Bowl season continues on December 26 with a trio of games on the docket. The first game of the day looks to be the most appealing of the bunch. The Boston College Eagles will square off with the Boise State Broncos in this year’s edition of the First Responder Bowl.
Boston College was in the midst of a solid season that saw the team spend some time in the Top 25. The bottom fell out from that point, as the Eagles dropped their final three games, all against conference foes. Boise State had itself a strong season that culminated with another trip to the Mountain West title game, where the team lost a 19-16 heartbreaker in overtime to Fresno State.
These two squads match up pretty well on an overall basis, and we should be treated to an entertaining game on Wednesday afternoon as a result. Let’s break this matchup down in full detail, starting with the game line.
Boston College vs. Boise State, 1:30 PM EST, Wed. December 26, ESPN
Boston College vs. Boise State pick:
Boston College was one of the top teams in the ACC for much of the season. The team opened things up with three consecutive wins, a streak that was broken when they came up short in a road tilt at Purdue. The Eagles won four of their next five and were standing tall with a mark of 7-2, but the season took a turn for the worse as they dropped three straight.
Boise State started off the regular season in solid but unspectacular fashion as they opened up with a mark of 3-2. Fortunes changed from that point as they embarked on a seven-game winning streak. That run was enough to take down the Mountain West Mountain and earn a spot in the conference title tilt, where they would fall by a field goal to Fresno State.
|Record||Conf. Rec.||PF||PA||Streak||Standings||CFP Rank|
|Boston College||7-5||4-4||384||308||L3||4-ACC Atlantic||NA|
The Eagles scored a number of big wins throughout the course of the year, including road victories over Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. The rough patch at the end of the year included losses to Clemson and Syracuse, who entered the respective games ranked #2 and #20. The third loss in the streak was even more disappointing, as the Eagles dropped a one-point decision to a Florida State team that closed out the year with a mark of 5-7.
The Broncos first loss of the season came on the road at Oklahoma State, a team which was ranked #24 in the nation at the time. After losing a close one to San Diego State, Boise State would not lose again until the conference title game. The seven-game winning streak included victories over team such as BYU and Fresno State, this year’s Mountain West champions.
Boise State is the stronger squad on offense on an overall basis, but Boston College brings nice balance to the table as well. There is no big edge to be found on defense, but the Broncos are stronger versus the run, which just so happens to be a strength of the Eagles. Pressure is in the same neighborhood, while Boston College has the statistically stronger offensive line.
There’s not a major discrepancy in turnovers or penalty yardage per game, but Boise State has had a few more balls bounce its way in 2018. In short, these two clubs from different conferences seem to match up really well, and the tight 2.5-point spread bears that out.
These two programs last faced off back in 2005 in what was known as the MPC Computers Bowl, a 27-21 victory for Boston College. The Eagles have qualified for a bowl game in four of the last five years, while Boise State has been on an impressive run since the turn of the century with 18 bowl game appearances over that span.
The Eagles have dropped three of their last four bowl games. Last year, they faced off with Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl and fell by a margin of 27-20. In 2016, Boston College was invited to the Quick Lane Bowl versus Maryland, and they walked off the field with a 36-30 victory.
Over the past five years, Boise State has a record of 3-2 in bowl games, but those three wins have come over the team’s last four appearances. Last year, the Broncos defeated Oregon 38-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl. In 2016, they came up short in the Cheez-It Bowl versus Baylor, falling by a final score of 31-12.
Last year’s First Responder Bowl featured Utah and West Virginia, with the former securing a 30-14 victory. Interestingly, favorites have enjoyed a big run in this bowl series over the past eight years, winning all of them.
The line points to a close game, and a breakdown of what both sides bring to the table suggests the same. This one may very well come down to how well each side can control their opponents strength. Can Boston College contain Brett Rypien and the Broncos passing attack? Will the Broncos have an answer for stud Boston College RB AJ Dillon?
Both squads can also get it done in the other facet on offense, namely via Boise State RB Alexander Mattison and Boston College QB Anthony Brown, which makes this matchup all the more fascinating. In the end, we like the stronger overall squad to get the job done. It should be a tight game, but the Broncos do enough to get the win.
We’ll take Boise State minus the points.