MWC College Football Picks: Utah State to Capitalize vs. Fresno State

Mark Lathrop

Friday, October 9, 2015 5:43 PM GMT

In one of the night caps of this weekend, the Fresno State Bulldogs host the Utah State Aggies. Our handicapper discusses his unique view of the game and gives his value college football pick.

Utah State vs. Fresno State
Now let’s be clear that I work for a pair of Fresno State Bulldogs, so I have to be careful about what I say here. You can’t just go out and say that the bosses’ team is horrible. That wouldn’t be PC. So let’s just call them “challenged”.

One of the reasons a team would be challenged? Public arrests of a team leader, perhaps. Sophomore starting quarterback, Zach Greenlee, was arrested on September 20th for public drunkenness and minor in possession of alcohol. The ol' MIP that haunts every 20-year old college student. And I say ‘leader’ lightly, as Greenlee had lost the starting job to freshman QB, Chason Virgil, by Week 3 of the season – just to see Virgil break his collarbone and be lost for the season against Utah.

Greenlee was arrested with starting linebacker, Brandon Hughes, and you guessed it, a Fresno State female soccer player. Now, I happen to also work with a few college level soccer players, including one from Fresno State. Most can hold their own in a fight and it being 3:57 AM when this incident happened, I’m not surprised there was a soccer player still in tow with the oval ball alphas when the shit hit the fan.

Ok, enough about off field concerns for the Bulldogs because there are enough on field concerns to go around. Let’s just discuss the last game versus San Diego State, shall we? The Bulldogs gained only 89 yards of total offense in the game. 89. That included a stellar (I have to be nice, remember?) 3rd down conversion rate of 0% (0-12). Fresno State had gained only one-yard rushing going into the 4th quarter, and gained 11 yards afterwards. You could say in this game that Fresno State increased their rushing output 1100% in the 4th quarter. See, that’s positive, Boss! Even with passing mixed in, the Bulldogs are averaging just 4.38 yards per play this season, which is good for 126th in the nation (out of 128 FBS teams). At least they aren’t last!

Utah State is 2-2 on the season after Pac-12 losses to Utah and Washington, and also have questions at quarterback after losing senior, Chuckie Keeton, to injury for the next few weeks. However, sophomore Kent Myers was able to step in against Colorado State last week and get the job done in a 33-18 win. Utah State outgained the Rams 298-109 on the ground in that game, which allowed them a comfortable win after only converting 3rd downs at a 2-11 rate.

Holding the advantage in rushing yards is nothing new for the Aggies; however, as they are 16th in the nation in rushing defense with 107.5 YPG. This does not bode well for Fresno State in this matchup, as they will be forced to throw. The Bulldogs only average 169.4 YPG in the air this year, maybe their QB hasn’t been "tuned up" enough to get a throw off on time during the game.

With the Bulldog’s quarterback situation, it is not surprising that the spread on this game opened at -11 in favor of Utah State. That line has quickly gone to 12 points on the college football odds at multiple books. The O/U total opened at 46.5, and rose for some reason to 47.5, even though Fresno State can’t gain any yards. There is no reason to back Fresno State here, except for maybe job security on my part, so I’d suggest backing Utah State all the way up to -13.5 - if it gets there. I’m going to stay away from the O/U total as… wait, did Fresno State give up 73 points this year? Now I understand that line movement. Still staying away. Take Utah State early at -11 as one of your college football picks this Saturday. Sorry, Boss.

College Football Pick: Utah State -11 at Bet365

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