Boise State won the Mountain West this year, and the Broncos’ reward is getting the chance to place a huge bet on themselves in Sin City against Oregon.
Oregon Bowl History
It’s been a long time since the Ducks have been to a bowl game this far down on the Pac-12 ladder. The team has played in the Alamo Bowl and the Holiday Bowl several times before, but the last time it was this bad for the Ducks was back in 2006. That season, Mike Bellotti led the U of O to just a 7-6 record and a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl, a game that was lost to a good BYU team that finished ranked No. 19 in America.
At least the Ducks are going to be happy to be here and motivated for new head coach Mario Cristobal to lead them on the field. Oregon was shut out of a bowl last year after a 4-8 campaign that saw Mark Helfrich get dismissed.
Boise State Bowl History
Boise State went to its very first bowl game in 1999 as a member of the Big West. The Broncos have been bowl eligible every single season since that point in spite of the fact that it was inexplicably shut out of the 2001 postseason after going 8-4.
The Broncos have had a great history in bowls, ranging from an upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl to three wins in their own hosted Potato Bowl (then called the Humanitarian Bowl). They even have three straight wins at the Las Vegas Bowl from 2010 through 2012.
Why Oregon Will Win the Las Vegas Bowl
Though losing a head coach one year into his term stinks, the general consensus in Eugene is that the Ducks are thrilled to be playing for Cristobal. He’s a tireless recruiter and was the man who brought so many of these younger kids to Oregon in the first place.
While the jury is going to be out on Cristobal as a head coach for just the second time in his career after an up-and-down tenure at Florida International, there’s no doubt that the enthusiasm he’s bringing to the program is only going to help here in the Las Vegas Bowl.
But the biggest reason to back the Quack Attack on the first day of the bowl season is because Justin Herbert is going to be under center. When Herbert was shelved due to injury in the middle of the campaign, Oregon went 1-4 and averaged 15.0 points per game. With Herbert on the field, the Ducks were 6-1 and averaged 52.1 points per contest.
Why Boise State Will Win the Las Vegas Bowl
This moment isn’t going to intimidate Boise State. The Broncos knocked off three really good teams this season in Troy, Colorado State and Fresno State, and they should have beaten Washington State in Pullman way back in Week 2.
Brett Rypien is finally emerging as the leader of this team after a season full of twists and turns. There were several points in which Rypien was set to be benched for Montrell Cozart, and though he still splits a little bit of time with the more mobile quarterback, there’s no doubt who will be in the game if everything is on the line in the fourth quarter.
Oregon may also not have an answer for senior receiver Cedrick Wilson. He has posted three straight games of 100 yards of more for the Broncos, and the impact he can have on this offense cannot be understated.
Las Vegas Bowl Prediction
Had the Ducks not picked Cristobal to be their next head coach, we would have selected Boise State in this game in a heartbeat. The Oregon fan base and the locker room have to both be disappointed with the fact that Willie Taggart jumped ship to Florida State less than 12 months after accepting the job at Oregon and calling it his “dream job.”
But with Cristobal, it’s easy to stay excited. The team has been unstoppable offensively with Herbert under center, and if the Ducks are going to lose, it’s going to surely be in a shootout.
Though the Broncos can score, they aren’t built to get into these 52-49 games like they used to be. Rypien makes far too many mistakes for that to be the case, and one or two dud drives out of him will end up being the difference in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Las Vegas Bowl Pick: Oregon 52, Boise State 35
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