The 2014 bowl season continues with New Year’s Eve action featuring a Wednesday afternoon (4:00 pm ET) game with the 20th ranked Boise St. Broncos (11-2) of the Mountain West Conference and the 10th ranked Arizona Wildcats (10-3) of the PAC-12 Conference in the Fiesta Bowl from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The Broncos won 8 straight games to close the regular season, with their only losses coming to Ole Miss (35-13) in a week 1 neutral site game in the Georgia Dome, and a week five 28-14 loss at Air Force. The Wildcats closed their season with a 51-13 loss Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship Game. They were a streaky team, starting out 5-0 and handing Oregon their only loss, a 31-24 week 6 loss in Eugene, and winning 4 straight prior to their loss to the Ducks. They notched impressive wins over Utah (42-10) and in-state rival Arizona St. (42-35) during the later streak.
Boise St. is ranked 9th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 39.8 points per game and 13th among FBS teams in total offense with 496.1 yards per contest. The Broncos rank 64th nationally in points allowed with 26.5 per game and 12th in total defense 321.2 YPG allowed.
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Arizona is ranked 25th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 34.8 PPG scored and 25th among FBS teams in total offense with 461.5 YPG. The Wildcats rank 73rd nationally in points allowed with 27.5 per game and 33rd in total defense 359.5 YPG allowed.
Boise St. vs. Arizona Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Boise St. Broncos +3.5
@ Arizona Wildcats -3.5
Under 68 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Boise St. vs Arizona Pick
The Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against PAC-12 teams, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in December. The Wildcats are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against a team with a winning record, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games on grass. The Over is 18-6 in the Broncos’ last 24 games following a ATS loss, 4-0 in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record and 7-1 in their last 8 games overall. The Under is 6-1 in the Wildcats’ last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 5-1 both in their last 6 games overall and on grass.
Arizona has freshman QB Anu Solomon to run Rich Rodriguez’s up-tempo spread offense, and he has run it to perfection in his first season with 3,458 yards passing and 27 TDs against only 7 INTs. Running back Nick Wilson was the main ground force with 1,289 yards rushing and 15 TDs, and receiver Cayleb Jones caught 65 passes for 902 yards and 9 TDs.
The Broncos are no stranger to the Fiesta Bowl, recording the well-known 43-42 OT upset of Oklahoma following the 2006 regular season, and also defeating TCU 17-10 after the 2009 season. Those two wins over power-conference opponents have given the Broncos credibility on the national stage and help to establish them a dangerous opponent for Arizona here. Their top player offensively is running back in Jay Ajayi, who has rushed for 1,689 yards and 25 TDs, going over 100 yards 9 times, with 4 receiving TDs.
The Broncos have been red-hot to close the season and have a reputation for playing well under the national spotlight. Arizona is not an established power, but the Wildcats are a team on the rise and a win by Boise St. would be considered an upset by almost any measure, most importantly against the spread. Boise St. is a good value play as an underdog team here against an Arizona team that has lost some of the momentum from its hot start. Take the Broncos as an underdog here.