For the first time in the history of the bowl, the Vegas Bowl will pit two ranked teams against each other.
Max Hall and Harvey Unga lead a prolific BYU offense against Jacquizz Rodgers and a dominating Oregon State offensive attack.
That should be enough to qualm the potential dissapointment of BYU and their fans that they are in the Vegas Bowl for a fifth straight season, and failed to live up to BCS and national contender expectations after upsetting (then) No. 3 ranked Oklahoma at the beginning of the season.
Oregon State is a very worthy opponent and favored to beat BYU by three by the Vegas experts.
After a great regular season ended with BYU taking back the Beehive boot on the last play of their rivalry game against Utah, BYU has momentum, having won 8 of their last 9, only losing to TCU.
Oregon State came four points away from playing Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
They finished 6-3 in the Pac-10; arguably the deepest conference in college football.
Their four losses all came to top 25 opponents, and only once by more than a TD (Cincinnati).
Both teams have a prolific and balanced offenses and an inconsistent defenses that have shown moments of greatness, and serious signs of weakness.
Fans could very well be in for a shootout. But both defenses have been relatively solid for most of the season, so I don't think we will see basketball type scoring, just some great offense.
BYU and Oregon State did have one common opponent this year, UNLV.
Oregon State pulled off a narrow win clear back on September 12th against the Rebels, needing a questional pass interference call and a late FG to secure a 23-21 win over the Rebels.
BYU faced UNLV on October 10th, and also gave up 21, but put up 59, en route to a 59-21 blowout.
Both games were played at Sam Boyd Stadium, which is also the site for this year's Vegas bowl.
But you can't put too much weight in Team A—Team B—Team C scenarios.
BYU is 2-2 in the Vegas Bowl under Bronco Mendenhall.
- Cal 35-BYU 28
- BYU 38-Oregon 8
- BYU 17-UCLA 16
- Arizona 31-BYU 21
Each of the last four years, BYU's rivalry game against Utah has successfully predicted the winner of the bowl—if BYU wins that game, they have handled their business in their bowl game. If they lose, then they don't.
But, Oregon State is by far the biggest bowl opponent BYU has faced this decade, coming in with an 8-4 record and ranked 16th in the AP poll.
Max Hall has already secured his legacy in a long line of BYU QB's, with a conference title, a bowl victory, BYU's all time wins record, and most importantly a 2-1 record against the Utes.
But if he wins here, it would be icing on the cake.
And if BYU wins here, they will finish 11-2, with a decent shot at their first top ten finish in a long time.
I think somehow, someway, BYU finds a way to win, pulling off a 31-30 victory; capping off an 11-2 season, with a good chance at finishing in the top 10 in the polls.