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2018 First Responder Bowl

College Football

2018 First Responder Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick

Honoring more brave men and women.

Not long ago, we saluted our Armed Forces, and with the 2018 First Responder Bowl, our hats are off to the brave men and women who are first on the scene in emergencies.

We can only hope that the football game honoring them lives up to the task. The two teams they found for this contest are the Boston College Eagles out of the ACC and the Boise State Broncos from the Mountain West. One of the best from the Group of Five takes a swing at an average Power Five team. Which one romps home in the old Cotton Bowl?

Previous Bowls Picked: Cure | New Mexico | Las Vegas | Camellia | New Orleans | Boca Raton | Frisco | Gasparilla | Bahamas | Idaho Potato | Birmingham | Armed Forces | Dollar General | Hawaii

2018 First Responder Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info

Wednesday, December 26, 2018, 1:30pm ET (10:30am PT)
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Broadcast on ESPN
$1,867,000 payout (Link: College Football Poll)
Boise State is a 2.5-point favorite

2018 First Responder Bowl: Boston College Eagles

7-5 (4-4 ACC); 4th in ACC Atlantic
Best Win: Miami
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 42nd, Total Offense 65th, Rushing Offense 50th, 3rd Downs 116th, Time of Possession 110th, Turnover Margin T-21st, Sacks Allowed T-47th, Red Zone 94th
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 53rd, Total Defense 71st, Rushing Defense 52nd, Opponent 3rd Downs 52nd, Sacks Per Game T-26th, TFL Per Game T-38th, Interceptions T-3rd, Opponent Red Zone T-35th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-93rd, Punts 113th

2018 First Responder Bowl: Boise State Broncos

10-3 (7-1 Mountain West); MWC Mountain Division champions
Lost Mountain West Championship to Fresno State
Best Wins: Utah State & Fresno State (reg. season)
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 24th, Total Offense 23rd, Rushing Offense 65th, 3rd Downs 3rd, Time of Possession 11th, Turnover Margin 9th, Sacks Allowed T-95th, Red Zone 67th
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense T-33rd, Total Defense 39th, Rushing Defense T-22nd, Opponent 3rd Downs 9th, Sacks Per Game T-11th, TFL Per Game 56th, Interceptions T-100th, Opponent Red Zone T-76th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking T-114th, Punts 124th

2018 First Responder Bowl: Head-to-Head

Boston College and Boise State have only met once previously in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl. This will be their second meeting, again in a bowl.

The first bowl engagement was a 27-21 Boston College win on Boise State’s home field. (Link: Winsipedia)

2018 First Responder Bowl: Pick

Boston College’s season was up and down. They got off to a hot start, then imploded at Purdue. BC got back on a roll and rose into the top 20, just in time for Clemson to come to town with College Gameday. (Link: BC Eagles) The Eagles got rolled again and would not win another regular season game, including a choke against Florida State and a home rout at the hands of Syracuse. Steve Addazio’s teams have topped out at seven wins like it’s a steel ceiling.

Boise State entered the 2018 season as the favorite to win the Mountain West. They nearly did, but Fresno State was a little better in overtime of the title game. It has still been a very respectable 10-3 season for the Broncos, and a win would mean consecutive 11-win seasons. Boise State’s consistency is a marvel over the last two decades, with the program going 217-44 in the past 20 seasons dating back to 1999. They have only had two losing seasons since their promotion to now-FBS and have won 12 bowl games. This is an impressive football program.

None of those prior games mean anything today, however; in 2018, Boise State is the more complete team. The Eagles have ability on defense and will get after the quarterback, Brett Rypien. Boise State is not great at keeping him on his feet, as 32 sacks will tell you. Boston College’s key is getting a sustained pass rush going in hopes that they can disrupt the Broncos offense just enough. It has worked for the Eagles against some teams, but will it work against Boise State?

What might worry the Eagles is how good the Broncos are on third down, keeping the Boston College defense on the field. In games like that this season, the Eagles have hung in there but eventually wore down, as many teams would in a similar situation. The Eagles are a decent team, but what might also worry you is how poorly they closed out the season.

Pick: Boise State

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