Oregon State (8-4) vs. BYU (10-2)
Dec. 22, 8 p.m., (ESPN)
Oregon State take by Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller: The MAACO Las Vegas Bowl matches a pair of ranked teams that wish they were somewhere else.
Early in the season, BYU thought it was a BCS-buster when it beat Oklahoma. But the Cougars got pushed around by Florida State and trounced by TCU, which ended those dreams.
Oregon State lost its season finale at Oregon, the rivalry game defeat costing the Beavers the Rose Bowl for a second-consecutive season.
BYU will be playing in its fifth-consecutive Las Vegas Bowl, and the Cougars are 2-2 vs. the Pac-10 in the bowl. So this is sort of a rubber match.
The game features a pair of outstanding quarterbacks. BYU’s Max Hall is third in the nation in passer rating and has thrown 30 touchdown passes. Oregon State’s Sean Canfield is 15th in the nation in passing rating and has competed 70 percent of his throws.
BYU has slightly better numbers on defense, and pass rush may be a key. Neither team has been great at getting to the opposing quarterback – the Beavers have only 15 sacks – and neither is great at pass protection.
BYU take by Independent and others blogger Graham Watson: For BYU, playing in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas is déjà vu all over again.
The Cougars have played in Las Vegas five consecutive seasons, the longest consecutive bowl streak for the Cougars since they played in seven consecutive Holiday Bowls from 1978-1984.
However, BYU will be making history this season as the highest-ranked team to ever appear in the Las Vegas Bowl. BYU is ranked No 14 in the BCS standings.
This is also the first time the bowl has hosted two ranked teams. Oregon State comes into the game ranked No. 18 in the BCS standings after losing its season finale to Oregon.
Both teams' passing games and offenses are among the best in the country, which lends itself to a high-scoring game. Both defenses are talented, but haven’t fared well against other offensively successful teams.