gtpdd’s 2018 Hawaii Bowl Preview

Tomorrow night at 11:30pm central, the Bulldogs face off against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the SoFi Hawaii Bowl. But before you break curfew to watch the game, let’s talk about it.

How to Watch

The Hawaii Bowl is aired on ESPN, not to be confused with ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN8: The Ocho, WatchESPN, or ESPN+.

Other People’s Predictions

  • ESPN FPI: Tech has a 51.3% chance to win
  • Massey: Hawaii wins, 35-31
  • Vegas (OddsShark): Pick ’em.
  • S&P+: Tech wins, 31-29
  • BleedTechBlue: Tech wins, 33-27
  • NCAA 14 Simulation: Hawaii wins, 26-23

Previous Records

Hawaii leads the all-time series 8 wins to 2, and Tech has never won in Honolulu.

What to Watch For

Nathan and Evan: Hawaii’s passing game. Nathan talked about it a bit in the article he wrote for BleedTechBlue, but here’s the gist:

You know that offense Tech used to have that we all want back? Yeah, that’s what Hawaii has. Warrior QB Cole McDonald has thrown 35 TDs, 8 INTs, and over 3700 yards. They also feature two wide receivers that should remind Tech fans of the Trent Taylor-Carlos Henderson one-two punch. John Ursua and Cedric Byrd have over 250 targets, 150 catches, and nearly 2300 yards between the two of them. Most of the air attack funnels through those two players. Luckily, Tech has two cornerbacks that should be up to the task of slowing down a two-headed monster in Sneed and Robertson.

If Tech can limit the damage from the Warrior’s passing attack, the Bulldogs would be in great position to take home their fifth straight bowl trophy.

Random Factoid

Nathan: Although the Hawaii Bowl as we know it today has only existed since 2002, the island of Hawaii has a long history of hosting postseason college football contests.

In 1936, the Poi Bowl was founded and was set up as a match-up between the University of Hawaii and a mainland opponent. The Poi Bowl continued for four years, before re-branding the contest as the Pineapple Bowl in 1939. The second Pineapple Bowl was held on January 1, 1941 and it was the last bowl game held in Hawaii for a bit (for a pretty good reason).

After World War II, the Pineapple Bowl resumed in 1947 and continued for six more years.

From 1952 to 1982, there were no bowl games played in the islands. The Hula Bowl was running during that time, but it wasn’t a true bowl game. Instead, the Hula Bowl featured a mix of college and semi-pro players trying to boost themselves into the NFL (similar-ish to the modern day Senior Bowl).

In 1982, postseason college football made a triumphant return to the islands of Hawaii, this time without the school of Hawaii. The Aloha Bowl was played annually for 19 years and never featured the Rainbow Warriors. Instead, the game two often-ranked mainland schools.

But during its last three years (1998-2000), the Aloha Bowl had a friend. The Oahu Bowl was played immediately following the Aloha Bowl in the same stadium. The first of these back-to-back games was the first televised doubleheader in college football history.

And Hawaii was able to get into (and win) the 1999 Oahu Bowl.

Following 2000, both bowls left Hawaii. The Oahu Bowl moved to Seattle and became the Seattle Bowl for two years before it shut down. The Aloha Bowl attempted to move to San Francisco, but lost its bowl license (I guess that’s a thing) before it could complete the move.

2001 was a sad postseason football-less year for the island chain, but the Hawaii Bowl was founded in 2002 to bring an end to those woes.

Hot Taeks

Nathan: The number of times “Aloha” is said will be more than the total number of points scored by both teams.

Evan: Tech will look totally different from how they’ve looked for months. It’ll be like last year against SMU. We’ll be left thinking, “what the hell?? where has this team been?!”

Josh: Things will go horribly wrong for Tech at some point during the game. Like, some insane INT or fumble leading to a Hawaii score.

Final Predictions

Nathan: I am going to be overly specific, so if I get everything right, I can be worshiped as a god. Tech will win the coin toss and defer. It will take Hawaii six plays to score a touchdown. Tech will stall early in the next drive and punt. At the end of the first quarter, the score will be 7-3 Hawaii. At halftime, it will be 14-10 Hawaii. But…

Tech wins, 23-20

Evan: I think the Dogs get motivated to keep the bowl streak alive. I think Ferg will set the all-time sack record. I think Tech will dominate. I think my glasses are mysteriously Bulldog colored. But most of all, I think it’s wrong to doubt Skip and Tech when they have three weeks to prepare. Tech is a Bowling team now, and a damn good one.

Tech wins, 37-17

Josh: Man, I really don’t know what to think at this point. Will Tech play hard to keep the bowl streak alive? Will the offensive woes follow Tech across the ocean? Will Ferg get the sack record? Will I fall asleep during the game because it’s so late? These are the questions that I have. My gut tells me to be a pessimist and assume the worst: Hawaii’s offense gets going early and they score at a pace our offense can’t keep up with. But the homer in me is a believer and sees this game going more the way of the Armed Forces Bowl from 2016.

Tech wins, 37-35

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