Mountain West Championship preview: #19 Boise State vs. Hawaii
Six of the 10 conference championship games are rematches, including the Mountain West duel between Boise State and Hawaii on Saturday. The Broncos beat the snot out of the Rainbow Warriors in October in a 59-37 win. Boise State led 45-14 not even halfway through the third quarter.
If you only looked at that game, there’s no question you would roll with Boise and the Over, but that doesn’t tell the game’s entire story.
O 64 (-118)
Boise State Broncos
U 64 (-102)
Henderson will be under center, but others could see snaps too
The first matchup between these teams threw a wrench into the Boise quarterback situation, when Hank Bachmeier went down with an injury. Since then he’s only played a few snaps, and Chase Cord and Jaylon Henderson have juggled quarterbacking duties. This week Henderson will get the start, but the others could also see some action at any moment.
Despite the uncertainty at the position, Boise is still ranked 13th in scoring, at 37.3 points per game. On the other sideline Nick Rolovich’s Rainbow Warriors are scoring 35.4 points per game with the nation’s No. 19 scoring offense. Hawaii features two quality quarterbacks who have split time in recent weeks—redshirt junior Cole McDonald and redshirt freshman Chevan Cordiero, who once backed up Tua Tagovailoa when they were at Saint Louis School in Honolulu. The Mountain West coach of the year has the players to keep up with Boise, until the turnover-prone Hawaii offense, which is tied for last in the nation with 28 turnovers, runs into the Broncos’ buzz saw on defense.
Harsin could be one his way out of town
This may be head coach Bryan Harsin’s last game in Boise. The coaching carousel has plenty of vacancies and not many attractive candidates. If I’m Harsin, I’m putting it all on the line this game.
You also must consider what is at stake. Each team would love a conference championship trophy, but Boise has much more to play for. The Broncos could become the Group of Five team in the New Year’s Six with a win, if Cincinnati upsets Memphis. Combine those factors with the blue turf, and you gotta ride with Boise.