A 12-1 Nevada team - that could rightfully feel it is disrespected - faces a scrappy 7-5 Boston College team in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, formerly the Emerald Bowl. The game will take place at 40,184-seat AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants. It will be televised nationally by ESPN on Sunday, January 9th beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Nevada was projected to finish 10-3 overall, 6-2 in the conference by CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings (a.k.a. CCR Top 120). The Wolf Pack outperformed that rosy forecast by finishing as WAC co-champs with a 12-1 overall record and a 7-1 conference mark. Nevada ended Boise State's streaks of 24 overall wins and 35 regular season wins, along with any hope the Broncos had of playing for the BCS national title. The Wolf Pack ended the regular season on a 6-game winning streak.
Boston College was projected to finish 9-3 overall and 5-3 in the ACC. The Eagles slightly underachieved by going 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the conference. After a 2-0 start, Boston College endured a five-game losing streak and ten righted the ship to reel off five consecutive victories. Two if its losses were by 5 points or less and came in back-to-back weeks to Florida State and Maryland.
Offense was a challenge for the Eagles, which never scored more than 23 points after its first two games against Weber State (FCS) and Kent State. But the defense often made up for it by holding eight of their opponents to 20 points or less and a season average of just 19.5 per game.
The problem for B.C. is that Nevada scored at least 21 points in every game and topped the 40-point mark seven times while averaging 42.6 per contest. The solution could be Boston College's top-ranked rushing defense which faces the nation's 3rd-best rushing offense.
As for Nevada, they need to at least show up for this game which is something they failed to do, literally, for last year's 45-10 upset loss to SMU in the Hawai'i Bowl. How big of an upset was that? Perhaps a sign in the stands said it best - "Even Santa Picked Nevada". Nevada is on a 4-bowl losing streak and is just 3-7 in its bowl history. Two of the last four losses came against ACC teams, Miami and Maryland.
Boston College owns a 13-8 bowl record, but has lost its last two after winning 8 straight from 2000-2007. The Eagles are 1-0 vs. the WAC in bowl games with a 27-21 win at Boise State in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl which is now the Humanitarian Bowl. Boise State hasn't lost at home again since.
This will be the first meeting between these teams and Nevada's first appearance in this bowl game. Boston College is making its second consecutive appearance in this game after losing 24-13 to USC at the end of last season. It defeated Colorado State 35-21 in this game in 2003.
ACC teams have played in the last 5 bowl games here, winning just once. Boston College was a member of the Big East when it played here in 2003 and defeated Colorado State. Likewise, Virginia Tech was a member of the Big East when it defeated Air Force in the inuagural San Francisco Bowl in 2002.
Nevada is the first WAC team to play in this bowl.