Pick NCAAF Broncos Minus The Points vs. Washington State

Boise State Broncos Fans Cheering For Team

Deborah Stern

Saturday, September 10, 2016 5:18 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 10, 2016 5:18 PM UTC

Once again, Mike Leach and Washington State were upset by an FCS team to start the season, and now they travel to Boise State as underdogs on the college football odds.

Just one week into the season, the worldwide leader in sports is already asking the question which teams have the best shot at going undefeated in 2016. Listed with the third-best shot at accomplishing the feat are the Boise State Broncos, though you have to wonder if a perfect 13-0 mark would be enough to lift the Broncos into the College Football Playoff since they play in the Mountain West Conference.

Their opponent in Week 2, the Washington State Cougars, might be among the teams with the best chances to go winless in 2016, especially if they can't get past Idaho in Week 3. Surely that won't happen, and the Cougars will find a way to win at least a few games since they went into the campaign with a 7½ win total on the NCAA football futures odds.

Still, the numbers for this week's battle on the blue Smurf Turf in Boise suggest both teams will continue to trend in their respective undefeated/winless directions. The 10:15 PM (ET) boot at Albertsons Stadium is part of the late-night ESPN2 lineup, and Boise State is currently giving up 10½ at Heritage where the 74 point total is among the highest on Week 2's board.

That BSU is favored is not a big surprise, yet it still marks a dramatic turnaround since the teams last faced each other. The Cougars and Broncos met four times in the late-90s, early-00s, Washington State winning and covering each time as favorites on the college football odds. The two games played in Boise (1998, 2001) saw Wazzu outscore Boise 73-42 as 11 and 6 point chalk respectively.


Cougs Embarrassed In Season Opener 2nd-Straight Year
Head coach Mike Leach, now entering his sixth season in Pullman and definitely on the hot seat, can't rely on history, especially after last Saturday. In front of a capacity home crowd and favored by nearly four touchdowns, the Cougars fell to Eastern Washington, 45-42.

Washington State simply had no answers for stopping Eagles quarterback Gage Gubrud and wideout Cooper Kupp. Gubrud, a redshirt sophomore, lit up Wazzu's defense for 474 yards passing and five scores, adding another 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Three of his scoring strikes went to Kupp who finished the day with 12 catches for more than 200 yards to immediately stake his claim as the top receiver on the FCS level.

Remember, this is a Washington State team that won nine games a year ago, taking out Miami-FL in the Sun Bowl. That was also after dropping the season opener to another Big Sky team, Portland State.


Broncs Continue Bucking Right Along
I was among those who thought Boise State might go through a down year or two when Chris Petersen departed and turned things over to Bryan Harsin. All Harsin has done is direct the Broncos to 22 victories, won an MWC title plus two bowl games in 28 games. They're also 2-0 against Pac-12 schools, including a win over Petersen and Washington last year.

The Broncos get a chance to double that number of wins vs. Pac-12 teams with Washington State this week and Oregon State on the road in two weeks. They did fine last Saturday on the road at Louisiana-Lafayette, passing their way to an early 35-0 lead as 19 point favorites in a 45-10 victory that wasn't nearly as close as even that final suggests.

There's nothing in the forecast to concern us -- clear, kickoff in the low-to-mid 70s and a light SE breeze. As always, college football bettors should follow up on the forecast, and they should also follow my free college football pick on the Broncos.

College Football Pick: Boise State -10½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Season: 7-4 (+3.25)

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