After an unfortunate hiatus, Bet on Blue is back with a vengeance as week four of the Boise State football season fast approaches. The Broncos went east to smash the Ragin Cajuns and then bullied a couple of cellar-dwelling PAC12 schools to open the season 3-0 for the first time since 2011. This week the Broncos look to avenge their embarrassingly sloppy defeat of themselves in Logan, Utah from last season. For this week’s edition of Bet on Blue we will ask ourselves if Harsin is a good coach, quickly preview the Aggies and this week’s matchup, and then decide if we should Bet on Blue.
Are We Sure Bryan Harsin is Good?
Stubbs Zanelli of Twin Falls’ Times-News has written a couple columns this season questioning the bonafide’s of Bronco head man Bryan Harsin. Using an unnamed source, and sometimes the unnamed source of an unnamed source, Zanelli tells the tale of a football coach with terrible people skills and paper-thin skin who was at near-constant risk of being fired at every college campus he ever stepped foot on. Are the stories relayed in the article true? Is Harsin a sure-fire bust candidate? I don’t know, but to borrow a crutch from Zanelli’s article, and famed straight shooter Donald Trump…. “Many people are saying” Harsin is a good coach.
Bryan Harsin is 31-11 all-time as a head coach. His winning percentage is higher than all but 15 active head coaches with at least a full season of games under their belt. Harsin’s record at Boise State is even better than that. He has compiled a 24-6 record at BSU, including a 5-1 record against power five schools. It’s pretty obvious when you look at the record, compiled stats, recruiting acumen, or almost any other metric, that Harsin is doing a fantastic job at Boise State.
I have heard the rumblings that players don’t like playing for Harsin, and that some of them have voiced their disdain on social media. I’ve heard the conjecture that coaches are so put off by Harsin’s micromanaging style that they bolt at the first chance they get. I’ve even heard the disbelief about how Harsin can be gruff and standoffish with the media. To that, I say…so what?
Do you know who else has had players publicly say bad things about them or the program? Do you know who else had to change coordinators like I change underwear? Do you know who else hated the media with a fiery passion? None-other-than the top five winningest coach in college football Chris Petersen, that’s who. Bryan Harsin is a great coach, full stop. On to the Aggies.
Utah State Aggies
The Aggies of Logan are coached by Matt Wells. Wells has a career record of 27-18 as a head coach which places him smack dab in Mediocreville among active college coaches. He is the perfect coach for the Aggies who are never really that bad but never really any good either. I want to poke much more fun at Utah State, but they currently have scoreboard after the 2015 fiasco in Logan, so I’ll bite my tongue. Watch out Aggie faithful (Is that a thing? I don’t think that’s a thing?) I’m coming for you hard in 2017!
The Utah State Aggies have opened the season 2-2. Their lone FBS victory comes by way of a 14 point win against the Arkansas State Redwolves. That game was closer than the final score indicated. The Aggies are coming off of a seven-point loss at home to Air Force (no jokes from me on that one) and come into Boise on Saturday with their most electric offensive player, RB Devante Mays, sideline with a leg injury.
On offense, Utah State is averaging 20 points per game against FBS opponents. They run a balanced offense averaging 37 runs to 32 passes per game, but nobody on the team has looked impressive outside of the injured Mays. On defense, the Aggies are giving up nearly 31 points per game. They remain good at rushing the passer and look respectable against the run, but again, there really isn’t much to write about. The Utah State Aggies are boring and likely terrible, only a down MWC will prevent their record from reflecting that.
Boise State opened as a 19.5 point favorite against Utah State and the line has ballooned up to 21.5 throughout the week. The over/under is sitting at 59 which means the betting markets predict a 40-19 Boise State victory.
What Will Happen
The Broncos are going to win this game. Utah State doesn’t have the horses (sorry) to keep up with the Broncos offense, and I’ll be slightly surprised if Utah State QB Kent Myers doesn’t limp off the Blue Turf at some point late Saturday night. The usual suspects will get their stats for Boise this week. One wrinkle I expect is for Jeremy McNichols to be heavily involved in the passing game. McNichols has 10 catches for 143 yards on the season and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doubled those numbers on Saturday. Boise State is going to win 41-20 in a satisfying revenge game.
Should We Bet on Blue?
For the first time this season my score prediction is sitting right at the betting number for a Boise State game. I predict a 21 point victory that goes over the O/U, but I wouldn’t bet this game with your money! Boise State has an 11-19 record against the spread at home over its last 30 games, and until the market corrects itself betting on the Bronco’s at home isn’t a safe bet. If I was forced to bet something in this game, I’d bet the under. I see plenty of scenarios where Utah State doesn’t sniff 20 points, and the Broncos haven’t been a picture of consistency on offense themselves. I wouldn’t Bet on Blue this week, but I’m all in on the Broncos moving to 4-0 on Saturday night.