Fresno State Bulldogs (6-3 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (9-0 SU, 7-2 ATS), 9:30 pm EST, College Football Week 12, Friday, November 19, 2010, Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Fresno St. +30/BSU -30
The undefeated Boise State Broncos host the upset-minded Fresno State Bulldogs this Friday, trying to win their tenth straight game of the season. Ranked 4th in the BCS, the Broncos continue to be resolute in their effort to get to the national championship game. A lot can still happen, but it’s a must that they continue to play with the great form they’ve showed all season. They covered again on Saturday, pasting Idaho by 38. The going figures to get tougher this week against the upstart Bulldogs, though Boise State is at home.
Fresno State is 6-3, which isn’t great considering their strength of schedule. They lost by 17 to sub-.500 Mississippi and by 22 to conference rival Hawaii—a team Boise State easily handled. At the same time, they have won 3 out of 4, the only loss being a 1-point edging by powerful Nevada. That was their last game and the Bulldogs look to be improving. They can use all the help they can get against Boise State.
Waiting for the Broncos to cool off is a futile exercise. The wins and the covers continue to mount. They have scored 48-59 points in 5 of their last 6, while allowing 14 or less in 5 of their last 6. They’re like a machine, with Kellen Moore continuing to put up a clean slate of stats. Fresno State needs some stars to line up to keep this one even moderately competitive.
One such star could be that Boise State is looking ahead to Nevada the following week. Having mopped up their toughest opposition back in September, Nevada has loomed as the one possible speed bump en route to another undefeated Broncos season. After beating mercilessly on one team after the next, the Broncos might be gearing up for Nevada, while mentally eschewing Fresno State as a worthwhile opponent. That could be dangerous, considering the Bulldogs might be a peaking young squad looking to bust out a bit. Last season, the Broncos only beat the Bulldogs by 17. While that shouldn’t lead anyone to think they’ll be competitive this year, it gives some justification for those picturing the Bulldogs covering this 30-point spread.
The Bulldogs have seen some improvement on offense this year, particularly from quarterback Ryan Colburn. He’s been efficient, taken what the game has given him, and utilized his playmakers well. Among them is 5’7” running back Robbie Rouse, who has stepped up this season with nearly 1000 yards on the ground. The pass catching is done somewhat by committee, with 6 ball catchers having made multiple touchdown receptions. The defense is the real question mark, as they will be heavily tested in all areas. The Bulldogs “D” looked shaky in giving up 49 to Hawaii, but has since been stingier. It kept them in the game against the high-powered Nevada offense in their last game.
You see all these highly-ranked teams like Oregon and TCU getting by the skin of their teeth and you figure it will happen at some point with Boise State. It just hasn’t happened and might not for the last 3 games of the regular season. Any reason you offer for Fresno State covering here in light of a Broncos letdown was also applicable in other games this season, most of which the Broncos covered. Now they have picked up ground on TCU, giving hope they can eventually pass them in the BCS, having 3 more games, while TCU plays only one more time. If Alabama can beat Auburn or if Oregon falls to Arizona or Oregon State, the national championship might not be such a pipe dream.
So now is no time for a letdown. Expect the Broncos to keep playing as if trying to prove the BCS wrong. They have covered 7 of 9 games this season and 19 of their last 26. The Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games against teams with a winning record, but 13-27 ATS in their last 40 conference games. But when you look at how well Fresno State usually plays against Boise State, a cover is not out of the question. Since 2002, the Bulldogs have lost to Boise State only once by more than 24 points.
Scotty L’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Fresno State played Nevada very tough, keeping Colin Kaepernick in check in the passing game. Moore may find this secondary to be the toughest he’s faced in quite a few weeks. Still, the Bulldogs gave up 245 yards on the ground. The Broncos should find success running the ball on Friday. They will be having their way with a tired Bulldogs “D” in the second half. Look for Boise State to continue throttling lesser conference rivals. Another win along the lines of 55-14 or 51-17 seems likely. Take the Boise State Broncos minus 30 points.
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