After starting the season in the Top 25 and a team to beat in the Pac-12, the Oregon State Beavers lost their first game of the season to an FCS squad at home. However, the Beavers then won their next six games before losing their final five games of the year to drop to 6-6 on the year.
Losing head coach Chris Peterson to the Washington Huskies head coaching job just weeks before their bowl game, the Boise State Broncos are poised to show people that they can win without their respectable head coach. With just 12 losses in the past seven years, the Broncos are looking to avoid No. 13.
Oregon State has one of the best passing offenses in the nation behind the talented junior quarterback that is Sean Mannion. The junior gunslinger has passed for 4,403 yards and 36 touchdowns on the year for the third-best passing offense in the nation. Brandin Cooks is also one of the best wide receivers in the nation, taking advantage of Mannion’s success through the air with 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns of his own on the season. The run game is nearly non-existent, however, ranking 118th in the nation in rush yards per game.
Boise State has been one of the best offensive units in the nation as well behind a very consistent overall offense. Joe Southwick started the season as the team’s quarterback before suffering an injury and giving way to junior QB Grant Hendrick who proceeded to pass for 1,443 yards and 15 touchdowns for the 8-4 Broncos in one of the worst seasons in recent Boise State history. Matt Miller leads all receivers with 77 catches for 934 yards and 11 scores while Shane Williams-Rhodes is close behind with 77 catches for 702 yards and six scores. Jay Ajayi leads the 32nd-best run offense with 1,328 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Defensively, Boise State has been a little bit below average this season. The Broncos rank 37th in the nation in yards and 69th in yards allowed per contest. Oregon State has struggled mightily on this side of the ball this season, ranking 96th in points allowed per game while also ranking 64th in yards allowed per game with over 410.
Oregon State will face off against Boise State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 24. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Boise State 34, Oregon State 38
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.