Boise State vs. Utah State College Football Picks Week 13
Boise State Broncos vs. Utah State Aggies, Saturday November 23, 10:30 p.m. ET
The battle for Group of 5 supremacy in college football this year, and the prime bowl assignment that goes with it, is going to come right down to the wire this year. There are five Group of 5 teams clustered between 18 and 25 in the playoff rankings - Memphis, Cincinnati, Boise State, Appalachian State, and SMU. All five are at 9-1. It's going to come down to the wire. Cincinnati, Memphis and SMU will take care of themselves - only one can win the AAC. But for the other two, it just comes down to winning and making an impression. And the Broncos have a big chance to make an impression here against a pretty good Utah State team .
And there is more to it than just that. Despite having only a 6-4 record, the Aggies are at 5-1 in the Mountain West, tied with Air Force atop the Mountain Division (yes, the two divisions in the Mountain West Conference are the Mountain and the West, and no, you have not ever heard anything dumber than that), and a game back of the Broncos. With a win here, then, they would have the same record as the Broncos and the tiebreak in their favor. The Broncos beat Air Force, so things could get messy in the tiebreak, but the point is that while a Boise State win seals things up for the Broncos in terms of a Mountain West Championship Game berth, a Utah State win would blow things wide open. There is no shortage of drama.
Boise State at Utah State Betting Storylines
This could have shaped up to be a great QB battle. True freshman Hank Bachmeier has been a revelation for the Broncos, and Utah State's Jordan Love is a guy who has found his game again after a rough stretch in the middle of the season and has draftable upside. It could have been very fun to watch. But we aren't likely to see it. There is uncertainty at QB on both sides. Bachmeier has missed the last two games with what appears to be a shoulder problem. He has been visible at practice this week, but his availability is unclear. Second-stringer Chase Cord was out last week, too, and could again here. Jaylon Henderson, a senior, got his first career start last week. He threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns to earn conference offensive player of the week honors. Love, meanwhile, found himself sitting at the end of the bench alone for the fourth quarter last Saturday. No one is talking about what is wrong, and coach Gary Andersen has been vague even for a coach. But his loss would be a blow - a bigger one for the Aggies than Bachmeier, as good as he has been, would be for the Broncos.
The two offenses in this contest are fairly similar. Utah State scores slightly less and rushes for fewer yards, but they are within range of each other. The big difference here, though, is on defense. Boise State only has an okay defense - better against the pass than the run, and only a little above average overall. Utah State, meanwhile, has really struggled on that side of the ball. They rank 97th nationally in both total yards and passing yards allowed, and 60th in points scored. That provides a little cushion for the Broncos in the face of their QB questions.
Boise State at Utah State Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Boise State favored by 7.5 points. That has climbed slowly but steadily since, with 8.5 available widely, and nine showing up in more spots lately . Almost two-thirds of bets have been on the Broncos, so the line movement is as expected. The total opened at 53.5 and has fallen slightly to 52.5.
The Broncos are 7-3-2 ATS in their last 12 conference games but just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five road games against teams with winning home records. The Aggies are 16-7 ATS in their last 23 games overall but just 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games in November. The Broncos are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games in Logan.
Boise State at Utah State Predictions and Picks
We are shooting blind here in a very important game because of the QB uncertainty. If both teams were at full strength, I would like Boise State. And I think I probably still do. But this is too many points to give up when we know so little. Passing on the game is probably the right move. However, if you want to take a stand, I would favor taking as many points as you can find and letting it ride on the Aggies.
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