College Football: Boise State Broncos at BYU Cougars

The late games on Saturday always offer an entertaining nightcap but this week, we’ll have more than just the Pac-12 After Dark. Boise State Broncos are ranked in the Top 25 and will go on the road to face a BYU team that started so positively but has nosedived ever since. Do the Cougars have it in them to spring a third upset win this season?

BOISE STATE BRONCOS AT BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS
CFB ODDS: BOISE STATE -6.5
CFB TOTAL: 50.5

WHY THE BRONCOS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The Broncos play great defense most of the time. They had a sluggish opener against Florida State, and then played a wacky shootout against Hawaii last week in which they allowed 37 points. However, Boise State won 59-37 and was never threatened in that game. Some of those Hawaii touchdowns occurred when that game was not especially competitive. Outside of those two games, this team has allowed a total of 49 points this season.

The other point to make about why Boise State could cover the spread is that BYU’s offense can’t light up mediocre defenses. BYU scored just 21 points against Toledo and 23 against South Florida. Those are bad offensive performances against the level of competition BYU faced. BYU’s offense scored far fewer points – 12 – against a Utah defense which is one of the more talented defensive groups in the country. That is probably the range we’re looking at here as long as the Broncos defense tightens up (in comparison to last week). The Cougars should have a hard time sustaining, converting third downs and finishing drives in the red zone. They’re 82nd in red zone scoring percentage and that ranking probably won’t improve this week.

WHY THE COUGARS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The BYU Cougars play to the level of their competition, which is generally bad but sometimes good. BYU played very even one-score games with Toledo and South Florida, but they also beat the USC Trojans and went on the road and beat Tennessee. This team has lost three in a row since those two big wins but they’ve shown us that they’re capable of slaying the dragon.

Remember that this is a rivalry game, so if BYU has looked a bit sleepy or disinterested of late, that should change here. What should also help their cause is that the Broncos could be without their starting quarterback.

Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier is uncertain for this game after getting injured in last week’s win over Hawaii. If he can’t play, Boise State will probably lose some effectiveness on offense as Chase Cord is expected to be the next quarterback in line. Bachmeier had five touchdowns and no picks in his last three games, and has a passer rating of 149.2 this season.

TAKING A LOOK AT THE TOTAL

The question marks surrounding the Broncos’ No. 1 quarterback and the weakness of BYU’s offense both point to a slugfest with very little scoring. The Cougars should struggle to find rhythm and the Broncos as well. They’ve been penalized 21 times in the last two games as they’ve lost their discipline. This game should probably go under as the offenses grind this out.

PICK: BOISE STATE BRONCOS 17, BYU COUGARS 13

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