Mountain West Conference Championship Game
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Venue: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Where to watch: FOX
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Boise State -3
FanDuel: Boise State -3.5
BetMGM: Boise State -3.5
Caesars: Boise State -3
Fresno State: 8-4 (7-1 MWC)
Boise State: 9-3 (8-0 MWC)
Conference championship week is here, and you can't tell me you don't think these games mean a little bit extra on the books. College Football Playoff implications, the balance of power in the college football landscape to be decided this weekend, starting Friday with a big game notably in Las Vegas. Do you have the right idea when you head to the books for these important games? Our champion handicappers surely have you covered. Will Rogers is running an impressive 24-11-0 in the last month. Al McMordie has also been cashing in heavily with a 40-29-1 mark in college football over the last 30 days. Our guys here have you ready to go for what should be an exciting week. Be tuned to bigal.com for everything!
Fresno State - Boise State preview, analysis and prediction
Fresno State: won 30-0 vs. Wyoming
Boise State: won 42-23 vs. Utah State
I doubt this was on anyone’s bingo card before Mountain West play began, but of course we would have the Boise State Broncos and Fresno State Bulldogs fighting for the conference title, because why wouldn’t we? It’s only in the card every year that this turns out to be the Mountain West title game for better or for worse. But it’s at least bound to be an exciting game between the two hottest teams over the last couple of months. So, at least that’s something to look forward to.
Remember that time when Fresno State started the year 1-4 and even lost a game to UConn? That was when UConn was bad, of course. Now that Jim Mora’s group is bowl eligible, we can’t say UConn is bad anymore, which means Fresno State lost to a good team. Anyway, since starting 1-4, the Bulldogs have reeled off seven straight wins. Part of that has had to do with the return of quarterback Jake Heaner, who was out for five games with an ankle injury.
Since returning to the lineup, Haener has been a force in the final five games with 13 touchdown passes to just two interceptions, both coming in the first game of his return against San Diego State. The Bulldogs have also put up at least 30 points in each of the last five games, which has been a good run of form and a return to normalcy for Fresno State.
But there’s always that lingering one loss on the board for Fresno State. You have to go back to Oct. 8, at Boise State, to find the last time the Bulldogs lost a game. It was a 40-20 drubbing to the Broncos in Boise. But that game didn’t feature Haener. It was Logan Fife in that game, throwing for just 134 yards and the offense didn’t look like it does now.
If there’s any hope for Fresno State this time around in this trip to Boise, it has absolutely everything to do with the quarterback. Haener has been the missing piece needed for Fresno State in this season and if they can turn in one more notable performance, it’s going to be something good to see for Fresno.
But this is Boise we’re talking about. The Broncos have been the standard in the Mountain West for years, and now they’re back in the title game after running the table and going undefeated in conference play. All year, the Broncos have been able to do it with defense, allowing just 17.8 points per game while the running game has taken over.
It’s been a different look on offense for the Broncos. Taylen Green has taken over at quarterback after Hank Bachmeier transferred mid-season. Green has 12 touchdowns to just four interceptions, but he’s more a read-option quarterback that’s worked well with lead running back George Holani. The bruising back has 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year.
Boise State has found different ways to be good for years, and this seems to be another addition to the mix. The fact that the game is at home bodes well for Boise State, with the weather hitting the right cold and winter temperatures that don’t happen in the desert wasteland of Fresno.
This is going to be a situation where the Broncos can control the clock and turn some things their favor the other way. I like Boise State to run the ball, take time off the clock, and more importantly, keep the ball out of Haener’s hands. One thing’s for sure: This will absolutely not be the equivalent of the last game. This is going to be a closer game. Boise State by 10
Fresno State is 33-18 ATS after winning 6 or 7 out of their last 8 since 1992.
Fresno State is 30-15 ATS off 3 straight conference wins since 1992.
Boise State is 81-56 ATS off 2 straight conference games since 1992.
Boise State is 170-127 ATS in all games since 1992.
Passing: Jake Heaner -- 2,432 yards, 17 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Jordan Mims -- 1,078 yards, 14 TD
Receiving: Jalen Moreno-Cropper -- 991 yards, 5 TD
Passing: Taylen Green -- 1,731 yards, 12 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: George Holani -- 1,059 yards, 10 TD
Receiving: Latrell Caples -- 439 yards, 4 TD
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