All the college football teams have fought hard and earned bowl eligibility. It’s time to see what bowl game they have all earned.
Aloha BYU: BYU has earned a spot in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl vs who else? The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The West Division champion will have the advantage of playing on their home land when they host the Cougars.
BYU-Provo won their last matchup against the rainbow Warriors in Provo last year by an overwhelming 26 point margin. They have won five straight. Their last loss to Hawaii was in 2001 when they lost 72 to 45. BYU leads the all time series 23 to 8.
BYU has some impressive P5 wins on their resume but so does Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors defeated Arizona and Oregon State to start the season. They had some rough moments in conference play but were ultimately able to survive the West division where many teams beat up on each other. San Diego State faltered down the stretch and Hawaii used it to their advantage. They finished 5-3 in conference play and 8-4 overall. Their lone non-conference loss was against Washington.
BYU is coming off their second straight 7 win season. They won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last year over Western Michigan. Hawaii lost to Louisiana Tech in the 2018 Hawaii Bowl but have come back stronger this year.
Boise State: Hawaii had two cracks at the Broncos as they lost the regular season matchup and then the Mountain West Championship game. Both times the Rainbow Warriors were unable to get the job done. To be fair, both games were on the road and Hawaii does have to travel more than anyone in the conference for their road games. Nevertheless, Hawaii lost to Boise State by an average of 21.5 points in each of their two games at Albertsons Stadium.
On the other hand, BYU was able to eek out a three point victory over Boise State. The Cougars went up 28 to 10 and held on for dear life as Boise State made a run. To be fair, this game was in Provo. However, it is a significant win that gives the Cougars some confidence that they can hang with the runner up in the Mountain West Conference.
San Diego State: This game should give Hawaii some confidence as they were able to beat a good defensive Aztecs team. Coach Rocky Long had a physical football program as always as his team allowed just 14 points per game which is good enough for 5th in the nation. Just how impressive is that? Consider that the Utah Utes were just one spot behind them and the whole nation was always talking about how good the Ute defense is.
Hawaii held San Diego State to their average as they scored exactly 14 points in the win which was enough to get the job done. As good as the Aztecs are defensively, they are equally atrocious offensively. They averaged just 19 points per game which was just 119th out of 130 FBS teams. They try to run the ball down the throat of their opponent which is brave but not always the smartest football tactic.
The ferocious Aztecs tamed the Cougars. It was Zach Wilson’s first real test back from injury as he coasted over weak teams like Idaho State and UMass. BYU also held San Diego State to below their average but were WAY below their own scoring average. The Cougars averaged 28.2 points this season. They managed just 3 points despite putting up 416 yards of total offense. They just couldn’t finish drives and their kicking game was questionable.
Washington: Both teams got equally steamrolled by Washington. There’s no other way to really analyze this. Hawaii and BYU are not on that level which is why they are playing in the Hawaii Bowl instead of the first tier Mountain West Conference Vegas Bowl. BYU was playing in Hawaii no matter what as they had a prior arranged agreement. Hawaii is a geographically appealing choice for the bowl as well.
Prediction: It is tough to use common opponents as the measuring stick to pick a winner so let’s look at their tendencies.
BYU will win because: They are the better team when they are clicking on all cylinders. Yes the Cougars have sputtered in questionable losses to teams like USF and Toledo who aren’t going bowling. When the Cougars are on though, they are beating Top 25 teams like Boise State and USC.
Hawaii will win because: Statistically they are better than the Cougars across the board. Also, the Cougars haven’t necessarily looked great since Zach Wilson took over the starting role.
Hawaii leads the Cougars in:
Points per game
Total First Downs
Rushing First Downs
Passing First Downs
3rd down %
4th down %
Net passing yards
Net passing yards per game
Basically Hawaii leads BYU in every statistical category on the offensive end. BYU has a stout defense but Hawaii survived a stout one in San Diego State. Hawaii should not fear BYU especially if Zach Wilson is starting. This is more of a compliment to Romney than it is a slight to Zach.
I’m picking a close game as often happens in bowl games for BYU. BYU will need to make a field goal to win the game. They definitely struggle in that area currently. However, I think BYU goes one for three on field goals but a game winner from Jake “The Make” Oldroyd will seal the deal.
The Cougars have finally extended Kalani Sitake’s contract. If he wants to validate their decision, it better be Melé Kalanimaka time in Hawaii. If he and his staff revert back to predictable play calling then Aloha could mean goodbye in the future.
Final Score Prediction: BYU 24 Hawaii 23