2016 Poinsettia Bowl
Time: 6:00 PM PST
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Betting Line: BYU -11, O/U — 57
If you look at one of the best surprises this season in the craziness that was the 2016 College Football Season, you would find Craig Bohl and the Wyoming Cowboys. The Pokes were picked to finish last in their division in the Mountain West Conference, and defied all odds, beating up on Boise State and San Diego State to finish first in their division, falling to SDSU in a rematch that determined the conference champion.
BYU is an independent team who does not like to be considered one of the lovable Forgotten Five teams. First-year head coach Kalani Sitake steered his Cougars to a pretty good 8-4 season, beating the teams they were supposed to, and losing to the teams they were supposed to. Taysom Hill was back again as quarterback and frankly, gave an underwhelming performance. BUT LOOK, THEY BEAT MICHIGAN STATE, ARIZONA AND MISSISSIPPI STATE: ALL POWER 5 POWERHOUSES, RIGHT? Wrong: those three teams went 11-25 on the season. Still, a better record means that BYU should have no problem dismantling their former WAC/MWC foes.
Let’s look at the numbers real quick and figure out why BYU is favored by 11 in this game…
courtesy of ESPN.com
Well, it’s not the offense, as Wyoming’s big three have out-performed BYU’s big offensive products. Maybe the defense? That’s where BYU takes the cake: The Pokes currently give up 34.8 PPG while the Cougars only give up 19.4 PPG. If that’s one thing where Wyoming needs to take steps to improve overall, it has been their defense. Throughout the course of the season, the Pokes have played the offensive shootout game, with the defense coming up with clutch key plays at the end to seal victories. It’s significant, but not enough to warrant being 11-point underdogs against a Cougars team who struggles to put up points. If the Pokes can force BYU into an offensive shootout, the Cougars might not have enough firepower in their arsenal, as they only have reached the 30-point barrier 5 times this season.
Prediction: BYU plays partially into Wyoming’s hands, and this game goes for a full 55-minutes of scoring, with BYU finally falling to a Josh Allen touchdown. 42-35 Cowboys