Washington vs. Boise State Predictions: 2012 Las Vegas Bowl 12/22

Last Updated: December 16th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Las Vegas Bowl 2012The 2012 Las Vegas Bowl picks are going to be difficult to make, as the Washington Huskies and Boise State Broncos are set to do battle with one another in a Pac-12 vs. Mountain West battle. Check out our Las Vegas Bowl predictions and the keys to the game for Washington vs. Boise State.

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2012 Las Vegas Bowl: Washington Huskies vs. Boise State Broncos
2012 Las Vegas Bowl Location: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
2012 Las Vegas Bowl Date/Time: Saturday, December 22nd, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
2012 Las Vegas Bowl Television Coverage: ESPN, Watch ESPN

Key #1: Both teams need to win the turnover battle
It’s definitely cliché in football, but in this case, it clearly is something that is true. The team that wins the turnover battle is going to win the Las Vegas Bowl this year. The Broncos were ranked No. 4 in the country in turnover margin at +18, and they were the leaders in the nation in recovered fumbles with 17, and tied for 17th in picks with 16. Washington meanwhile, in spite of its horrifying schedule chock full of great defenses, still managed a +7 turnover margin for the year, which is something that you wouldn’t have expected from a team that featured a quarterback in QB Keith Price that tossed 11 interceptions on the campaign. One of these teams is going to end up with a minus in the turnover margin in this game, and it is going to be a rare happening for either one. The loser will be the one with the big, fat minus marking in their turnover column on December 22nd.

Famous Las Vegas Bowl Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
Washington Huskies +5.5
Boise State Broncos -5.5
Over/Under 44
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Key #2: Points cannot be left on the field
There were only a total of 31 field goals attempted all year long by both the Broncos and the Huskies, while there were just a total of 77 touchdowns. It’s just not all that great for either team. That means that, especially Washington, which averaged just 2.92 touchdowns per game this year, cannot afford to let opportunities slip away. RB Bishop Sankey has a real nose for the end zone, as he had 15 scores this year, and when he gets close, he has no choice but to pound the ball into the end zone. The same could be said for a Boise State outfit that has gotten spoiled by QB Kellen Moore over the course of the last four years. Now, with QB Joe Southwick in the fold, Head Coach Chris Petersen is relying a lot more on his defense, which is one of the best in America statistically. Again, it’s up to RB DJ Harper to get the job done, as there wasn’t another player on this team that had a better nose for the end zone. Harper scored 15 times on the campaign. No one else scored more than five.

Key #3: Boise State has to prove that it belongs here and wants to be here
Those are two totally different points of contention that we have to discuss. The Broncos did win 10 games again this year, but few think that this 10-win team is anywhere near as good as some of the 10, 11, and 12 win teams that have come off of the Smurf Turf in the past. The losses this year against the San Diego State Aztecs and Michigan State Spartans turned out to be as bad of losses as the program has had in years and years, and there weren’t those dominating 65-0 victories littered all over the schedule. As a result, this is the third straight season playing in the Las Vegas Bowl, and it has to get tiresome, especially for some of the upperclassmen that have been here before. Were the Broncos really the best team in the Mountain West this year? That’s probably still partially to be determined. That loss to the Aztecs at home with a backup quarterback under center really didn’t sit well at all with the Boise State faithful. Don’t blame the Broncos if they don’t really feel like showing up for this game, something that certainly will not be a problem for a U-Dub team that has earned every single victory that it has gotten since Head Coach Steve Sarkisian has taken over as the man in charge in Seattle.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Sunday, December 16th, 2012 @ 6:43 pm (EST)
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