Bowl Game Picks: Day 5

Well, the Navy Midshipmen certainly put forth a valiant effort last night.  Unfortunately, the San Diego St. Aztecs were just too good.  While not a horrible game, it wasn't a great one.  So, I'll call it a B-. With the Aztecs win, I improve to 5-1, and am excited to watch more college football in the coming days.  Up next, a trip to paradise.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl- #24 Hawaii Warriors (10-3, 7-1 WAC) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-3, 6-2 C-USA)

What a reward for a good season.  Not only do the Tulsa Golden Hurricane players and staff get to go to a Bowl game, it's in Hawaii!  The weather forecast is for a beautiful day, never to leave the 70s.  It's almost enough to take your mind off of football.  Almost.

Both offenses in this match-up are fantastic, ranking 9th and 10th nationally in points scored. While both teams rely heavily on the pass, Tulsa has the edge on the ground, rushing for 110.2 more yards per game than Hawaii.  The offenses are actually the most difficult part of picking this game. With the notable exception of the rushing stat, most of the offensive statistics of these teams are strikingly similar.

The difference on offense, as it usually is, will be the QBs.  And the edge there must go to Tulsa.  G.J. Kinne has, this season, completed 60.1% of his passes, thrown for 3,307 yards and 28 touchdowns.  Oddly enough, that is not where he has the edge over Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz.  Moniz owns some pretty gaudy passing stats himself, completing 66.3% of his passes, and accumulating 4,629 yards and 36 touchdowns.  No, the reason that Kinne gets the edge at QB is his rushing ability.  Kinne rushed for 557 yards, and 7 touchdowns this season.

When you look at the versatility of the Tulsa QB, and the distinct advantage the Golden Hurricane squad will have rushing the ball, the picture begins to clear up a bit.  Unfortunately, while I give the overall offensive advantage to Tulsa, barely, I have to give the defensive advantage to Hawaii.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I don't see either of these units as dominant.  But Hawaii does own a pretty scary category, if you're a Tulsa fan.  The Warriors are 1st nationally in INTs, with 23.  Yikes, looks like Kinne will need to be mindful of where he's putting that football.

So, with these two teams looking so closely matched, which way do I go? Either team could have a bad start, and get into a deep hole early, and I'm not sure if I'd have too much faith in either to dig out.

In one of the toughest picks so far, I'm taking the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to get the win, 34-28.

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