Bowl Breakdown: Humanitarian

Publish date:

Idaho (7-5) vs. Bowling Green (7-5)Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Reason to watch: Provided the weather proves manageable, there should be a ton of points in this one. Both teams offer strong passing attacks and productive offenses, and neither defense ranks in the top 80 in the nation. The only thing that may slow down a potential shootout is the weather, and even that looks decent for now with a forecasted high of 34 degrees and no snow. But we can never rule out a late December snowstorm in Boise, can we?

Keep an eye on: Bowling Green wide receiver Freddie Barnes. Barnes was the runner-up in the Biletnikoff Award voting to Notre Dame's Golden Tate, leads the nation in receptions (138) and touchdowns (16) and ranks third in yards. He's five catches away from breaking the single-season receptions record held by Houston's Manny Hazard, who set the mark in 1989. The Falcons are 6-0 when Barnes catches two touchdowns or more this season, and he will be facing an Idaho pass defense ranked No. 114 nationally.

Did you know: This is only Idaho's second bowl appearance. The Vandals won the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl, 42-35, over Southern Miss.

Final analysis: The WAC is probably a notch above the MAC, and Idaho will benefit from a pseudo-home field advantage on the blue turf in Boise. But Bowling Green enters on a four-game winning streak, while Idaho lost four of its last five. Falcons quarterback Tyler Sheehan has been hot, throwing seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games, so look for him and Barnes to do some damage against a suspect Idaho pass defense, scoring enough to hold off Idaho QB Nathan Enderle, one of the nation's most efficient passers.

The pick: Bowling Green 38, Idaho 35.

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