Just two weeks into the college football season, and some would argue that it's too early to make decisions about a team's success or lack of success so far. But, as fans, it seems it's never too early. When the Boise State Broncos lose one game, you can be sure that getting tickets to games at Albertsons Stadium will be easier.

Having seen Boise State play two games in 2022, we can make some pretty educated judgments about the team and its coaching staff. At the same time, we can also make some quick judgments about the new look in-state rival Idaho Vandals.

For the Broncos, we can see the lack of maturity from the coaching staff. Pulling Hank Bachmeier after a dismal first-half performance in week one is the first example. While the team wasn't performing in the first half against what is nothing more than a practice squad at Oregon State, the staff should have come out of halftime with a different plan. Instead, Head Coach Andy Avalos put the entire team in turmoil by allowing the team to question who the on-field leader was.

In game two, Boise State struggled to move the ball, but the defense played so well that New Mexico had all but given up by the start of the second half. This wasn't a close game, and it shouldn't have been. The Broncos should start the season with four easy games: Oregon State, New Mexico, UT Martin, and UTEP. The first real test should come in week five against San Diego State, and the Broncos should have entered that week undefeated. On the Palouse, the University of Idaho is hoping to correct past mistakes with a new coach. Instead of hiring a Boise State retread or a famous, down-on-his-luck coach, the Vandals went with a coach that no one talked about. A first-time Head Coach, Jason Eck was the Offensive Coordinator at South Dakota State for the past two seasons. Other than some brief stints as a lower-level assistant at Colorado and Wisconsin, his resume has no big school. He coached the Offensive Line at Idaho for two seasons between 2004 and 2006, so he knew a little about what he was stepping into.  

Washington State lost their starting quarterback to Arizona in the offseason. Still, they brought a dynamic player to replace him in Cameron Ward. They also have a new Offensive Coordinator and a new system built around Ward's athleticism. Washington State paid the University of Idaho $575,000 just to show up for what they expected to be a glorified practice. In years past, the Washington State/Idaho rivalry has been very one-sided. However, the Vandals carried a 10-10 tie into halftime only to lose in the second half by a final score of 24-17.

The Vandals' played their second game on the road against the University of Indiana. It was supposed to be an easy win for the Hoosiers, which is why they paid Idaho 1.3 million dollars to play this game. Indiana didn't get the easy victory that they paid for. Idaho made them work for it. Idaho carried a 10-0 lead into halftime and, after a bad third quarter, lost the game 35-22.

Idaho's losses have been close and are massive improvements from last season. In 2021, the Vandals lost to Indiana 56-14. Their narrow loss to Washington State looks much better now that the Cougars have beaten AP Top 20 Wisconsin.

We expected Boise State to be 2-0 right now. We expected the Vandals to be 0-2. Surprising us by playing tough competition hard, the Vandals' winless start seems much more impressive than the Broncos' 1-1 start. Boise State seems to play down to their competition and make everything seem harder than it should be. The Vandals are making tough opponents look beatable and earning nearly two million dollars in the process. Seeing how they do through the much easier Big Sky Conference will be interesting. At the same time, we suddenly expect Boise State to struggle in the Mountain West all season. It's too bad we can't see these two square off head to head again like the good old days. Instead, we are left to fantasy book the two schools in our heads. I got the Vandals. Who you got?

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