The first day of bowl games never cease to amaze college football fans, and adding an in-state rivalry game to it can add to the excitement, and also the unpredictability.
As we have seen throughout the year, rivalry games are as unpredictable as they get; see 3-9 Iowa State taking Big Ten runner-up Iowa to a 17-17 tie with just over four minutes to go. Or the notorious Red River Rivalry where five win Texas knocked off a CFP team in Oklahoma. And then a potential instant-classic such as the Army-Navy game last week.
However, now, it’s time for the Holy War, and it has the potential to be a doozy.
Las Vegas Bowl Preview: BYU vs. Utah
Staying with the theme, it has been a crazy season for the Cougars. BYU kicked off the year with back-to-back Hail Marys to beat Nebraska and Boise State, working their way into the AP Top 25.
The team is lead by freshman phenom, Tanner Mangum, formerly a backup for senior Taysom Hill who was injured during the season opener at Nebraska.
Mangum has thrown for 3,062 yards in 2015, helping the a Cougars to one of the most productive offenses in the nation.
It started out as a dream season for the Utes, but ended in a nightmare. Utah started the year at 6-0 and touched the top three in the AP Poll, all before their dreams crashing in Pasadena with a 16-point loss to USC.
Devontae Booker has been one of the standout players on the team, little by little gaining 1,261 yards with 11 touchdowns. The versatile running back was injured against Arizona, though, and underwent season-ending surgery afterward to repair a torn meniscus. He will miss Saturday’s bowl game.
The Utes, who played in the same bowl game last season, return the 2014 Las Vegas Bowl MVP in Travis Wilson. Wilson threw for 2,024 yards along with 13 touchdowns, but was picked off 10 times.
What to expect
The teams have played four common opponents this year: Fresno State, Michigan, UCLA and Utah State. Utah went 3-1 with a loss to UCLA while BYU lost to both UCLA and Michigan.
The standout stat in those four games rests with Michigan, at team that shutout BYU, but lost to Utah.
Utah will go in the favorite, but don’t be surprised by the craziness of a rivalry game. Sit back and enjoy it.