By Charles Jay
Utah State must be a campus that is difficult on quarterbacks, because the Aggies continue to lose them. This season they lost Chuckie Keeton (injury-prone to begin with) for the season, and then quickly the next two guys on the depth chart fell. Now they’re down to the fourth-string quarterback, Kent Myers, who they will move with as they play host to the San Jose State Spartans in Friday night’s college football betting action (9:30 PM ET). Myers is not necessarily spectacular in his production (he completed 13 of his 21 passes against New Mexico last time out), but he has completed 75% of his throws and has won all three of his starts. Utah State only needs for him to be efficient, as their defense, which allows just 19.8 points per game, can pick up a lot of the slack. That is the primary reason why the Aggies are 13-point favorites in the football odds posted at America’s Bookie, with the total at 46 points. .
Amazingly, San Jose State had 462 yards of total offense last week against Hawaii, never punted the football, but still did not score! Three turnovers on their part didn’t help, and those kinds of slippery hands will not benefit them here against a Utah State squad that beat them 40-12 in last season’s game. More of a challenge is probably being thrown at the Spartan defense in this one, as Utah State was almost perfectly balanced in last year’s encounter, with 267 passing yards and 253 on the ground. San Jose State has dropped five of its last six games on the road against the football odds, and they have also covered only two of their last nine games overall.
In another 9:30 PM ET start, the San Diego States Aztecs play host to the Air Force Falcons. One of the things that Rocky Long was known for when he was coaching at New Mexico was putting together defenses that could keep an option attack off-balance just a little, and so his teams were always of thorn in the side of Air Force. What is a little bit more interesting for football bettors about the Falcons this season is the fact that they are throwing the ball a lot more; in other words they really ARE becoming an air force, behind quarterback Kale Pearson, who actually has 13 touchdown passes on the season. And just in case you were further interested, Pearson has averaged 9.6 yards an attempt and has been intercepted only twice. So make no mistake – you can’t overplay Air Force for the run anymore. And this team has very quietly compiled an 8-2 straight-up record. That includes a victory over Boise State, which is on the verge of the national rankings, and ownership of the Commander-in-Chief trophy, which they won by virtue of triumphs over Navy and Army. SDSU had a potent enough weapon in RB Donnel Pumphrey (13463 yards), but they don’t throw the ball as efficiently as Air Force, so this is truly an uphill battle. San Diego State is a five-point favorite in the football odds at America’s Bookie, with a total of 50.5 points. They have won and covered four straight games in the series, and take note that the Aztecs have played nine of their 10 games under the total.
The Rice Owls got blown away 41-14 by nationally -ranked Marshall last week, but prior to that they had six straight victories, both straight-up and against the football pointspread. They play host to the UTEP Miners (8 PM ET kickoff), who recently secured bowl eligibility, which is certainly a step forward. Star running back Aaron Jones came back from a brief injury absence to gain 177 yards for UTEP against North Texas, and he is averaging almost six yards per carry. However, Rice has covered ten of the last 11 games in this ongoing series. That included last year’s 45-7 romp, in which both teams ran the ball rather well, but UTEP had only 116 passing yards and three turnovers. In the football odds currently posted by the people at America’s Bookie, Rice is a 7.5-point favorite, with an over/under of 53.5 points. At least one of these teams, and maybe both, will be going to a “Miner” bowl, and maybe it;’s the Sun Bowl right there in El Paso!