Cactus Bowl prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen between Baylor and Boise State.
There’s no Shock Linwood for Baylor, so I’ll give Boise State the edge here. If it had avoided a couple of close, unfortunate losses, we would’ve seen Boise in the Cotton Bowl. I like Brett Rypien and think he’ll be able to pick apart the Baylor defense. Plus, the Bears have been struggling mightily since looking like a College Football Playoff contender during the season’s first half. Broncos by two scores.
After having watched this Broncos team closely all year, I have no doubt they will win this game. I love everything about Brett Rypien’s game, most notably his maturation from his freshman season last year to now. He’ll hook up with Cedric Wilson and Thomas Sperbeck consistently throughout night, and Jeremy McNichols will pack the biggest punch in the running game to give Boise State the win.
Even if the Bears had Shock Linwood available for this game, I’d lean toward the Broncos and their own star running back. Jeremy McNichols has had a great career in Boise, and he will leave school early and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. But he has one showcase left, and he’ll have a big day against a Bears team that will be going through the motions after a disastrous 2016 campaign. In addition to McNichols, quarterback Brett Rypien has an easy time throwing the ball against the Bears defense in a comfortable Boise win for head coach Bryan Harsin.
I have been known to give Boise State fans and the program a hard time for them both thinking that they belong in the upper echelon of college football, and for that, I have to say this: sorry, but not sorry. I do, however, think they will win this game behind the legs of McNichols, especially with Baylor running back Shock Linwood sitting out to prepare for the NFL Draft. Broncos control the game from the start and easily defeat the Bears.