Boise State running back Robert Mahone carries the ball across the goal line, scoring the winning touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NCAA football game against Florida State on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla.

HUNTINGTON - One look at the Boise State game notes shows the mind set that has made the Broncos one of the top mid-major programs in the country.

With the College Football Playoff now entrenched in the fabric of the sport, terms such as "Power 5" and "Group of Five" have become everyday lingo associated with the game.

But not for Boise State. You will not see one reference to the Power 5 listed within the Broncos' game notes.

What you will see is the subtle phrase "Autonomous Five," which refers to those teams residing in five conferences - the Atlantic Coast, Southeastern, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 - who in 2014 were given power by the NCAA to write many of their own rules on issues such as staff sizes, recruiting, cost-of-attendance stipends and other issues in college football.

So why don't the game notes call those schools the Power 5? Well, because to Boise State they haven't been that powerful.

The Broncos have a 16-9 record against those programs since 2006, and last week's 36-31 win over Florida State gave Boise State a win over a Power 5 opponent in five of the last six seasons.

It is that type of success and mentality that has kept the Broncos carrying the flag for the Group of Five schools for many years.

Marshall offensive line coach Greg Adkins has been at many levels of football - Power 5, Group of Five and NFL - and he said the consistency of Boise State is what is most impressive.

"When you look at Group of Five teams, you want to look at teams who have done it consistently," Adkins said. "I think that's the mark of a really good Group of Five, those that can do it year in, year out. Obviously, Boise would be one of the better teams has done that since they made the move. They do an outstanding job of developing football players and evaluating guys. They do a great job all the way around."

Even though they are separated by nearly 1,800 miles, there is a sense of connection between Marshall and Boise State.

Both were among the best NCAA Division I-AA programs in the early 1990s, and Boise State made the jump to Division I-A (now FBS) in 1996, one year prior to Marshall.

In 1999, Marshall went undefeated and finished No. 10 in the Associated Press rankings that season while Boise State was 10-3.

What the Broncos have done since that 1999 season is nothing short of impressive.

Starting with that year, Boise State has earned 10 or more wins in 16 of 20 seasons, and, since 2000, Boise State's record of 208-41 is the best in all of FBS.

The distant correlation between Marshall and Boise State continues with the level of winning championships. There have been 24 schools, Boise State and Marshall included, that made the jump from FCS (formerly Division I-AA) to FBS (formerly Division I-A). Boise State and Marshall are Nos. 1 and 2 in conference championships among those schools, with the Broncos first at 13 league titles and Marshall tied with Troy for second at six.

Of note, Marshall has only one conference title (2014) since joining Conference USA in 2005. Many of its championships came as members of the Mid-American Conference in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

That merger of two top-tier Group of Five programs is what makes Friday's contest so special for Marshall coach Doc Holliday and the Herd. The game is a measuring stick for where his program stacks up.

And regardless of whether they are labeled as one, Holliday knows Boise State is as powerful as any Power 5 program that could have been on the schedule.

"They won 11 games a year ago, so it will be an excellent challenge for us, but it's a challenge that we're looking forward to," Holliday said. "When you're in this business, as a coach or a player, these are the kinds of games you want to go play."

MARSHALL (1-0) at No. 24 BOISE STATE (1-0)

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho


Radio: ESPN 94.1-FM and AM-930, WDGG 93.7-FM


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