The Boise State Broncos are heavily favored over the Colorado State Rams heading into their game on Friday night. Be that as it may, the importance of the matchup from a divisional and conference standpoint cannot be overstated. Both teams are currently 2-1 in the Mountain West and looking up in the Mountain Division at Utah State, which is currently unbeaten in the conference.
The Broncos must remain focused and not overlook what appears to be an inferior opponent. One more conference hiccup would likely eliminate them from division title contention. Colorado State will come in with nothing to lose and a lot to gain, as an upset win would keep the Rams alive in what would then be a very winnable division.
Colorado State at Boise State
Kickoff: Friday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET
Spread: Boise State -24
Three Things to Watch
1. Brett Rypien's ball security
Boise State's senior signal-caller stormed out of the gates with 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions during the first four games of the season. Over the last two weeks, he has tossed five interceptions and only two touchdowns. Those performances went a long way towards a loss to San Diego State and a close win over Nevada. If Colorado State can snag an early errant pass from Rypien, it'll give the Rams both hope and momentum.
2. Keeping Preston Williams in check
Williams — a monster wideout — is Colorado State's most dangerous offensive weapon. His presence changes the way teams defend the Rams, and his success fuels his team. Ideally, Boise State wants to defend him with one man and allow the defense to pin its ears back around the rest of the field. If that is not the case, and the Broncos need to cheat a man over to help defend Williams, Colorado State quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels will find it easier to get the ball to the rest of his playmakers and keep the Rams in the game longer than expected.
3. A game-changing special teams play
Both teams have had punts or kicks blocked this season. They both have weaknesses on special teams that the opposing team can take advantage of to swing momentum. If Colorado State can get one of these big special teams plays early, it could flip field position and possibly force the Broncos to play from behind. That would change the dynamic of this game dramatically.
We can sit here all day and imagine how this game could end up being close. The bottom line is that it probably won't be. Boise State has two losses to two pretty good football teams, and Colorado State is not a good football team. The Rams are likely going to struggle on defense against the weapons that Boise State employs on offense. Look for a "get right" game from Brett Rypien to propel the Broncos to a sound win.
Prediction: Boise State 48, Colorado State 20
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! SBNation and Bleacher Report. He is a three-time FWAA writing contest award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.
(Top photo courtesy of Boise State Athletics)