Boise State Football: Picking Every 2012 Game on the Board Against the Spread
The point spread is tentatively in place, so step up to the window and place your bets. Actually, with the college football season a scant two months off, it seemed inevitable that the bookmakers would start offering point spreads. This, in itself, is bucking the odds simply because anything can happen during a game and season. An injury in the first quarter of the first game to a key player can totally upend the odds. Suspensions also could play a factor; in fact, a wide range of things could completely wash out preseason spreads.
There is a notion about journalism that there is supposed to be some impartiality; select the winners of games, and that idea may be compromised. Pick the team you cover to win, and you could be construed as a fanboy; pick that team to lose and best keep a low profile during the season...for the next decade or two.
Regardless, the story was tossed my way to pick the 2012 season against the point spread. This is not actually asking to pick a winner, but rather, whether or not the Broncos are going to beat the spread. The first thing to do was find a site that had the entire season figured, and the first one found was Beyondthebets.com. BtB had one of the game dates wrong—the last one against Nevada, which takes place on December 1, not the previous week. It is gutsy to pick all the games of the 2012 season.
Also, the Broncos' schedule is all over the place, with a big break between Week 1 and 2 and then three games jammed into a two-week period.
Enough of the prelims; time to roll the dice and make some picks against the spread.
Aug. 31: Boise State at Michigan State -7
While it's true that Michigan State has had all spring and summer to prep to face the Broncos, the reverse is also true. Sure, BSU is without Kellen Moore and crew, but MSU is without Kirk Cousins. Add to the mix that Boise State has been very good against teams from BCS conferences in the opening game of the season for several years now, and there is little to believe that the Broncos won't be good again.
Pick: Boise State to beat the spread.
Sept. 15: Miami (OH) at Boise State -27
Tough call here. It's the home opener for BSU, and it has had two weeks to prep for the game. BSU is tough on the blue and will be eager to show off for the first home crowd of the season. While 27 points seems like a lot, if the Bronco offense is lively against MSU, it should be on fire against Miami (Ohio). If BSU struggled against MSU, then the Broncos have had two weeks to fix the offense.
The Redhawks were 4-8 in 2011, and while the Broncos had two weeks to rest for this game, the Redhawks are playing their third game since the opener at Ohio State on Sept. 1.
Pick: BSU to beat the spread.
Sept. 20: Brigham Young at Boise State -7
The Brigham Young University Cougars were 10-3 in 2011. They open with Washington State, then play Weber State and Utah before hitting the blue against BSU. The Cougars also have an experienced quarterback in Riley Nelson, who posted a 6-1 record after taking over the starting duties at about the midway mark. Nelson can throw (in 2011, he had 1,717 yards through the air with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions), and run (88 carries for 392 yards and one touchdown).
This could be a lot closer than people think, and with the way BSU's kicking game has been, if it comes down to a field goal, all bets are off.
Pick: BSU doesn't beat the spread.
Sept. 29: Boise State -29.5 at New Mexico
When you see a 29.5-point margin of victory, it raises hackles. Boise State's offense in 2011 was potent, but most of the time, when the game was out of reach by several touchdowns, coach Chris Petersen pulled his starters and gave backup players a chance to gain experience. While BSU should win at New Mexico, it might not be by better than four touchdowns.
Pick: BSU won't beat the spread.
Oct. 6: Boise State -6 at Southern Miss
The last time the Broncos played Southern Miss, it was in 2008 in Hattiesburg. Boise State posted a 24-7 win that year.
Since then, though, Southern Miss dismantled Houston's potent offense in the Conference USA 2011 title game by a score of 49-28. The Eagles have the athletes, and this could be another big road test for the Broncos. The Eagles have some tests of their own before the Bronco game, starting with the season opener at Nebraska, then hosting East Carolina, traveling to Western Kentucky and playing host to Louisville.
This has the makings of a good game, but will there be less than a touchdown separating the two teams at game's end? This one may be too close to call.
Pick: Boise State doesn't beat the spread.
Oct. 13: Fresno State at Boise State -20.5
In 2011, Boise State traveled to Fresno and put a whipping on the Bulldogs, winning 57-7. Expect Fresno State to remember that when the Bulldogs visit Boise. The only problem is they may not be able to do much about it. The Bulldogs were 4-9 in 2011, and the program is operating under a bit of a cloud after the NCAA investigation was announced in September of 2011, which is not always great for recruiting top talent. Plus, Fresno State will be at Boise.
Pick: Boise State to beat the spread.
Oct. 20: UNLV at Boise State -36
Boise State a five-touchdown favorite over UNLV? This seems like a sucker bet in so many ways. UNLV didn't have a great 2011 (2-10) and lost to the Broncos, 48-21. The Rebels probably won't contend for the Mountain West title in 2012, but they also probably won't be thumped by Boise State by 36 points or more.
Pick: Boise State won't beat the spread.
Oct. 27: Boise State -15 at Wyoming
Boise State hosted Wyoming in 2011, and the score was much closer (36-14) than the stats would show. Sure, it was three touchdowns, but the Broncos averaged 44 points a game, and Wyoming held the high-flying BSU offense down despite surrendering 479 yards of total offense to the Broncos while only managing to post 191 yards of total offense. Expect the Cowboys to be a little tougher.
Wyoming starts with a severe test with the Texas Longhorns, but could do well against other opponents leading up to the matchup with the Broncos. Good enough to hold the Broncos to under two touchdowns? Probably not.
Pick: BSU beats the spread.
Nov. 3: San Diego State at Boise State -23
San Diego State was on the side of BSU in the offseason when the Broncos were trying to find a home for other sports when BSU departs the MWC for the Big East in football only. Nice guys…err, except it was the Aztec coach that complained about BSU wearing blue at home.
In 2011 at San Diego State, BSU won handily by a 52-35 final. Back on the blue, that 17-point margin of victory in 2011 could blossom into a three touchdown edge in 2012.
Pick: Boise State beats the spread
Nov. 10: Boise State -19.5 at Hawaii
Ah, the palm trees, the sunshine, the warmth of the tropics in November. Back in Boise, unless the weather continues to be unpredictable, it will be cold and the players will enjoy the opportunity to get somewhere warm. The last time that the Broncos played Hawaii, it was on the smurf turf on Nov. 6 in 2010. The outcome that time was 42-7. If the Broncos are rolling, they could beat Hawaii by three touchdowns on the island.
Pick: BSU to beat the spread.
Nov. 17: Colorado State at Boise State -29.5
It wasn't close, or even pretty, in 2011 when the Broncos tangled with Colorado State in the home of the Rams. The final score there was 63-13. Losing by four touchdowns on the smurf turf, could well make the Rams grateful that BSU is the second-to-last game of the season.
Pick: Boise State covers the spread.
Dec. 1: Boise State -9.5 at Nevada
Boise State and Nevada have has some titanic battles, going all the way back to the Big Sky in Division 1AA football. Coach Chris Ault's Wolf Pack took the Broncos down in 2010, and the Broncos toppled Nevada in 2011 by a 30-10 count in Boise.
Ault and Nevada, like BSU, will have two weeks to prep for this game, and it is in Reno. But will Boise State win by less that two touchdowns? If the Broncos do what Boise State fans think they will do in 2012, Boise State may use the Nevada game to prepare for a bowl game.
Pick: Boise State beats the spread.