2015 Poinsettia Bowl and GoDaddy Bowl Previews

December 23, 2015
By K. Becks

There have been nine total bowl games completed in ESPN’s Bowl Mania, and I have correctly predicted one of them.

It’s a bowl season for the ages, ladies and gentlemen. If I was in college, I’d already be admitted to the hospital for multiple uclers.

But in my old age, I have become wise and realize that there is plenty of time left to make up the lost ground. And at any rate, the games have been exciting to watch for the most part.

Two more bowl games await on Wednesday. Let’s take a quick look at them.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Boise State vs. Northern Illinois (Wednesday, 4:30 PM ET – ESPN)

It was a bit of a sophomore slump for Bryan Harsin in his second year as head coach of the Broncos, as Boise State slipped to 8-4 after winning the 2015 Fiesta Bowl last season. Northern Illinois was the MAC runner-up this season, but did not look good in the conference title game against a potent Bowling Green offense. Oddly enough, this is the first ever meeting between two consistently strong Group of Five programs.

Statistically the Broncos were not a bad defensive team this season, but they were also all over the map. Wins over Washington and Colorado State, in which the Broncos gave up an average of 11.5 points, saw the good side of the defense. Losses against Utah State and Air Force, in which Boise State surrendered an average of 46 points, saw the bad side. One of the bright spots for the Broncos shines on the offense end in freshman quarterback Brett Rypien. The true freshman has burst onto the scene to lead the Mountain West in passing yards per game and makes surprisingly good reads for his relative experience. If Coach Harsin opens up the playbook in this bowl game, Northern Illinois may have trouble stopping Rypien just as they did senior Matt Johnson in the MAC title game.

Both teams can engage in a shootout when they want to, but Boise State has a slight advantage thanks to the gunslinger Rypien. Bryan Harsin was the offensive coordinator during some of Boise State’s best years under Chris Petersen and he knows how to score points at will. In a bowl game where he can let the seniors have fun and the younger players learn valuable lessons, expect the Broncos to put together a strong offensive performance and run away from Northern Illinois. I have the Broncos for 11 points in Bowl Mania.

My Pick: 44-35 Boise State

GoDaddy Bowl

Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern (Wednesday, 8 PM ET – ESPN)

A battle of interim coaches takes place in Mobile when the Falcons take on the Eagles, as Dino Babers left Bowling Green for the Syracuse job and Willie Fritz left for Tulane. It’s actually quite interesting to see how teams react to having an interim head man lead them into the postseason, but it’s also highly unpredictable. That’s why some of you will be a bit surprised to see how many points I’ve put on who I think will win this game.

Fritz ran a variation of the triple option while at Georgia Southern, and interesting approach for a non-service academy program. But it worked to the tune of 17 wins in the school’s first two seasons in FBS. The Eagles are led by running back Matt Breida, who is No. 11 in the nation with 1,540 rushing yards on the season. Breida is going against an average Bowling Green defense, but the Falcons are better against the run than the pass and have had almost three weeks to prepare for the unconventional offensive scheme. The possession game will be extremely important for Georgia Southern, because the less Bowling Green has the ball, the better. The Falcons are No. 5 in the country in scoring offense but No. 91 in time of possession, meaning it doesn’t take much for them to put the ball into the endzone.

Assuming that the Falcons are once again excited to be bowling in Alabama (they played in Montgomery in the Camelia Bowl last season), they have the offensive firepower to put the Eagles away in this one. But with so many coaches leaving for greener pastures, will the players be focused amidst such uncertainty? I think the answer is yes, which is why I have Bowling Green for 32 points.

My Pick: 40-27 Bowling Green

If you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. You can also like Around The Corn’s Facebook pageor send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two days before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

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