Grand Finale: Boise State Vs. Washington Prediction

Neither Harsin Or Petersen Not Scheduled To Play

The hype has subsided about Boise State facing their former legendary head coach Chris Petersen now head coach of the Washington Huskies.

Both Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin and Petersen are absolutely adamant that the game is not about anything other than the players. Some may think that is to take attention and pressure off their shoulders, however, it is the truth—Harsin and Petersen ain’t gonna strap on pads or helmets.

Though, the storyline will be a former legendary coach opposes former team and student (Harsin) versus teacher (Petersen).

Odds Are That Odds Are Oddly Off

The odds are in favor of Washington by 3.5. That means a field goal and an extra point that lands on the upright and does not fall either way.

In the last meeting between the two squads both Harsin and Petersen were in the second year with their current teams. They played at Boise State and handed an emotionally charged defeat to “Poach” Pete and the Huskies. That game ended in favor of the Broncos—16 to 14.

The last Vegas Bowl the Broncos matched up against Oregon. Recall, the Ducks were favored by 7.5. We all know what happened then.

A Look At The Huskies

It is difficult to predict which Husky team will show up on Saturday. What is meant, they lost games they should have won, they’ve played teams tough who should have rolled over them and have played like a team who should be ranked. However, they are 7 and 5

Jacob Eason at 6’6” and 228 is their quarterback. Eason came to Washington with great promise. He performed well at Georgia. He’s average at Washington.

He’s 238 out of 373 attempts for just under 3,000 yards. So far this season, he tossed 22 TDs along with 8 picks.

The Huskies top running back is Salvon Ahmed. He’s a 1,000-yard rusher in 182 attempts; that’s 5.5 yards per carry. His biggest commodity is his speed.

As a team, the Dawgs average 4.2 yards per carry.

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A Look At The Broncos

Jaylon Henderson has started only four games. He’s passed for over 1,000 yards, connecting on 84 passes in 133 attempts. Add to that 11 TD tosses to only 2 picks.

George Holani has rushed for 979 yards in 181 attempts giving him 5.4 yards per carry. George, only a true freshman, has improved steadily as the season progressed.

What About The D?

Defensively, both teams are near identical in points allowed per game—20.

The Huskies a fairly young defensively, having only three seniors. The Broncos have only a slight edge with four seniors starting. However, BSU may have a slight edge in bench experience.

This may appear to have a tone of logic to it but we must remember the Ds face the Os.

In that regard, Washington my be more concerned about Henderson’s ability to run. Likewise, with Boise; they must contain Eason.

To restate, when it comes to running defensive matchups and substitutions in and out of the game, the Broncos have the edge.

What Does It All Mean?

The reason for comparing those stats above is that it gives a snapshot of how each team performs offensively. The Broncos perform much better as a team, not only in scoring but also in amassed passing and rushing yardage.

One factor in trying to determine an outcome is trying to figure out how the strength of schedule factors in. In that department, the Huskies have a huge advantage.

Frankly, though, that is a poor way to predict an outcome. Let me explain; a really good team can have an easy schedule and perform good enough to win. Also once a big lead is achieved, the coaches start sending in underclassmen to gain experience (Boise). On the other hand, an average team with a very tough schedule may perform above expectations and have a couple of favorable calls and along with it some fortuitous bounces (Washington).

The Huskies lost four games by a TD or less. If not for that, they might be a one-loss team playing elsewhere for the bowl season.

Boise and Washington have two common opponents; BYU and Hawaii. Boise’s only loss was to BYU, 28 to 25 and the Huskies trounced them, 45 to 19. Boise beat Hawaii in the regular season 59 to 37 and Washington outscored them 52 to 20.

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The only way teams win on paper is to start ripping sheets from a tablet, wad them up, and start throwing at each other. Nobody sustains injuries that way and there’s one less tree in the forest.

Finally, and ultimately, it comes down to the team that wants it most. However, that in itself is not enough. Skill is needed.

Broncos have the skill and they really want it.

It looks like good guys, 24 to the other guys, 17.

Wow! What a season it has been.


About Kenton Lewis

Kenton lives in Boise. He is the former publisher of the Boise State sports site, Smurf Turf; writing exclusively about Broncos football and basketball. He is also a novelist and short story writer.

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