1st: Mountain West (1st Mountain Division)
33rd: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: After two seasons of not only not winning the Mountain West Conference but also not even winning the Mountain Division, the Broncos won both last year and also defeated Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl to finish 11-3 overall.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: LB Leighton Vander Esch was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year after making 141 tackles (fifth in the FBS), 4 sacks, 2 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles (led the team). After the season, he decided to forgo his senior year and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. He finished his career with 188 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions. He was drafted in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys.
Key Player: QB Brett Rypien in his junior season threw for 2,877 yards (completing 62.6 percent) with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. The now-senior was recently named the preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. He did miss one game last year and the key to the Broncos’ success is keeping him healthy.
Fearless Prediction: The Broncos are the odds on favorites to repeat as Mountain West Conference champions. Overall, BSU returns a wealth of experience, with six starters on offense, nine on defense and all its specialists and its goal may not be just to win the conference but try to get back to a major bowl game again for the first time since playing and winning the Fiesta Bowl in 2014.