Boise State at Michigan State
Erin Rynning's Recommendation:
Friday, 5 pm PT - ESPN
Michigan State -4.5 O/U 51.5
Michigan State -6.5 O/U 46
Rob Veno's Power Rating:
Michigan State -6
It’s difficult to write off Boise State in this contest as a +7 underdog. All they’ve done over the seven year tenure of head coach Chris Petersen is produce a 73-6 record. Keep in mind they’ve also beaten Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia in their last three season openers. Of course, the immense question in this clash is what Boise will bring to the table after huge losses on both sides of the football. No question, this is a much, much different team than at any time under Petersen. The Broncos have to replace quarterback Kellen Moore who posted the best record of any signal caller in college football history, along with five other starters. Redshirt junior Joe Southwick was recently named the starter. Meanwhile, the losses on defense are jarring with nine of BSU’s top 10 tacklers gone from 2011.
Michigan State suffered offseason losses as well including quarterback Kirk Cousins. Junior Andrew Maxwell was a member of the Elite 11 quarterback development program and has spent two years being groomed to fill Cousin’s shoes. There are some questions regarding his supporting cast however. The offense returns only five starters and the wide receiver position was gutted. On defense, the Spartans appear loaded even with the loss of NFL second round draft choice Jerel Worthy. Eight starters are back from a unit that led the Big Ten in total defense last year (277.4 ypg allowed).
I expect these squads to play a conservative style on offense. Both coaches will want to keep the ball on the ground to take the pressure off their new quarterbacks. The Spartans will especially look to run the ball up the middle with Boise replacing its entire defensive front. This will be a difficult test for the Boise offense as the Spartans allowed just 18 points per game last year, and may be even better in 2012. I’ll side with the UNDER in what has the potential to be a very low scoring game.
Follow me on Twitter @ersports1
Other Sportsmemo Handicapper Game Previews
Marty Otto - Washington State at BYU
Alf Musketa - Notre Dame vs. Navy
Rob Veno - Clemson vs. Auburn