Week #1 College Football ViewPoint: What to Watch For

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Spring practices and summer sessions have been firmly placed in our rear-view mirror.  Before you know it the leaves will begin to change, the temperature will drop, and snow will begin to fall.  OK, maybe we can wait a bit for the snow part of things, but no matter how you slice it, the 2012-2013 college football season is almost upon us!

Each week I will preview 3-4 “high profile” games for the upcoming weekend.  I will briefly explain what I will be watching from both sides during the game, an intangible or two, and who I think will win the game.  Hopefully this will generate a bit of discussion.

Week #1 CFB Preview:

Game #1: #24 Boise St. at #13 Michigan State (Aug. 31)

photo by Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Skinny: What a good early game the college football gods have given us!  This game could easily become an “Instant Classic”!  No more is this a David vs. Goliath match-up.  Boise St. has cemented its national reputation with top-10 finishes each of the past 3 seasons.  Both teams are coming off impressive bowl victories, but they have lost key members of their 2011 squads.  Which team will be able to find the right complement of players to offset key losses?  The answer will go along way in determining who will win this game.

What to Watch For [W2W4] (Michigan State):  Michigan State returns some of the Big Ten’s best players on defense.  In fact, they return 8 starters from a team that ranked 6th nationally in total defense.  The defense is led by All-Big Ten candidate DE William Gholston, who could very well be on his way to the Ted Hendricks Award (given to the top DE in CFB) in 2012.  The defense will have to be stout to give the young offense a chance to go through some early growing pains.

W2W4 (Boise State):  Boise State will feature 4 returning starters on an offensive line that allowed a nation-low 8 sacks last season, and allowed Kellen Moore and company to put up the 5th most points per game in college football (44.2 ppg).  The cohesiveness the line brings to each game will be a big help to junior QB and first-year starter Joe Southwick who has only thrown for 400 yards and 2 touchdowns in his career.  Also returning to help take the pressure off of Southwick is senior RB DJ Harper.  Now the featured back, Harper can look to improve on last season’s campaign where he rushed for 557 yards and scored 9 TD’s.

Game Intangible:  Weather could certainly be a factor in this game.  Late August in East Lansing can be racked with heat and/or humidity, and the players could be sapped of energy (think back to TCU vs Baylor last season) late in the ballgame.  Which team has used the preseason to help prepare them for the rigors of late August / early September games?

US Presswire

Prediction: Look for Michigan State and Le’Veon Bell to run the ball between the tackles and wear down the Broncos interior line.  This should give first-year starter Andrew Maxwell enough time and comfort to get the ball down the field to Tennessee transfer DeAnthony Arnett and converted corner back Tony Lippett.  The Broncos should be able to keep the game close, but as the fourth quarter arrives, expect the Spartans to dominate on the ground and time of possession forcing Boise St into throwing the ball more often then they would like.  This will lead Southwick to throw a few INT’s and allow Michigan St. to pull away late.  Sorry Broncos fans, I don’t see the underdogs pulling off the upset in this one!

 

Boise State

Michigan State

Offense

 X

Defense

 X

Intangibles

  X

 

Score:

Michigan St (-8) – 27

Boise State – 13

 Next: Clemson at Auburn 

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Tags: Alabama Crimson Tide Auburn Tigers Featured Football Michigan State Spartans Michigan Wolverines Popular