Hawaii Bowl Preview

December 24, 2011
By K. Becks

Back at .500 with the chance to sit at 4-3 at the Christmas break, I’m feeling a little better about my College Bowl Mania entry.

With my 35 and 33 point games out of the way, I can relax a little bit tonight and just enjoy the football being played.

Here is a preview for tonight’s game.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl

Nevada vs. Southern Mississippi

The fun thing about the Hawaii Bowl is that it gives fans a chance to watch some football on Christmas Eve (of course, this is usually a far greater treat when the NFL is not playing as well). The disappointing thing about the Hawaii Bowl is that on occasion, at least one team seems to have spent more time on the beach than the practice field all week, and it definitely shows.

Southern Mississippi thrust themselves into the national spotlight, and the Top 25, with a strong performance in the Conference USA title game in which they knocked off previously undefeated Houston. While this is a great way to end the regular season, it makes almost any bowl game short of a BCS bowl seem like an anticlimactic end to the season after the game that occurred three weeks ago. In addition, Southern Miss may be the first team in awhile that would have actually played elsewhere over the holidays, as they would have preferred playing closer to home where more fans would have been willing to see them play. Regardless, the Golden Eagles have a powerful offense led by senior quarterback Austin Davis which is a huge plus in this bowl game. Since being called the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the winning team has never failed to score less than 35 points, which Southern Miss is capable of scoring on any defense.

Thanks to Chris Ault’s pistol offense, Nevada has not had trouble scoring this season, either. At least, they haven’t had trouble scoring against teams without a solid defense. All five of the Wolfpack’s losses came against teams with respectable defenses. Southern Miss is no slouch defensively, either, ranking second in C-USA with just over 21 points given up per game. Based on the history of this game, 21 points will not be enough to carry Nevada to victory. For Nevada to have a chance in this game, they are going to need a big effort from a multitude of capable running backs. The Wolfpack have three rushers with at least 100 attempts, including quarterback Cody Fajardo, and will need them all in order to keep up with the Southern Mississippi offense.

I love watching this game each year because you can usually count on a lot of points being scored. There will be no shortage of big plays in this game, and I think that Southern Mississippi will have a few more than Nevada which will ultimately decide this one. I have the Golden Eagles for 13 points in the College Bowl Mania game.

Final Score: 44-34 Southern Mississippi

- K. Becks

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