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Rant Sports College Football Top 100: No. 21 Boise State Broncos

Chris Petersen Boise State Broncos

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State has been a model of consistency over the last decade of football, consistently finishing with 10-plus win seasons and finishing top 10 in the country.

2012 was no different for head coach Chris Petersen and the Broncos, going 11-2 with a bowl victory and conference championship, yet it was one of the quietest Boise State seasons in recent memory.

2012 was the first season without Kellen Moore taking the snaps in four seasons, and gone were the likes of other key players like Doug Martin. The Broncos also started the season with a close loss on the road at Michigan State, so it’s easy to see why the attention was no longer focused on them.

Regardless of who is playing, as long as it’s a Chris Petersen coached team, you know Boise State is going to compete and be a national contender, and they look ready to get another 10 win season in 2013.

Key Players: Joe Southwick, Matt Miller, Demarcus Lawrence, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe

Offense

2012 saw the Broncos take a bit of a step back from the normal dominance they have shown in the past, but were still highly efficient running plays and scoring touchdowns.

The Broncos finished fifth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring offense, averaging a solid 30.2 points per game on the year. The offense also finished fifth in the conference in total offense, putting up 391.3 yards per game on the season. These numbers aren’t bad nor are they great, just right in the middle and should improve in 2013.

Last season was the end of the Kellen Moore era and in stepped Joe Southwick, who did a good job of replacing a college football legend. He threw for 2,730 yards on the season to go along with 19 touchdown passes and completed 66.7 percent of his passes. With a year of experience under his belt, 2013 should be a great year for him.

Leading rusher D.J. Harper has moved on, but sophomore Jay Ajayi did a solid job in a backup role last season and will enter 2013 as the starter. Leading receivers Matt Miller and Kirby Moore also return, so the Broncos have a host of talented skill players.

Defense

The 2012 Boise State defense continued their domination of past season and were atop the Mountain West in both major defensive statistical categories. They finished first in scoring defense, only giving up 15.6 yards per game. They were also first in total defense, only allowing 315.6 yards per game on the year.

The Broncos did lose a solid amount of players on the season and only five starters from the 2012 squad return. Two of the returning starters are on the defensive line with first team All-Mountain West selection Demarcus Walker and honorable mention All-Mountain West selection Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe.

Three new linebackers will step into the starting role in 2013 for the Broncos, so that will be a position that is extremely inexperienced. The secondary will be led by safeties Jeremy Ioane and Darian Thompson.

Schedule/Outlook

The 2013 schedule again looks promising for another 10-win season from the Boise State Broncos. Being such a well coached team plus playing in the Mountain West, 10-win seasons have become the expectation of this program and they constantly deliver.

They open the season with a tough road game at Washington, which is one of the more difficult venues. If they can get a win in this game, this puts them in the drivers seat for another possible BCS appearance.

Their two toughest games outside of that are home against Nevada and at BYU. If they survive that two week stretch in October, they should be conference champions and knocking on the door of an at-large BCS bid.

Erik Sargent is a college football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Erik_Sargent, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.