Boise State Broncos (0-0, 0-0 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (0-0, 0-0 ATS) 8:00 p.m. EST, College Football Week 1, Monday, September 6, 2010, Fed Ex Field, Landover, Maryland
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Boise State (-2.5), Virginia Tech (+ 2.5)
What a way to start a season. Things get off to a quick start for both teams in this fate-mapping matchup here in Week One. Both teams are hopeful for the upcoming season with national championship aspirations. For Boise State, their biggest game comes in the first week. Despite ranked Oregon State and formidable conference rival Nevada still ahead, this is still likely to be their make-or-break game. The Broncos would still have work to do, but a win here could really pave the way to a special year.
So I expect a sense of late-season intensity, even if its without the late-season form. 5th-ranked Boise State has become a sweetheart amongst fans, but they might not be overrated as some have speculated heading into the 2010 season. They come back loaded this year with more returning starters than any team in the country. Standout quarterback Kellen Moore (39 TDs/3 INTs in 09) returns with 9 other starters on offense.
The Broncos boast of many weapons on offense, featuring big play receivers in Austin Pettis and Titus Young and a trio of great tailbacksheaded by 1000+ yard-rusher Jeremy Avery. Their offensive line has 4 returning starters of a cast that gave opposing defenses fits last year. In sum, you have one of last years best offenses in the nation bringing everyone back. It stands to reason that they will be even better this year, with added big-game experience and maturity.
The Boise State defense is also a veteran group looking to improve on their already-strong form of 09. Sack specialist Ryan Winterswyk, with tackle Billy Winn; make for a tough pass rush. Sure, they lost some steam in the secondary with the departure of first-rounder Kyle Wilson, but Brandon Thompson (6 INTs) and tackling machine Jeron Johnson come back to head up what should be a strong unit.
The 6th-ranked Hokies have cause for optimism, looking to build significantly on a strong 09 season. Their offense seems to be strong heading into the season, while question marks exist on defense. QB Tyrod Taylor looks to have a big year. He has the experience and maturity to now be the steady leader the Hokies need him to be. Last year is the type of campaign that builds young players like Taylor. He will have weapons, in the form of a pair of game-breaking tailbacks. Darren Evans is back after a knee injury took him out for the whole year. In his absence, Ryan Williams became the freshman of the year with 1600+ yards and 21 TDs. Taylors top 3 receivers are back, so look for some big stuff from the play-action this year.
With only 5 returning starters on defense, the jury is still out on how they’ll perform. Their defense was really their saving grace last year. The line took a big hit, with only one starter coming back for 10. Will a player or two step up or will their pass rush be a problem this year? That could be disastrous against an explosive team like the Broncos. The V-Tech linebackers are a good group, but mostly against the run. In addition, their 2 best players from the secondary return to head up what should be a tough group to compete against.
Head Coach Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech did not make it to 17 straight bowl games by not being able to reload on talent. The defense, though gutted, could surprise by turning into a real bang-em-up unit. The pass rush should be a cause for concern. With extra time to operate, the precise Kellen Moore should be able to cash in on some big plays. The Tech secondary is good, but no one can hold coverage for that long.
Nevertheless, playing in a quasi-home game with a potentially lethal offense, the Hokies are not without hope. I just see Boise State playing this game with so much urgency that they will be hard to dissuade. The Hokies have a fine squad, but they are perhaps being overrated a tad. They can win the ACC and win their share of big games, but they might not quite be a bonafide national championship contender. At least not at the moment. Boise State is and they have very few opportunities to show itthis being their biggest one.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover: The opening line of Boise State
by 2.5 has been moving towards the critical crux of 3, with the over/under
dropping precipitously from 53 to 50. I expect more of a grog on grass,
but Boise State should be able to put up points copiously. I predict Boise
State wins a tough game by 7-10 points. Take the Broncos laying 2.5 points.