On Saturday evening, Troy plays one of the toughest nonconference home games in program history against Boise State, one of the best Group of Five programs in the entire country.
The winner of this game will score a big nonconference win to kick off the 2018 season.
In the preseason AP Poll, the Broncos are ranked No. 22, and the Trojans are unranked but received two votes.
If the Trojans win, the Broncos would likely be knocked out of the Top 25. While they may not jump into the rankings, the Trojans will almost certainly be on the outside looking in.
A win over Florida A&M likely won’t be enough to elevate Troy, but a win over Nebraska could be the victory the Trojans need to put themselves in the rankings, depending on what happens to the other teams around them.
Both Troy and Boise State are coming off conference championships, yet they enter 2018 in different circumstances.
The Trojans will replace Brandon Silvers at quarterback with junior Kaleb Barker. Barker will benefit from a senior-laden core of receivers and playing at home for the first game of the season.
The Broncos won’t have to replace anybody since they return their signal-caller Brett Rypien for his senior season. Rypien has thrown for 60 touchdowns and almost 10,000 yards so far in his career.
In addition to the quarterback position, the Broncos also return seven other players on both sides of the ball who were named to the Preseason All-Mountain West teams.
But the Trojans have plenty of talent for themselves. Troy has 10 different players on the preseason all-Sun Belt teams.
The matchup in the trenches could dictate the game, and it is highly important to keep an eye out for it.
Both teams last year finished in the top 20 last season in rushing yards allowed per game, and Troy finished in the top 10 in sacks.
Troy returns most of its offensive and defensive lines, and so does Boise State.
Whichever team takes over at the line of scrimmage will have an edge, possibly leading to victory.
Right now, bettors have Boise State as a 10.5-point favorite. I think, however, the Trojans have enough to at least cover the spread.
I think the Broncos have too much talent and don’t have to replace as much as Troy does.
On paper, the Broncos should win; however, Troy’s defense should keep them in the game, and the Trojans are going to play like they can compete with anybody who comes to Veterans Memorial Stadium.