Nov 8, 2014; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs wide receiver Josh Harper (3) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the San Jose State Spartans during the second quarter at Bulldog Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
December 24 College Bowl Picks: Hawaii Bowl
Fresno State vs. Rice (-2.5) | Honolulu, HI | 8pm ET (ESPN)
The Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve 2014 is one of those rare games where a bowl team has a losing record. Such is the case for Fresno State, who are 6-7 as a result of losing the MWC title game to Boise State.
Meanwhile, Rice got into this game with a winning record at 7-5, but though they won six in a row to get bowl-eligible, their beginning and end to the season were forgettable. The Owls lost their first three in a row, including one to Old Dominion, and gave up 76 points in a brutal season finale against Louisiana Tech.
Boston College Eagles
What a game we have here, eh? Both teams sport sub-par or average at best offenses and bad defenses, which makes for an interesting conundrum; the age-old question of who wins when it’s bad offense vs. bad defense will soon be answered.
Both of these teams are alright at the run, but while Rice’s run defense is just okay and might be able to hold up against Fresno State, the Bulldogs have done a bad job stopping the run this season. That could present a problem considering that Fresno State in general gives up a great deal of points — they are 101st in the nation with 32.6 on average per game.
There is not much of a feel to this matchup; both seem like they should be even, and that is perhaps because neither one appears to do much well. Rice is probably a tiny bit better statistically, but on balance, Fresno State has played the tougher schedule.
Those defensive numbers worry me, but the Bulldogs are probably a little bit better.
Fresno State +2.5