San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
BYU (8-4) vs. Wyoming (8-5), San Diego, 9 p.m., ESPN
BYU -10 – O/U 57
This historic rivalry hasn’t been played since BYU left the Mountain West in 2010, but some of the bad blood between the two schools still exists. The signs that the game will be close are certainly there. BYU played in seven very close games in the first two months of the season, but the Cougars seemed to hit a stride in their last four games, winning all four comfortably. Of course, most of those opponents were patsies. Wyoming played in eight close games this season, winning five of them. Most recently, the Cowboys pushed San Diego State to the limit in the MWC championship game. Neither team is particularly impressive in the postseason. Wyoming hasn’t been there since 2011, and BYU has lost its bowl games in each of the past three seasons. Most likely, this game will be won or lost on the ground. BYU is starting backup QB Tanner Mangrum, who throws nicely and who has some experience. However, the Cougars have been doing very well on the legs of RB Jamaal Williams, who averages more than 100 yards and a TD per game. Wyoming has its own stellar running back in Brian Hill, whose stats are even better. BYU will likely make the game easy on Mangrum, and since Wyoming’s run defense is worse than poor, it’s even more likely that the Cougars will move the ball effectively with Williams. The Cowboys will keep it close, but the score might actually look closer than the game will probably be.
Prediction: BYU 31, Wyoming 24
Copyright © 2016 by Doug DeBolt.