Yearly, we get the grievance: too many bowl games. Now, that grievance is foolish for a number of causes. First of all, extra college football is all the time good. For those who don’t need to watch a bowl recreation between two 6-6 Group of 5 groups, simply don’t watch. That being stated, some bowl games can be higher than others. Higher groups, higher matchups, higher storylines- some games are simply extra compelling. So, whereas my official suggestion is to watch each single bowl recreation, I do know not everybody has time for that. To assist out these of you who’re temporally challenged, I’m rating each bowl recreation. Which games would be the greatest to watch? And why? Let’s run them all down, from the 39th-best to the highest.
It’s onerous to understate simply how good the bowl lineup is that this yr. As I wrote this, I persistently slotted games in what would often be a middle-of-the-pack or higher spot in a mean this yr. The Arizona Bowl (#31 on this record) is the place the “above average” games began. In some other yr, that may be round #20. This yr, it’s not even the 30th-best recreation. These games won’t leap off the web page and scream “must-watch” at first look, however this actually is an unimaginable slate of games general.
- 1 39. Remedy Bowl: Tulane vs Louisiana (Saturday, Dec. 15, 1:30 PM, CBS Sports activities Community)
- 2 38. Potato Bowl: BYU vs Western Michigan (Friday, Dec. 21, Four:00 PM, ESPN)
- 3 37. Frisco Bowl: Ohio vs San Diego State (Wednesday, Dec. 19, Eight:00 PM, ESPN)
- 4 36. Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs Japanese Michigan (Saturday, Dec. 15, 5:30 PM, ESPN)
- 5 35. Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs South Florida (Thursday, Dec. 20, Eight:00 PM, ESPN)
- 6 34. Hawaii Bowl: Hawai’i vs Louisiana Tech (Saturday, Dec. 22, 10:30 PM, ESPN)
- 7 33. Cheez-It Bowl: TCU vs California (Wednesday, Dec. 26, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
- 8 32. Texas Bowl: Baylor vs Vanderbilt (Thursday, Dec. 27, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
- 9 31. Arizona Bowl: Nevada vs Arkansas State (Saturday, Dec. 29, 1:15 PM, CBS Sports activities Community)
- 10 30. Independence Bowl: Temple vs Duke (Thursday, Dec. 27, 1:30 PM, ESPN)
- 11 29. New Orleans Bowl: Appalachian State vs Center Tennessee State (Saturday, Dec. 15, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
- 12 28. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo vs Florida Worldwide (Friday, Dec. 21, 12:30 PM, ESPN)
- 13 27. Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (Fl) vs Wisconsin (Thursday, Dec. 27, 5:15 PM, ESPN)
- 14 26. Army Bowl: Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech (Monday, Dec. 31, 12:00 PM, ESPN)
- 15 25. Armed Forces Bowl: No. 22 Military vs Houston (Saturday, Dec. 22, Three:30 PM, ESPN)
- 16 24. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis vs Wake Forest (Saturday, Dec. 22, 12:00 PM, ESPN)
- 17 23. Solar Bowl: Stanford vs Pitt (Monday, Dec. 31, 2:00 PM, CBS)
- 18 22. Vacation Bowl: No. 20 Utah vs Northwestern (Monday, Dec. 31, 7:00 PM, Fox Sports activities 1)
- 19 21. Las Vegas Bowl: No. 19 Fresno State vs Arizona State (Saturday, Dec. 15, Three:30 PM, ABC)
- 20 20. Boca Raton Bowl: UAB vs Northern Illinois (Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7:00 PM, ESPN)
- 21 19. Greenback Basic Bowl: Buffalo vs Troy (Saturday, Dec. 22, 7:00 PM, ESPN)
- 22 18. First Responder Bowl: No. 23 Boise State vs Boston College (Wednesday, Dec. 26, 1:30 PM, ESPN)
- 23 17. Belk Bowl: South Carolina vs Virginia (Saturday, Dec. 29, 12:00 PM, ABC)
- 24 16. Redbox Bowl: Michigan State vs Oregon (Monday, Dec. 31, Three:00 PM, FOX)
- 25 15. New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs North Texas (Saturday, Dec. 15, 2:00 PM, ESPN)
- 26 14. Music Metropolis Bowl: Auburn vs Purdue (Friday, Dec. 28, 1:30 PM, ESPN)
- 27 13. Liberty Bowl: No. 24 Missouri vs Oklahoma State (Monday, Dec. 31, Three:45 PM, ESPN)
- 28 12. Gator Bowl: No. 21 Texas A&M vs N.C. State (Monday, Dec. 31, 7:30 PM, ESPN)
- 29 11. Citrus Bowl: No. 13 Penn State vs No. 16 Kentucky (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1:00 PM, ABC)
- 30 10. Fast Lane Bowl: Minnesota vs Georgia Tech (Wednesday, Dec. 26, 5:15 PM, ESPN)
- 31 9. Outback Bowl: No. 18 Mississippi State vs Iowa (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 12:00 PM, ESPN2)
- 32 Eight. Tenting World Bowl: No. 15 West Virginia vs No. 17 Syracuse (Friday, Dec. 28, 5:15 PM, ESPN)
- 33 7. Sugar Bowl: No. 6 Georgia vs No. 14 Texas (Tuesday, Jan. 1, Eight:45 PM, ESPN)
- 34 6. Alamo Bowl: No. 12 Washington State vs No. 25 Iowa State (Friday, Dec. 28, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
- 35 5. Fiesta Bowl: No. 7 UCF vs No. 11 LSU (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1:00 PM, ESPN)
- 36 Four. Peach Bowl: No. Eight Michigan vs No. 10 Florida (Saturday, Dec. 29, 12:00 PM, ESPN)
- 37 Three. Rose Bowl: No. 5 Ohio State vs No. 9 Washington (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 5:00 PM, ESPN)
- 38 2. Cotton Bowl Basic: No. 2 Clemson vs No. Three Notre Dame (Saturday, Dec. 29, Four:00 PM, ESPN)
- 39 1. Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs No. Four Oklahoma (Saturday, Dec. 29, Eight PM, ESPN)
39. Remedy Bowl: Tulane vs Louisiana (Saturday, Dec. 15, 1:30 PM, CBS Sports activities Community)
Line: Tulane -Three.5; O/U: 59
The primary bowl recreation of the yr shouldn’t be notably compelling, and it will get final place on this listing. Louisiana (previously referred to as Louisiana-Lafayette) has was an honest Solar Belt program of late, whereas Tulane scraped right into a bowl by the pores and skin of its tooth. And but, the Inexperienced Wave is favored on this recreation. There’s no specific cause to be drawn to watch, aside from the truth that games on CBS Sports activities Community appear to get wacky for no cause. There additionally, sadly, is an effective purpose not to watch this recreation. The New Mexico Bowl ought to be a a lot, a lot better recreation, and it’s at principally the identical time. (Maintain studying, you’ll see how a lot additional down the listing that recreation is.)
38. Potato Bowl: BYU vs Western Michigan (Friday, Dec. 21, Four:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: BYU -13; O/U 49.5
Enjoyable reality: This recreation has the very best line, aside from the Sugar Bowl. For the lifetime of me, I don’t know why. I’ve stated it earlier than, however BYU followers completely baffle me. Kalani Sitake took a program on the cusp of constant nationwide relevance — the Cougars have been typically ranked, and thought of critical challenges to the P5 groups that scheduled them — and has completely run it into the bottom. He took a loaded 2016 group to a 9-Four document that was nowhere close to nearly as good because it recommended, and adopted that up by going Four-9. And the extra he struggles, the extra BYU followers appear to love him. I simply don’t get it. Anyway, BYU is extra gifted than Western Michigan, who hasn’t fairly discovered a coach to substitute P.J. Fleck but. Fleck left the cabinet loaded with expertise, however Tim Lester hasn’t been in a position to do a lot with it. Hey, that’s sort of like Kalani Sitake at BYU! So whereas this recreation is a becoming one, I’ve hassle believing will probably be good, or notably enjoyable to watch.
37. Frisco Bowl: Ohio vs San Diego State (Wednesday, Dec. 19, Eight:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Ohio -Three; O/U: 54
It’s onerous to get enthusiastic about this recreation. San Diego State totally collapsed over the second half of the yr, in a approach that was as spectacular because it was baffling. This staff went from beating Boise State to dropping to UNLV. Ohio is all the time a strong staff that doesn’t make too many errors however by no means overly impresses both. Truthfully, this recreation is all on SDSU. The Aztecs have extra expertise throughout the board (besides perhaps on the offensive line), and in the event that they play properly they need to win. It’s been a very long time since this group has performed properly, although.
36. Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs Japanese Michigan (Saturday, Dec. 15, 5:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Georgia Southern -2.5; O/U: 47.5
I truthfully discover this line considerably baffling. Whereas I hope this can be a nice recreation, Georgia Southern simply looks like the a lot stronger staff. Georgia Southern has discovered a great triple-option quarterback in Shai Werts, and it’s onerous to see Japanese Michigan doing a lot defensively. Then once more, bowl games with triple-option groups are sometimes wonky, because the opponent has a full month (or two weeks, on this case) to prepare- until the opponent simply chooses to use the bowl practices to put together for subsequent season as an alternative. It’s inconceivable to understate, although, simply what Chris Creighton has finished at Japanese Michigan. He took an FBS doormat and made the workforce from Ypsilanti respectable. That, alone, makes his group’s games value watching.
35. Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs South Florida (Thursday, Dec. 20, Eight:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Marshall -2.5; O/U 55.5
South Florida, like San Diego State above, is one other workforce that collapsed within the second half of the season. Keep in mind when this group was ranked? Yeah, neither can most individuals. This staff went from beating Georgia Tech to getting blown out by Tulane. Ouch. The protection has been tough all season, however the offense used to find a way to compensate for that. After a couple of weeks to relaxation and apply, perhaps the Bulls can come again to life. They’re dealing with a gifted group, however Marshall isn’t overly spectacular. Is Marshall ok to add to South Florida’s five-game dropping streak? Perhaps. It ought to be a reasonably enjoyable recreation, although, even when it’s not an awesome one.
34. Hawaii Bowl: Hawai’i vs Louisiana Tech (Saturday, Dec. 22, 10:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Hawai’i -1; O/U: 60
I do not know how good this recreation might be, however it ought to be enjoyable. The Rainbow Warriors have an incredible offense (when it clicks) and little or no protection. Louisiana Tech has an honest protection and a reasonably good offense. Anticipate some late-night fireworks on the Islands. Additionally, Hawai’i sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald is the perfect passer you’ve in all probability by no means seen. Ensure that to watch him as a result of he’ll be lighting up scoreboards for at the least another yr in college football, and can in all probability proceed to achieve this within the NFL, too.
33. Cheez-It Bowl: TCU vs California (Wednesday, Dec. 26, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Even; O/U: 39.5
TCU has fallen fairly far since main Ohio State approach again in Week 1. This staff collapsed after which completed the season robust to scrape its means right into a bowl. Cal, then again, was persistently mediocre this yr. The protection is strong, however the offense doesn’t do something particular. TCU has some actual playmakers, so if the Horned Frogs put together properly we might see an excellent matchup. I’m not anticipating something, although, based mostly off what I noticed from each of those groups all season.
32. Texas Bowl: Baylor vs Vanderbilt (Thursday, Dec. 27, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Vanderbilt -Three.5; O/U: 55
Aside from acknowledging the good job that Matt Rhule has carried out in rehabilitating Baylor’s football program (on the sector, at the very least; the status may take a bit longer to re-form), there’s not a lot to look ahead to right here. Each groups are strong, however nothing particular stands proud. The Vanderbilt combo of Kyle Shurmur and Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a potent one, and this recreation will in all probability hinge on how nicely the Baylor defensive backs can include Vaughn. It’s good to see Matt Rhule again in a bowl recreation. Perhaps in a couple of years, we’ll give you the chance to say the identical for his faculty.
31. Arizona Bowl: Nevada vs Arkansas State (Saturday, Dec. 29, 1:15 PM, CBS Sports activities Community)
Line: Arkansas State -1.5; O/U: 59.5
Don’t sleep on this recreation. It’s up towards two others, nevertheless it has the prospect to be probably the most compelling of the three. These are two gifted Group of 5 teams- in the direction of the tops of their respective conferences, however not fairly there. Every workforce has main playmakers all over the offense. Justice Hanson, Kirk Merritt, Justin McInnis (Arkansas State); Ty Gangi, Toa Taua, McLane Mannix, and Kaleb Fossum (Nevada) -watch out for all of those names, and extra, all through the sport. These groups will make nice performs on offense, and each have the defenses to decelerate even high-powered opponents. This ought to be a enjoyable recreation, so make certain it doesn’t get misplaced within the time slot.
30. Independence Bowl: Temple vs Duke (Thursday, Dec. 27, 1:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Temple -Four; O/U: 55
So typically when bodily Group of 5 groups match up towards Energy 5 groups in bowl games, we find yourself disillusioned. (See, for instance, Temple’s look within the 2016 Army Bowl.) It’s very easy to be bodily towards different Group of 5 groups; it’s a lot harder towards these Energy 5 offensive and defensive linemen. These two groups match up fairly properly when it comes to each expertise and elegance, although. So long as Duke can’t bodily simply outmuscle the Owls, we must be in for a reasonably good recreation. I don’t understand how assured I may be about that taking place, although.
29. New Orleans Bowl: Appalachian State vs Center Tennessee State (Saturday, Dec. 15, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Appalachian State -7; O/U 49.5
No disrespect to Center Tennessee, which is definitely an excellent group this yr, however the Blue Raiders are outmatched on this one. Appalachian State has very quietly — aside from that Week 1 loss to Penn State — been top-of-the-line Group of 5 groups this yr. A surprisingly poor loss to Georgia Southern however, this group has been wonderful all yr. Sophomore Zac Thomas seems like the subsequent prime App State quarterback, and he has this staff rolling. The one cause this recreation could be shut is that App State coach Scott Satterfield has taken the Louisville job. How will the Mountaineers play with no coach? If the reply to that query is “not well,” then the sport could be nearer, however it gained’t be higher for it.
28. Bahamas Bowl: Toledo vs Florida Worldwide (Friday, Dec. 21, 12:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Toledo -6; O/U 68.5
When you like protection, this recreation in all probability isn’t for you. Each groups even have some expertise on that aspect of the ball (FIU extra so than Toledo), nevertheless it’s the offenses that basically get these groups going. Toledo has been slightly off this yr — by Toledo requirements — however it might nonetheless rack up factors. FIU’s protection has truly been stout all yr, nevertheless it hasn’t confronted an offense like this. I do not know who will win this recreation, however I’m going to benefit from the fireworks find out.
27. Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (Fl) vs Wisconsin (Thursday, Dec. 27, 5:15 PM, ESPN)
Line: Miami (Fl) -Four; O/U: 48
It’s a bit more durable to get excited for this yr’s assembly than final yr’s. A season in the past, these two have been Prime 10 groups dealing with off within the Orange Bowl, and the sport didn’t disappoint. Now, these are two groups (and probably packages) in free-fall. Every began out within the Prime 10, and every will end the yr unranked. In some methods, it’s a becoming bookend to the 2018 season for these two faculties. It’s additionally an opportunity for Miami to earn a bit of revenge for final yr’s loss. General, although, this recreation is simply underwhelming. Wisconsin operating again Jonathan Taylor is value watching, although.
26. Army Bowl: Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech (Monday, Dec. 31, 12:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Cincinnati -6.5; O/U: 53.5
The Bearcats are within the midst of their greatest season within the CFP period, beneath Luke Fickell. Virginia Tech, in the meantime, snuck right into a bowl by beating an honest Marshall staff throughout convention championship week. The Hokies have expertise, however they haven’t performed that properly all yr. In a method, this can be a very unfair matchup to Cincinnati. The Bearcats shall be anticipated to win, they usually’re nonetheless favored, however they’re dealing with a staff with much more potential than what it truly did this yr. A loss will look dangerous for Cincinnati, however a win may simply be what the Hokies want to get again on monitor in 2019.
25. Armed Forces Bowl: No. 22 Military vs Houston (Saturday, Dec. 22, Three:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Military -Three; O/U: 60.5
Military is a very good group, and Houston is strong. The Knights virtually stored Oklahoma out of the Playoff earlier within the season, with top-of-the-line drives ever that nearly nobody noticed. Houston gained’t have defensive star Ed Oliver, however this can be a strong group even with out him. Triple-option offenses run the danger of being boring in bowl games, however I wouldn’t be too involved. These are two excellent groups and this must be an in depth, robust recreation. It won’t be probably the most thrilling, however it’s undoubtedly one value watching.
24. Birmingham Bowl: Memphis vs Wake Forest (Saturday, Dec. 22, 12:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Memphis -Three.5; O/U: 73.5
Memphis didn’t fairly reside up to expectations this yr. The Tigers nonetheless gained the AAC West and gave UCF a scare (twice), however their recreation towards Missouri was poor, they usually have been nowhere close to as dominant towards dangerous groups as they need to have been. Memphis will get one other shot at a P5 faculty, and this ought to be an amazing matchup. Anticipate little protection and a variety of enjoyable when these two meet. Memphis followers might want to secretly root towards their very own group, although, in order that they will hold coach Mike Norvell.
23. Solar Bowl: Stanford vs Pitt (Monday, Dec. 31, 2:00 PM, CBS)
Line: Stanford -6.5; O/U: 52
This must be a surprisingly good recreation, however not one which’s notably compelling. Each groups have robust defenses and good strains, and each are well-coached. Stanford has extra expertise throughout the board than Pitt, and a man named Bryce Love. This shall be your final probability to see Love play in college, in order that’s one good purpose to make sure that not to miss this recreation.
22. Vacation Bowl: No. 20 Utah vs Northwestern (Monday, Dec. 31, 7:00 PM, Fox Sports activities 1)
Line: Utah -7.5; O/U: 46
It won’t be truthful to put this recreation so low. Each of those are strong groups, every within the prime 26 of the AP Ballot. The groups must be fairly evenly-matched, too. Whereas the standard will probably be respectable, although, the sport in all probability gained’t be too entertaining. Anticipate every group to attempt to grind out a win. We’ll see much more three-yard runs and fast check-downs than we’ll explosive performs. You gained’t need to miss the ending to this recreation, however the starting and center are in all probability expendable.
21. Las Vegas Bowl: No. 19 Fresno State vs Arizona State (Saturday, Dec. 15, Three:30 PM, ABC)
Line: Fresno State -Four.5; O/U 53.5
This Arizona State group has been hit and miss all yr. The upset of Michigan State not seems nearly as good, however the Solar Devils managed their Pac 12 future as late as November. Herm Edwards wasn’t speaking concerning the Playoff in his first season in Tempe, that’s for positive. Fresno State, in the meantime, is doing wonders to rehabilitate Jeff Tedford’s teaching picture. The Bulldogs are Mountain West Convention champions and nationally ranked. If not for an early loss to Minnesota, Fresno State would’ve been on the nationwide radar all season. Each defenses are the anchors of their groups, so this one does have the potential to flip a bit sluggish. Nonetheless, it might be the great type of low-scoring recreation in that case.
20. Boca Raton Bowl: UAB vs Northern Illinois (Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: UAB -2.5; O/U: 43
This must be an excellent recreation between two good Group of 5 groups. The Northern Illinois program isn’t fairly on the degree it was a number of years in the past, however it’s nonetheless very strong. UAB, in the meantime, didn’t exist a couple of years in the past, however that hasn’t stopped the Blazers from returning with a vengeance. This could simply be a superb recreation between two groups with nice defenses. The Huskies is usually a bit offensively challenged typically, although, so if they will’t discover a approach to persistently transfer the ball, the protection may have to step up much more than typical. Fortunate for the Huskies, the protection is definitely able to that. That is principally a P5-level protection on a Group of 5 staff. It must be enjoyable to see what it may do towards a very good UAB offense.
19. Greenback Basic Bowl: Buffalo vs Troy (Saturday, Dec. 22, 7:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Buffalo -Three; O/U: 52.5
Neither of those groups truly gained their convention, and I don’t care. That is going to be one heck of a football recreation. Lance Leipold has completed an unreal job bringing Buffalo from being one of many worst groups in FBS to being a official MAC energy. (Truthfully, the truth that Kansas didn’t attempt to rent him is baffling. He’s an ideal match, they usually simply ignored it.) Troy, in the meantime, appears headed again to its Solar Belt glory days, although with some robust competitors on the prime. Yeah, the Trojans obtained blasted by Boise State early within the season, however they’re nonetheless a very good workforce. Each of those groups are very strong on each side of the ball, and every is basically enjoyable to watch with a probably explosive offense. Watch this recreation.
18. First Responder Bowl: No. 23 Boise State vs Boston College (Wednesday, Dec. 26, 1:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Boise State -Three; O/U: 56
I’m genuinely excited for this recreation. Boise State has a little bit of a bent to let down in not-major bowl games, however hopefully that doesn’t occur right here. The Broncos obtained blown out by Oklahoma State but in addition blew out Troy, and beat each Fresno State and Utah State (earlier than dropping the rematch towards Fresno). Boston College seemed robust for a lot of the season, however pale down the stretch. Nonetheless, this ought to be a superb, bodily battle between two robust football groups. Every has a operating again — Alexander Matteson for Boise State and A.J. Dillon for Boston College — who’re nice and can carry out on the subsequent degree, too, so regulate them.
17. Belk Bowl: South Carolina vs Virginia (Saturday, Dec. 29, 12:00 PM, ABC)
Line: South Carolina -Four.5; O/U: 54.5
The Belk Bowl has offered a couple of nice games through the years, together with numerous duds. This yr’s recreation definitely has the potential to be both. Virginia and South Carolina are each gifted groups with good coaches, however haven’t been too constant all yr. The final we noticed of this Gamecock offensive assault, it was lighting up Clemson of their rivalry recreation. In fact, Deebo Samuel is sitting out the sport, so Jake Bentley and the offense could have to make up for that. Virginia and Bronco Mendenhall can recreation plan this to make it a superb one, however every group undoubtedly has the potential to make it a let down.
16. Redbox Bowl: Michigan State vs Oregon (Monday, Dec. 31, Three:00 PM, FOX)
Line: Oregon -Three; O/U: 48
I do not know what to anticipate from this recreation. The Michigan State offense has potential beneath Brian Lewerke, nevertheless it actually hasn’t been in a position to do something all season. The protection is stout, although, because the Spartans haven’t given up a variety of factors to anybody both. This recreation will hinge on what the Michigan State offense can do. If the offense can lastly click on, the Spartans ought to simply win. If the Spartans wrestle, although, then this can be an in depth recreation, and never a really enjoyable one to watch when Michigan State is on offense.
15. New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs North Texas (Saturday, Dec. 15, 2:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Utah State -7.5; O/U: 68.5
Don’t let the road on this recreation idiot you. These are two very, excellent groups. Every has a high-powered offense and a stout protection. Utah State won’t come out to play properly after Head Coach Matt Wells left for Texas Tech, however Gary Andersen is returning after tough stints at Wisconsin and Oregon State. The Aggies know they might find yourself with a nationwide rating, and North Texas is enjoying for some nationwide respect and a ten-win season. These are simply two excellent Group of 5 groups, and this could present us with an ideal matchup. It’s the second bowl recreation of the season, nevertheless it’s the most effective.
14. Music Metropolis Bowl: Auburn vs Purdue (Friday, Dec. 28, 1:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Auburn -Four; O/U: 54.5
I’m truthfully excited for this recreation. Not as a result of will probably be a great one — there’s a very good probability it gained’t be –however as a result of absolutely anything can occur. I might see a decent, low-scoring recreation, a barnburner, or both workforce profitable in a blowout. If I’ve to decide between these 4 prospects, I can’t even give a guess which is the almost certainly. Every staff has big-play potential, has been sluggish at occasions this season, has been extremely motivated, or has simply packed games in. What is going to we get from every workforce? Who is aware of? And that’s thrilling… no less than till halftime, for positive.
13. Liberty Bowl: No. 24 Missouri vs Oklahoma State (Monday, Dec. 31, Three:45 PM, ESPN)
Line: Missouri -9.5; O/U: 73.5
It’s arduous to discover a extra enigmatic workforce this season than Oklahoma State. The ‘Pokes have an unimaginable quarterback in Taylor Cornelius, and the offense might be the most effective within the nation at occasions. In its largest games, Oklahoma State blew out Boise State, beat Texas, beat West Virginia, and got here inches away from beating Oklahoma. The remainder of the season, this staff collapsed. Missouri, however, has been strong all season, with a robust offense and an honest protection. If the “big game” Oklahoma State group exhibits up, anticipate some main fireworks this recreation and plenty of enjoyable. If the opposite Cowboys present up, although, anticipate Missouri to win in a simple — and boring — blowout.
12. Gator Bowl: No. 21 Texas A&M vs N.C. State (Monday, Dec. 31, 7:30 PM, ESPN)
Line: Texas A&M -6.5; O/U: 58.5
N.C. State may need pale down the stretch (or proven that it was overrated all alongside), however this ought to be an excellent football recreation. These are two gifted groups, and every needs to finish a superb — however on some degree disappointing — season on a robust notice. Will Texas A&M deliver any actual depth after ending the season with a 7OT win over LSU? Which may decide what occurs on this recreation, however both means each groups have plenty of gifted gamers on offense, so will probably be enjoyable to see them duke it out.
11. Citrus Bowl: No. 13 Penn State vs No. 16 Kentucky (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1:00 PM, ABC)
Line: Penn State -6.5; O/U: 47.5
If this recreation appears low on this record to you, it’s as a result of I’m not impressed with both workforce this season. Each groups are loaded with expertise, and neither managed to present it off all yr. This can be acknowledged as the most effective Kentucky groups in many years, however these Wildcats barely survived approach too many shut games by relying solely on their protection. Each of those groups persistently performed inferior groups shut, when these games ought to have been blowouts. Will this bowl recreation be an in depth recreation and a hard-fought battle? In all probability. Will it’s a recreation that you simply look again on and assume that you simply actually loved it? In all probability not. There are two different games (Outback Bowl and Fiesta Bowl) at this similar time slot, and each will in all probability be higher games than this.
10. Fast Lane Bowl: Minnesota vs Georgia Tech (Wednesday, Dec. 26, 5:15 PM, ESPN)
Line: Georgia Tech -6; O/U: 60
Truthfully, this recreation doesn’t deserve to be so excessive by itself deserves. The triple-option is all the time dangerous in bowls, and neither of those groups have been notably spectacular this season. Georgia Tech did end the season robust, and Minnesota performed a fantastic recreation to beat down Wisconsin and turn into bowl eligible. Nonetheless, aside from seeing if Minnesota is creating underneath P.J. Fleck the best way the varsity expects, this recreation isn’t noteworthy- apart from the truth that it’s Coach Paul Johnson’s ultimate recreation. He’s a training legend, for a lot of causes, and his flexbone offense might be missed. Watch him on this recreation, since you gained’t get one other probability.
9. Outback Bowl: No. 18 Mississippi State vs Iowa (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 12:00 PM, ESPN2)
Line: Mississippi State -7; O/U: 46
Each of those groups are enigmatic, which signifies that this recreation might go any means. The Bulldogs didn’t present a lot in losses to Florida and Kentucky, and seemed fairly good towards each Alabama and Texas A&M. The offense struggled excess of you’d have anticipated in SEC play, and Iowa’s power on the defensive position might trigger issues. The Hawkeyes, in the meantime, appeared strong to begin the season (that loss to Wisconsin seems to be ugly now, although), however simply couldn’t recover from the hump towards Penn State, Purdue, or Northwestern. These two groups ought to play some good, old style, smash-mouth football, with some enjoyable deep photographs thrown in. Must be a fantastic recreation.
Eight. Tenting World Bowl: No. 15 West Virginia vs No. 17 Syracuse (Friday, Dec. 28, 5:15 PM, ESPN)
Line: West Virginia -1.5; O/U: 68
We’ve to wait virtually two weeks for our first ranked battle of bowl season, and it’ll in all probability be value it. These groups have explosive offenses, even when West Virginia is lacking quarterback Will Grier and offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste. The Mountaineers in all probability would’ve been heavy favorites with out these two gamers, so this might give us a greater recreation anyway. West Virginia’s offense continues to be potent, and so is Syracuse’s. Every staff has an honest protection (often), however each of those offenses must be ok to overpower that and provides us a barnburner, the place a couple of essential stops will make the distinction.
7. Sugar Bowl: No. 6 Georgia vs No. 14 Texas (Tuesday, Jan. 1, Eight:45 PM, ESPN)
Line: Georgia -12; O/U: 58
Perhaps this recreation could possibly be a bit of greater on this listing, however there are too many unknowns. How motivated will Georgia be after a brutal comeback loss towards Alabama? Then once more, will Texas be motivated after dropping to Oklahoma within the Huge 12 Championship Recreation? Georgia is the extra gifted group, so the Bulldogs ought to win if each groups play their greatest. Sam Ehlinger is a cellular quarterback who may give you the chance to trigger the Georgia protection some hassle, nevertheless it’s onerous to see this recreation staying shut if the Bulldogs are absolutely motivated. (In fact, the final time we stated that a few Tom Herman offense, Ohio State upset Alabama again in 2014.)
6. Alamo Bowl: No. 12 Washington State vs No. 25 Iowa State (Friday, Dec. 28, 9:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Washington State -Three.5; O/U: 55
This over/beneath is about means too low. Sure, every of those groups have very underrated defenses. However the offenses — particularly Iowa State with Brock Purdy at quarterback — can mild issues up. Groups will get stops, however they’re additionally every going to rating no less than 30 factors. How every staff navigates the opposite’s protection will make this recreation thrilling. Gamers like Purdy and Gardner Minshew — and clearly Washington State coach Mike Leach — will make this recreation enjoyable to watch, no matter consequence.
5. Fiesta Bowl: No. 7 UCF vs No. 11 LSU (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 1:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: LSU -Eight; O/U: 54.5
I do know two issues about this recreation: LSU is favored by method an excessive amount of, and that over/underneath is means too low. The Knights won’t have the power on the strains that LSU has, however they’ve the expertise and velocity to make up for it. The lack of Mackenzie Milton hurts, however Darriel Mack is an effective quarterback in his personal proper, and the most effective dual-threat QB that LSU has confronted all season. The Tigers, in the meantime, ought to have the power to impose its will on the UCF defensive position for a lot of the sport. They could be methodical, however anticipate LSU to have the ability to maintain drives. I do not know who will win, however I’m fairly assured that we’ll see a whole lot of factors.
Four. Peach Bowl: No. Eight Michigan vs No. 10 Florida (Saturday, Dec. 29, 12:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Michigan -7.5; O/U: 51.5
This recreation has an odd quirk. Followers of the groups within the recreation aren’t actually overly keen on watching it (although they clearly will anyway), whereas impartial followers ought to like it. It’s a Prime 10 matchup between two groups loaded with expertise. Neither has a very explosive offense, however each transfer the ball and put up factors behind a robust offensive line. It’s the third assembly in as a few years between these two faculties. Michigan has gained the final two; will Florida — with a brand new coach — lastly get revenge?
Three. Rose Bowl: No. 5 Ohio State vs No. 9 Washington (Tuesday, Jan. 1, 5:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Ohio State -6.5; O/U: 58
It’s the Granddaddy of Them All, and there’s no different recreation extra becoming for City Meyer to finish his profession on. He faces Chris Petersen, who will take Meyer’s place (together with Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney) as one of many prime three coaches in college football at present. Each of those groups haven’t performed their greatest this season, however on expertise alone these might every be Playoff groups. Let’s hope that Dwayne Haskins, Jake Browning, and everybody else on these groups present us their full talents, as a result of in the event that they can we ought to be in for an absolute deal with. No different recreation (apart from these involving Clemson and Alabama) has this a lot expertise or coaches this good. It’s becoming that his first Rose Bowl shall be City Meyer’s ultimate recreation. You don’t have to like him as an individual to respect his teaching capacity and what he’s accomplished for college football. Don’t miss this chance to see him one remaining time, as he rides off into the gorgeous Pasadena sundown.
2. Cotton Bowl Basic: No. 2 Clemson vs No. Three Notre Dame (Saturday, Dec. 29, Four:00 PM, ESPN)
Line: Clemson -10.5; O/U: 55.5
I used to be tempted to not have the CFP semifinal games as the highest two games. So many of those different bowl games will probably be nice, and it’s exhausting to anticipate an excessive amount of of Notre Dame (or Oklahoma). Clemson and Alabama are to date forward of the field- which is why these two semifinal games have two of the very best strains in all the bowl games. On the finish, although, Notre Dame is an excellent group, and Brian Kelly is a superb coach. It should take numerous work to correctly put together and make this an in depth recreation, however it’s definitely attainable. Might the Peach Bowl be a greater recreation than this? In all probability. However Notre Dame is sweet sufficient that we’ll say that is extra of a must-watch recreation.
1. Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs No. Four Oklahoma (Saturday, Dec. 29, Eight PM, ESPN)
Line: Alabama -14; O/U: 79.5
Truly, I actually don’t assume this would be the greatest recreation of the bowl season. I could be improper, although, in order that’s why I’m placing it on the prime spot. I really feel just like the college football world is making an attempt to persuade itself that this recreation shall be an ideal one. The potential is definitely there. Alabama has by no means confronted an offense this good, and the Oklahoma defensive position can get some strain on Tua Tagovailoa (or Jalen Hurts). So yeah, perhaps Oklahoma has an opportunity to pull off a miracle. On the finish of the day, although, Oklahoma’s protection is a sieve and Alabama’s offense is a juggernaut. Alabama’s protection, in the meantime, is best than any that Oklahoma has confronted. It might take a near-miracle for the Sooners to hold this shut, particularly as the sport goes on. That’s why we watch though- as a result of when these miracles occur, they final eternally. That is probably the most must-watch bowl recreation not as a result of it’s possible to be a very good recreation. That is must-watch as a result of it’s unlikely to be a superb game- but when it does end up to be nice, you’ll actually remorse lacking it.