There is definitely something odd about two teams with a combined 21-3 record playing in a bowl like the Las Vegas Bowl.

Both Boise State (11-1) and Utah (10-2) deserve better than being entrees in the BCS-influenced bowl system.

But the No. 10 Broncos and No. 20 Utes will be playing each other Wednesday night in Sin City and it appears it might be a tension-filled atmosphere.

First of all, you can’t blame both teams for being irritated about playing in a pre-Christmas Day bowl game – the true definition of a minor bowl – because both programs were in the BCS bowl mix when November began.

Again, the two teams combined for 21 wins. Yet a 7-5 Northwestern team that tied for seventh in the Big Ten plays in a New Year’s Day bowl – against a 7-5 Texas Tech squad that finished fifth in the six-team Big 12 South.

Remember that one the next time you hear how important it is to uphold the bowl system.

Then earlier this week, the two teams got into a “skirmish,” according to a Las Vegas newspaper. Reportedly, it happened at one of those overly-friendly bowl outings where both teams usually do nothing but praise the other.

Perhaps the players involved have watched too many boxing weigh-ins from Las Vegas and wanted to test the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” theory.

Even weirder is that Boise State had its name changed to “Girlse State” by Utah receiver DeVonte Christopher via his Twitter account.

Might be a clever thing to come up with to amuse friends but not exactly the smartest thing to do right before a game. You see, athletes hate nothing more than other athletes taking shots at their manhood.

Good thing Boise State linebacker Byron Hout is out with a broken foot. Can you imagine the mouthing off he would do to Christopher following the game if the Broncos win? (Think Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount and the punch to the jaw from 2009).

As for the game, Utah has won nine consecutive bowl games, the second-longest streak in history behind the Bobby Bowden-coached Florida State teams that won 11 in a row from 1985-95. However, the Utes will be without starting quarterback Jordan Wynn and will have to solve Boise State’s defense with backup Terrance Cain.

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting and would like to end his junior season on a high note. Also, the Broncos need a victory to avoid losing their fifth bowl contest in seven seasons. You don’t hear much chatter about Boise State’s troubles in bowl games because their two victories in that span were high-profile Fiesta Bowl victories over Oklahoma and TCU.

If it comes down to a game-winning field goal, Utah’s Joe Phillips (32-for-36 over the last two seasons) rates as a much better option than Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman (14-for-20 in 2010). Brotzman, of course, is the poor chap who missed chip-shot field goals of 26 and 29 yards as the Broncos waved good-bye to their Rose Bowl hopes by losing in overtime to Nevada in late November.

Oh yeah – Brotzman is the reason Boise State has been relegated to the Las Vegas Bowl. What is Utah’s excuse?

Perhaps DeVonte Christopher can tweet us that reason.

For the stellar preview of what is angling to be an intense contest, click here:


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