BOISE STATE BRONCOS @ VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (+2.5)
Scanning through the week 1 college football lines, the game that stands out this week other than Pitt @ Utah is Boise State @ Virginia Tech (+2.5). Two National Championship contenders, the No. 5 ranked Broncos and the No. 6. Hokies will be squaring off week one, in the Sunday Night Lights. The game is set for Monday, September 6th, on ESPN at 8:00pm. To be completely fair, this one is a toss up and I’m giving a slight nod to Virginia Tech. If I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that this team has performed exceptionally well at home in night games. Although they won’t have the advantage of playing on their home turf at Lane Stadium, they’ll still have a distinct home-field advantage playing at FedEx Field in Washington D.C.
With that said, I would be careless and hasty to say that Boise State doesn’t have a shot in this game. Despite VT’s huge home-field advantage, Boise State is 10-3 ATS on the road in their last 13 games. Even better is the fact that Boise State has 23 of the 24 players that started in the Fiesta Bowl returning. If your memory fails you, Boise State defeated No. 3 TCU last year 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl and remained undefeated.
BSU’s QB Kellen Moore threw for over two miles last season (3,537 yards to be exact) with a ridiculous 39 TDs. Moore also has all of his top playmakers back again this season. Boise State has an opportunity to play for a National Championship if they win this game. This game is their National Championship, which is why I cannot wait to watch this game Monday night.
Virginia Tech cannot be overlooked though. Virginia averaged 32 PPG last season and come in ranked No. 6 in the nation, just one spot shy of Boise State. Like Boise State, Virginia Tech has a lot of their key players returning from last season. VT will be led by top QB Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is complimented by two outstanding backs in RB Ryan Williams (1655 yards and 21 TDs last season) and RB Darren Evans (returning from an injury, had an excellent 2008 season). They’ll be a tremendous 1-2 punch. Ryan Williams is a downright scary back — must see video below. Dare I compared him to Adrian Peterson? Watch the video to find out for yourself. Both the same size, Williams is a couple inches shorter, but very similar running styles. Williams set a VT record for most 100-yard games in a season as a freshmen, breaking the record of his current teammate Darren Evans. This kid is going to turn heads this season. In the passing game, Tyrod Taylor’s top target in the air is WR Jarrett Boykin, a very talented receiver who had 40 receptions for 835 yards (20.9 YPR) last season.
However, the Hokies are dealing with a young defense. You’re asking a lot from a young squad to go out there and stop Boise State’s potent offense, one of the best offenses in college football. This one should be high scoring and come down to the wire. On a more neutral field than DC, I would say Boise State all the way, but the Monday night, home-team factor has me give the nod to the Hokies.
Update: Thanks to One Bronco Nation for the shout out on their blog. One thing I overlooked was Boise’s D in this one. No question BSU has a very talented defense, which you can clearly see in the highlight package below. They led the NCAA in interceptions last season with 25 while VT only had 11 INTs but BSU plays much weaker teams. They shut down TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, but the one game that sticks out in my mind from last season was the Nevada game, which BSU won 44-33. Nevada had a tremendous running attack like VT does and BSU gave up a lot of points in that game, which is why I think VT won’t have a problem scoring in this one. Boise also struggled against the run when they played Fresno State. On the other hand, they limited Oregon to just 8 points in the season opener last year, another impressive feat. Both teams have very similar defensive stats, they both gave up about 300 yards and 17 points per game. This will be a very interesting game.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 27 – Boise State 24
Pick Against the Spread: Virginia Tech +2.5 (Confidence: 1.5/5)
Notes: I’m expecting to see lots of scoring in this one, but a lower scoring game like the Fiesta Bowl wouldn’t surprise me either. The game ATS I think is a toss up. You have two excellent offenses and defenses and which one breaks will have to be your call. BSU’s offense and defense may be better than VT, but I’m playing the home-team factor here. I also love the Taylor/Williams/Evans triple threat against a notoriously bad run defense. The majority are calling for the Broncos to win this one, but I’m simply going against the grain so I can go back and say “I called it” if VT wins this one. By no means will I be betting on this game.
Also for the record, Brandon really likes Boise State in this game.
9/6 Update: I’m flip-flopping on this one. Boise is just too damn good. With Boise’s offense against 7 new faces on VT’s defense, VT will be hard pressed to outshoot Boise in this one. After getting a favorable line movement, I don’t mind laying some extra juice to take a teaser of Boise State +10, Over 43.5 (Confidence 3.5/5).
Who will win in Week 1's big game between No. 5 Boise State @ No. 6 Virginia Tech?
- Boise State (52%, 549 Votes)
- Virginia Tech (48%, 514 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,063
Ryan Williams Highlights:
Boise State 2009 Highlights:
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