Fight Hunger Bowl Preview

ANOTHER COACHING TRANSITION AS WASHINGTON PREPARES FOR BYU

We’ve already watched a few teams dealing with head coaching transitions thus far through the bowls. The Washington Huskies are the latest to take the field in such circumstances when they battle BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl Friday Night in San Francisco.

Out: Steve Sarkisian (headed to USC)
In: Chris Peterson (from Boise State)

Washington is surely excited to have Peterson coming over from Boise State. He already knows the high schools well because there’s not much recruiting in Idaho! What many in the media seem to have forgotten is:

*Arizona State was excited when they brought in Dirk Koetter from Boise State several years ago. It was Koetter who first put Boise on the map as a major football program. But, once he wasn’t able to abuse a soft schedule in a minor conference, Koetter was exposed as being in way over his head. He has yet to hold another head coaching job since leaving ASU.

*Colorado was VERY excited when they brought Dan Hawkins over from Boise State, and Hawkins literally destroyed the Colorado program with poor recruiting, poor management, and poor everything else. The Buffaloes are still try to recover from the devastation.

So, it’s easy to create illusions of greatness when you play a very soft schedule every year! Peterson’s two predecessors probably shouldn’t have left friendly territory. With Peterson’s case, he’s also seen his own program decline as they’ve upgraded conferences. Washington may dealing with a more dramatic transition than they had been expecting.

That’s something for you to think about as you prepare for next season. For TONIGHT’S game, let’s run our standard preview numbers…

Won-Lost Records (strength of schedule)
Washington: 8-4 (#14 schedule in USA Today)
BYU: 8-4 (#37 schedule in USA today)

Both teams had the same won-lost record. Jeff Sagarin of USA Today says Washington played the tougher schedule. You have to give BYU credit for scheduling pretty tough as an independent. They could have chosen a much easier path. Washington was in a very strong conference this season, and more than held their own.

Yards-Per Play
Washington: 6.5 on offense, 5.0 on defense
BYU: 5.9 on offense, 4.8 on defense

Washington had the better differential against the tougher schedule. That speaks well for their chances in a neutral site bowl. But, BYU’s numbers are so strong that they can clearly win this game comfortably if Washington shows up flat. Give Washington the nod at equal intensity. Bowl history has made it clear that teams don’t always show up with equal intensity.

Turnover Differential
Washington: +7
BYU: +2

Another strong mark for Washington, who has a reasonably aggressive offensive attack. The fact that they could grade out with a positive against a tough schedule is a great sign. BYU is also positive. But, only +2 is low for a team that emphasizes the run rather than the pass. The Cougars are more likely to have mistakes cost them in this matchup.

Market Performance
Washington: 6-6 ATS
BYU: 5-6-1 ATS

A pretty good job from the market in pegging both teams. Each had spots where they seemed underrated. But, each laid an egg or two when they shouldn’t have.

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The Bowls continue Friday when three more come to the table. My Network has kicked itself into high gear to close the college season with a barrage of winners. We've got more sharp edges Friday!

MILITARY BOWL - at Annapolis, MD
MARSHALL (9-4) vs. MARYLAND (7-5) - 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Maryland Terrapins won't even have to pack a lunch for this bowl tilt - this game on the Navy campus is a mere 30 miles away from College Park but will third-year Maryland head coach Randy Edsall be digesting a "W" at day's end? No doubt the Terps must perk up their play in terms of red zone defense where this ACC (and soon to be Big 10) team ranks a dismal 111th in the country in that particular category. If Marshall QB Rakeem Cato (3,579 yards passing with 36 TDs) gets in a rhythm here, than the Thundering Herd could pound out its third bowl win the past five years.

TEXAS BOWL - at Houston, TX
SYRACUSE (6-6) vs. MINNESOTA (8-4) - 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
You must go all the way back to the 2004 season to find the last time the Minnesota Golden Gophers won a bowl game - the Big 10 team is 0-5 SU (straight-up) in bowls ever since - and all eyes here will be on Minny's freakish D-lineman Ra'Shede Hageman who this season has collected 11 tackles for losses and a pair of sacks for a re-born Minnesota defense that held opponents to a grand total of 44 points in the final three weeks of play. Meanwhile, the'Cuse loves the fight of QB Terrell Hunt who rushed for 426 yards and threw for 1,450 yards and don't forget that last-second TD toss to beat Boston College and lock up this bowl bid in the first place.

FIGHT HUNGER BOWL - at San Francisco, CA
BYU (8-4) vs. WASHINGTON (8-4) - 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Hey, you get a slew of these type bowl games every year and here's the latest: Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian is gonzo to USC (no, we don't blame'em at all!) and so the UW Huskies will be "showing off" for newly-named head coach Chris Petersen of Boise State fame - will those "distractions" hurt the Pac-12 team? BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy will be a central figure here as he bucks helmets with Washington RB Bishop Sankey who comes off a dazzling 1,775-yard, 18-TD campaign but the $64,000 question is Washington QB Keith Price "right" after suffering a late-season shoulder injury against UCLA? We know BYU QB Taysom Hill (28 total TDs this year) is a big-play threat waiting to happen and the Huskies did surrender 40-plus points on three different occasions in 2013.

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Current Line: Washington by 3, total 60

Washington earned favorite consideration based on the numbers you saw above. Better team. Better schedule. Generally less likely to make mistakes. But, coaching transitions can sometimes be worth 2-3 touchdowns in either direction!

*USC absolutely crushed Fresno State despite using an interim coach. The players showed up inspired and prepared. Their opponent literally had no chance. USC led 30-6 at halftime.

*Boise State was awful in the first half against Oregon State. The players show up flat, unprepared, and unfocused. They were down 31-6 at the half after giving away two defensive TD’s off fumbles.

See what we mean? Those games were priced between a field goal and a touchdown. Yet, one transition team led 30-6 at the break, while the other trailed 31-6.

That’s the volatility you’re dealing with in bowl games…which is why you need JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK to gather up all the information required to pick a winner! You can get the final word for all of Friday’s games right here at the website with your credit card. Build your bankrolls with Marshall/Maryland and Syracuse/Minnesota before slamming the evening finale. That will put you in fine position for Saturday’s bowl Grand Slam and Sunday’s NFL Grand Finale.

If you have any questions about our remaining bowl package and playoff package, or combination packages featuring football and basketball, talk to the NETWORK representative in the office at 1-800-323-4453 any time this weekend. Just remember that a new bowl is always just a few hours away. Take care of business NOW!

Back with you Saturday to study the prime time attraction of Michigan/Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Sunday brings our regular preview of the NBC prime time game. Then, it’s back to the bowls every day through the following week!

Monday: Texas Tech vs. Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl
Tuesday: Duke vs. Texas A&M in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl
Wednesday: Baylor vs. Central Florida in the Fiesta Bowl
Thursday: Alabama vs. Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl
Friday: Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Orange Bowl

Then sneaking up from behind will be Wildcard Weekend in the NFL! What a great time to be a football fan! What a great time to GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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