• Paul Compton

GoDaddy Bowl: Boise St. vs Northern Illinois

NIU's offense came to a screeching halt when injuries forced pre-season 5th string QB Fiedler into action at the end of the season. As far as a I know, 2nd stringer Graham is still listed as "?" the day before the game. I think NIU is a play if Graham is healthy. The line moves over the last day have been odd, as Boise got hit again up to -9.5, which would make you think Graham was going to miss (or just the high abundance of square action all of these Bowl games seem to have had so far), but the total has gone up as well, which isn't consistent with Graham being out.

Boise's season went completely off the tracks after getting crushed by Utah State, and they only rebounded to beat SJSU in its final game, a team without much of a pulse (though they did their Bowl game...). Boise's run defense was the #1 worst trending unit when the regular season ended. Which isn't to say they are terrible, the still finished ranked 20th for the season. They just went from being one of the best run defenses in the first half of the season to pretty dang average in the second half. Their pass defense was the 7th worst trending unit at season's end as well, making them the clearly most regressing defense at season's end. Boise's run game, which didn't have one "best" qualifying game all season, finally had one against the poor SJSU run defense in their final game. QB Rypien may have a higher rating than the season starter Finley, who went down for the season in their third game, but I don't at all buy Rypien as a better QB. Boise's best passing game was in week 2 against BYU with Finley. Rypien has had more bad games than good, by my metrics. I don't know how Boise can get up for a Bowl against a MAC team, and the same can almost said for NIU against a MWC team, even if it's Boise.