2012 Hawaii Bowl Preview

December 24, 2012

After six bowl games, I am 5-1 and tied for first place in my Bowl Mania group. Not bad considering that at this point last year, I was 3-3 and had lost over 40 points.

My brother Kevin (who was not featured as a guest in the prediction game this season) managed to force a tie atop the Bowl Mania leaderboard after the Boise State game, so tonight’s game is important if I want to head into Christmas Day with the lead to myself.

Here is the preview for the bowl game taking place on December 24th.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Monday, 8 PM ET)

Fresno State vs. Southern Methodist

Mele Kalikimaka from Hawaii! For the fifth season in a row, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl will be played on Christmas Eve, which means that the game will likely end sometime in the early hours of Christmas Day for those living on the East Coast. This is one of my favorite bowl games to watch each year, not only because it is an early Christmas gift but also because this game never ceases to produce great offensive performances. The 2012 edition should be no different as Fresno State’s prolific offense takes on SMU’s run-and-shoot offense engineered by head coach June Jones.

Fresno State heads to the Hawaiian island of Honolulu riding a five-game winning streak in which the team scored at least 42 points in every contest. Led by junior quarterback Derek Carr (younger brother of David Carr), the Bulldogs have one of the most dangerous offensive attacks in the nation. Aside from Carr, Tim DeRuyter’s team also has a solid running game led by Robbie Rouse, a 5’7” pinball who may have an NFL future starting next season. Based on SMU’s struggles against the pass, it isn’t a stretch to say that Carr will have a good day. The question will be whether Rouse, who is going up against the Mustangs conference best run defense, will have success navigating through traffic up front. If he does, Fresno State will be unpredictable on offense and this game could get out of hand.

SMU comes in as a clear underdog, but June Jones likely doesn’t care. The last time the Mustangs played in the Hawaii Bowl, they crushed the heavily favored Nevada Wolf Pack 45-10. While another lopsided victory doesn’t appear likely, SMU still has a chance in this game. Running back Zach Line will be expected to carry the offense in his last collegiate game, and could do very well considering that Fresno State’s defensive weakness is stopping the run. If Line allows the Mustangs to control the clock and the ball is kept out of the hands of Carr, SMU could come away with a close, hard-earned victory.

If history is any indication, this game will produce a lot of points. In fact, just once since 2002 has the winner of the Hawaii Bowl failed to score less than 35 points. This clearly favors the Bulldogs, who should be able to move the ball at will against a weak SMU secondary. I have Fresno State for 33 points in Bowl Mania, so I hope things go as planned or I’ll be a little upset Christmas day.

If you’d like to read more about this game, you can check out the article I wrote about it earlier today.

My Pick: 48-36 Fresno State

I’d like to take the time to thank everyone for reading my work this year, and wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas. 

Remember, 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. Or you can like Around The Corn’s Facebook page or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two games before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

– K. Becks

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