The lone meeting between these two to open the 2021 season in Orlando included all kinds of fireworks when UCF won, 36-31, on its own turf.
This will provide more of the same, this time on the blue Smurf Turf in Idaho before a national FS1 television audience.
Let’s break down the UCF vs. Boise State odds and a prediction.
UCF vs. Boise State Odds: Point Spread, Moneyline, Total
Here are betting lines from the top sports betting apps.
UCF Knights (1-0, 1-0 ATS)
Mississippi native John Rhys Plumlee played three unrewarding seasons at Ole Miss before zipping to Orlando and the Knights last season, where he threw for 2,586 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also had 14 passes picked off, and he fumbled six times.
This time around, UCF finds itself movin’ on up as a Big 12 debutante. It plays its first game in the league on Sept. 23 at Kansas State.
In a simple tune-up opener at home against Kent State last weekend, a 56-6 triumph, Plumlee went 22-for-30 for 281 yards and three TDs. Even against such a woeful foe, though, the turnovers happened: two interceptions and a fumble.
That must be disconcerting to coaches and fans, and in Boise, those could be the difference between victory or defeat. So we will avoid either outcome, or the point spread, to bank on a high entertainment factor.
And Plumlee adds to the marquee value with his legs. He ran eight times for 90 yards and a TD against the Golden Flashes, and that element will always keep the other guys on their toes.
With last week’s effort, he has hit 1,000 yards (1,023) on the ground in his career. He averages nearly 7 yards per scamper, and he has tallied 12 rushing TDs.
His versatility will key this score to soar.
And Plumlee nearly had a pair of 100-yard rushers in his backfield last week in Johnny Richardson (12 runs, 100 yards) and RJ Harvey (84 yards on 10 dashes, including a 50-yard TD).
The electric wideout is Xavier Townsend, who turned five receptions into 81 yards and a TD against Kent State. A 5-foot-11, 185-pound Tampa native, he averaged nearly 6 yards on 23 catches as a freshman.
One of the four runs by Jordan McDonald (6-1, 220) wound up in the end zone, and he turned his lone catch into a 33-yard TD. Watch out when he touches the ball.
An already-experienced cast of receivers benefits from the additions of Chauncey Magwood (from Kentucky) and the 6-4, 211-pound Trent Whittemore (via Florida).
Of some huge one-sided efforts in the first week of college football, nobody crashed the 700-yard barrier in total offense except for UCF, which registered 723 in that walloping of Kent State.
That alone should make Boise’s defenders pause. That is a stunning effort, and there’s no way that defense doesn’t know those figures.
The Broncos return only five starters on defense, and the two biggest replacements will occur at corner and safety, which no longer feature Caleb Biggers and JL Skinner, respectively.
Boise State Broncos (0-1, 0-1 ATS)
The Broncos’ defenders know what it’s like to be a sieve on defense, which also lured us to this game.
Next door in Washington last Saturday, Boise yielded 568 total yards to outstanding Huskies quarterback Michael Penix and his very talented troupe of receivers. That was the fifth-highest allowance in this early D-I slate.
Penix torched the Boise secondary for 11.3 yards per throw, the 12th-highest in the land. Note: Tulane’s Michael Pratt is tops with 19.6 per attempt, and we highlighted him and his Green Wave last week in a nifty selection.
In Seattle, Penix went for 450 yards, with five TDs and no interceptions. He hit eight different receivers with completions, keeping helmets in the Boise secondary on constant swivels.
Even though this is at home, those defenders can’t be looking forward to seeing Plumlee just a week later.
It can win if sophomore QB Taylen Green (6-6, 223), a Texas native, can compete with Plumlee in a duel.
In his first full year running the show, Green threw for 2,042 yards a year ago, with 14 TDs and six interceptions, and he fumbled three times.
Against UW, Green had a tough go when he went 19-for-39 for 244 yards, a TD, and two interceptions.
All of those numbers figure to improve on his own turf, and he has a dangerous hookup in sophomore receiver Eric McAlister (6-3, 195), who averaged nearly 24 yards a catch last season.
McAlister nabbed seven passes for 69 yards in Seattle, and sophomore Ashton Jeanty (5-8, 205) showed a keen knack for catching passes out of the backfield when he turned four catches into 109 yards and a TD.
This is a unique game since Boise is coming off a rare royal thumping and it is an underdog at home for only the third time since 2005; it is 1-2 ATS in such games, the lone cover a 24-17 victory over Fresno State when the Broncos were 2.5-point dogs in 2018.
UCF vs. Boise State Prediction
One computer projection that we value has Boise winning, 33-31. We’ll take it. We want hijinks, trick plays, and bushels of points, and these two are capable of supplying plenty of entertainment.
Our Pick: Over