It all comes down to this: Hawaii versus Boise State. Things got a little weird in the West Division while the Mountain Division was fairly standard and what was expected from the start of the season. As we remember from last year however, what is expected in the conference championship game isn’t necessarily what is going to happen. Last year, Fresno State had the better statistics and the better defense. So, let’s look at the advanced stats for the Division Champions.
Backed Up (bcftoys.com)
Boise State starts their drives .96 yards close to the endzone then their opponent. Hawaii starts their drives 1.95 yards behind their opponents. Simply put that closer you are to the endzone to start the drive the more likely you are to score. During their head to head match-up the different in starting field positions was a massive 18.6 advantage for the Broncos, that was the biggest difference during the season for the Broncos and the largest disadvantage for the Warriors. The Rainbow Warriors had to get two 1st downs to even get to where Boise State started. For the season Boise State has started their drives an average of 64.8 yards from pay dirt and their opponents have started 65.8 yards away while the Warriors have started 68.1 yards from the endzone and their opponents are starting 66.2 yards away.
Net Start Field Position-Boise State
Offensive Field Position- Boise State
Defensive Field Position- Boise State
Backed-up Advanced Stats Boise State 3-Hawaii 0
Third Downs (teamrankings.com)
The “do or die” down. Boise State offensive is 56th in the nation averaging 14.4 3rd downs per game. Hawaii’s is 115th at 12.4 3rd downs per game. Of those 14.4 3rd downs the Broncos covert 6.9 per game, 11th in nation, at a rate of 48.10% which is also 11th in the country. Hawaii convers 5.9 3rd downs per game which is 46th in the country, but their conversion rate of 47.65% put them 12th in the country, right behind the Broncos.
On the defensive side Boise is giving up 14.4 3rd downs per games, 73rd in the nation, allowing teams to convert 5.7 3rd downs per game, 65th ranking, which is a conversion of 39.87 which is also 65th in the country. Hawaii only gives up 12.3 3rd downs a game, which is a top ten ranking at 7th, allows 5.1 to be converted, which is 39th in the nation, at a rate of 41.22%, which is 81st in the country.
Offensive 3rd down converted- Boise State
Offensive 3rd conversion rate- Push
Defensive 3rd down converted- Hawaii
Defensive 3rd conversion rate- Boise State
3rd Down Advanced Stats Boise State 2- Hawaii 1
Red Zone (teamrankings.com)
Can you score more points than your opponent? That is always the questions and the objective to football. Offensively Boise State is getting into the red zone 3.6 times a game with is 56th in the country. Hawaii gives themselves a few more options at 4.1 attempts per game which is 31st. The biggest factor is what do the teams do with those chances. The Broncos score 87.50% of the time, a ranking of 36th, while the Rainbow Warriors are ranked 62nd at 83.67%. Both defenses provide less opportunities to the opposing teams only 2.8 attempts per game for the opponents of the Broncos, 33rd, while the Warriors allow 3.3 attempts, 61st. However, neither defense is great at stopping teams once they enter the redzone, the Broncos are 91st in the nation at allowing teams to score 87.10% of the time, barely ranked above the Warriors at 92nd with 87.50%.
Redzone Offensive Attempts- Hawaii
Redzone Offense Percentage- Scoring Boise State
Redzone Defensive Attempts- Boise State
Redzone Defense Percentage Scoring-Push
Red Zone Advanced Stats Boise State 2-Hawaii 1
Total Advanced State Boise State 7-Hawaii 2
Boise State won the first match-up 59-37, undoubtedly helped by the colossal 18.6-yard starting position advantage. The Broncos are better at sustaining longer drives and keeping their offense on the field. Hawaii’s strength in getting into the redzone and preventing teams from keeping their drives going. If Hawaii can keep it a low scoring game, like Fresno State did last year on the Blue Turf, they have a good chance of keeping the conference champion in the West.
Boise State has an 88.7% of winning this game. The question is will they get invited to the Cotton Bowl? The Selection Committee has Boise State ranked 19th, just behind Memphis at 17 and ahead of Cincinnati at 20. If Memphis wins, and there is a 69.6% they will, then I don’t see Boise State being able to pass them. If Cincinnati wins, 30.4% isn’t that bad, would they jump the Broncos? Mike Aresco, AAC Commissioner, thinks so. And he might be correct. If Cincinnati wins, they could very well jump Boise State unless the Broncos win big. Which makes that BYU loss so much more devastating.