Fresno State Bulldogs at (22) Boise State Broncos (-22.5, 69 o/u)
Get ready for that blue field you see once every season.
The Mountain West Championship will be at stake tonight as the Fresno State Bulldogs clash with the No. 22 Boise State Broncos on the “smurf turf” of Albertsons Stadium in Boise (10:00 p.m. Eastern).
Fresno State is 6-6 this season and 5-3 inside the Mountain West conference, but they won their last three in a row to earn a berth in the Mountain West title game.
“Not many people expected us to be here, especially after how we played in that Wyoming game,” Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said. “I’m really impressed with how our guys rallied. It just shows you through perseverance what you can do.”
“That Wyoming game” DeRuyter referred to was an embarrassing 45-17 home loss to the 4-8 Wyoming Cowboys. The Bulldogs used that game as a rallying point, though, and posted back-to-back-to-back wins over San Jose State, Nevada, and Hawaii thereafter to get to 5-3 in conference play. They finished tied with San Diego State in the West Division, but won the tiebreaker thanks to a head-to-head win over the Aztecs.
Boise State is 10-2 this season and 7-1 inside the Mountain West. Since TCU moved to the Big 12 three years ago, the Broncos have been the de facto team to be in the Mountain West. For Boise State, a conference championship would be nice, but the Broncos are also playing for a spot in a top bowl game (which they could earn as the highest ranked non-Power Conference team).
“We’re aware of it,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “But the only thing we know for a fact is that we get to play on Saturday night for a championship. All the speculation of where we could go for a bowl game, that doesn’t really matter right now. We’ve done a good job of focusing on our opponent. Guys would be nuts if they’re not focused on [Fresno State].”
A testament to just how dominant Boise State has been in the Mountain West this year, the Broncos are a 22.5-point favorite heading into tonight’s game (the over/under is at 69).
Trend-wise, Fresno State is 1-6 ATS in its last seven road games against Boise State. The total has gone OVER in five of Boise State’s last seven against the Bulldogs.
(Photo credit: Bsuorangecrush (Wikipedia) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode].)