19 September 2012

BYU vs. Boise State: A Rivalry?

Steve Conner/Icon SMI

BYU plays at Boise State tomorrow night.

On first glance, to a college football fan who doesn't really follow either team closely, this looks like a great matchup.

The Broncos have amassed a 74-7 record under head coach Chris Petersen over the last seven years. They've received an invite to the Big East and will be joining the BCS conference in 2013.

BYU has had five 10-win seasons over the last six years and managed to pull off a great TV deal with ESPN.

Two storied programs, right? Two juggernauts of the non-BCS faction in college football, battling to prove who's better.

BYU is 2-1, losing a close heartbreaker to PAC-12 rival Utah.

Boise lost a nail-biter to #13-ranked Michigan State in Week 1, while putting up 40 against Miami (OH) on Saturday.

And the two teams will meet for 12 straight seasons starting tomorrow, establishing what many think will become a rivalry.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN, and no doubt many people are expecting a high-scoring, exciting matchup.

Let's just say I don't see it happening that way. This BYU offense is not good. They could not run up the middle against Weber State. They struggled to get anything going for three quarters against a Utah team missing three fixtures on defense.

If Boise's defense is any good, and holding the Spartans to 17 points indicates it is, they'll stack the box, assign someone to stick to Riley and dare him to beat them deep. (P.S. this is what good defenses have done to both Riley and Max Hall for the last six years.)

If Riley can take advantage of this and consistently find Hoffman and Apo (4 catches for 31 yards in three games), then Boise will be forced to adjust and I like the Cougars' chances.

If not, it's going to be a long night for the offense.

The good news is that BYU's defense is the stoutest it's been since 2006. I didn't like either of the TD passes they gave up to Hays on Saturday (both not particularly well-thrown balls), but overall the secondary is good, the defensive line is strong and the linebackers are scary.

Prediction: BYU 17, BSU 20.

No comments: