BYU @ HAWAII – XMAS EVE BOWL SPECIAL PREVIEW: (12-24)!
OLD RIVALRY RENEWED AS BYU TAKES ON HAWAII IN NICE XMAS EVE BOWL GAME SPECIAL!
LAS VEGAS ODDS: BYU (-2 1/2) vs. HAWAII ~ TOTAL: (65 1/2)
BYU OFFENSE (#40) ~ (153 RUSH, 286 PASS) vs. HAWAII DEFENSE (#91) ~ (201 RUSH, 225 PASS allowed)
HAWAII OFFENSE (#14) ~ (143 RUSH, 326 PASS) vs. BYU DEFENSE (#62) ~ (181 RUSH, 204 PASS allowed)
We get a nice treat on an otherwise quiet sports day and we even get a nice fun Bowl Game as it’s always nice watching a game with 80+ temp and sunny when half country freezing their asses off. Plus we get an old time big rivalry game between BYU and Hawaii. BYU saved it’s season with a nice second half and Hawaii shoots for it’s first 10 win season in a long while. Let’s face it neither is an upper echelon team in the overall CFB ranks, but both possess some exciting talent and this game should be exciting.
BYU got some good news getting it’s best QB back in fold a month ago, Zach Wilson, who now is likely as healthy with his bad thumb as he could be. Last year Wilson put forth maybe the best Bowl game of any QB, going (18-18-317- 4 TD’s) in a big win. BYU has won it’s last two Bowl games under it’s current HC Satake, who hails from Hawaii and is surely super excited to be playing this game there. BYU got hit hard by key injuries on Offense this season and comes in with a decimated backfield. It’s likely they ask Wilson to pass much more than the 18 he did last season, and going against Hawaii’s weak #91 Defense that really isn’t good vs. run or pass, things should be open for Wilson and Company all day.
Hawaii is one of the more fun Offenses to watch, although they make more turnovers than a bakery, with the worst in nation 30 this season. Hawaii is also (-14) overall in Turnover margin making them 3rd worst in nation overall. Hawaii though is a gun slinging pass first Offense and they will send out a sensational 4 man receiver corps that can all do major damage and all make tough catches, and can get open easily. They have 4 wideouts (Byrd (superstar), Smart, Ward and Sharsh) who all have over 800 receiving yards. Last year in their Bowl game, Hawaii laid a huge egg on Offense scoring only 14 points. They surely is remembered going into this game and with a Defense that allows over 31 points a game, they know they likely need to score into the 30’s and maybe the 40’s to beat BYU. BYU has been a bend but don’t break Defense that really has no superstars, with not one Defensive player with over 2 Sacks. Hawaii QB Cole McDonald will drive you insane but he can light it up too. He takes every chance in book and sometimes it pays off bigtime and others it’s a costly turnover. But the turnovers never get to this kid. He keeps slinging it and he’s got the weapons to move ball with ease.
BYU had a good Offensive run scoring 42, 31, 42 and 56 points before laying a huge egg of only 3 points vs. San Diego State. On Road this year the Cougars were (3-3) straight up. They did have a nice win this season over a very good USC team. They are a lot like Hawaii, erratic as can be. Hawaii was (6-1) straight up at Home losing only to a very good Air Force team (56-26). At Home they scored 45, 31, 35, 26, 45, 21 and 52 points. They play much looser and Home and not traveling for this one is a big bonus for fresher bodies. Speed kills in CFB and Hawaii has it at the wide out position, and is so deep they always have fresh legs running routes.
BYU has played 5 Overs and 6 Unders and is (4-7) ATS, losing against the spread it’s last 3 games. Hawaii is (5-7-1) ATS and has played 7 Overs and 5 Unders.
BYU on Defense will likely go Zone to try to force Hawaii to run the ball more and grind out longer drives, knowing more plays mean more likely mistakes by QB McDonald. BYU impressed me not tanking the season after tough start, and they surely won’t come in high and mighty after SD State smacked them up good. Some teams aren’t happy with Bowl games and crappy locations they get invited to, but both these teams are happy to be here, to renew an old rivalry and to just go out and have some fun. Both likely take lots of chances as this isn’t for much but bragging rights and for the Seniors, going out on a High note. Hawaii is clearly a totally different team at Home and although crowd size never that big, it’s still enough to get them excited. Hawaii’s Defense is one of the poorer tackling teams, which is why they allow 31 points a game. The bettors are all over BYU here and the OVER has been bet up in a big way too. I am quite surprised BYU is the favorite playing at Hawaii, where they have had much success at Home. BYU backfield is decimated so this one could get into a high flyer if neither commits costly turnovers it could become a track meet. No matter who you bet you will have times you scream at TV as these teams are very unpredictable and Hawaii especially on Offense will make you smile big with big plays all over field, but also make you crazy when McDonald gets picked off with a terrible forced pass. If Hawaii can run the ball here they should really light up scoreboard. I thought Hawaii HC Rolovich made huge mistake going all out vs. Army prior to the Mountain West Title game. His kids looked really tired for that one. Now both teams are fully rested and for BYU getting Wilson his most healthy the biggest factor as if he didn’t play I think they get crushed. Wilson is a gamer though, so this game should stay close.
Enjoy the game and Merry Christmas Eve. May Santa bring you all a Happy one tomorrow and may all your Holiday wagers be WINNING ones.
Gary Greene and family and staff.