Boise State has been one of the most successful programs in college football over the past few years.
Boise State has been one of the most successful programs in college football over the past few years. windycitizensports.wordpress.c

The first college football matchup featuring two ranked teams is set to get underway on Friday night.

No.24 Boise State visits No.13 Michigan State. The contest is set to kick off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. If you can't get to a TV, you can watch a free live stream online at

The Spartans are expected to be victorious in their 2012 season opener. Michigan State is a 7.5-point favorite, according to the online betting Web site Bovada.

Michigan State is coming off of one of the best seasons in school history. They tied a school record, winning 11 games. The Spartans finished the year with a win in the Outback Bowl, defeating Georgia 33-30 in triple overtime.

Senior Andrew Maxwell makes his debut as the team's starter, taking over Kirk Cousins. The senior quarterback has played just nine games. He replaces Cousins and a 146.1 career quarterback rating.

The Broncos are also playing for the first time without their star quarterback of a few years. Kellen Moore led all of NCAA football with a 74.3 completion percentage in 2011. He threw for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns last season.

Joe Southwick draws the assignment of replacing Moore. He's never started a game at the collegiate level, backing up Moore for two years.

It's understandable why the betting line has Boise State as an underdog, even after they went 12-1 in 2011. Besides losing Moore, the Broncos lost two other stars to the NFL. Running back Doug Martin and defensive end Shea McClellin both went in the first round of April's draft.

Prediction: Boise State has only lost three games in the last four years, but they are not the same team that they were in those years. However, Michigan State is also without their quarterback, as well as their top receivers from a year ago. The Broncos might be able to keep it close, but the Spartans defense should be able to hold off their opponent just enough to give them the win.

Predicted Score: Michigan State 37, Boise State 27