Washington vs. Boise State: Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
Washington vs. Boise State: Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl Broadcast
Washington (7-5) vs. Boise State (12-1) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
– There’s no other way this could be. Chris Petersen is just 55 – he’s going to have his pick of head coaching jobs if he ever wants to dive back into the fight – but if this is it, and if he really is done with the grind, then to have his last game be Washington vs. Boise State is just too good. But beyond this merely being a college football friendly – how cool would it be if Coach Pete coached the first half with UW and the second half with Boise State? – this is another one of those bowls that, fair or not, will end up defining the narrative of the season.
– Boise State had a beef. Memphis is terrific, and it’s certainly worthy of the trip to the Cotton Bowl as the top CFP-ranked Group of Five champion, but Boise State got by Florida State on the road, beat a ranked Air Force team, and took down six bowl-bound teams, not including Hawaii twice. The one loss came when the quarterback situation was a question mark going into a road game at BYU, and even then that was still a fight. Now it’s time to show that it really might be the top Gof5 program.
Whether it was under Petersen or current head man Bryan Harsin, this has been a terrific bowl program winning seven of its last nine trips. Considering last year’s SERVPRO First Responder Bowl against Boston College was stopped and cancelled because of bad weather, most of the Bronco players are looking for their first bowl win.
– Obviously Petersen has been terrific at Washington, but even with the two Pac-12 titles, his teams haven’t always risen to the occasion in the biggest of big games.
This doesn’t quite qualify as one of those, but after going 1-4 in bowls during his time in Seattle, going out with a victory is sort of a big deal for his legacy. Lose, and – fair or not – his era might have a tinge of, “yeahhhhh, buuuuuut,” when it comes to the post-season. 2-4 in bowls looks a lot better than 1-5.
As a program, Washington needs to start piling up bowl wins. Since winning the 1992 Rose Bowl over Michigan, the Huskies are a rough 5-13.
CFN Podcast: Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl discussion, picks
Why Boise State Will Win
– The Washington offense isn’t explosive enough or consistent enough, and it can bog down to a dead stop a bit too often. As good as QB Jacob Eason is, and as strong as the offensive line is, there’s a problem on third downs and there’s an issue lately with the ground game.
The Huskies are dead last in the Pac-12 in third down conversions, and that partially starts with a rushing attack that’s not setting up enough easy situations. UW has rushed for fewer than 100 yards in three of the last four games, and it has failed to convert more than 30% of its third down tries in six of its last eight games. On the flip side …
– The Boise State offense is fantastic at keeping the chains moving. Unlike Washington, the Broncos are outstanding at moving the chains, converting 49% of their tries, converting 50% of their chances or more nine times.
To keep harping on this, Washington hasn’t been able to connect on more than 38% of its tries since mid-September. In what should be a tight game, Boise State will have its offense on the field a bit more.
– The Broncos are getting terrific quarterback play over the last month. It’s been a carousel of QBs throughout the year, but after all the injuries and inconsistencies, their senior has risen up with ten touchdown passes and two picks over the final four games, including for the Mountain West championship. He’s not better than Jacob Eason, but he just has to be close, and he has to keep the turnovers to a bare minimum.
Why Washington Will Win
– Boise State hasn’t dealt with an offensive line this good. The Florida State O line is a problem, and while BYU and Air Force have solid front fives, the Huskies bring something totally different. The NFL parts up front haven’t been a rock for the running game so far, but it’s a fine line in pass protection that should keep the fantastic Bronco pass rush from taking over.
UW has had to deal with the great pass rushes from Oregon, Cal, USC, Oregon State and Utah – all among the 35 best in the country – and the offense did okay. The attack is used to handling pressure.
– Boise State hasn’t dealt with a defense this good. It might have been a personnel redo in several ways, but Washington has been its normal terrific self more often than not. The problems – when there have been – have mostly been with the consistency of the offensive side.
The D has been a brick wall at times against the run, and the secondary has bent, but hasn’t broken all that often. UW is 0-4 when allowing 399 total yards or more, and was 7-1 when giving up fewer – Cal was the one exception. Boise State has failed to generate 399 yards in five of the last ten games.
– Yeah, Washington is 7-5, and yeah, it’s been a disappointing season for a team that – even in a rebuilding season – should’ve been deeper in the hunt for the Pac-12 title in the end. However, those losses were all really, really close fights.
The Huskies shouldn’t have lost to a Stanford team that was missing too many parts, and dropping the game to Colorado was unforgivable, but four of the five losses were by six points or fewer, including losses to Oregon and Utah. Not that this necessarily matters or is fair, but Washington whacked BYU on the road 45-19. Boise State lost to the Cougars.