- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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BOISE, Idaho -- The air around Bronco Stadium on Friday morning is filled with both anticipation and foreboding. There’s anticipation for the renewal of No. 4 Boise State’s annual rivalry with Fresno State at 9:30 p.m. ET. There’s foreboding because of the weather.
Forecasters predict that rain will arrive early in the day. Temperatures in the upper 30s are expected to fall during the game, which means that the wet stuff could morph into white stuff.
“I’ve never played in snow,” Bronco quarterback Kellen Moore said, including his career playing for his dad at Prosser (Wash.) High. “But we played in rain a few games last year.”
They won all those games. The Broncos have won their last 23 games, the longest streak in the FBS, which is why there’s less foreboding about Fresno State itself. The conditions may tilt the field toward the Bulldogs and their power running game. But the way that Boise State football lives its life these days, the guys in the locker room focus on the opponent. Everyone else focuses beyond the rim of Bronco Stadium toward No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Auburn and No. 3 TCU.
None of the three teams ahead of Boise State in the BCS standings plays this week. The national stage belongs to the Broncos tonight. Should they defeat the Bulldogs for the ninth time in 10 years, the Broncos will remain on the stage next week, when they play at No. 18 Nevada on Friday night.
Although Boise State is No. 4, the possibility exists that the Broncos will take the field against the Wolf Pack with an opportunity to climb two places in the ratings. Earlier on Friday, Auburn will play at No. 11 Alabama, and Oregon will play No. 22 Arizona. The following day, TCU will play New Mexico (1-9), which can’t beat the Horned Frogs on the field but may deliver a fatal blow in the computer ratings that make up one-third of the BCS formula.
OK, OK, that’s next week. First, there’s tonight, in the rain, against an old and respected conference rival. Boise State has beaten each of its seven unranked opponents by at least 29 points. Fresno State may be 6-3. But the Bulldogs are unranked.