There are an awful lot of mirages and illusions that cross the gambling public’s eyes throughout a season of college pigskin. For instance, there’s the current trope (on which I find myself disagreeing with a Mr. Tim Tebow) that LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will be able to handle Alabama’s pass rush, even though the Tiger upperclassman melted before the Crimson Tide front-7 last year.
No, I’m not saying Burrow can’t possibly out-play a wounded Tua Tagovailoa or another Tide QB on Saturday, but people shouldn’t expect a kid to become a whole new field general in a year’s time. Football is relative. The Tigers have not played and beaten Alabama yet, but many pundits are assuming LSU is better.
A mirror-image syndrome can occur when a prominent mid-major drops games. Wins vs fellow Group of 5 opponents are valued less, and losses considered more damaging, so it only takes 1 or 2 slip-ups for handicappers to assume a G5 program is trending-down.
Boise Blue was the toast of college football following a comeback win over Florida State to open the 2019-20 season. Close shaves to follow against Marshall and Air Force raised whispers. But blow-out wins over UNLV and Hawaii seemed to set everything right again.
Then came the 7th game – and the biggest reason Boise State is only a solid betting favorite to beat 4-4 SJSU.
Who: Boise State Broncos at San Jose State Spartans
When: Saturday, November 2nd, 10:30 PM EST
Where: CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, CA
Lines: BSU (-17.5) at SJSU (+17.5) / O/U Total: (59)
Brigham Young must appear to some fans to be a team that makes sure to hang around .500 so that it’s not considered a quality win when you defeat them, but still managing to cross at least 1 or 2 contenders every so often and spoil their seasons with a not-so-quality loss.
Perhaps Boise State felt overconfident against BYU, but you can’t imagine the Broncos were looking ahead to San Jose State. A bye week would follow the BYU-Boise game anyway. The Cougars simply played a spirited, nearly-perfect game of football and harassed Boise QB Chase Cord just enough to snag a pair of interceptions. Brigham Young also executed a lovely knock-out punch in the 3rd quarter, scoring on a reverse flea-flicker to go up by 18 after 1 of Cord’s turnovers sprung the hosts in fine field position. For once Boise State didn’t look like the more-seasoned and poised unit on a gridiron.
Concern is pinpointed on the situation at QB. Hank Bachmeier, the team’s former starter and already a talisman for the attack as a freshman, was injured in the Hawaii game and is probably unlikely to play vs SJSU despite a listing of “questionable” on official casualty reports. Cord can play ball, but the worst scenario for a substitute youngster taking snaps is when the supporting cast starts to slump. BSU needs solid teamwork for 4 quarters to get back on track.
More on the Broncos’ injury woes (and the Spartans’ improving stock):
The Broncos will be without one of their two top running backs in junior Robert Mahone, who sustained a lower-leg injury against BYU. Harsin said the injury isn’t season-ending but otherwise declined to elaborate. The absence of Mahone (389 rushing yards, five scores) should increase the workload of true freshman George Holani, who has rushed for 463 yards and one touchdown.
SJSU (4-4, 1-3) will be looking to post a program-boosting upset. However, the Spartans are 0-13 all-time against the Broncos. San Jose State is much improved over the last two seasons, when it was a combined 3-22. The Spartans haven’t won six games in a season since 2015 (6-7) and haven’t had a winning season since 2012 (11-2).
Senior quarterback Josh Love passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns against Army, but he wasn’t satisfied with the offense settling for four field goals…Love has been a big factor in San Jose State’s improvement. He has passed for 2,355 yards and 15 touchdowns while being intercepted just three times in 293 attempts.
How badly will the host Spartans bother the Boise Blue? In a sense, San Jose State is the same flaky and undermanned program it has often been, recently falling to Nevada…a team that has looked like WolfCrap since mid-September. SJSU may have gotten by on fumes defensively in wins over Arkansas and Army. Still, the Spartans gave San Diego State a good game on 10/18, and have a pretty darn consistent offense under the steady hand of Love…which is all you need (sometimes).
Boise State is full of quality at the QB position and too well-oiled to whiff against a weaker defense than BYU’s. However, San Jose State should be able to score points with aid of a quiet crowd on 3rd downs.
The Over/Under is falling thanks to Bachmeier and Mahone’s injuries, but Las Vegas already knew that the pair was ailing when it set the initial O/U total above 60 points.
Take the Over (59) for a west-coast winner.