The 2012 college football season opens with an exciting match up this Friday night (8:00pm EST) in East Lansing, MI featuring two exciting, top 25 programs in the 24th ranked Boise St. Broncos of the Mountain West Conference and the 13th ranked Michigan St. Spartans of the Big 10.Boise St. is led by Head Coach Chris Petersen, who has 73-6 record in his seventh season with the Broncos. The Broncos will feature a new starting quarterback this season with junior Joe Southwick replacing longtime starter Kellen Moore who started more games than any other QB in major college football history. Michigan St. is led by head man Mark Dantonio, who is 44-22 at MSU in six seasons at the helm. The Spartans will also be breaking a new starter under center, as junior Andrew Maxwell replaces the departed Kirk Cousins.
The Broncos will rely on the running game early in the season with an experienced QB, and sixth-year senior tailback DJ Harper (4.8 yards per carry, 9 rushing TDs in 2011) is an explosive player that the Spartans will have to account for. Southwick completed 23 of 30 attempts for 198 yards in limited action last season. Boise St. will be rebuilding on defense with only two returning starters, both at cornerback, this season from a unit that ranked 12th in points allowed with 18.7 per game and 16th in total defense with 320.8 YPG allowed last season.
MSU’s new QB Maxwell has attempted only 51 passes in his career, completing 69% of them for 171 yards and TD last season. The Spartans return running back Le’Veon Bell, who ran for 948 yards and 13 TDs a season ago. Look for MSU to lean on the running game early until Maxwell becomes more comfortable as the man under center. The MSU defense should rank as one of the best units in the nation again this season, led by defensive end William Gholston who is projected to be the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft. In 2011, MSU ranked 5th in the nation in total defense with an average of 277.4 YPG allowed and and 10th in scoring defense with 18.4 PPG allowed.
Boise St. vs. Michigan St. Spread and Betting Odds:
Boise St. Broncos +7
@Michigan St. Spartans -7
Over 46.5 (-110)
Under 46.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv (Click link for $250 Free Bet)
Boise St. vs. Michigan St. Pick:
Michigan State has won 14 straight games in East Lansing, Boise St. was 5-8 ATS in 2011, including a 4-2 record ATS in away games. MSU was 10-4 ATS last season and 5-2 ATS in East Lansing. The over is 7-2 in BSU’s last 9 games overall, and the Broncos are 21-7 ATS in their last 28 road games and 20-7 ATS in their last 27 games on grass. The over is 9-3 in Michigan State’s last 12 non-conference games.
Boise St. and Michigan St. both feature new quarterbacks and experienced players in the running game, so look for both teams to keep the ball on the ground more than they did last season in this contest. MSU with both the home field advantage and the stronger returning defensive unit, has a huge advantage in this game. Look for Gholston and company to come after Boise State’s Southwick any chance that they have, and they will get the opportunity to rush the passer as Boise State will still throw the ball quite a bit as Petersen’s offense is built around the passing game. With MSU featuring a stronger unit upfront, and with Boise State losing their top 5 defensive lineman from a year ago MSU should be able to pound the ball at the Bronco defense and control the clock. If Boise falls behind early ( and the call here is that they will) look for Gholston and the MSU defense to have a big day and disrupt the inexperienced Southwick enough to cover the spread at home. Take MSU to cover the 7 points in this game.
PICK = Michigan State -7