Date/Time: September 20, 2013 9:00 pm EST
College Football Betting Favorite: Fresno State -3
The Boise State Broncos have been the best of the smaller conference schools over the past few years, but the Fresno State Bulldogs have been nipping at their heels. These teams tied for first in the Mountain West last year, and this is the Bulldogs best chance to top the Broncos in 2013. Fresno State hosts Boise State this Friday night in a showcase game on ESPN. The stakes are very high here.
Boise State comes into this game with a 2-1 record on the season. The Broncos are still a very good team, but it’s fair to say this isn’t the same team that dominated almost everyone they played a couple years ago. Kellen Moore is gone and Joe Southwick is the quarterback for the Broncos. Southwick isn’t necessarily a bad quarterback, but he is much more of a game manager than a play maker. Southwick struggled in a big way against Washington earlier this year. Five of his six touchdown passes this season came against Tennessee Martin.
Boise State also hasn’t gotten the same production out of their defense that they are accustomed to. The Broncos defense is giving up 206 yards per game on the ground so far this year. That average is likely skewed a bit because they did play Air Force last week, but the Broncos certainly aren’t as stout against the run as they have been in the past. Remember, Boise State still has an elite coach in Chris Peterson. With Peterson on the sidelines, you can never count Boise State out of the game.
The Fresno State program was built up by former coach Pat Hill, but Tim DeRuyter is doing a great job taking the team to the next level. The Bulldogs shared the Mountain West title last year, and they have aspirations of an outright title this season. Fresno State returned 8 guys on each side of the ball from last year, and this is arguably the best team in Fresno State history. Fresno State was scheduled to play against Colorado last week, but that game was postponed due to flooding. It will be interesting to see if that helps the team be more prepared or if it makes them a bit sluggish at the beginning of this one.
Fresno State’s defense was supposed to be one of the best in the Mountain West Conference, but they have really struggled so far this year. The Bulldogs are giving up 480 yards of total offense per game through their first couple contests. That will definitely have to improve. Derek Carr is an elite quarterback, and this Bulldogs offense should be able to pile up the points all year long. The Bulldogs are averaging 332 yards per game through the air so far this season.
Free Pick: Fresno State -3
Boise State has given Fresno State all kinds of problems over the years. In fact, the Broncos are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games against Fresno State. This year, Fresno State is definitely the more talented team. If they are ever going to get them, this is the year. I like the Bulldogs here.
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