2017 Hawaii Bowl Preview

December 24, 2017

Some readers may have noticed that a preview for the December 23 bowl games was not posted yesterday.

Unfortunately, the entire crew at Around The Corn was incapacitated until after the start of the first game on Saturday. We do apologize for the inconvenience.

However, as we look forward to the Christmas Day break, we have one more bowl game to cover. The Hawaii Bowl has long been one of my favorites to watch, and in the last few years I have managed to avoid ruining Christmas Eve by only wagering a small number of points on this game.

For the Von Hugendong Bowl Mania update, Colin continues to flex his pipes as his entry “Trent Gardner has Pipes” still sits atop the group.

Let’s take a look at the preview of this evening’s game.

Hawaii Bowl

Fresno State vs. Houston (Sunday, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN)

Like the Bahamas Bowl, it’s extremely difficult to predict this bowl game based on talent and matchups alone. Fresno State’s defense should set the tone for the Bulldogs, coming in as the ninth best in the country in terms of points per game allowed. And Houston’s offense, balanced and without any main stars that Fresno State can key on to render it entirely ineffective, give the Cougars a chance. But the events leading up to this game, which the general public didn’t get to see, are what will separate these two teams.

The mental preparation and focus of teams in bowl games often makes itself visible in the turnover game. And if that rings true in the Hawaii Bowl, then Fresno State could hold a key advantage to victory. The Bulldogs turned the ball over just 11 times this season, fewest in the Mountain West. Houston turned the ball over 21 times this season and the balance was nearly even between interceptions and fumbles. In several games already this bowl season, the eventual winner has jumped out to a huge lead that was never relinquished thanks to costly turnovers. If that’s going to be the key difference in this game, I like Fresno State to be the team benefiting from points off of turnovers. I have just 6 points on the Bulldogs in Bowl Mania, however, because I’m picking them based on little more than a hunch.

My Pick: 34-24 Fresno State

If you have interest in offering your insight for any of the bowl games this season, shoot me an email at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or reach out on one of ATC’s social media sites (Facebook, Twitter). I’d be happy to accommodate.

Additionally, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Enjoy the game!

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