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Weekly Bowl Preview and BSD Challenge II: Dec. 21-27

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Bowl season treks onward!

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, Dec. 21

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

Temple (6-6) vs. Florida International (8-4)

8 p.m./ESPN

Everyone’s favorite eastern Pennsylvania team attained bowl eligibility, and get to take on the highly entertaining Florida International Panthers. The two teams get the primetime slot on Thursday all to themselves, plus it’s hard to top the bowl name.

Prediction: Temple - 28, FIU - 21

Friday, Dec. 22

Bahamas Bowl

Alabama-Birmingham (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4)

12:30 p.m./ESPN

For two years, the UAB football team did not exist, and now the Blazers are in a bowl game for the first time in 13 years. Ohio has put together a solid season, and should prevail in the sunny Bahamas.

Prediction: Ohio - 35, UAB 27

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5)

4 p.m./ESPN

For the last time, we’ll get to see potential first round quarterback Josh Allen running the Wyoming offense. There’s no point spread for this game, but I think the Cowboys have what it takes to take down the Chippewas.

Prediction: Wyoming - 28, CMU - 17

Saturday, Dec. 23

Birmingham Bowl

Texas Tech (6-6) vs South Florida (9-2)

12 p.m./ESPN

Penn State’s one true rival Texas Tech made it through the Big 12 season to get to bowl eligibility, and are faced with one of the most unenviable tasks - defeating a high-powered Group of 5 team in a bowl game. Unlike Wisconsin-Western Michigan last year, I actually think the non-Power 5 team gets the win here in a shootout.

Prediction: USF - 38, Texas Tech - 35

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

San Diego St. (10-2) vs Army (9-3)

3:30 p.m./ESPN

San Diego St. again proved that they’re a good football team, though they played against the Mountain West - they do have a running back you may have heard of, as the award voters around the country seem to think Rashaad Penny is better than Saquon Barkley. They are wrong. But I digress. Army has looked good this year, but I think SDSU just has too much firepower.

Prediction: SDSU - 35, Army - 27

Dollar General Bowl

Appalachian St. (8-4) vs Toledo (11-2)

7 p.m./ESPN

This game has fun written all over it. App State will appears on Penn State’s schedule next year, so the Lions can get an early peek at what to expect in the fall from the Sun Belt champs. Toledo, meanwhile, is an incredibly potent team, having won the MAC. Expect this to be high-scoring and entertaining throughout.

Prediction: Toledo - 48, Appalachian State - 38

Sunday, Dec. 24

Hawai’i Bowl

Fresno St. (9-4) vs. Houston (7-4)

8:30 p.m./ESPN

Both of these teams have had up-and-down seasons, with Fresno State dropping a head scratcher in the middle of the season to UNLV, while Houston loss to Tulane before upending Navy. This may be one of the most evenly-matched teams of the bowl season, but I’ll go with Houston in a coin flip.

Prediction: Houston - 27, Fresno St. - 21

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Utah (6-6) vs. West Virginia (7-5)

1:30 p.m./ESPN

Our first Power 5 matchup of bowl week two, and it should be a fun one. West Virginia actually decided to play some defense in the Big 12, but their offense let them down a bit. Meanwhile the Utes bounced around all season, beating some good teams and losing to some bad ones. Overall I like the Mountaineers more here.

Prediction: West Virginia - 28, Utah - 21

Quick Lane Bowl

Duke (6-6) vs. Northern Illinois (8-4)

5:15 p.m./ESPN

Sitting at 4-6 with two weeks to go, and coming off a six-game losing streak, Duke needed to win its last two games to get to bowl eligibility - and did just that, beating Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. NIU, meanwhile, had its postseason taken care of back in October. The Huskies’ claim to fame this year is beating Nebraska, which begs the question of why the B1G keeps scheduling NIU. In any case, I think the Huskies get the W.

Prediction: Northern Illinois - 35, Duke - 30

Cactus Bowl

Kansas St. (7-5) vs. UCLA (6-6)

9 p.m./ESPN

Capping off a fun Tuesday of action is the Cactus Bowl, featuring two teams trending in seemingly opposite directions. Despite a loss to WVU, Kansas State beat #13 OK State and once-ranked Iowa State to close their season, while UCLA needed a 3-point win in Week 12 to clinch their bowl berth. I’ll take the Wildcats by a touchdown.

Prediction: Kansas St. - 35, UCLA - 28

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl

Southern Mississippi (8-4) vs. Florida St. (6-6)

1:30 p.m./ESPN

Florida State began the season ranked #2 in the country, and opened the season against #1 Alabama. In that game, starting Seminole quarterback Deondre Francois was knocked out for the season, and the Noles never quite recovered. They managed to get back to bowl eligibility, and for their efforts will take on Southern Miss. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, FSU just has a bit too much talent across the board, and Florida State gets the win.

Prediction: Florida State - 35, Southern Mississippi - 21

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Iowa (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)

5:15 p.m./ESPN

Just a few years from their loss to Penn State, Boston College returns to the Pinstripe Bowl to take on Iowa. Iowa had an extremely up-and-down season, as they nearly defeated then-#4 Penn State in September, and walloped Ohio State in November, while also managing to lose to Purdue. This should be a tough, defensive game, but I like the Hawkeyes.

Prediction: Iowa - 21, Boston College - 17

Foster Farms Bowl

Arizona (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)

8:30 p.m./FOX

The biggest story for this game, to me, is that Jeff Brohm managed to get Purdue to a bowl game, despite losses to Nebraska and Rutgers. Early in the season, the Boilermakers had the look of a top 25 program, as they routed Mizzou and looked competitive in losses to Louisville and Wisconsin. The middle of the season took them down a few notches, but they fought back to clinch bowl eligibility against Indiana in the last week of the season. Boiler up!

Prediction: Purdue - 28, Arizona - 24

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

Texas (6-6) vs. Missouri (7-5)

9 p.m./ESPN

There was a lot of hype for Texas in their first season under Tom Herman. However, a week 1 loss to Maryland, and losses to every ranked team on their schedule, meant that the Longhorns were slightly overblown. Mizzou, meanwhile, went through a five game losing streak in the middle of the season before rattling off six straight wins. Now, two former Big 12 foes clash again, and I like the Tigers.

Prediction: Missouri - 35, Texas - 31

BSD Bowl Challenge

Following Louisiana Tech’s destruction of SMU last night, Clay and Jared have gotten out to an early lead over the rest of your favorite writers. But Week 2 is where mettles will truly be tested, and winners stake their claim. Let’s get to it! For the second week of action, two games had unanimous verdicts:

  • Ohio over UAB
  • Toledo over Appalachian State
  • Florida State over Southern Mississippi

That gives us a bunch of games to talk about!

Most of the staff likes Temple, but we’re evenly split when it comes to Wyoming and Central Michigan. Only Aaron picked Texas Tech and Army, as someone must have spiked his coffee. Houston, West Virginia, and Northern Illinois all got the majority of the picks in their games. Rowen was the only one to pick UCLA over Kansas State, and Clay is the only one that doesn’t like Iowa.

The staff was evenly divided on Purdue and Arizona, while just over half of the writers like Mizzou over Texas. So what say you, dear reader? Did the masthead get it right?