Posted September 20, 2012

Thursday Night Bites: BYU at Boise State (FAQ)

Boise State Broncos, BYU Cougars, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Michigan State Spartans, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Thursday Night Bites

Joe Southwick has completed 39-of-62 pass attempts for 473 yards and two touchdowns in two games as Boise State’s new starting quarterback. (AP)

BYU and Boise State play a single game tonight that makes up the entirety of your Thursday college football viewing schedule. We’re sure you have so many questions.

• What information do I, the discerning consumer, need to consume this game? The Cougars and Broncos kick off tonight on the blue turf of Boise at 9 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed on WatchESPN.

• Do my eyes deceive me? Is this an Actual Football Game? Maybe! Boise State’s back in the rankings at No. 24, following a valiant loss to Michigan State, an early bye and a thumping win over Miami (Ohio). BYU started strong with wins over a still-gestating Washington State squad and FCS pushover Weber State, then promptly lost (and lost, and lost again) to a Utah team playing without its starting quarterback. Not a whole lot of data points to go by just yet.

Who has more to lose here? Probably Boise. BYU could still grab national attention and votes behind strong showings at Notre Dame and Georgia Tech later on, but the Cougars are the highest-profile opponent on the Broncos’ remaining schedule. From here on out, it’s all Mountain West teams and an October trip to Southern Miss for Boise. The Broncos will have to rely, as they have done for years now, on notching a signature win or two and blowing out conference-mates to hang on in the rankings. So far in 2012, that signature win has yet to be recorded.

And what do we think will happen? Stewart Mandel is calling the upset in this week’s Pickoff, predicting BYU to win by a touchdown. We’re not so sure. The Cougars’ defense seems quite mighty, but the Broncos are rebuilding almost from scratch and played the Spartans closer than many thought possible. Boise is favored by less than a touchdown tonight, but we like their chances. (We also freely reserve the right to call this a stupid, stupid pick tomorrow morning. Remember that time South Florida was gonna win the Big East?)

READ MORE: Click here for a full preview of tonight’s BYU-Boise State tilt.

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