Top 25 Countdown

No. 12 Boise State

(By Jonathan Ferrey -- Getty Images (Top) By Matt Cilley -- Associated Press (Above))
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Last Season: 12-1 (lost to Texas Christian in the Poinsettia Bowl).

Returning Starters: 12 (6 offense, 6 defense).

Key Game: vs. Oregon, Sept. 3

Why They're Worth Watching

Every season, the conferences that don't have automatic BCS bowl bids point to at least one snubbed team as an example of how the system in place is flawed. This season, it very well could be Boise State. Again. The Broncos have finished in the top 16 of the Associated Press top 25 poll five times in the past seven seasons and have the personnel to do so once more. An offense that ranked 18th in the country will miss some key players from last season, yet it maintains a wealth of experience and potential at the skill positions. On defense, cornerback Kyle Wilson (five interceptions last season) is on the watch lists for the Nagurski Award, Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award.

Player to Watch

Kellen Moore, Soph., QB

All Moore did last season was earn Western Athletic Conference freshman of the year honors, set a school record by completing 69.4 percent of his passes and nearly lead the Broncos to an undefeated season. He's back this year with many of the same weapons in tow.

Why They're Vulnerable

The offensive line returns three starters, which would be a good thing except the unit wasn't especially strong last season. The defensive line helped the team rank No. 22 in the nation against the run last year and No. 3 in scoring defense, which would be a good thing except the unit was thoroughly embarrassed in the season finale. TCU racked up 275 rushing yards and held the ball for more than 36 minutes in the Poinsettia Bowl. Both lines will need to be more effective this year if the Broncos hope to put together consecutive impressive seasons for the first time since 2003-04.

-- Steve Yanda

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