Virginia Cavaliers vs. Boise State Broncos
Date and Time: Friday, September 22, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Opening College Football Odds: Boise State -13.5
Virginia vs. Boise State TV Coverage: ESPN2
It's still really hard to determine what to make out of the Broncos at this point. With Rypien under center, they were a modified West Coast team, playing a relatively conservative, pass-based offense that struggled to move the ball consistently.
With Cozart calling the shots, Boise State was more of a run-first team and one that tried its best to not get itself into down and distance problems.
The end results in both cases just flat out haven't been good. You generally think of the Broncos as having one of the best mid-major teams in America, but this year, they just flat out might not be that good. Jake Roh is coming off of a three-touchdown game against New Mexico, but this offense is still averaging just 342.0 yards and 32.0 points per game.
Kurt Benkert is officially a star in Charlottesville.
For all of the great quarterbacks who have passed through Scott Stadium over the years, none have ever thrown for 455 yards in a game as Benkert did last week against Connecticut. The win was a good one for the Hoos, a strong response from a 34-17 loss against Indiana their last time out.
On the surface, this game came out of nowhere for Benkert. He had only posted two 300+ yard games in his career before last week, though it should be noted that one of the two was a 400+ yard game against Central Michigan last season.
Then again, he did throw the ball 66 times against Indiana and 39 against William & Mary. The fact that he averaged well over 10 yards per pass attempt was a bit on the strange side, but Bronco Mendenhall has the utmost confidence in his senior leader, and that has to show in this one to beat Boise State.
You hate to say that a defensive lineman can make the difference in this game, but we have to assume that David Moa is going to be suspended for this one after he was arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace on Friday night. Though Boise State's defense has been good, with as suspect as the offense has been, there's no such thing as giving up a boatload of points and possession and living to tell about it.
Moa is crucial to all of this. He's got an NFL look to him after logging eight sacks a season ago, and he was off to a good start to this season as well. But with this off-the-field disturbance could come some problems, especially against a bigger, stronger Power Five team like Virginia.
Virginia vs. Boise State Free Picks
This Boise State team is one that we're going to keep fading week in and week out for as long as all of the top online sportsbooks continue to line it like it's the Boise State of old. The public is going to be all over the Broncos as favorites in this game, but we flat out don't see the justification for the whole thing.
This Virginia team has a strong passing game for sure, and after the Broncos struggled mightily to close out Washington State, that has to be a sign of bad things to come in this one.
Don't be shocked if Benkert and his top receivers, Olamide Zaccheaus and Doni Dowling all have big days in the passing game. If the Broncos can't slow this troika down, they're going to be in the rare position of losing on the Smurf Turf.
College Football ATS Pick: Virginia +13.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Virginia 38, Boise State 31