Happy Gameday; My thoughts and perspective on tonight's game

I just thought I would throw this out there and see if it stirs up any conversations/opinions

Firstly, here is how I would break down the game tonight, and who has the advantage, if I had to gamble my next paycheck.

Home Field: Advantage Sparty

MSU Run vs. BSU Run Def: Advantage Sparty
- Right now, we are an unknown in the Front Seven while Sparty brings back most of their OL. If bell starts going off for 4 and 5 yards a pop, we're in serious trouble.

MSU Pass vs. BSU Pass Def: Advantage Broncos
- frankly, I think we win this matchup hands down. I think Max is probably a very good QB, but our experience and talent in the secondary should carry the day as MSU fields a brand new unit of QB and WR's in week one.

MSU OL vs. BSU Pass Rush: Advantage Sparty
- Again, with the Broncos being a relative unknown in the Front Seven, I think you have to give the edge to MSU's experience on OL.

BSU Run vs. MSU Run Def: Push
- MSU has a Top 5 veteran defense and Will Gholston/Bullough. They're going to be hard to run against. But BSU has a veteran OL returning, nearly across the board, a stable of backs that can find yards regardless, and a scheme that just produces. BSU will get their yards but it might not be anything extraordinary.

BSU Pass vs. MSU Pass Def: Advantage Sparty
- With new QB Joe Southwick getting his first start, MSU just has too much veteran experience and athleticism in the secondary to expect a huge day. The experience and ability of the Bronco WR corp will help to mitigate this advantage some but it still weighs in Sparty's favor.

BSU OL vs. MSU Pass Rush: Advantage Sparty
- Potentially the biggest key in this game, I think this is the make or break point. I feel confident that BSU's veteran OL can diagnose and hold up against Sparty's dynamic and ferocious pass rush. However, a lot hinges on Southwick's ability to quickly diagnose in the face of an all out blitz and deliver an accurate and timely pass.

X Factor: Petersen gameplan vs. Dantonio gameplan - Advantage Boise State
- I like and respect the job Mark Dantonio has done with Sparty, but Chris Petersen is the best in the business when it comes to diagnising opponent weaknesses and tendencies, and then finding ways to exploit that.

Total: MSU 5

That's a pretty significant difference. This is why I say I give Boise State a puncher's chance in this game, but the deck is stacked all wrong for us in this particular matchup. if we win, it will be an upset. I'll take that any day of the week.

Okay, so that's the analyst approach right. This is what we hear from the guys on TV. When you have to make a big bet, whether it's your money or your reputation, you go with the knowns over the unknowns. Notice how many things went in Sparty's favor strictly because Boise State's status is unknown. I believe this explains perfectly why so many people are calling MSU with a score like 24-17.

Now, I will cover the same areas, but add in some opinions that I have developed based on information I have learned as a Bronco fan living in Boise, listening to the radio, talking with fans, watching practice reports and interviews, and discussing here at OBNUG.

Home Field: Slight Advantage to Sparty

Boise State has so much experience in hostile environments I don't think this is a huge difference maker. The only reason I don't rate it as a Push is because we still have a number of youthful contributors who lack experience.

MSU Run vs. BSU Run Def: Push

MSU is experienced here and are still a B1G team, they are going to know how to run the ball. Still, it's my opinion that BSU's new Front Seven is going to rip the face off some unfortunate RB's this season. This 4-2-5 scheme we stole from TCU (who stole it from Colorado I believe) and modified to our own tastes is the real deal. We will be strong, fast, and very aggressive up front. We are light compared to MSU, but our flow to the ball will make up for it. The question isn't whether we are good enough, the question is will we be good enough right out of the gate against a rushing unit that has at least a season together. In this, I really like Pete's ability to properly prep our players.

MSU Pass vs. BSU Pass Def: Advantage Broncos

Just like I have other considerations with BSU, the same stays true with Sparty. Everything I read about Andrew Maxwell is everything I would like to have read about Joe Southwick. Sparty replaces QB and an entire WR corp. Yeah, well, they're still a Big Six school with a ton of resources and strong recruiting. We're good in our secondary but Maxwell might just be up to the challenge as well. I can't see Sparty flipping this to an advantage for them, but they might be able to reduce it to a Slight Advantage for BSU or even a Push if they get outstanding pass protection.

MSU OL vs. BSU Pass Rush: Advantage Broncos

We're fast here guys. Faster than we've ever been. We will get pressure on this QB, I'm confident in that. Our secondary has been primed to capitalize off pressure and intercept the football. I think our defense has the potential to flat out shock people tonight. I expect the combination of tight coverage and pressure to really handcuff Maxwell's ability to perform since he will have the additional disadvantage of a WR corp that isn't as sharp as it will be in two years. This causes everything to move slower in the passing game and we will capitalize on that.

BSU Run vs. MSU Run Def: Push

Player vs. Player I'd keep this as a push. The two interelated things that can swing it in our favor are Pete's playcalling and BSU's execution of those playcalls, particularly Joe's. An offense feeds itself best by being balanced. If we can keep Sparty on his heels all night, our run game could flourish.

BSU Pass vs. MSU Pass Def: Advantage Sparty

Until Joe proves otherwise I have to keep this solidly in favor of Sparty. They simply have too much ability and experience, both in their secondary and their pass rush, to expect a 450 yard night. I think our WR's and scheme make us productive, but Sparty will make us work for everything in this department.

BSU OL vs. MSU Pass Rush: Slight Advantage Sparty

This is going to rely heavily on Joe's ability to diagnose and get rid of the ball quickly and consistently. We don't need 60 yard bombs but we have to move the chains against their blitz all night just to keep them from going into overdrive. This defense is the classic schoolyard bully, if you let them get a head of steam going they're going to tear you a new one. I really think our OL will do it's part, which is why I reduced Sparty's advantage to slight. But it's on Joe and our WR's to do the rest.

X Factor: Petersen gameplan vs. Dantonio gameplan - Advantage Boise State

Nothing changes here

So, counting Slight Advantages as half points I get a score of...


I believe this explains why so many people are calling MSU but are hedging their bets and saying it will be a close game. So, to sum it all up, in order to win Boise State needs to...

A) Make MSU one dimensional, whether that means taking away the pass or taking away the run. Whichever it is, it has to be done with the applicable group i.e. if we take away the run it is because our Front Seven (w/o safety help) has destroyed it. Or our Back Four (2 CB's, SS, FS) completely neutralize the pass w/o help.

B) Pressure Maxwell into mistakes in the passing game and then capitalize on them.

C) Achieve offensive balance in the run/pass game

D) Beat Sparty's blitz packages by gaining positive yards on quick slants, mesh plays, or checkdowns

If you liked this article I really recommend you reread Hatemay's Keys to the Game. This is a nice general overview but Hatemay gets into better specifics. Together, I think it will give Bronco fans some key areas to follow as we gauge our ability to win while the game is played out.

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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