December 19, 2008

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl - BYU (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5) (Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas – December 20, 2008 8pm ESPN)

Tie-Ins: Mountain West #1 vs. Pac 10 #4

Dan: BYU +3

I realize BYU lost to the only two decent teams it played. But I don’t have much faith in this Arizona team. The only decent team they beat all year was Cal, and that was a few months ago. BYU knows how to win football games. They just couldn’t quite step up against TCU and Utah. But they will be fired up to play against a PAC 10 team considering the Mountain West is kind of like the PAC 10s little brother in football. BYU for the upset.

BYU 31 Arizona 21

Matt: BYU (+3)

Finally, our first intriguing bowl game of the year. Mike Stoops finally won enough games to get the Wildcats into a bowl, and he gets to face a pretty highly ranked BYU team in their home away from home. I don’t know what it is about the Mormons, but it has become a holiday tradition that they descend on Vegas and totally dominate the other teams fans. Forgive me if I’m not buying into the fact that Arizona is a good football team. Their only decent win was at home against Cal, and they lost to New Mexico and Stanford. Their bowl berth is more of a product of the Pac-1o being bad than Arizona being any good.

BYU 31 Arizona 28

Mike: Arizona (-3)

While BYU may be sufficiently driven to win this game, they lack the overall athleticism to keep pace with Arizona. Look for a big game from Willie Tuitama and Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski for Mike Stoops’s surging Wildcats.

Arizona 37 BYU 21

Doug: BYU +3

Death, taxes, and BYU beating up on some mediocre Pac 10 team in the Las Vegas Bowl. Isn’t BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl every year?? Not only do we get the annual “Mormons in Vegas” jokes from writers with nothing else to say about this game, we get to see the Pac 10 fall flat on its face after clamoring prior to bowl season that they get “no respect” as a league. One of my favorite bowl games every year. It’s usually a safe bet for some free money.

And isn’t Arizona the perfect fit for the role of the mediocre Pac 10 team that gets to lose to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl this year?? Arizona is just flashy enough to get a little bit of respect headed into this game after beating Cal and playing USC fairly close, but they are also the team capable of losing to anyone and may take a team like BYU lightly.

It's actually snowing in Vegas this week, so that might be another thing to take into consideration. Do the Arizona players even own winter coats?? Why would they?? The BYU players will be more than happy to break out their winter coats as they shuffle through the buffet line at The Mirage making sure to keep their eyes averted from all the casino tables.

One thing we’ve seen this year is that there is very little difference between the upper-echelon Mountain West teams and the Pac 10 (other than USC of course). In fact, the Mountain West is 6-1 against the Pac 10 this year. BYU beat UCLA 59-0 earlier in the year.

By the way, who is going to end up with that Arizona basketball job?? It’s a little surprising how little talk there is about a premier job like that one. With their history in the last 20 years or so and their location, you would think U of A would be a big time job for someone. I’d be surprised if they couldn’t get a really good young coach to head out there (maybe even Sean Miller for all I know). Could be interesting to see how that shakes out.

Could be a real entertaining game if Arizona comes ready to play. I know Arizona hasn’t been in a bowl game in awhile and may be fired up for this game, but I like the Cougars to pull off another “upset” in the Las Vegas Bowl.

BYU 38 Arizona 35

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