November 24, 2011

Wyoming-Boise St. Preview



BOISE, Idaho (AP) A bounce-back win and losses by three higher ranked teams have given Boise State a glimmer of hope that a BCS bowl game may not be out of the question after all.

One week after a stunning defeat at home against TCU, the No. 7 Broncos rebounded Saturday with a 52-35 victory over San Diego State.

Boise State's weekend of good fortune also included shooting up three spots in The Associated Press poll thanks to losses by Oregon, Clemson and Oklahoma - all of which now have two losses on their resumes.

With two games left and a few more upsets in the season's final weeks, the Broncos (9-1, 4-1 Mountain West) may still have a slim shot at landing an at-large BCS bid.

In typical fashion, coach Chris Petersen declined to engage reporters Monday on postseason what-ifs and what last weekend's wild string of upsets could mean for the Broncos' bowl travel plans.

"I think that's ridiculous thinking for a coach," Petersen said. "There is no way we're going to spend any time worrying about somebody else and hoping that they get beat or play poorly. I can't emphasize that message enough to our players and our coaches.

"We told them after the TCU game that there is so much football left to be played, not only by us but by others. So don't even concern yourself with anybody else," Petersen said. "We have too much left on our plate."

The Broncos close out the season at home with games against Wyoming and New Mexico.

The Cowboys have lost all five games against Boise State and were whipped 51-6 in Laramie last year as the Broncos defense forced three turnovers while Kellen Moore and the offense rolled up 648 total yards and opened the game with 37 straight points.

But Petersen's message to the team this week is simple: This isn't the same Wyoming team the Broncos roughed up a year ago.

The Cowboys (7-3, 4-1) are playing this weekend with second place in the conference on the line. Wyoming has won two straight and four of the last five, including beating an Air Force team that tested the Broncos deep into the fourth quarter a month ago.

"They're just improved everywhere," Petersen said of Wyoming's turnaround. "The kids ... believe they can win and they do win."

For the Broncos, however, the loss at TCU, much like last year's late-season defeat at Nevada, spoiled an undefeated season, undermined the chance to win the conference title and ultimately could send the Broncos to a lower profile bowl game played in December rather than January.

Boise State's bowl plans will likely include an invite to Las Vegas or the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. But if teams like Houston, Stanford, Oregon or Michigan suffer one or more losses down the stretch, the Broncos could be a viable pick for the final BCS spot, according to some bowl scenarios.

"I think it's just a great example of college football, that anything can happen," Moore told reporters Monday. "It shows how tough it is to go undefeated."



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