For the above question, we’ll find out very early if this is truly a possibility, when the 14th ranked Broncos host the 16th ranked Oregon Ducks. Boise State is unanimous choice to win the WAC this season and is the early season darling from the non-BCS schools to possibly pluck another BCS berth when the bids come out in December. Consider the track record of Boise State coming into the season.
Boise State has had three unbeaten regular seasons in the last five years and is 55-9 in all games since 2004. Faced with oddsmakers’ numbers just begging the sports bettor to play the other side, the Broncos are 33-25-1 against the spread in that time period.
In games played on the “Smurf Turf” blue carpet at Bronco Stadium, Boise State is 64-2 and 40-17 ATS the last decade, which includes 49 in a row during the regular season. Boise State returns a dozen starters, including quarterback Kellen Moore, who broke unto the scene last year as a freshman. In truth, coach Chris Peterson might have a team equal to or better than the 2006 squad (which was 13-0 and knocked off Oklahoma in Fiesta Bowl) next season.
The Oregon Ducks are not to be taken for granted just because they have a new coach in Chip Kelly. With just ten returning starters from last year’s surprising 10-3 squad, the ranking appears a trifle inflated, however three components help justify the number.
Oregon might not average 41.9 points per game this upcoming season, however, will still have ample firepower with Jeremiah Masoli at the controls. The junior quarterback is far from classic passer, but he’s accurate and is powerful runner and is listed as All-Pac 10 QB in several preseason publications. Speaking of powerful, 240-pound LeGarrette Blount is one blunt object in the open field. The architect of this high-powered offense is coach Kelly, whose been the Oregon offense coordinator. The Ducks are 27-5 ATS in first road game, including covering nine of last 10.
Bookmaker.com has Boise State listed as 3.5-point home favorite, down from opening number of 5.5, with total having risen to 64. We checked in Rocky Atkinson of RocketmanSports.com to get is opinion on this anticipated contest and Boise State’s chances of going unscathed during the regular season.
“I feel like Boise State will get by Oregon at home and cover the number. Boise State is incredible at home with 66-6 SU record and 42-18 ATS since 1992. Last year the Broncos beat opponents by an average of 40.7 to 8 at home. Chris Peterson is in his 4th year as head coach of Boise State and has led them to a 35-4 overall record. Boise State wins this one.
I would also consider the total; with Oregon is 7-0 to the Over when playing WAC opponents.
As far as Boise State going undefeated this year, I’m going to have to say no. They should have a tough time when they play in Fresno State but I think they will actually win that one in a nail-biter. The one game I see them losing will be when they travel to Tulsa on October 14th. Tulsa was undefeated at home last season and will give Boise all they can handle and then some.”
This is the second game on ESPN Thursday night, which will start at 10:15 Eastern and Oregon has revenge on their minds after last year’s 37-32 home upset as 10.5-point favorites to the Broncos. Masoli told a Eugene television station during the offseason that the loss was “embarrassing” and that this year he and his team would “take it to (Boise State).”
Boise State’s first test could set the tone for 2009 campaign.