WHAT: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (12th year)
WHERE: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
WHEN: Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET
WHY: Boise State gets ready to play its first game without Chris Petersen on staff since the 2000 season. Things are already off to a shaky start as quarterback Joe Southwick has been suspended and sent home for a violation of team rules. Backup Grant Hedrick, a junior who has 1,443 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, will get the start in his place. The Broncos’ top weapon on offense is sophomore running back Jay Ajayi, who has 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns. Assistant Bob Gregory is serving as the interim coach until Bryan Harsin takes over.
Boise will be hard-pressed to stop the dynamic OSU pass-catch duo of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. Mannion threw for 4,403 yards and 36 touchdowns while Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver thanks to 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns.
This one will come down to which defense can at least hold its own. The Beavers, losers of five straight, have been porous this year, giving up an average of 32 points per game. Boise State has been better, allowing 23.8 per game, but the Broncos have been gashed when they’ve gone up against quality offenses this year. With all the turmoil going on in Boise, the advantage has to lie with the Beavers in this one.
PREDICTION: Oregon State 38, Boise State 31