Washington State Cougars (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Boise State Broncos (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10, 10:15PM EST (7:15PM PST)
Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID.
by Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WSU +11.5/BSU -11.5
Over/Under Total: 69
The Washington State Cougars will try to rebound this weekend after suffering a season opening loss at home to in-state FCS foe Eastern Washington Eagles last Saturday 45-42. Strangely enough, the Cougars started their season the same way last year by losing to Portland State. However, the loss woke the Cougs up as they rallied to win 6 PAC 12 games and finished the season 9-4 after beating the Miami Hurricanes 20-14 in the Sun Bowl in El Paso. It must be noted that the Eastern Washington Eagles are not a pancake team by any measure—they may be in a lower division but they are a good football team with arguably one of the best receivers in the country in Cooper Kupp. Kupp torched the Coug’s on 12 catches for 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. Unfortunately, for the Cougar’s secondary it doesn’t get much easier this week as they face Boise State’s high flying offense and 2nd year All-Mountain West First Team Honored Bronco’s QB Brett Rypien. Rypien picked up right where he left off last year by going 22 of 33 passing for 347 yards and two touchdowns in BSU’s opening weekend win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Cougars players are trying not to let the loss to a lower division squad carry over to the Boise State game. Call it what you want but there’s a reason why the NFL gets to play several preseason games—get the bugs out, clean up the confusion, and well, look like a professional team before the “real” season begins. If you look at the Cougars on paper they are legit but they had plenty of drops, missed coverages, and opportunities squandered. WSU QB Luke Falk was as positive as a guy could be after the loss to EWU. Falk remained calm and was confident that the Cougars will learn from this mishap and drive forward just like they did last year. Senior receiver, Gabe Marks was a bit more emotional about the week one loss, and he more or less challenged his teammates to find their identity and their own path—not the team from a year ago but this year’s team needs to take shape and quickly. Marks is a leader for the Cougs and I look to him to have an impact on this week’s prep for the Broncos.
Offensively, both of these teams can put up numbers. The opening total is currently at 69 which may go over if both QBs are on par. I like the QB matchup in this contest, Falk vs Rypien should make for a heck of a gun-slinger battle on the blue turf. These QBs are deadly when they get going (Falk was mentioned as a potential preseason Heisman hopeful). Rypien has the QB legacy in his blood as he’s the nephew of former Coug’s QB and Redskin’s Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien.
The key to this game will be QB play and defense as usual. WSU Head Coach Mike Leach has announced that free safety Shalom Luani will play against Boise State. Luani was suspended for an alleged assault charge earlier this off-season. This might help the Coug’s defense recover from last week’s beating. Basically, the Cougars are young especially in the secondary where they were out played but a lot of the problems were missed tackles, and not making plays in front of them. If the Cougs can get things cleaned up they might be better but they will still be suspect.
The Broncos are 96-6 at home over the past decade. This is not a good sign for the Cougars as they desperately attempt to erase last week’s loss. Brett Rypien is one of the best young QBs in the nation. Rypien will easily pick apart the WSU defense on his way to the Bronco’s 2nd win of the season. The Cougars will be a better team this week but it is not going to be enough to win the game. The point spread is currently Boise State -11.5, but I don’t think they can cover this line. WSU is better than they showed last week—with some defensive adjustments they should cover this line but they will not win the game.
I like the Cougars to cover this line but not get the win—Boise State is too tough at home.
Wilson's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Broncos hand the Cougs their 2nd loss in as many games but WSU manages to cover. Luck to ya.
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