BRIGHAM YOUNG vs. HAWAII
Location: Halawa, Hawaii (Aloha Stadium)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 25th at 4:00 p.m. (Hawaii Time)
Television: CBS Sports Network
Streaming: CBS Sports Network Stream (subscription required)
Radio: ESPN 1420
Head-to-head: BYU leads the series 21-8. The Cougars have won the last three games in the series, winning the most recent contest 47-0 in Provo back in 2012.
Summary: The season is coming to close this upcoming weekend with a nationally-televised contest for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, who will play an old rival in BYU. Hawaii is limping back to Oahu after a 38-0 blowout loss. Hawaii now has a 3-8 overall record, losing four straight and eight of their last nine games. There aren't many silver linings as of late, but at least Hawaii's opponent on Saturday isn't foreign to struggles themselves.
The BYU Cougars are 2-9. In the spring, some Vegas casinos set BYU's over/under projection for wins at 10 wins. It eventually dropped to around 8, but regardless it's clear nobody could have foreseen how bad the Cougars would be. With narrow wins over Portland State (who went 0-10 the rest of the way) and UNLV, it's been a historically baffling season in Provo.
The loss this past weekend to UMass meant BYU finished the season with a losing home record for the first time since 1971. It was UMass' first road win as an FBS program. A season-ending injury to Tanner Mangum and concussion issues for backup QB Beau Hoge meant redshirt freshman Joe Critchlow was forced into action. A completion percentage under 50% and four interceptions later from the young quarterback, and a horror season was complete. There is no exaggerating any of this. This was a shocking season for BYU.
Despite all of this doom and gloom, the Cougars still come to Hawaii a slim 3-point favorite. I'll keep this preview lite on statistics, cause frankly they don't mean much of anything at this point. Both teams are defeated and disappointed. They have five wins between them, and both teams came into 2017 hoping for bowl-worthy campaigns. In BYU's case, they were hoping for even more than that.
It wouldn't be shocking to see either team looking disinterested or defeated. It's been a long year. That said, this is an old and formerly intense rivalry. Much like the Fresno State game a few weeks back, some of Hawaii's craziest games ever have come against the Cougars of Provo. Including head coach Nick Rolovich's best game ever as a player.
It's also the final football game for seniors, in most cases the last game they'll ever play. Hawaii's matchup with Utah State last week suggested they should be able to victimize the Aggies on the ground. They didn't. The Aggies are poor in red zone defense, yet that stat didn't play out as expected. Stats are useless at this point. This game will all come down to which team has the will to fight for the extra yard, make the extra effort. Can either team put their woes behind them to make one final solid effort to win? Or are we in for an ugly pillow fight for the ages?
Prediction: It's been an unexpectedly rough season for Hawaii, one reminiscent of the 2000 season that followed the 1999 dream run. Nick Rolovich will surely be evaluating everything, from player personnel to his coaching staff. Even himself, of course. I'm frankly expecting this contest to be brutal. It will look like a matchup of three and two win teams. This is a toss up, I'll give one more vote of confidence to the Warriors. Hawaii 20, BYU 17.