Friday's Tip Sheet
September 1, 2015
By Brian Edwards
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**Michigan State at Western Michigan**
-- Michigan State finished 2014 with an 11-2 straight-up record and a 9-4 against-the-spread mark. Since 2011, Mark Dantonio's team has hooked up its gambling supporters at a 34-20 ATS clip. The Spartans capped last year with a 42-41 comeback win over Baylor at the Cotton Bowl. They won outright as 2.5-point underdogs after rallying from a 41-21 deficit.
-- Michigan State returns seven starters on offense and six on defense. The latter unit lost a key starter to a season-ending injury a few weeks ago when Ed Davis went down. He had 58 tackles and seven sacks last season.
-- Dantonio lost workhorse running back Jeremy Langford and his top two wide receivers, but the offense still has its leader in QB Connor Cook. The senior signal caller threw for 3,214 yards with a 24/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2014. Cook has a 47/15 TD-INT ratio for his career. Langford is gone after rushing for 1,522 yards and 22 TDs. Also, Cook's favorite target Tony Lippett has departed following a season in which he hauled in 65 receptions for 1,198 yards and 11 TDs.
-- Michigan State owns an incredible 17-4-1 spread record in 22 games as a road favorite on Dantonio's watch.
-- Western Michigan improved from 1-11 in P.J. Fleck's first season ('13) to go 8-5 SU and 10-3 ATS last year. The Broncos bring back nine starters on offense and seven on defense. They saw their six-game winning streak snapped in the regular-season finale, a 31-21 home loss to No. Illinois, and then dropped a 38-24 decision to Air Force as two-point 'chalk' at the Idaho Potato Bowl.
-- Western Michigan returns nearly all of its skill players, including true sophomore RB Jarvion Franklin, who came out of nowhere to rush for 1,551 yards and 24 TDs while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He also had 14 catches for 163 yards and one TD. Franklin garnered MAC Offensive Player of the Year honors, was on the first-team All-MAC squad and was also the MAC Freshman of the Year.
-- As a third-year sophomore in 2014, Zach Terrell completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,443 yards with a 26/10 TD-INT ratio. Terrell has two of the MAC's top wideouts in juniors Corey Davis and Daniel Braverman. Davis had 78 receptions for 1,408 yards and 15 TDs last year, while Braverman finished the season with 86 catches for 997 yards and six TDs.
-- Western Michigan played a pair of Power Five opponents last year, losing 43-34 at Purdue as an 8.5-point underdog in the season opener. The Broncos also lost at Virginia Tech, but they took the cash in a 35-17 loss as 21-point 'dogs.
-- Western Michigan opened the season at Michigan State two seasons ago, losing 26-13 in East Lansing. However, Fleck's team covered the number as a 28-point underdog.
-- As of Tuesday, most books had Michigan State listed as an 18-point favorite with a total of 58. The Broncos were +650 on the money line (risk $100 to win $650).
-- Kickoff on Friday night is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
**Baylor at Southern Methodist**
-- Baylor smashed SMU by a 45-7 count as a 34.5-point home favorite in last season's opener. The Bears defense limited the Mustangs to just 67 yards of total offense. Baylor has won 11 in a row over SMU and has taken the cash in the last 10 head-to-head meetings.
--Art Briles' squad returns nine starters on offense and nine starters on defense. Baylor finished last year with an 11-2 SU record and a 7-5-1 ATS ledger. The Bears 41-27 at West Va. and then lost to Michigan State in heartbreaking fashion in the postseason.
-- With Bryce Petty gone to the NFL, junior QB Seth Russell is poised to take over under center. The fourth-year junior had eight TD passes compared to only one interception last season. Russell will have weapons galore around him, including one of the nation's best set of wide receivers. Corey Coleman had 64 receptions for 1,119 yards and 11 TDs in 2014, while K.D. Cannon hauled in 58 catches for 1,030 yards and eight TDs. RB Shock Linwood also returns following a season in which he ran for 1,252 yards and 15 scores.
-- Baylor has posted a 5-7-1 spread record in 13 games as a road 'chalk' during Briles's tenure.
-- The Baylor defense will be led by senior DE Shawn Oakman, who had 51 tackles, 11 sacks and nine QB hurries in 2014. This unit allowed 25.5 points per game last year.
-- As of Tuesday, most spots had Baylor favored by 36 with a total of 74.5 points.
-- SMU was outscored by a combined score of 159-6 in three games against Power Five schools (at Baylor, vs. Texas A&M and vs. TCU) in 2014. The Mustangs saw June Jones resign after a 43-6 loss at North Texas in Week 2. They would lose their first 11 games before winning 27-20 at UConn as 14-point underdogs in the regular-season finale.
-- SMU went out and hired highly-regarded Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris as its next head coach. Morris, who spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas before getting the Clemson gig, inherits a team which finished 1-11 SU and 4-8 ATS last season. The Mustangs bring back nine starters on offense and seven on defense.
-- Morris will give junior Matt Davis the starting nod at QB. Davis started the last five games last year, finishing the campaign with 855 passing yards and a 3/5 TD-INT ratio. Davis rushed for a team-best 613 yards and four TDs while averaging 5.7 YPC.
-- From 2009-2013, SMU compiled an 8-2 spread record in 10 games as a home underdog. However, the Mustangs limped to a 1-5 ATS mark in six such spots last season.
-- ESPN will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Washington at Boise State**
-- Chris Petersen enjoyed a dynastic eight-year tenure at Boise State from 2006-2013, turning down a plethora of big-name jobs while compiling a 92-13 record with seven double-digit win seasons and five years with 12 wins or more. However, when the University of Washington came calling, Petersen finally decided to make the move to a Power Five school. Now he returns to the smurf turf to take on his former team Friday night at 10:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
-- As of Tuesday, most books had Boise State installed as an 11.5-point home favorite with a total of 57. The Huskies were available on the money line for a +350 payout (risk $100 to win $350).
-- Boise State went 12-2 straight up and 8-6 against the spread in 2014. The Broncos bring back nine starters on offense and eight on defense. They have named true sophomore Ryan Finley as the starting quarterback. Finley served as the departed Grant Hedrick's back-up last year, completing 12-of-27 throws for 161 yards and two TDs with one interception.
-- BSU has to replace workhorse RB Jay Ajayi, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins after rushing for 1,823 yards and 28 TDs last season.
-- Since 2006, the first year of Petersen's tenure, Boise State has won 55 of 57 home games with the two losses coming by three combined points. This is the first time since 2009 -- when the Broncos smashed Oregon and LeGarrette Blount to begin Chip Kelly's reign -- that they've played a season opener at home.
-- The BSU defense is led by LBs Tanner Vallejo and Kamalei Correa. Vallejo had a team-high 100 tackles in 2014, while Correa had 59 tackles and 12 sacks.
-- Washington finished a disappointing 8-6 SU in Petersen's first season, going 7-7 versus the number. The Huskies lost a 30-22 decision to Oklahoma State six-point 'chalk' at the Cactus Bowl. They return five starters on offense and four on defense.
-- Petersen told the media Monday that he's decided on a new starting QB but won't reveal the news before Friday's kick. The three candidates are junior Jeff Lindquist, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and true freshman Jake Browning. Lindquist started one game last season, finishing the year with only 10 completions in 30 attempts for 162 yards and one TD without an interception. Cyler Miles was the starter last year and had a 17/4 TD-INT ratio and four rushing scores in 2014. However, a lingering hip injury forced Miles into retirement over the summer.
-- Petersen had this say about the homefield advantage BSU will enjoy: “It’s a great place to play. Unbelievable home-field advantage. The size of the stadium has nothing to do with it. Those are very passionate fans and a really good place to play a college football game. Noise is a factor. Tough place to play.”
-- Washington returns its top four pass catchers and top two leading rushers, including Dwayne Washington, who had 697 rushing yards and nine TDs with a 5.3 YPC average. Senior WR Jaydon Mickens had 60 catches for 617 yards and four TDs last year.
-- BSU posted a 4-3 spread record as a home favorite last season, while UW went 2-1 ATS as a road underdog.