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Weekly Bowl Preview- Dec. 17-23

Let’s go bowling!

NCAA Football: Tulane at Houston Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports


Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
North Carolina Central (9-2) vs. Grambling (10-1)
12 p.m., ABC
Georgia Dome, Atlanta

North Carolina Central is on a nine-game winning streak after getting walloped by Duke and undefeated Western Michigan. Grambling State enters the game as the victors of their last 10 games. This should be a fun game between two hot teams with plenty of offense. It’s Saturday, so you might as well get your football fix.
Prediction: Grambling- 42, North Carolina Central- 38

New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico (8-4) vs. UTSA (6-6)
2 p.m., ESPN
University Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M.

Led by former Miami head coach and national champion Larry Coker, UTSA has come a long way in its first few years as a program. The defensive-minded team will need to find a way to slow down a potent New Mexico offensive attack.
Prediction: New Mexico- 27, UTSA-20

Las Vegas Bowl
Houston (9-3) vs. San Diego State (10-3)
3:30 p.m., ABC
Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

In a week that drives home the point that there are too many bowl games, this one is easily the best of the bunch. Houston and San Diego State are two of the best non-Power 5 teams in the nation, and should present a hard-fought battle. San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey is one of the most exciting playmakers in college football, rushing for 2,018 yards during the regular season. Houston may have lost Tom Herman to Texas, but should keep chugging along under new head coach Major Applewhite.
Prediction: Houston- 37, San Diego State- 31

Camellia Bowl
Appalachian State (9-3) vs. Toledo (9-3)
5:30 p.m., ESPN
Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.

This is an interesting match-up, pitting Appalachian State’s stingy defense against Toledo’s explosive offense. Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside is worth your attention, passing for 43 touchdowns to just nine interceptions on the season while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.
Prediction: Appalachian State- 28, Toledo- 27

Cure Bowl
UCF (6-6) vs. Arkansas State (7-5)
5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

Arkansas State comes in hot, winning seven of its final eight games. Central Florida is yet another southern team that gets to enjoy a de facto home game during its bowl game.
Prediction: UCF-28, Arkansas State- 23

New Orleans Bowl
Southern Mississippi (6-6) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6)
9 p.m., ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Even the biggest college football fanatics out there may have trouble finding reasons to sit through the final game of the day this Saturday. Both teams are 6-6, and Southern Miss is really limping into this game, losing five of their last seven. The Ragin’ Cajuns have arguably the best name in the FBS and are playing in their home state.
Prediction: Louisiana-Lafeyette- 29, Southern Miss- 17


Miami Beach Bowl
Central Michigan (6-6) vs. Tulsa (9-3)
2:30 p.m., ESPN
Marlins Park, Miami

If you’re fortunate enough to be on holiday break, crack open a beer and just enjoy the novelty of college football on a Monday afternoon. Central Michigan stunned Oklahoma State in week two on a controversial Hail Mary to upset the Cowboys, but fell apart after a promising 3-0 start. Tulsa is one of the most underrated teams in the nation, with its three losses coming to Ohio State, Houston (by seven) and Navy (by two). This could be one of the biggest mismatches of the bowl season.
Prediction: Tulsa-48, Central Michigan- 21


Boca Raton Bowl
Memphis (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (10-3)
7 p.m., ESPN
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Fla.

Western Kentucky is the 10-win team you didn’t hear about, closing the season with a seven-game winning streak behind a prolific offense. They also have a giant red blob for a mascot. Memphis ended the season by upsetting Houston in a shootout. Expect another one with loads of offense in Boca Raton.
Prediction: Western Kentucky- 56, Memphis-49


Poinsettia Bowl
BYU (8-4) vs. Wyoming (8-5)
9 p.m., ESPN
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

Wyoming became the non-Power 5 giant-killer in 2016, pulling off upsets against Boise State and San Diego State. Don’t be shocked if they do it once more against BYU, who found its footing after a rough start to the season.
Prediction: BYU-30, Wyoming- 28


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Idaho (8-4) vs. Colorado State (7-5)
7 p.m., ESPN
Albertsons Stadium, Boise, Idaho

Could you imagine qualifying for a bowl game and ending up in Idaho? At least the Vandals get an extra home game out of it. The Rams are probably the more talented team, but lack much in the way of a defense. Expect a shootout.
Prediction: Colorado State-44, Idaho-42


Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs. Old Dominion (9-3)
1 p.m., ESPN
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas

After years of being the MAC doormat, Eastern Michigan has shown tremendous strides in becoming bowl eligible. They are now being rewarded with a trip to the Bahamas, a pretty solid draw for a bowl game. Old Dominion has acclimated quite nicely to life in the FBS, thanks to a high-flying offense.
Prediction: Old Dominion- 41, Eastern Michigan- 28

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Louisiana Tech (8-5) vs. No. 25 Navy (9-3)
4:30 p.m., ESPN
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

Navy seemed to be sailing towards the Cotton Bowl before the offense faltered in consecutive losses to Temple and Army to end the season. They should be able to find their footing against Louisiana Tech’s struggling defense.
Prediction: Navy- 38, Louisiana Tech- 24

Dollar General Bowl
Ohio (8-5) vs. Troy (9-3)
8 p.m., ESPN
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.

With so many ridiculously-named bowl games these days, this one might take the cake. As we’ve learned the hard way, Frank Solich has done a fine job turning the program around at Ohio and producing consistent winners. Troy has the honor of nearly knocking Clemson out of the playoff race in week two, losing to the Tigers 30-24.
Prediction: Ohio-24, Troy 21