Christmas in Hawaii?  Yeah, I think a lot of us could go for that after the brutal cold that has gripped much of the Lower 48 the past week.

 

The Boise State Broncos and Oregon State Beavers get to do just that after an invite out to the islands for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, slated for an 8 PM (ET) start on Christmas Eve.  ESPN will televise the event from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, and we've already seen some movement on the spread.

SBR's live college football odds showed the Broncos laying 2.5 at some shops in the initial release before that quickly swung around to Oregon State -1.  That number has since grown to the Beavers -2.5.  A total is still pending, and SBRforum.com will have that number just as soon as it's released.

Petersen's Departure Has Broncos Shopping For Head Coach

It's possible that the initial line movement is from the public hopping off the Boise State bandwagon with head coach Chris Petersen leaving the Broncos to take the Washington opening due to Steve Sarkisian heading to Southern Cal.  Petersen's decision was a bit of a shocker since he turned down previous offers to leave Boise State (8-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) in recent years.

Linebackers coach Bob Gregory will serve as the interim head coach, and reports are the Broncos aren't wasting anytime looking for a permanent replacement with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter on the short list.  Koetter coached at Boise State from 1998-2000, winning 10 games in two of the three seasons.

Ironically, it was Washington that started Petersen's final slate at Boise State on a losing note with a 38-6 decision in Seattle.  Three more road losses, including close defeats vs. conference rivals Fresno State and San Diego State, guaranteed the Broncos' run of seven straight seasons of 10 wins or more was coming to an end.

Image previewThe Broncos did muster up enough to finish second in Mountain Division of MWC and earn their 13th straight bowl invite.  The last three have been to Sin City, where Petersen beat his new employer in last season's Las Vegas Bowl, the Broncos' fourth straight bowl win dating to a 2010 Fiesta Bowl that wrapped up a perfect 14-0 season.

Beavers Limp Into Bowl Season On 5-Game Skid

Whereas Petersen is the newest Pac-12 coach, Mike Riley is the longest-tenured having just completed his 11th straight season in Corvalis, and 13th year overall running the Beavers.  It wasn't one of Riley's best seasons at Oregon State (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS), but his job isn't in jeopardy -- yet -- after the Beavers lost their last five games, including a 36-35 heartbreaker at Oregon in the season finale as 24-point underdogs.

Like Petersen and Boise State, Riley and the Beavers were demolished by Washington, and I mean demolished.  Oregon State got 'Sankeyed' as Huskies tailback Bishop Sankey scored three times to help build a 48-0 U-Dub lead en route to a 69-27 rout.  Getting cut up for 530 yards rushing in that game alone is a big reason why the Beavers are 2nd in the country in the rush defense column; still, they were giving up more that 160 on the ground before that, and will be facing another decent ground attack from the Broncos (201.8 ypg, 32nd).

Make sure to check out SBR's NCAAF Bowl Contest and see how you can win $5000!

Mother Nature, Series History & Free Pick

Is a weather forecast really necessary?  Probably not, but while I don't recall seeing a bowl game in Hawaii played under anything but sunshine, it would be wise to check things before making a wager.  More than two weeks out, it's impossible to nail the weatherman down, but there is 40%-50% chances for rain several days during the week before kickoff.

The first-ever bowl game between the Boise and OSU is the sixth meeting all-time, all coming in the last 10 years.  The home team has won all five before now, the Broncos taking the last two for a 3-2 advantage.  They covered three of the first four, the other being a push, but Beaver backers cashed as 18 point underdogs in the last meeting, a 37-24 Broncos win at Boise.

I don't like the aura surrounding either team right now and will give the total a hard look once it is released.  In the meantime, my free college bowl pick will be on the underdog Broncos.

College Football Bowl Pick: Boise State +2.5

Reg. Season: 31-15 (+14.5)