A blog and forum for all things Irish and the broader sports landscape.
December 27, 2005
MPC Computers Bowl
Boston College (8-3) vs. Boise State (9-3)
Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho
Line: Boston College -2.5
Doug: Boston College -2.5
The MPC Computers Bowl. Formerly known as the Humanitarian Bowl. Coming at you live from the smurf turf in Boise, Idaho! Bowl fever...catch it!
As far as I'm concerned, this game is the most intriguing bowl thus far for several reasons.
1. Dan Hawkins
As you already know, Hawkins is departing for Boulder, Colorado following the season. If you've never gotten a chance to hear Dan Hawkins, do yourself a favor and try to find an interview with the guy on the internet somewhere. Maybe the nicest guy in college football. Hard not to root for him.
While I'm sure Hawkins is loved by his current BSU players, it's hard to really tell how the team will react to him leaving when it comes to the bowl game. On one hand, they might be fired up, play with emotion, and give him the send off that he deserves. On the other hand, there's no real accountability to win for the guy anymore. Once you know he's gone, you lose that fear/respect a little bit because you know he won't be around anymore.
The BSU players are saying all the right things, but sometimes the "win one for the coach" idea ends up having a negative effect on the team. Something to definitely watch out for.
2. BC in Boise
Other than seeing ND get selected for the Fiesta Bowl, there was nothing more satisfying than seeing those punk Super Fans of BC relegated to Boise for the MPC Computers Bowl. After BC bailed on the Big East for the ACC and sold out their conference brethren, I couldn't be happier about them getting snubbed by all the good southern bowls. Nothing against the good folks of Boise, but it's not exactly a hot destination for too many people these days (other than maybe radical anti-government types). Considering the fact that BC doesn't travel all that well as it is, I am fully expecting no more than 1000 BC fans in attendance. In fact, that number might even be giving BC too much credit.
Needless to say, the BC "fanbase" is not really excited about this game. Not sure if fan apathy will carry over to the BC players, but it's certainly possible. It has happened before.
On a side note, it completely baffles me that BC fans expect to play in better bowl games. Based on what? Their outstanding tradition? Nope. Large fanbase willing to travel outside the Northeast? Nope. Marquee players? Nope. Big tv ratings? Nope. BC is a decent program, but there is no reason to think they are attractive to big bowl games.
3. Tom O'Brien
Tom O'Brien is not exactly the most likeable guy out there. O'Brien makes Tom Coughlin seem pleasant. Still, there's no denying that he's done a nice job at BC, and the five game bowl winning streak is moderately impressive for a program of BC's caliber. None of those bowl games were considered elite bowl games, so O'Brien has shown the ability to get his teams ready to play for these lesser bowls that the fans are disappointed about.
4. The game
Although this game is a home game for Boise State, I think BC will come away with the win. Boise State has played three quality opponents this year, and lost all three games. Makes you wonder if they are really even any good. I watched them get smoked by Georgia in the opener, and was not impressed.
BC has been tested in the ACC all year long, and pulled off a couple very nice road wins over Clemson and Maryland. Their D is very solid, and they have a huge offensive line that will grind the Broncos D into mush by the fourth quarter.
Reluctantly, I'm going with the Eagles.
BC 31 Boise State 24
Matt: Boise St. +2.5
This game is so tough to call. You've got two different dynamics at work here. First, what is Boise State's mindset. If they tuned into the Colorado bowl game yesterday, they heard Dan Hawkins talking about his new team and how he could turn it around. Are they really going to be playing hard for a guy who is leaving when the game is over. Or will they put it all on the line for a coach that took the program to another level after Dirk, i mean Dirk, no wait, this Dirk left for ASU. My gut feeling is that Boise St comes out fired up playing for a coach they all love in front of their home fans.
The second thing to watch is how BC comes out after being pissed off they were sent to Boise for the holidays and passed over by the southern bowls. As much as i dislike BC, their fans, and their coach, i think Tom O'Brien has them ready to play, unless Boise St. comes out blazing and BC falls behind and the crowd gets into it. If that happens, watch out, BC might mail it in and start preparing for the plane ride home so they can go join all their fellow Bostonites and talk about how Red Sox and how the whole world revolves around the Sawx and Yanks.
Here is what the game boils down to. If BC can shut down Jared Zabransky and the Boise St. passing game, they should win. If Boise can slow down the L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender rushing tandem, they've got a good shot. Don't ask me to analyze why one of these will happen. I'm taking Boise St. They get ahead early, get the crowd into it, and BC is forced to throw more than they want to. Look for Zabransky to have a big day and go out on a high note in what has been an up and down season for him.