When the holiday season begins the college football season ends. But fear not for there is a month of glorious bowl games that begins on Saturday in New Orleans and culminates with the first ever college football playoff final at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, home of the Cowboys. Below is the first part of Tuff Gnarl’s college football bowl season breakdown.
Nevada (7-5) vs UL Lafayette (8-4)
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, New Orleans, LA, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Sat., Dec. 20 11:00 a.m. ET
With the first bowl game of the season I’m sure that outside of die-hard degenerates you’re not waking up and tuning in to see two teams from the Sun Belt and Mountain West conferences play. I don’t see the home crowd helping the Ragin Cajuns overtake Nevada. Nevada 35 – UL Lafayette 31.
Utah State (9-4) vs UTEP (7-5)
Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque, NM, University Stadium, Sat., Dec. 20 2:20 p.m. ET
With an early afternoon kickoff I expect Utah State to easily take UTEP after they had a mediocre season in Conference USA. Utah State 42 – UTEP 28.
(22) Utah (8-4) vs Colorado State (9-2)
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas, NV, Sam Boyd Stadium, Sat., Dec. 20 3:30 p.m. ET
After losing three of their last five games of the season, the three teams were all ranked in the top 25, Utah hopes to bounce back against Colorado State. The Rams are similarly disappointed with the finality of their season, losing at Air Force by three. I expect a good game between the two with Colorado State pulling out a win, Utah 38 – Colorado St. 45.
Western Michigan (8-4) vs Air Force (9-3)
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise, ID, Bronco Stadium, Sat., Dec., 20 5:45 p.m. ET
I expect this to be a fun filled shootout game to watch with the passing prowess of Western Michigan (32nd in the country) and ground attack of Air Force (8th in country and pun intended). I expect Air Force’s defense to step up on a few possessions and I expect them to win the game, Western Michigan 38 – Air Force 45.
South Alabama (6-6) vs Bowling Green (7-6)
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Montgomery, AL Cramton Bowl, Sat., Dec. 20, 9:15 p.m. ET
With two teams who are barely bowl eligible, you need to win at least six games, it’s surprising that ESPN would feature this game as the final match of the night. Either way I do expect to see Bowling Green easily take down the Jaguars with the final being, S. Alabama 31 – Bowling Green 48.
BYU (8-4) vs Memphis (9-3)
Miami Beach Bowl, Miami, FL Marlins Park, Mon., Dec. 22, 2:00 p.m. ET
BYU accepted the first invitation this year to a bowl game that happens to be the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl played at the home of the Miami Marlins. While the venue is not actually in Miami Beach it does have a pool inside the stadium. I expect this to be a great game with Memphis’ defense only allowing a meager 17.1 points a game (5th in the country) and BYU’s offense putting up 36.2 points a game (20th in the country) it’ll be fun to see which side gives out first.
Marshall (12-1) vs Northern Illinois (11-2)
Boca Raton Bowl, Boca Raton, FL, FAU Stadium, Tue., Dec. 23, 6:00 p.m. ET
While Marshall fans are sad that they couldn’t finish with a perfect record and be in the discussion for an invite to the national championship playoffs they do have reason to be glad while NIU is also coming off a similarly great season only losing to Arkansas and Central Michigan. Because Marshall has put up 45.1 points a game (5th in the country), I expect them to finish off one of their best seasons in history with a win, Marshall 56 – NIU 45.
Navy (6-5) vs San Diego State (7-5)
San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl, San Diego, CA, Qualcomm Stadium, Tue., Dec. 23, 9:30 p.m. ET
You would think with San Diego State playing in the Poinsettia Bowl, that the Aztecs would have a tactical home advantage but don’t forget that the biggest naval base on the west coast is in San Diego. Navy is coming in with the second most yards per game rushing in the country, which is why I’m picking them to control the clock and win, Navy 35 – San Diego State 31.
Central Michigan (7-5) vs Western Kentucky (7-5)
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, Nassau, Bahamas, Thomas Robinson Stadium, Wed., Dec. 24, 12:00 p.m. ET
With another inaugural bowl game it’s no surprise that two teams from up north were invited and accepted to go play in Nassau. Coming in with equal records of 7-5 I expect this to be an interesting game with Western Kentucky pulling out ahead. This year Western Kentucky is the third best school in passing this year putting up an average 365 yards a game while putting up the sixth highest points per game with 44. Central Michigan 38 – Western Kentucky 48.
Fresno State (6-7) vs Rice (7-5)
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu, HI, Aloha Stadium, Wed., Dec. 24, 8:00 p.m. ET
I don’t feel well about being a downer but this is one of the few bowl games that you couldn’t pay me to watch. Both teams are coming in very mediocre with one team, Fresno State, having a losing record but one still good enough to be in a bowl game. Fresno State is 73rd in the country for scoring points and 101st for allowing points while Rice 68th and 91st respectively. Fresno State 28 – Rice 42.
Illinois (6-6) vs Louisiana Tech (8-5)
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas, TX, Cotton Bowl Stadium, Fri., Dec. 26, 1:00 p.m. ET
After a great season LA Tech is hoping to close out the season with a win over the fighting Illini. With Illinois ranked near the bottom in both points scored and points allowed per game while LA Tech is ranked 13th in the country! Illinois 27 – LA Tech 35.
Rutgers (7-5) vs North Carolina (6-6)
Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit, MI, Ford Field, Fri., Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m. ET
With Rutgers’ football program in a continual rise and decline like a roller coaster and North Carolina’s disappointing season including a loss to East Carolina where the defense allowed 70 points to be scored on them I’m picking Rutgers to win, having three of their five losses to top 25 teams. Rutgers 35 – North Carolina 28.
NC State (7-5) vs University of Central Florida (9-3)
BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl, St. Petersburg, FL, Tropicana Field, Fri., Dec. 26, 8:00 p.m. ET
In a season where NC State hoped to win a few more games UCF is in a 3-way tie for the American Athletic Conference, formerly Big East. I expect UCF to win this game as they’ve improved throughout the season as their first few losses were in the first couple games of the season. NC State 21 – UCF 28.
Check back next week for part two of our college football bowl game coverage.
(Slider image credit: bkd-tv.net)
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