BOISE, Idaho – Boise State has a lot on the line when it hosts Hawaii on Saturday in the Mountain West championship game. The No. 17 Broncos, ranked 19th by the College Football Playoff committee, have a chance at landing a Cotton Bowl bid when the season-ending rankings come out Sunday.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Boise State -13.5
Boise State is one of four teams still in the running, along with Memphis (No. 17 CFP) and Cincinnati (No. 20) of the American Athletic Conference and Appalachian State (No. 21) of the Sun Belt. Broncos coach Bryan Harsin maintains he's not the least bit concerned about the rankings and is keeping his focus on winning the Mountain West title contest. "There is an opportunity for a championship, which was the ultimate goal," Harsin said during a press conference. "Then we go from there." The hot Rainbow Warriors have rattled off four straight victories, the program's longest streak since claiming six in a row in 2010, but lost 59-37 to the Broncos on Oct. 12 to drop to 0-7 all-time in Boise with an average margin of defeat of 33.1 points.
ABOUT HAWAII (9-4)
Junior quarterback Cole McDonald is enjoying a stellar campaign and has passed for 3,401 yards, 29 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. McDonald has four weapons with more than 50 receptions in senior Cedric Byrd II (91 catches for 1,049 yards and 10 touchdowns), junior Jared Smart (76 for 915, three scores), senior Jason-Matthew Sharsh (73 for 749, four TDs) and senior JoJo Ward (55 for 906, 11 TDs). Senior safety Ikem Okeke has a team-high three interceptions while senior linebacker Solomon Matautia leads the squad with 68 tackles.
ABOUT BOISE STATE (11-1)
Senior quarterback Jaylon Henderson will make his fourth straight start and this week he is listed atop the depth chart for the first time over freshman Hank Bachmeier and sophomore Chase Cord. “That says it all right there, without getting into too much detail,” Harsin said of the adjustment of the depth chart. “We made a change. Jaylon’s been playing well. Jaylon has proven himself. He’s done a really good job.” Junior linebacker Riley Whimpey leads the Broncos with 62 tackles while senior pass rusher Curtis Weaver has 13.5 sacks this season and a Mountain West-record 34 for his career.
1. Boise State has won the past seven meetings with Hawaii and holds a 13-3 series lead.
2. The Rainbow Warriors defeated Army 52-31 last Saturday for their second-largest point total of the season, trailing the 54 scored against Nevada on Sept. 28.
3. Broncos freshman RB George Holani is 88 yards away from a 1,000-yard rushing season.
PREDICTION: Boise State 52, Hawaii 37