AC: Who are the biggest losses from the 2012 Boise State team, and how does the 2013 squad replace them?
OBNUG: Boise State lost both is starting linebackers (two out of two, in a 4-2-5 defense), including a guy who tackles 100 people. That's a lot of tackling to replace. Since BSU often platoons at the position, there are experienced backups who will take over the starting roles. Blake Renaud is one of those guys, and Bronco fans have been expecting a breakout season from Renaud any day now.
That the Broncos also lost 1,000-yard back D.J. Harper and I did not think to name him right off the bat speaks to how well I think Jay Ajayi will do in Harper's place. I don't expect any drop-off, which is probably why I trip on so many things!
AC: Bishop Sankey compiled 279 total yards in the Las Vegas Bowl. What's the plan to keep him under wraps in the rematch?
OBNUG: Two-hundred-seventy-nine yards! You're making that up.
Have you heard of the Michael Jordan defense? Let Michael Jordan score all his points so long as no one else beats you? Could work for the Broncos since Sankey's 279-yard afternoon wasn't enough for a win.
AC: Are there any new players for the Broncos who could have a big impact?
OBNUG: Boise State had a few JUCO transfers at corner and defensive tackle who are expected to contribute right away. True freshman running back Aaron Baltazar is listed as the backup to Ajayi, so I'd expect him to see some playing time.
AC: There's been a lot of talk over the past few months about the development of Joe Southwick. What are your expectations from him in this game and for the season?
OBNUG: t's probably a good thing there hasn't been much talk about Southwick because that means people no longer dislike Joe Southwick. I heard a lot about him last offseason because he was an unknown commodity. Now, he's known. That alone could be enough to make his 2013 season better than his 2012.
The development whispers have been that Southwick is an improved decision maker and a more accurate passer. Everyone seems to like him, from coaches to players to media to even some of us fans.
AC: A big deal is being made on the UW side about the game being played in the newly renovated Husky Stadium. I've also noticed a lot of BSU fans minimizing the impact that may have on the game. Where do you fall on this debate?
OBNUG: I don't anticipate the stadium atmosphere to be a huge obstacle for the Broncos. They've opened in some wild places in years past. The only one that got them was at Michigan State last year, but I attribute that more to the first start for Joe Southwick than the crazies in East Lansing.
(Note: I am not forgetting Boise State's loss to Washington six years ago.)
(Yes I am. I am always trying to forget that game.)
AC: What's your game prediction?
OBNUG: Boise State 31, Washington 24 in a Gus Johnson thriller.