a BCS bowl for the second consecutive season. People complain about the schedule, but that hasn’t seemed to affect their rankings. If Cincinnati stays highly ranked, Boise State will go to the Orange Bowl.