2013 Hawaii Bowl Preview: Boise State vs. Oregon State

By Daniel J.

BSU-VS-OregonState

The Boise State Broncos (8-4) and Oregon State Beavers (6-6) may have both finished their respective regular seasons below their preseason expectations, but a trip to Hawaii has to be a nice consolation prize for the bowl-bound squads.

In finding themselves in the paradise setting of the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, the Broncos, in rare fashion, also find themselves on the underdog side of the line against Oregon State, which is listed by most odds makers as a three-point favorite in today’s contest. That line will certainly be surprising to some, but most of those who watched the Beavers play this season would probably agree with its placement.

Yes, the Beavers endured an up-and-down 2013 campaign and they were far from the most consistent team in the Pac-12 Conference, but with the nation’s third most powerful aerial attack (382.1 yards per game), Oregon State proved it can move the ball and score on some of the best teams in the country.

Of course, the Broncos have a strong offense too. In fact, Boise State ranks one place higher (25th to OSU’s 26th) in total yards per game. But Boise does it with more balance, incredibly ranking 32nd in both passing and rushing yards per game.

With this match-up, bettors might want to pay more attention to the defensive numbers. Although the Broncos faced more inferior foes this season, they limited opponents to 23.8 points per game, whereas the Beavers allowed 32.1 points per contest. Oregon State also struggled mightily against the run, giving up nearly 200 yards per outing, which could be bad news for it in going against the Broncos, who will likely lead with their ground game and 1,300-plus yard rusher Jay Ajayi.

Experience also counts for a lot in a game like this and the Broncos have earned much more of it than OSU recently, as today’s game marks their 12th straight bowl appearance. However, for the first time during that span, Chris Peterson – who was recently hired by Washington – won’t serve as the squad’s head coach. Instead, assistant Bob Gregory will take over the reins as Boise’s interim head man.

Then again, against Oregon State’s underachieving defense, it may not matter who is calling the shots for Boise State today. With their more balanced offensive approach and bowl game experience, I like the Broncos to prevail in this one, covering +3 points in the process.