BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Boise State coach Dan Hawkins finally got
his wish: A ranked team from a Bowl Championship Series conference
playing the Broncos on their famed blue turf.
Of course, the moment will be bittersweet.
Wednesday night's MPC Computers Bowl against No. 19 Boston
College (8-3) marks the final game for Hawkins as coach of the
Broncos (9-3). He's headed to Colorado after signing a five-year
contract worth $900,000 per year on Dec. 16 -- with the stipulation
that he be allowed to coach Boise State in the bowl game.
"I'm sure it will be sad to some degree," said Hawkins, who
will be replaced by offensive coordinator Chris Peterson next
season. "I'm just trying to get us ready to play as best we can.
Once it's over I'm sure it'll be a little bit of a shock."
Boston College is the highest-ranked opponent to play in Bronco
Stadium, where Boise State holds the longest current home win
streak in the nation at 31 games. By Wednesday morning, orange and
blue painted RV's, campers and vans were already lined up on the
street next to the stadium.
Hawkins lost his first home game as coach in 2001, but is
undefeated since. Boise State's also never lost in its three
previous bowl appearances at home.
"We've talked about it already, they know that team hasn't lost
at home," Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. "We're the only
away team playing in a bowl game this year."
Boston College relishes it's claim to owning the longest bowl
winning streak in the country, with victories in its last five. The
Eagles last lost a bowl game in 1999, falling 62-28 to Colorado in
the Insight.com Bowl.
Starting in 2000, the Eagles have defeated Arizona State
(Aloha), Georgia (Music City), Toledo (Motor City), Colorado State
(San Francisco) and North Carolina (Continental Tire).
Boise State has a much bigger home-field advantage on Wednesday.
"It became very apparent this was an away game for us at the
banquet last night," Boston College defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka
said. "I've played in some pretty hostile environments ... and a
lot of things that have gone on in my career have helped prepare us
for the game."
For the Broncos, it's a third- straight bowl matchup against a
Top 25 team, following their fourth consecutive Western Athletic
Conference title. Boise State rebounded from season-opening losses
at Georgia and Oregon State to win nine of its last 10, the only
setback a 27-7 loss at Fresno State that snapped the Broncos'
conference winning streak at 31.
Two years ago, Boise State beat TCU in the Fort Worth Bowl and,
last year, watched an undefeated season end in a wild 44-40 loss to
Louisville in the Liberty Bowl.
Boise State's lack of size at the line of scrimmage was exposed
against Louisville and Georgia, and Boston College poses a similar
The Eagles' offensive line is the biggest in the ACC, averaging
6-foot-6 and 314 pounds, anchored by second-team all-ACC
selections, tackle Jeremy Trueblood (6-9, 321), guard Josh Beekman
(6-2, 325) and center Patrick Ross (6-4, 298).
That trio will be opening holes for running backs L.V. Whitworth
and Andre Callender, who combined for more than 1,400 yards
rushing, and protecting sophomore quarterback Matthew Ryan.
Ryan took over for Quinton Porter in the Eagles' loss to Florida
State, and helped Boston College rebound a week later for 16-13 win
"The key win was going down to Death Valley," O'Brien said.
"It proved we could compete and win."
The Eagles' defense will attempt to slow Boise State's
remarkably balanced offensive. The Broncos averaged 215.8 yards
rushing and 214.6 yards passing per game.
One of the more interesting matchups will be Kiwanuka, an
all-ACC defensive end, against Boise State's two-time all-WAC
offensive tackle Daryn Colledge. Kiwanuka had 16 tackles and six
sacks in Boston College's last three games, but the Broncos
offensive line allowed just 16 sacks all season.