SI ranks MSU #8, Boise State #23: Analyzing the matchups The Enlightened Spartan: SI ranks MSU #8, Boise State #23: Analyzing the matchups

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

SI ranks MSU #8, Boise State #23: Analyzing the matchups

Bronco Nation beware: William Gholston is a beast
Sports Illustrated's Top 25 has the Michigan State Spartans listed at #8, and the Boise State Broncos at #23.   Let's look at their analysis, and what this all means on a matchup basis.

On offense, Michigan State's biggest weakness entering the season was a lack of experience at QB, and lack of experience at wide receiver.  The offensive line is the most experienced, with three returning starters (Blake Treadwell is out for at least the first one to two games with “a stress fracture or hairline fracture in his tibia”).  The running backs are deep, with All Big Ten Le'Veon Bell, former starter Larry Caper, and the swift and speedy Nick Bell. The Spartans return 9 of 11 on defense, the best linebacking corps in the nation, a pair of lock-down corners, and a deep and talented line in the trenches led by a pair of ferocious pass rushing ends: All Big Ten Marcus "Whatttta" Rush and All America William "I'm gonna get you sucka" Gholston. For more, read

Boise State also returns an inexperienced quarterback, but a deep receiving corps and a more than capable RB in DJ Harper.  As noted by SI, "Not only did 12 players sign NFL contracts, but offensive coordinator Brent Pease left to become the offensive coordinator at Florida. There are all of seven returning starters; Boise State lost nine of its top ten tacklers, its leading passer, rusher, receiver, and even its punter." Read more:

So what does this all mean?  It's a home, night game for the Spartans - which means with its new scoreboards the crowd will be fueled and loud. On offense, MSU has an advantage with its running game with a solid line against and inexperienced Boise defensive front.  While the Spartans may not have an experienced QB-WR tandem, a healthy dose of Le'Veon Bell and maybe some tosses from QB Andrew Maxwell to TE Deon Sims can loosen up that Boise defense.  On defense, MSU has a strong advantage with its depth across the board.  Expect the Spartan defensive front and LB corps should be able to plug holes and shut down the run game while pressuring the inexperienced Boise QB, probably redshirt junior Joe Southwick, who has appeared in 16 games.  Southwick can throw to talented wideouts... if he has the time.  The Spartan secondary is among the best in the nation, and with that vaunted Spartan pass rush the secondary will minimize the Bronco damage.

MSU has an advantage in its punting and kicking game, and in its return game with Nick Hill.  The Spartans are favored by 7, and when you look at it on paper you can see why.  If the Spartan defense comes with its A-game, the ES doesn't see Boise scoring more than 2 TDs.