Boise State +130 3% play
Boise State should not be an underdog in this spot against Fresno State at home where they haven't been an underdog since 2005 I believe. These two teams know each other well as this will be the 3rd time they are facing each other in less than 12 months. Boise beat Fresno 17-14 in last year's MWC Championship game 1 week after they lost to them at Fresno. There is a lot of talk about Fresno being up there with UCF as the best Group of 5 team in the nation, and I think Boise players will take that personally. I also don't believe it to be true as Fresno State has not played anyone. Last year's Fresno State team was tested early playing Alabama & Washington back to back. This year they had Minnesota (LOST), and UCLA on their schedule. Those two teams have combined for a 6-12 record and will both most likely miss a bowl game this year. Their next toughest game was at Nevada who was without their starting QB Ty Gangi. Otherwise their schedule in conference play has been really easy.
Let's look at strength of schedule a bit more. Both of these teams have similar offenses. Boise ranks 34thin yards per play, Fresno ranks 22nd, but Boise has faced an average YPP defense ranking 62.44 compared to Fresno at 87.37. That's a big difference, and it is particularly evident in the rushing defenses they have faced. Boise State and Fresno have identical rushing #'s form a yards per carry perspective, and nearly identical running numbers form a YPP defense, and opponent offense perspective. The biggest difference is the fact that Boise has faced an average opponent defense ranking 49.7 compared to Fresno who has faced 79.37, a difference of 30 spots in strength of schedule. That is significant and I think that will allow Boise State to have a little balance as UNLV rushed for 197 yards a week ago.
Both QB's in this game are going to be the reason why their team wins or loses. They are both in the top 15 in QB rating, and both have faced weak passing defenses ranking on average 89th for Fresno, and 85.33 for Boise. Now Fresno's pass defense on paper is a lot better ranking 3rd, but they have yet to play a QB that can throw with an average opponent ranking 84.5, and that number should even be worse, because remember they faced Nevada without Ty Gangi who has good numbers. Fresno State will also have a tough time protecting their QB here asthey rank 3rd in protection, but haven't faced a pass rush all season with an average pass opponent sack % ranking 88.3. Boise State ranks 4th in pass rush, and being at home that advantage only increases. Being that this game is a big Friday night games on national TV will only increase that home field advantage in my opinion. The games that Boise State has lost were the games that they could not protect Rypien. Road game at Oklahoma State they allowed 7 sacks in their loss. Oklahoma State has the nation's #15 sack % and they have faced a decent opponent protection average of 68th on average. San Diego State on paper has the 80th sack %, and got to Rypien 4 times. They employ a 3-3-5 defense which is more of a blitz defense than anything else, and it created 3 interceptions with Rypien. San Diego State's pass rush has also faced very good pass protecting teams on average #59. Fresno, on the other hand comes into this game ranking 83rd in sack %, and they have faced an opponent average sack % allowed of 80.25. They have played a lot of bad pass protecting teams, and they have been in a lot of situations when they know a team is going to pass, because they have been up big in many of these games yet they still only have the 83rd ranked sack%. I think Boise will have time in this game on offense, and I think their running game will show some life.
This is Fresno State's second road game in a row, and it comes on a short week while Boise was at home last week.
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