I've been reading a lot of good stuff about tonight's Las Vegas Bowl between BYU and Oregon State. They all pretty much say the same thing: Two good offenses going against two average defenses; should be a shoot out; veteran QBs; yadda yadda yadda.
These reports and previews don't quite grasp what could be the biggest factor of all, however: The disappointment factor.
In the past five years I've noticed a trend in the Las Vegas Bowl: The team that limps into the game usually goes home the loser.
Last year, BYU made the disappointing trek to Sam Boyd Stadium after losing to Utah, and having their "Quest for Perfection" dashed to pieces. They left with a 31-21 loss to Arizona.
UCLA, in 2007, began the season with a great QB, a stifling defense and a pocket full of dreams. Those dreams were crushed, and their 6-6 season ended with a narrow LVB loss to BYU.
In 2006 BYU faced Oregon, a team that burned brightly, and then imploded. They had no interest in the game, and BYU crushed them 38-8.
The same can be said of Cal in 2005. Cal was a top-ten team to start the season, but then took a beating en route to a Las Vegas Bowl win. Yes, they won, but only because BYU didn't really know how to win games back then.
So who is coming into the LVB disappointed this year? It's gotta be the Beavers, who were only one or two plays away from a Pac-10 title and a berth in the Rose Bowl. Will Oregon State be fired up against the Cougars, or will it be another case of "We didn't want to be here"?
We'll know tonight, but I like BYU's chances tonight.