No. 19 Boise State at Washington
Saturday, 10PM, Fox Sports 1
Line: Washington, -3.5
Husky Stadium is one of the iconic venues in college football. After undergoing $250 million in renovations, the home of the University of Washington's football team will reopen with a top 25 opponent in Boise State. The Broncos are not as strong as they were at their peak with Kellen Moore, but head coach Chris Petersen is still there and the talent level is still high. Late night, West Coast football on the new Fox Sports 1, and what a way for them to close out the broadcast day.
For the Broncos to win: Don't get caught up in the emotion. One would expect Boise to be able to handle heading into hostile territory with no problem. But the redesign of Husky Stadium is expected to be as loud as its predecesor, and after a long day of tailgating and celebrating being home again, it might be as rabid a crowd as one has ever seen in Seattle.
For the Huskies to win: Gain momentum early. Boise State has a deep but inexperienced defense, and in the opening game in what is sure to be a noisy and hostile environment for the Broncos, it might be in Washington's best interest to try and make some big plays early. It will help keep the crowd engaged in the game and might serve to throw a youthful opposing defense off of their game and keep them on tilt. If the Boise defense gets traction early, it might be an unhappy housewarming for Washington.
Key Player, Boise State: Joe Southwick, quarterback. The senior had big shoes to fill, replacing four year, record setting starter Kellen Moore. Southwick did okay last season. He struggled early and came on strong late. Expect big strides for the senior in his second year.
Key Player, Washington: Keith Price, quarterback. It is a bit of a cliché to state that both quarterbacks are the key to victory for their respective teams. Keith Price, though, might be more important than Joe Southwick is to Boise State. Price, a senior, struggled quite a bit last season and did not live up to the preseason expectations. He does have a new quarterback coach this season in former Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who finished eighth in the Heisman balloting in 2000. Maybe working with Tuiasosopo will allow Price to reclaim some of the magic that was missing for him in 2012.
Key Stat: 84-8. That is not a misprint. That is Chris Petersen's career record as head coach at Boise State. It's good for a .913 winning percentage. Three of the eight losses came in 2007, his second year in charge. It's been quite a run, and is part of the reason his name comes up every offseason when the coaching carousel starts spinning. He has resisted hopping on so far.