There are few places that college football teams would rather go than to a national championship game. One of those places would be Honolulu where the Hawaii Bowl will be played on Christmas Eve between the 6-6 SMU Mustangs and the 9-3 Fresno State Bulldogs. This game will be a second homecoming for SMU coach June Jones, who coached in Hawaii for nine years.
This game looks like a massacre on paper with SMU just becoming bowl-eligible in their final game of the season from Conference USA while Fresno State rolled through the Mountain West Conference. However, I see this as a game where Fresno may think that they have it easy with a .500 team making a bowl game and could have a letdown. It is also Hawaii after all and players may want to enjoy the fun and sun a little too much especially around the holidays. I do believe that SMU will be up for this game with Jones knowing all too well about Hawaii and the distractions there.
This game will boil down to whether Fresno is up for the game or not and I don’t think they will be. That will be a costly mistake that SMU will take advantage of. I think SMU pulls the upset 24-17 to at least finish the season with a record above .500 and Fresno State can figure out what went wrong. It will be redemption for a SMU program that still has the black mark of the death penalty from 30 years ago on it. It should be another step in the right direction for the Mustangs.
Andy Schmidt is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ASchmidtSports or like his Facebook page.