Saturday’s Week 1 college football card has the Florida State Seminoles taking on the Boise State Broncos. While it will feel like a home game for FSU, it’s technically being played on a neutral site at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST and will be televised on ESPN.
This line has moved a couple points. The Seminoles opened as a 3.5-point favorite, but are now sitting at -5.5 at most books. The total opened at 54 and can still be had at that number, but some have it down to 53.
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Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Florida St vs Boise St
Boise State Broncos
Boise State might not be winning at the same clip as they did in the past under Chris Petersen, but they aren’t far off. The Broncos are 51-15 in the first 5 seasons under head coach Bryan Harsin, reaching double-digit wins in 4 of the 5 campaigns.
Last year Boise State (10-3) quest for back-to-back conference titles came up short. The Broncos lost 19-16 in OT to Fresno State in the MWC Championship Game. That loss ended up being the last game they played, as their bowl game against Boston College was cancelled.
Despite losing the No. 2 all-time passer (Brett Rypien) in Boise State history, the Broncos are the favorites to win the Mountain West in 2019. Boise State brings back 13 starters (6 offense, 7 defense). All eyes are going to be on true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who won the job in fall practice. Bachmeier is one of the top QBs in his class and one of the highest rated recruits to ever join the Broncos.
Florida State Seminoles
A lot of people thought Willie Taggert was going to step right in for the departed Jimbo Fisher and lead the Seminoles to this great season in 2018. In fact, this team was ranked in the Top 25 to start the year and some were picking them to win the ACC. None of that happened. Florida State finished 5-7, ending a ridiculous bowl streak that had seem them play at least one extra game every year since 1982.
Was that just a fluke year or could this turn into something like we have seen with Texas going from national power to a middle of the pack program? That’s what everyone is waiting to see. You have to assume things will be better in year two under Taggart, especially on the offensive side of the ball (only averaged 21.9 ppg & 361 ypg).
Seminoles will have 16 returning starters (8 offense, 8 defense). Sophomore James Blackmon has been named the starting quarterback. Blackmon beat out Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook.
NCAAF Vegas Free Pick & Betting Predictions: FSU -5.5
I would have to lean towards Florida State winning and covering the spread. I got the Seminoles OVER their 7.5 win total and I didn’t hesitate to chalk this up as a win. I get the line has moved, but I’m shocked this thing isn’t at least a touchdown.
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I think people are sleeping big time on Florida State. I get that Taggart isn’t on the same level as Fisher. There are still a ton of 4 and 5 star players on this roster. I also think there’s a lot of pride in Tallahassee. The players had to be embarrassed to not get to a bowl game. I have to believe it resulted in quite the chip on their shoulder. They have something to prove and will be out to send a message here.
The offense really is what kept this team from getting to a bowl. The defense actually played pretty good early on, but eventually wore down in the second half. Part of that was Deondre Francois and his lack of accuracy and poor judgement.
He’s gone and Blackmon is a kid that started 12 games as a true freshman in 2017. While last year was technically a red-shirt for Blackmon, he played in 4 and in his lone start threw for 421 yards against a NC State defense that only gave up 24.9 ppg in 2018.
On top of that, the offense is getting a massive boost here with new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. Let me explain my excitement with Briles. He was the OC at Baylor in 2015 (48.1 ppg, 616 ypg) and 2016 (34.6 ppg, 523 ypg). In 2017 he was the OC at FAU and they put up 40.6 ppg and 498 ypg. The previous year they averaged 26.4 ppg and 398 ypg. Last year he was the OC at Houston. The Cougars averaged 43.9 ypg and 513 ypg after only averaging 28.3 ppg and 428 ypg the previous season.
Nothing is guaranteed in this world, but it would be foolish to not think this offense will be drastically improved given the talent Briles has to work with. The scary thing is the defense could be just as good as the offense. Every year there’s a team that isn’t ranked that ends up in the Top 10. Florida State would be my pick in 2019.
All of this and I haven’t even got to the fact that Boise State will be starting a true freshman. He could be great. You never know. However, chances are he will struggle in his first collegiate game against this kind of talent. Keep in mind the Broncos also lost leading rusher Alex Mattison (1,415 yards, 17 TDs) as well as their top two wide outs in Sean Modster and A.J. Richardson (122 catches, 1,803 yards, 16 TDs). Give me the Seminoles -5.5!