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A new chapter in the Boise State football anthology begins on Thursday night when the Broncos travel to Atlanta to take on the Ole Miss Rebels in a neutral site game with a pro-SEC crowd. This will be the first time since 2005 that the Broncos aren’t coached by Chris Petersen as Bryan Harsin takes the reins after one season as the head coach of Arkansas State. The Broncos are in a bit of a transition, while the Rebels return 15 starters from last season’s much-improved team.

Boise St Broncos vs Mississippi Rebels College Football Preview

Date/Time: August 28, 8:00 pm EST 

TV: ESPN

College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb

College Football Betting Favorite: Mississippi -10

Total: 54

Tough openers are hardly a new thing for the Broncos, who have opened the season against Oregon, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Michigan State, and Washington over the last five seasons. The Rebels are 17-9 against the spread under Hugh Freeze and 8-2 ATS against non-conference opponents. Let’s get to the free college football pick.

Boise St Broncos:

Expectations are so high in Boise that an 8-5 season can be considered a down year, but the 2013 season marked the first time since 2005 that the Broncos failed to reach double digits in wins. A bounce back season looks very possibly with a dynamic offense and a much more experienced defense than last season. Grant Hedrick returns as the starting quarterback and he threw 16 touchdowns against just five interceptions last season. The Broncos have a couple of future NFLers in Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes at wide receiver that combined for over 160 receptions last season. The defense, which returned only two starters in 2012 and four starters in 2013, has eight returning starters and should be more stable, even with the coaching and scheme changes. Head coach Bryan Harsin was the quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator here from 2006-10 and both of his coordinators are former Boise State players. The Broncos enter the season as the favorites to win the Mountain West Conference.

Ole Miss Rebels:

Hugh Freeze welcomed another strong recruiting class into Oxford as the Rebels look to take the next step in the ultra-competitive SEC West Division. There’s plenty of reason for optimism and a lot of it is on the defensive side. After welcoming back 10 returning starters for Dave Wommack’s defense last season, the Rebels have nine returning starters this season, the third year under Wommack’s tutelage. The defense improved by nearly four points per game last season and the pass defense was a big reason why. The offense is led by Bo Wallace, a junior college transfer in his third season at Mississippi. The skill positions are solid with the running back tandem of I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton. Laquon Treadwell should be one of the country’s best sophomores and he will be called on to have a big season without two of the team’s three leading receivers from last season, Donte Moncrief and Ja-Mes Logan. The Rebels are very strong in the trenches with returning starters and highly touted recruits and that’s a key to this game, as the Broncos tend to get their biggest advantage in the trenches. That will be negated in this game.

Free Pick: Ole Miss Rebels -10

It’s tough to lay a big number right out of the gate, but this is a tough spot for Boise State. They have to go against a superior opponent from the SEC in their first game with a brand new coaching staff. Hugh Freeze played a lot of youth last season and they won’t be as overwhelmed early in this season.

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