Tulsa Golden Hurricane
(9-3, 8-4 ATS)
(10-3, 11-2 ATS)
A pair of borderline Top 25 teams meet up on the Big Island on Christmas Eve night in what should be a fantastic Hawaii Bowl matchup between the Hawaii Warriors and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
Tulsa loves getting to the line of scrimmage and going on a regular basis, which should provide for a real shootout in this one. Though there isn’t a runner with even 600 yards and or a receiver with even 800 yards on this team, this is still a unit that is averaging 506.0 yards per game, No. 5 in the nation. The Golden Hurricane rank in the Top 20 in the nation in virtually every offensive category, and they dropped at least 48 on the board five times on the year. QB GJ Kinne was always liked to have a fantastic junior season, and he did just that, throwing for 3,307 yards and 28 TDs with 557 yards and seven tuddies on the ground. The ever so dangerous WR Damaris Johnson is one to watch out for, as Tulsa will line him up anywhere on the field to make sure he gets the pigskin in his hands. He had 50 carries for 462 yards and 53 catches for 771 yards with a total of nine TDs. Johnson was also one of the few returners in the country that had at least 1,000 return yards, and everyone knows when he touches the football, electric things can happen. The defense had some absolutely dreadful games this year though, and the biggest bugaboo that the Golden Hurricane are going to have to overcome is the fact that they had the second worst pass defense in the nation at 305.7 yards per game, and matters are only sure to be getting worse, not better.
Hawaii, as always, is going to be slinging the ball all over the field on X-Mas Eve. However, this isn’t just a one dimensional attack. RB Alex Green has a 300+ yard rushing game under his belt this year, and he finished up the regular season with 1,168 yards and 17 trips to the end zone. QB Bryant Moniz needs 371 yards through the air to become the nation’s only 5,000 yard passer this year, and he needs four TDs to reach the 40 barrier. Moniz would be nowhere without his top two receivers though, as WR Greg Salas had 106 catches for 1,675 yards and 12 TDs, while WR Kealoha Pilares had 88 receptions, 1,306 yards, and 15 scores. The most amazing stat for the Hawaii offense: The Warriors scored 62 offensive touchdowns this year. They only punted 46 times. Hawaii is the only team in the nation that enters the bowl season with 11 covers, and regardless of how this one pans out, it will probably have the best ATS record in the country. The Warriors are also one of just two teams in the land that had a perfect ATS season at home, as they went 7-0 here at Aloha Stadium.
It’s very, very difficult to pick against the Warriors in this one. Hawaii just dominates on its home field, and it doesn’t really seem to matter who it is playing against. Tulsa will get its points, but it’s going to be hard to see how it can keep up with the Warriors when it is giving up a slew of yards through the air.
Hawaii Bowl Free Pick: Hawaii Warriors -10