Two games will get Week 9 of the college football season underway on Thursday night. For some teams, this is Week 1, and for others they’ve been playing every week. Everything is disjointed in college football this season, but at least we can say that there’s football being played.
The Big Ten is officially back, while the Pac-12 will be back on the field next weekend. Both conferences are eligible for the College Football Playoff, along with the Heisman. That’s big news for Justin Fields who is one of the Heisman front runners. I think the shortlist begins and ends at Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields.
On Thursday night, we have South Alabama and Georgia Southern in the early game, and Colorado State and Fresno State to follow in the nightcap on the west coast. The kickoff time for Colorado State and Fresno State works out perfectly if you’re interested in the Thursday Night Football game.
You can watch the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, and then turn over to the Rams and Bulldogs to wrap up the day. No disrespect to South Alabama and Georgia Southern, but I’m probably not going to pay much attention to that contest. Besides keeping an eye on what’s going on for a possible future wager, South Alabama and Georgia Southern will be on the backburner.
Colorado State will be playing in their first game of the year on Thursday night. After a long delay, which included having to postpone last week against New Mexico, the Rams will finally make their 2020 debut in Fresno against the Bulldogs. Fresno State are coming off a weak performance against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors last week.
In their first game of the season, Fresno State looked not good at all against Hawaii. They did not look prepared to play. The Bulldogs were ousted by a score of 34-19 against a Hawaii team that had to fly from the islands to California. Jake Haener was not in good form for the Bulldogs against a beatable Hawaii defense. He has an opportunity to bounce back tonight, though. Head below for our free Colorado State vs. Fresno State pick for October 29, 2020.
Colorado State Rams vs. Fresno State Bulldogs NCAAF Betting Odds:
Colorado State vs. Fresno State Prediction:
Jake Haener must put last week in the past quickly. He was all out of sorts in his first outing as a starting quarterback. Haener transferred to Fresno State after throwing 1 touchdown and 1 interception with Washington in 2018. That was in mop up duty as a backup. In his first role as a starting QB, it didn’t go well against Hawaii. Haener passed for 3 interceptions on 54.8% completions.
He converted for 1 touchdown, but the turnovers did him and the Bulldogs in. Haener was a bit of a wildcard going into this season, and our first look at him wasn’t very impressive. Fresno State must get Ronnie Rivers going on the ground if they’re going to have success in the Mountain West this season. Rivers is the focal point of their offense. If the offensive line can’t provide a push for Rivers, then Haener is going to continue to struggle in the pocket.
Fresno State has to get back to the basics on Thursday night. Run the football with Rivers and play the ball possession game. Rivers ran for 79 yards and 4.4 yards per carry and a score versus the Rainbow Warriors. Last season Rivers had a career-high in his junior season with 899 yards with 5.1 yards per carry. He also caught 43 receptions for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns. I think the Bulldogs are going to keep things a little more simpler this week. That should assist Haener nicely.
Colorado State brings in former Boston College head coach, Steve Addazio. The Rams haven’t named a starting quarterback going into the season opener. There are two options for Addazio, with Patrick O’Brien, who returns to Colorado State for his senior season O’Brien passed for 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 61.8% completions last season. He has competition from Temple transfer Todd Centeio. Centeio passed for 5 touchdowns and 1 interceptions on 66.7% completions with Temple in 2019.
Addazio is more of an old school style coach that likes to run the ball behind a big offensive line. I wouldn’t say that Colorado State is in a position to achieve what Addazio wants to do yet. He needs to hit the recruiting trail before they get to that point, but expect the ground game to be their go-to on Thursday night against Fresno State. If the defense can force Haener into multiple mistakes, then running the ball should be more than fine. I’m looking for a ball control game without too many big plays. That should equate to a low-scoring contest in Fresno on Thursday night.