If you had said in the preseason that one of the college football bowls this year would feature Utah and Boise State, you probably would have expected it to take place much closer to Jan. 1, or to possibly even be a matchup in a BCS bowl. However, a few things got in the way, and so the teams are now matched up in the Las Vegas Bowl this evening instead. The game is going to kick off at 7:00 p.m. Central, and it will be shown on ESPN.â†µ
Boise State, as we all know, was poised to potentially play spoiler for the BCS again, along with Texas Christian, but a heartbreaking overtime loss in Reno to the Nevada Wolfpack sent them tumbling in the rankings, and they now find themselves ranked tenth in the nation. But make no mistake, their offense is still ridiculous. . .Heisman Trophy finalist Kellen Moore is a very good college quarterback, and he has two outstanding wide receiver prospects in Austin Pettis (son of former California Angels' outfielder Gary Pettis) and Titus Young. Their defense, which is understandably overshadowed by that outstanding offense, is pretty good in its own right, too.
Utah had been ranked as high as number five in the country this year, but it's not nearly the quality of school that Boise State is, in my opinion. Many of its wins. . .and a lot of its statistics. . .were rolled up against weaker teams. When it's had to play stiffer competition. . .well, let's just say that it's been relatively ugly. It rolled into a two-week stretch of games against TCU and Notre Dame with a record of 8-0. It finished those two games with a record of 8-2, losing those two games by a combined score of 75-10. The beating it took from TCU was particularly ugly, as it had been hyped as a matchup of two top five teams and potential BCS busters, and the Utes came out as flat as could be.â†µ
This is the first matchup this bowl season between two top 25 programs. . .but, sadly, I don't think that this is going to be much of a game. Boise State is still angry about the loss to Nevada and it costing them an opportunity to potentially play in a BCS game, and I get the feeling that they're going to take it out on a Utah team that, while good, isn't nearly on the level of Boise State.â†µ
SB Nation Minnesota prediction: Boise State 48, Utah 27
SB Nation Minnesota record thus far: 3-1