Boise State vs. Michigan State: The Most Interesting Matchup of Week 1

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIIAugust 31, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Le'Veon Bell #24 and Travis Jackson #63 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrate after Bell scored a 6-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Week 1 of the college football season hits a crescendo on Saturday night when No. 8 Michigan takes on No. 2 Alabama. While that's the game getting all of the attention, a Friday night matchup in East Lansing could be the best of the weekend.

Danny Sheridan's odds in USA Today currently list Alabama as a 14-point favorite against the Wolverines. Michigan State is currently a seven-point favorite over Boise State. Based on the odds, the Boise State-Michigan State game will be closer than the marquee game.

The No. 24 Boise State Broncos will make the trip to East Lansing to take on the No. 13 Spartans.

The Broncos are no strangers to huge Week 1 matchups on national television. In 2010, the third-ranked Broncos traveled to D.C. to take on the 10th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. Boise State scored with a minute left to win that game 33-30.

This year's version returns only five starters from last year. The Boise State offense could struggle against one of the best defenses in the country. Junior quarterback Joe Southwick will try to replace record-setter Kellen Moore.

The Spartans return an experienced team that finished 11-3 last year and look to be contenders for the Big Ten title in 2012. Leading rusher Le'Veon Bell returns to lead the MSU ground attack. He rushed for 948 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. New quarterback Andrew Maxwell will look to replicate the success of Kirk Cousins, who was drafted in the 2012 NFL draft. 

William Gholston will be a leader on the defense. The defensive lineman will be a menace to quarterbacks all season, including Southwick on Friday night.

While the Spartans have a chance to run away with this game at home, it could be a lot closer than expected. The numbers seem to favor the more experienced Spartans; however, Boise State should never be counted out. Just ask Oklahoma what happened in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.