Motivation may be the biggest factor going into the First Responder Bowl, but there’s a chance both teams could be excited to play at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. Boston College closed the season on a poor note and Boise State lost a chance to play in the Fiesta Bowl. The Broncos were -2.5 point favorites with an over/under of 55.5 a week before the Game.
There’s a looming issue for Boston College (7-5 ATS), not only that it lost its final three Games, but the offense also struggled and then lost its offensive coordinator to a head coaching gig. That’s definitely a worry, but Steve Addazio signed an extension so he’s not going anywhere. As for Boise State (7-5-1 ATS), this was kind of a disappointing season since an undefeated record was on the table, but it struggled at OK State and also lost at home to a weaker San Diego State team. It then couldn’t win the MWC title Game on its home turf, losing to Fresno State in a rematch.
If BC figures out its offense, this Game could be headed for a lot of points, but that’s a hard thing to bet on. Quarterback Anthony Brown was injured against Clemson and didn’t look the same afterward. It’s not like he was an elite passer with 7.44 yards per attempt, but he threw Four interceptions in the final two Games after not having one in seven other contests. The Eagles are still based around the running Game and AJ Dillon, who somewhat disappointed with 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns. If he can’t find room, this offense is in definite trouble and the Boise defense may have the bodies to do that.
Boise State excelled in rush defense allowing just 3.6 yards per carry and if that shows up against Dillon, that could decide the Game. Of course, the Broncos were terrible against the pass, allowing almost eight yards per attempt and that’s where Brown could be the difference. As for Boston College, its defense had some nice Games, but struggled against relevant offenses, allowing 42 points to Syracuse in the finale but also at least 30 to Wake and Purdue earlier in the year.
The Eagles are good on a per play basis and actually led the nation with 18 interceptions, but it’s usually not good to bet on a team because of interceptions. That especially doesn’t work if the quarterback it’s playing has thrown just two interceptions in the last seven Games. Boise QB Brett Rypien posted the best numbers of his career with 30 touchdowns and only seven picks to go with 8.29 yards per attempt. He carved up most MWC defenses with the help of top wide outs Sean Modster (978 yards, 8 TDs) and A.J. Richardson (825 yards, 8 TDs). All that said, this offense still wants to run the ball a ton and that’s why Alexander Mattison has a ridiculous 77 carries, 400 yards and Four touchdowns in the last two Games. BC allowed a solid 3.6 ypc, though close to 150 yards per Game.
The Eagles are 9-3-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but 2-7 ATS in their last nine bowl Games. The Broncos are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 bowl Games and 3-0-1 ATS in their last Four on grass.
Our Pick – Boston College +2.5