With the Broncos near-perfect season now over following a good ol' fashioned beat down of No. 19 Utah in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, many fans are wondering what to expect from next season. Well, the Broncos will be leaving the Western Athletic Conference for the slightly more prestigious Mountain West Conference after this season's bizarre round of musical chairs that resulted in numerous teams switching stomping grounds.
While the Broncos will still be in a non-automatic qualifying conference with the Mountain West, they will certainly be playing with a group that will be better than either the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Big East—the weakest of the automatic qualifiers. Does this leave the door open for another possible run at a national championship? With the perfect storm and a perfect record in 2011, certainly. They'll just have to hope that the remaining teams in the Mountain West step up and play well next year.
The Mountain West will lose Utah to the newly expanded PAC-12, TCU to the Big East (2012) and BYU which is going independent. While these teams were the class of the Mountain West in recent memory, joining Boise State in the 2012 MWC lineup will be Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State ... all excellent teams, all from the WAC.
Expect Boise State to be among the favorites to win the Mountain West in its first season joining the conference, with stiff competition from a very good San Diego State team, Air Force and Rose Bowl champs TCU in their last season before graduating to AQ status. College football is a very unpredictable beast, but it appears that 2011 may be the Broncos best shot at a clear claim to the moniker "National Championship Contender."
The Broncos kick off the 2011 season at Georgia on Saturday, Sept. 3.