2019 Hawai’i Bowl Preview

December 24, 2019

Amidst the rain and slop in Tampa yesterday, the Knights managed to get the job done over Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl. The Thundering Herd proved itself capable of hanging with UCF in the latter three quarters of the game, but the first quarter was what broke them. ATC was entirely off-base about turnovers not being a factor – four of them in the first half by Marshall allowed UCF to get out to an insurmountable three score lead by the first quarter.

The loss was Doc Holliday’s first in a postseason game since taking over as Marshall’s head coach (he was previously 6-0).

As we turn the page to Christmas Eve, we say Mele Kalikimaka from Hawai’i! Traditionally the only bowl game played on the 24th of December, the Hawaii Bowl is my family’s substitution for a traditional Christmas movie. At least, that’s how I see it, since I turn it on in the main room.

Let’s take a look at this game in closer detail.

SoFi Hawai’i Bowl

BYU vs. Hawaii (Tuesday, 8 PM ET – game on ESPN)

The Skinny: The Rainbow Warriors are back in their home bowl game for the second year in a row, looking to avenge a 31-14 loss to Louisiana Tech in 2018. BYU navigated a treacherous regular season schedule to qualify for this bowl, its second in a row under head coach Kalani Sitake. This game is an opportunity to push Sitake over the .500 mark (currently 23-23) during his tenure as head man of the Cougars.

Why to Watch: Not only is this game pitting two former Mountain West opponents against one another – BYU has nearly as much of a connection to the island as the de facto home squad. The Cougars have more than a handful of Polynesian players on their roster, including three Hawaiian born athletes. And historically, BYU has been instrumental in bringing players from the island to the mainland for the college game. This is a rivalry game at its core and the play on the field will reflect that.

What Will Happen: The Cougars have shown the ability throughout the season to play inspired defense, but in good weather against this Rainbow Warriors squad, offensive fireworks should rule the day. Both teams can move the football at ease, and a pretty good battle between quarterbacks will ensue between BYU’s Zach Wilson and Hawaii’s Cole McDonald. Each can be a bit inconsistent, however, and McDonald was actually benched in this game last year for Chevan Cordeiro, so don’t be surprised to see either side get creative if things get off to a rocky start. While Hawaii is flashy offensively, there is almost no defense to speak of and BYU will take pride in getting some stops, so the Cougars have a slight edge in what should be an exciting back-and-forth game.

My Pick: 41-37 BYU for 4 points in Bowl Mania

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *