The Hawaii Bowl has evolved into a Christmas Eve tradition over the years, generally as the only college football postseason game on the slate the night before the most anticipated holiday of the year. Given all the hustle and bustle that comes along with Christmas, it’s always nice to settle in and witness the bowl season roll along from the islands.
There’s nothing better than grabbing an extra helping of food and sneaking into your sister’s TV room to get away from everybody and watch some football. OK, if the family wants to watch along with you, that’s fine, too. Just don’t ask a bunch of questions, OK?
BYU: It’s been a long, strange trip for BYU in 2019. It opened the season with a 30-12 loss to Utah but responded immediately by going on the road to beat Tennessee and followed that up with a home win against USC. Then came a three-game losing streak against Washington, Toledo and South Florida, which was immediately followed by a win over a Boise State team that went on to win the Mountain West. In other words, BYU has made a habit of doing the opposite of what you expect it to do. The Cougars rebounded from that 2-4 start to finish 7-5, but even that one loss in the final six games (a 13-3 loss to San Diego State ) felt weird. What should we expect in Hawaii? Who knows!
Hawaii: I can say this for Hawaii football in 2019: It’s never boring. The Rainbow Warriors went 9-5 this season and picked up a couple of Pac-12 wins against Arizona and Oregon State to start the season. The only head-scratching loss they’ve had this year came against a 4-8 Fresno State. The other losses were against Washington, Air Force and Boise State (twice). And they’ve done all this while riding a rollercoaster during games. This is a team that’s capable of putting up a lot of points but is also turnover-prone. In fact, Hawaii has coughed it up over 30 times in 14 games. That’s more than any other team in the country. Things like this tend to lead to some crazy moments.
Event: Hawaii Bowl
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 24 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Aloha Stadium — Honolulu, Hawaii
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Hawaii Bowl prediction, picks
Both of these teams are unpredictable, but I like BYU in this spot. You have to wonder how fired up Hawaii will be for this game considering it’s being played in their home stadium. BYU, meanwhile, is good enough defensively that it should be able to slow this Hawaii offense down. Don’t be surprised if BYU drops eight into a zone coverage a lot like it did against USC earlier this season. If Hawaii takes care of the ball, it can beat BYU, but as I mentioned, Hawaii rarely takes care of the ball. Pick: BYU (-2.5)
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