College Football: Looking Ahead to the First Ten Bowl Games
We have reached the end of the long and grueling college football season. 78 (out of 82) bowl eligible will compete once more. For most coaches, they revel in getting an extra fifteen practices. For most players, they get to enjoy another three weeks of football season.
Four teams will get to play for a National Championship, but we aren’t going to talk about them today. Instead, we are going to look ahead to the first ten bowl games. The lower tier bowls if you will. Of the twenty teams playing over the next week, only one is a Power Five team (Arizona State).
So, let’s look at these games.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FIRST TEN BOWLS
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM)
12/15/2018 North Texas vs. Utah State 1 pm ESPN
Both teams come into this game with high scoring offenses. The Aggies average 44 per while the Mean Green are scoring 34. Utah State will be without head coach Matt Wells who is the new head man at Texas Tech. While he flirted with other jobs, it looks like UNT HC Seth Littrell is staying put.
In this game, I believe the Aggies defense will do enough to win even with an interim coach.
PREDICTION: Utah State 34, North Texas 28
AutoNation Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL)
12/15/2018 LA-Lafayette vs. Tulane 1:30 pm CBSSN
The Battle of Louisiana taking place in Orlandeaux. Billy Napier has done a great job rebuilding the Ragin Cajuns. Same with Willie Fritz and the Green Wave. This should be a close game. A probable toss-up.
PREDICTION: Tulane 24, LA-Lafayette 20
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (Las Vegas, NV)
12/15/2018 Arizona State vs. Fresno State 2:30 pm ABC
In Herm Edwards first year, the Sun Devils re-emerged on the map. QB Manny Wilkins will be without top WR N’Keal Harry, who has left to focus on the NFL Draft. He will have one of the best running backs in the nation with Eno Benjamin.
Fresno State has also been woken from the dead by Jeff Tedford. The QB guru has worked wonders with Marcus McMaryion. However, it is the Bulldogs defense that is the star. Fresno State has given up less than 14 points per game. This is the reason I believe the Pac-12 takes a loss.
PREDICTION: Fresno State 20, Arizona State 10
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL)
12/15/2018 Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern 4:30 pm ESPN
After being eligible last year and getting left out, the Eagles got the call this year. Georgia Southern has returned to its triple-option roots to much success. This one will probably be low scoring.
PREDICTION: Eastern Michigan 19, Georgia Southern 17
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (New Orleans, LA)
12/15/2018 Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee 8 pm ESPN
I feel a shootout is probably in order for this one. App State QB Zac Thomas leads a high-powered Mountaineers attack. Brent Stockstill is playing in his final game as a four-year starting QB. Their offensive numbers have been down slightly in 2018 but points should be scored in this one.
PREDICTION: Appalachian State 38, Middle Tennessee 34
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, FL)
12/18/2018 Northern Illinois vs. UAB 6 pm ESPN
UAB is a great story. Two years after folding its football program, the Blazers are Conference USA champions. They have done it with efficient offense and great defense. Speaking of defense, there are not much better than Huskies edge rusher Sutton Smith. The junior has 15 sacks this year with four forced fumbles. Another low scorer?
PREDICTION: Northern Illinois 16, UAB 13
DXL Frisco Bowl (Frisco, TX)
12/19/2018 Ohio vs. San Diego State 7 pm ESPN
Do you like running attacks? Then this is probably the game for you. San Diego State always has one of the best (non-option) running attacks in the nation. While not as proficient as recent seasons, the Aztecs still averaged 164 yards per game. Ohio, led by, A.J. Ouellette, averaged 262. In this case, I go with the better defense.
PREDICTION: San Diego State 23, Ohio 17
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, FL)
12/20/2018 Marshall vs. South Florida 7 pm ESPN
After a 7-0 start, the Bulls fell apart, losing five in a row. Their reward? A home bowl game. Marshall has been up and down all year. A two-point loss to Southern Miss kept them out of the CUSA title game. Marshall WR Tyre Brady is one of my favorite players to watch. However, the “home field” advantage is too much.
PREDICTION: South Florida 38, Marshall 30
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl (Nassau, Bahamas)
12/21/2018 FIU vs. Toledo 11:30 am ESPN
We can all admit that this bowl game was much better when it was sponsored by Popeye’s, right? The Rockets offense is great. However, FIU has extremely overachieved under Butch Davis.
PREDICTION: FIU 26, Toledo 21
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, ID)
12/21/2018 BYU vs. Western Michigan 3 pm ESPN
Both teams are fortunate to get into a bowl game this year. The Cougars and Broncos both struggled at points this year. I like the BYU running game to be the difference.
PREDICTION: BYU 19, Western Michigan 14
What do you think about the first ten college football bowl games?
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