Having already made a pick on the the total, today we make a play on the spread. Smarting after a losing a heartbreaker to Utah, the BYU Cougars show up in Bronco Stadium to do battle with Boise State. Do we make BYU covering the touchdown spread one of our college football picks?
Boise State Broncos
Kellen Moore and Doug Martin aren't around anymore, but the
Broncos think they've found two very capable replacements. The jury's still
out, but there has certainly been encouraging signs from the pair through two
Joe Southwick was working behind Moore for three years
before finally getting his chance to start. He struggled in the opener,
throwing for only 169 yards with one interception, but looked much better in
last weekend's 39-12 trouncing of Miami of Ohio.
At running back, the Broncos have sixth-year senior D.J.
Harper, who exploded for 162 yards and three touchdown runs against the
It's hard to get a great read, however, on this Boise State team
through only two games. They hung tough with a talented Michigan State
team and then easily got past a weak Miami of Ohio squad. This test against BYU
will show us a lot, no doubt about it.
Defensively, the Broncos have to get after Riley Nelson if
they want any shot of containing that BYU offense. This unit has looked strong
at times but has failed to get consistent pressure on the quarterback.
A lot of people seem to be overlooking the Cougars in this
spot. Let's not forget that this is a team that went 10-3 last season and has
returned a great deal of starters.
Last week's loss to archrival Utah was a killer blow,
especially since BYU had two separate chances to win the game.
You've got to have a short memory in football, though, and
you'd have to think Nelson, the senior quarterback and leader of this team,
will be able to get that through to his teammates.
Look for the combination of Nelson and Cody Hoffman to make
their mark again on Thursday. Hoffman already has 18 receptions for 281 yards
and two touchdowns, while Kanaekua Friel, a monstrous tight end, has been a
nice outlet for Nelson too, hauling in 15 catches for 195 yards and a
team-leading four scores.
We can't forget about that defense, either. The Cougars have
one of the country's best run defenses and are currently ranked number nine in
total defense. They've allowed only 225 YPG so far this season.
College Football ATS Pick
The crowd noise at Bronco Stadium will be legit, but
the Cougars have dealt with hostile environments plenty of times before. This
is a veteran bunch of guys, and they should be able to deal with the added
Last season, BYU went into Ole Miss and won 14-13 in their
opener and then lost by just a point on the road against Texas a week later.
The Cougars also beat Oregon State (38-28) and Hawaii (41-20) to finish with a
highly respectable 3-1 road record.
I think a lot of people will be fading BYU after that
heart-wrenching defeat, but I disagree with that thought. I believe that the Cougars will come out with even more fire, especially with the crowd
against them once again. This team is solid on both sides of the ball.
Whether that translate into a straight up victory I'm not
sure, but I do see BYU keeping this one close enough for them to cover as dogs.