There are way too many bowl games, but I plan on religiously watching every last one of them or else how can I blog about them.
December 20th Saturday:
R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:
Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (8-4) The school that produced Colin Kaepernick can’t be all that bad and his replacement is 4 year starter Cody Fajardo who has put up some big numbers also. Fajardo has thrown for 9,505 yards and run for 3,433 more yards. Junior Seau’s nephew plays defensive end for the Nevada Wolf Pack, Ian Seau.
Louisiana Lafayette counters with the dynamic duo of Mr Inside and Mr Outside in the (6-1, 240) Alonzo Harris, who ran for 737 yards and 12 Touchdowns and Elijah McGuire (5-11, 200). McGuire turned 150 carries into 1,165 yards at 7.77 yards per carry and scored 14 Touchdowns. McGuire is so explosive that he returned punts as well as caught 40 passes for 414 yards and 2 more scores. Since Nevada has a horrible defense against the run, I am going to pick the team that runs the ball better in this game, Louisiana Lafayette.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl:
Utah State (9-4) vs UTEP (7-5) The UTEP Miners have not had a lot of success over the years, nor have they been to a lot of bowls. But, this year, the University of Texas at El Paso Miners of
Conference USA gets to travel up the road to Albuquerque and play the Utah State Aggies of the Mountain West Conference. The Miners are led by hometown product sophomore Running Back Aaron Jones who has run for 1,233 yards. UTEP Quarterback Jameil Showers transferred to El Paso from Texas A%M when Johnny Manziel won that job and has been steady. He’s a big, strong guy along the lines of a Dak Prescott.
The Utah State Aggies are on their third Quarterback of the season in freshman Kent Myers from Rowlett, Texas. Whoever Quarterbacks the Aggies has star Wide Receiver Hunter Sharp to throw spirals to down field.
This could be a fun game to watch with the Aggies taking a win.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl:
Running Back Devontae Booker who ran for 1,350 yards and 9 Touchdowns. They are a tough out.
Colorado State just lost their coach to the Florida Gators, but life goes on. Jim McElwain didn’t take a single coach with him and the old staff will coach the Colorado State Rams in their bowl game.
Utah is a good team and should win this bowl.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:
Western Michigan (8-4) vs Air Force (9-3) Jarvion Franklin is a talented freshman Running Back for the Western Michigan Broncos and he may present problems for the Air Force Academy. Franklin lit up the MAC with 1,525 yards and 24 Touchdowns. A big back at 6-0, 220, Franklin is a dangerous weapon for WMU.
Air Force brings in that military discipline and should win. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will be played at Boise State’s stadium and I predict some cold fans and players on that infamous blue turf.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl:
South Alabama (6-6) vs Bowling Green (7-6) Brandon Bridge from South Alabama makes this game worth turning on. Bridge is rough around the edges but has unlimited potential. South Alabama had a good start to their season but lost 4 out of their last 5.
Bowling Green has some good young talent, but probably not enough.
I’d rate this game a toss up, with South Alabama possibly coming out on top. I will be watching to see if Brandon Bridge has a big game and so will the NFL scouts.
December 22nd Monday:
Miami Beach Bowl:
BYU (8-4) vs Memphis (9-3). Memphis head football coach Justin Fuente is one of the hottest names in every coaching search these days. After a rough couple of seasons, the Memphis Tigers really took off and finished 2014 with an impressive 9-3 record. Memphis Quarterback Paxton Lynch looks like the next big thing.
BYU was undefeated until their Heisman hopeful, Taysom Hill, went down with an injury. The Cougars then lost 4 in a row before finishing out strong. To be honest, the teams they finished with were pretty weak but at least they did recover.
I am picking Memphis to win the Miami Beach Bowl.
December 23rd Tuesday:
Boca Raton Bowl:
Marshall (12-1) vs Northern Illinois (11-2) This promises to be a battle between two of the best second tier schools out there. Marshall was 11-0 until they lost to Western Kentucky in the wildest game of the season. They still won the Conference USA with a close win over Louisiana Tech. Marshall is led by senior Quarterback Rakeem Cato and he was phenomenal these past 2 seasons. Cato threw for 3,622 yards and 37 Touchdowns. He also ran for 457 yards and 6 more
Touchdowns. Many of his passes went to mighty mite Tommy Shuler who caught 74 passes for 953 yards and 8 Touchdowns. Devon Johnson is their best offensive weapon with 1,636 yards rushing with 16 Touchdowns. Johnson is 6-1, 245 and a load to bring down.
Northern Illinois became somewhat famous for having a talented Quarterback the last couple of years named Jordan Lynch. They now have another Jordan Lynch type of guy named Drew Hare. This Quarterback, Drew Hare, actually had a much better sophomore season than Jordan lynch.
Marhall has the slightly better defense so I am going to pick the Thundering Herd to win this game.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl:
Navy (7-5) vs San Diego State (7-5) Navy is always a hard team to prepare for, but it helps to have more than just a week to get your defense ready for their unorthodox offense.
This game is worth watching if for no other reason than to see Donnel Pumphrey from San Diego State. Small and slight of build, this speedster is a highlight reel looking for a place to happen. Pumphrey put up 1,755 yards and 19 Touchdowns with a long run of 93 yards. The man is super explosive and can change directions in a flash. Fun guy to watch and the Naval Academy doesn’t have the best of defenses. I was going with San Diego State, but I changed my mind due to Navy’s schedule being tougher. The Naval Academy should win here.
December 24th Wednesday:
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl:
Central Michigan (7-5) vs Western Kentucky (7-5) It’s the Mid American Conference against the Conference USA in a game that probably won’t interest a lot of folks.
Western Kentucky ruined Marshall’s perfect season with a 67-66 Overtime victory, and Quarerback Brandon Dougherty had an incredible senior season. Dougherty threw for 4,344 yards and 44 Touchdowns. 6-0, 235 bruising Running Back Leon Allen out of Bradenton, Florida rushed for 1,490 yards and 12 Touchdowns, plus he was a weapon out of the backfield with 46 receptions for another 431 yards and 3 Touchdowns.
Western Kentucky will deal with Central Michigan and finish with an 8-5 record. C-USA! C-USA! C-USA!
Fresno State (6-7) vs Rice (7-5) There are way too many bowl games and schools with losing records playing in a bowl game is all the proof that we need. Even so, these guys are fortunate to play in Hawaii and this will be something these players remember well for the rest of their lives.
Fresno State was horrible early in the season being crushed by USC, Utah and Nebraska before playing an easier schedule. They also lost to Boise State twice.
Driphus Jackson is a good Quarterback for Rice, but their defense leaves a lot to be desired. This game promises to be a wild one with a lot of points scored and I expect the Fresno State Bulldogs to finish the season at 7-7.
December 26th Friday:
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl:
Illinois (6-6) vs Louisiana Tech (7-5) Make no mistake about it, Zaxby’s is my favorite fast food joint in the world. I’m not so sure about this game, though. This is not exactly a classic match up, but I have to go with the Big 10 and Illinois in this game.
Quick Lane Bowl:
Rutgers (7-5) vs North Carolina (6-6) It’s always easy to brag when you are right, and not so easy to admit when you are wrong. I pegged North Carolina as one of my most improved teams this season and they didn’t do so well. This is their last chance to impress.
Rutgers finished 3-5 in their first season in the Big 10. I am still thinking North Carolina coach Larry Fedora is the real deal and will have his Tar Heels ready to go against Rutgers and win this game.
Bitcoin St Petersburg Bowl:
North Carolina State (7-5) vs University of Central Florida (9-3) UCF has one of the top defenses in the nation led by Linebacker Terrance Plummer. The offense is led by sophomore Quarterback Justin Holman who had the unenviable job of replacing Blake Bortles.
On the other side of the field will be Jacoby Brissett at Quarterback for the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Brissett threw for 2,344 yards this past year and 22 Touchdowns.
This game is a bit of a toss up, but I am going with UCF and their excellent coaching staff.
December 27th Saturday:
National University Holiday Bowl:
Nebraska (9-3) vs USC (8-4) The USC Trojans are one of the younger teams in the country, but they are talented across the board. Quarterback Cody Kessler had a great season with 3,505 passing yards and 36 Touchdowns against only 4 Interceptions. Nelson Agholer is tough to stop at Wide Receiver for the Men of Troy, catching 97 passes for 1,223 yards. Agholer is also a great return man.
Running Back Buck Allen ran for 1,337 yards and 9 Touchdowns.
The Trojans have a lot of youth up front in the Offensive Line. The defense is led by All American Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams, Inside Linebacker Hayes Pullard and outstanding true freshman Corner Back Adoree Jackson.
Nebraska fired their coach after a 9-3 season and they are in transition which is not good in a bowl game. The Huskers do have one of the nation’s better Running Backs in Ameer Abdullah.
Look for the Trojans to romp and impress voters for next season’s polls.
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman:
Cincinnati (9-3) vs Virginia Tech (6-6) I have not picked Virginia Tech correctly all season long, but I am going to give it one more shot. Cincinnati lost 3 games in a row near the beginning of the season, but recovered nicely to finish up 9-3.
Virginia Tech was up and down all season long. Who knows which Hokie team will show up for the Military Bowl.
I am thinking Cincinnati wins a close one.
Hyundai Sun Bowl:
Arizona State (9-3) vs Duke (9-3) These two schools were a bit of a disappointment this season. Arizona State has been a hard team to figure out this season. They were blown out by UCLA, before beating a number of ranked teams and then lost to also ran Oregon State. Then, they played Arizona for all the marbles and lost that one, too.
Duke had the ACC Coastal Division all but wrapped up before collapsing somewhat. The Sun Devils are a really good team when they are playing well and probably more than enough for the other Devils which happen to be Blue.
The Sun Devils have an explosive offense regardless of who is at Quarterback. Duke can be, as well, with Quarterback Anthony Boone and Jamison Crowder. Neither team has particularly good defenses and this game could be a crazy, wild game.
I am picking Arizona State
Duck Commander Independence Bowl:
Miami (6-6) vs South Carolina (6-6) Another battle of disappointments. Both teams were ranked in at least some preseason polls and both fell pretty quickly. South Carolina got blown out in the opener against the Texas A%M Aggies in a total bloodbath. Replacement Quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 3,280 yards and 24 Touchdowns.
The problem with the Gamecocks was defense. Their defense was one of the worst in the country.
Miami has a true freshman Quarterback in Brad Kaaya and he was actually really good for a first year guy. He threw for just a shade under 3,000 yards and 25 Touchdowns. They also have outstanding Running Back Duke Johnson who rushed for 1,520 yards and 10 Touchdowns. Wide Receiver Phillip Dorsett averages 25.65 yards per reception on 31 catches and will be dangerous for the Gamecock defense.
This could be a very exciting game featuring two 6-6 teams. I am going with South Carolina even though their defense is bad.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl:
Boston College (7-5) vs Penn State (6-6) Penn State has one of the very best defenses in the country right up there with Clemson. Boston College has an excellent running Quarterback in Tyler Murphy the transfer from Florida. Penn State should be able to slow him down.
The problem with Penn State is that their offense is just plain awful, one of the very worst in the entire country. Boston College has the 12 ranked defense in the country in total defense and this game could end up 7-6 or some other really low score.
After looking pretty good as a true freshman, Christian Hackenberg had a really bad sophomore season. Coaching change? Nah, James Franklin is an excellent coach and worked miracles at Vanderbilt. Hackenberg threw 8 Touchdown passes in 2014. He also threw 15 Interceptions. He got frustrated during the season and never seemed to come out of it.
I am picking Boston College mostly because I am not sure that Penn State can even score.
December 29th Monday:
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl:
Arkansas (6-6) vs Texas (6-6) This could be one of the more interesting Bowl Games even if both teams are just 6-6 on the year. Arkansas and Texas are old and bitter rivals from way back. Most of the kids playing in this game are clueless to the hatred between the two schools, but the fans
remember and tickets are going fast. As for the game itself, the SEC put this thing together to match Arkansas vs Texas instead of Texas A%M or LSU. It’s called Brand protection. Texas does not match up well against Arkansas and the Pigs should win this with their massive and talented Offensive Line.
Russell Athletic Bowl:
Oklahoma (8-4) vs Clemson (9-3) This should be a fun game to watch. Clemson has the top defense in the country and their front 7 should be able to slow down super freshman Running Back Samaje Perine of the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma was ranked in the top 4 at one time and this has been a hugely disappointing season for them and especially the way it ended with a loss to in-state rival Oklahoma State. If Deshaun Watson is ready to go, Clemson should win this game. If no Watson, then the Sooners probably win.
Autozone Liberty Bowl:
Texas A%M (7-5) vs West Virginia (7-5) This game will be a shoot out from the beginning to the end. Neither school is particularly good on defense. Both are really good offensively.
I am going to go with the Aggies because they have played the tougher schedule.
December 30th Tuesday:
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl:
Notre Dame (7-5) vs LSU (8-4) There was once bad blood between these two programs dating back to 1970. But, all of that is in the past. LSU has one of the nation’s top run games led by true freshman Running Back Leonard Fournette. The Tigers have struggled throwing the ball this season.
Notre Dame was set back by injuries this season after starting off with a bang and with hopes of making the playoffs. After lighting the world on fire early on, Irish Quarterback Everett Golson lost his momentum and the coaching staff lost faith in him. Malik Zaire should get the starting job for this bowl game.
The Tigers should beat the Irish because of their defense and their ability to run the football.
Georgia (9-3) vs Louisville (9-3) I am excited about this game. Georgia has that outstanding running game featuring outstanding true freshman Running Back Nick Chubb. Louisville has a great defense and something has to give.
Who knows about Louisville’s Quarterback situation but redshirt freshman Kyle Bolin looked outstanding in his last game. Even so, I think Georgia and it’s running game prevails.
Foster Farms Bowl:
Maryland (7-5) vs Stanford (7-5) Stanford was once ranked in the top 10, but had a majorly disappointing season losing 5 games. Maryland was 4-4 in it’s first season in the Big 10. Stanford’s problems were mostly on offense and they still have a great defense which should be able to stop the Maryland Terrapins. Stanford likes to play ball control offense with a great defense, but they lacked the big Running Back to run the type of offense that they liked.
Cardinal should win.
December 31st Wednesday:
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl:
Ole Miss (9-3) vs TCU (11-1) The Horn Frogs of TCU were crushed by the Selection Committee’s choosing Ohio State for the playoffs instead of them. This game will be their chance for a little payback. However, Ole Miss has one of the nation’s great defenses and could make things tough on the Frogs.
TCU Quarterback Trevone Boykin threw for 3,714 yards and 30 Touchdowns. Ole Miss Quarterback Bo Wallace had 3,085 yards and 22 Touchdowns. Only problem for the Ole Miss Rebels is that their best player Laquan Treadwell is out for the remainder of the season after being injured in the Auburn game.
TCU should be favored but I am thinking Ole Miss wins this game. TCU has a chance to prove the committee was wrong.
Vizio Fiesta Bowl:
Boise State (9-2) vs Arizona (10-3) This might be the best bowl game when all is said and done. Boise State has one of the nation’s better offenses with Quarterback Grant Hedrick and his 3,387 passing yards and Running Back Jay Ajayi and his 1,689 yards and 25 Touchdowns.
Arizona has Anu Solomon and his 3,458 yards and true freshman speedster Running Back Nick Wilson and his 1,289 yards and 15 Touchdowns. Cayleb Jones at Wide Receiver is also a threat for the Arizona Wildcats with 65 catches for 902 yards and 9 Touchdowns. The only problem may be the health of Solomon because he was injured some in the last few games which held him back.
The Wildcats have one of the nation’s best defensive players in Linebacker Scooby Wright, who will be in a fight to stop the Boise attack.
This game could be a great one. I like the Boise team but the Arizona Wildcats should win this game in a shootout if Solomon can go.
Capital One Orange Bowl:
Mississippi State (10-2) vs Georgia Tech (10-3) This could be an interesting game featuring 2 ball control offenses. Georgia Tech runs a tough offense to stop but at least the Mississippi State Bulldogs have time to prepare. The Bulldogs have one of the nation’s best defenses and should be able to stuff the Georgia Tech inside running game.
Mississippi State has too many offensive weapons for Georgia Tech to stop. This game should be a big win for the SEC’s Mississippi State Bulldogs.
January 1st Thursday:
Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual:
Oregon (12-1) vs Florida State (13-0) One of the semi-final games featuring number 2 versus
number 3. Oregon has Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota, and Florida State has last year’s Heisman winner, Jameis Winston. Florida State still hasn’t lost a game in 2 years and I am not sure they lose to Oregon, either. I can see Florida State making it the final and maybe losing to Alabama. They have been in a lot of close games this year but have come through each and every time so they definitely have the heart to win it all. In my book, the champ is still the champ until somebody beats them but nobody else seems to think that way these days. Oregon has not been in many close, hard fought games and that gives the advantage to Florida State.
Gordon, but no passing game to speak of and that will cost them an embarrassing game against the Auburn Tigers. Look for Auburn’s Nick Marshall to run wild in his final college game. Auburn just has way too much for Wisconsin. This game could look like the Big 10 Championship game.
All State Sugar Bowl:
Alabama (12-1) vs Ohio State (12-1) Alabama is the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship and should win this game without any problem at all. SEC Champion vs the Big 10 Champion. Urban Meyer has some work to do if he wants to make the Buckeyes even with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Bama should win by around 30, but strange things are possible in football.
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic:
Michigan State (10-2) vs Baylor (11-1) This promises to be one of the better bowl games. Baylor has one of the nation’s top offenses and Michigan State has one of the nation’s best defenses. On the opposite side, the Spartans have a much better offense than Baylor has defense. This is almost a home game for the Bears and the question will be is if the Spartans can stop the Bears high powered
If going by rankings, Baylor should win this game.
This should have been a battle of the green teams, but Baylor is not really green any more.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl:
Missouri (10-3) vs Minnesota (8-4) SEC East Champion against Big 10 also ran. Missouri has one of the better defenses with 2 of the top pass rushers in the SEC. They also have a lot of weapons on offense. Minnesota should be out of it’s league in this game with the Tigers of Missouri winning easily.
January 2nd Friday:
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl:
Houston (7-5) vs Pittsburgh (6-6) Pittsburgh has one of the top Running Backs in the nation with James Conner and they have big play Wide Receiver Tyler Boyd. Houston has a fairly good defense and will be tested by the Panther offense.
I am picking Pittsburgh to come out victorious and James Conner to have a big game.
My biggest question is why games like these are going to be played after January 1st?
Iowa (7-5) vs Tennessee (6-6) This could be a very interesting game. Tennessee, after a few years of struggles, has finally qualified for a bowl game again. They are happy to be in a bowl. Iowa is somewhat disappointed to be in a bowl of this caliber after playing LSU last year in the Outback Bowl. Tennessee finally found themselves a Quarterback with Joshua Dobbs and Iowa apparently is still looking. The Hawkeye defense is pretty salty and the Vols have had one of the worse offenses in the country. Dobbs has made a difference, but the Vols are still one of the youngest teams in college football. Look for a defensive battle with the Vols pulling it off.
Valero Alamo Bowl:
Kansas State (9-3) vs UCLA (9-3) This is a battle of disappointed teams. Both of them had title hopes with UCLA being one of the most disappointing teams in the entire country. Many thought the Bruins would make the new playoffs. But, they did not even win the Pac 12 South. They remain a dangerous foe for Kansas State.
Brett Hundley was considered a Heisman candidate before the season started, but that never
materialized. He still passed for over 3,000 yards and ran for 548. Running Back Paul Perkins shocked everybody by running for 1,381 yards.
Kansas State counters with Jake Waters who also threw for over 3000 yards and ran for 471. They also have Tyler Lockett who caught 93 passes for 1,351 yards.
Both teams have dangerous return men with Lockett for KSU and Ishmael Adams for UCLA. Kansas State has the slightly better defense and the better coaching so I am going with the Wildcats. This game is well worth tuning in just to see Hundley and Water’s last games as a collegian.
Ticket City Cactus Bowl:
Washington (8-5) vs Oklahoma State (6-6) Oklahoma State saved their season with a come from behind win over in-state rival Oklahoma in the Bedlam game. But, they just lost their superstar play maker Tyreek Hill because of a stupid act on his part. They did, however, find a Quarterback with true freshman Quarterback, Mason Rudolph who looked really good against the Sooners.
Washington Huskies are in a rebuilding year with a brand new coach, new Quarterback and so much young talent on the team. Along with their young talent, they also have some serious senior talent like Danny Shelton at Defensive Tackle and Hau’oli Kikaha at Defensive End. Kikaha led the nation in Quarterback sacks and will terrorize the Cowboy Quarterback.
Look for the Huskies to win.
January 3rd Saturday:
East Carolina (8-4) vs Florida (6-5) Florida Defensive Coordinator DJ Durkin will coach the Gators in the Birmingham and then new coach Jim McElwain will take over the program. The Gators have the defense to shut down East Carolina and I believe that they will. East Carolina is no pushover with senior Quarterback Shane Carden and his 4,309 yards passing. East Carolina Wide Receiver Justin Hardy has 110 catches for 1,334 yards and 9 Touchdowns and he will be hard to slow down.
But, I still believe the Gators can take them.
Beware Gator haters, this new coach is going to kill it in Gainesville.
January 4th Sunday
Go Daddy Bowl:
Toledo (8-4) vs Arkansas State (7-5) I really don’t know why they want to play this game so late in the year, but there will be even less interest in this bowl with the national championship game coming up.
Arkansas State has been a used and abused school over the last few years before they finally wised up. In 2011, they hired Hugh Freeze and he left after one season to take the Ole Miss job. Then, in 2012, they hired Gus Malzahn and he left after one season to take the Auburn job. In 2013, they hired Bryan Harsin who promptly left after one season to head home to Boise State. One and done is
sometimes expected in college basketball, but not in the coaching profession. After Harsin left, they hired Blake Anderson from North Carolina and signed him to a contract with a huge buyout.
Arkansas State was not a bad team this past season going 7-5 and they had good Quarterback play coming out of Fredi Knighten.
Neither team has a particularly good defense, but Arkansas State will be so excited with keeping a coach more than a season that they should take it to Toledo.
National Championship Game.