Sat., Dec. 15
Tulane vs. Louisiana
CBSSN, 1:30 p.m.
It may be a game between two six-loss teams that you probably haven’t watched all year, but it’s been a week since Army-Navy graced our TV screens, so we happily welcome the start of bowl season. It’s also an in-state rivalry game, which adds a little extra juice to this one. Both teams come in hot, ending the season with a 3-1 stretch to gain bowl eligibility.
Prediction: Tulane-35, Louisiana-30
NEW MEXICO BOWL
North Texas vs. Utah State
ESPN, 2 p.m.
This game will feature two standouts at quarterback, and plenty of points. North Texas and Utah State have done a nice job of building their programs and working towards becoming the next Non5 power. With success comes the revolving door, however. Utah State’s Matt Wells departed the program for the Texas Tech job, but North Texas’ Seth Littrell spurned interest from others to stay with the Mean Green.
Prediction: North Texas-54, Utah State-48
LAS VEGAS BOWL
Arizona State vs. (#21)Fresno State
ABC, 3:30 p.m.
I don’t know if it’s the inclusion of a P5 team or the ABC airing, but this always feels like the official start of bowl season to me. Herm Edwards and Arizona State will look to salvage a tough year for the PAC 12, but Fresno State will not be an easy win. The Bulldogs took down Boise State on Championship Saturday to claim the Mountain West title and cap off an 11-2 season. The Sun Devils found its groove late in the season, winning three of its final four games.
Prediction: Fresno State-31, Arizona State-23
Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan
ESPN, 5:30 p.m.
It’s the first #MACtion sighting of the bowl season, and can you believe it’s former cellar-dweller Eastern Michigan? EMU ended the season on a hot streak, winning its final five conference games. Georgia Southern’s year has been almost the opposite — the Eagles started 7-1 with a win against Appalachian State and its only loss to playoff-bound Clemson. However, they dropped two of its last four to finish 9-3. A bowl victory will be extremely meaningful for either program, so expect a hard fought battle.
Prediction: Georgia Southern-34, Eastern Michigan-28
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee
ESPN, 9 p.m.
Appalachian State gained a slew of new fans in State College after nearly knocking off the Nittany Lions in the season opener. The Mountaineers only lost one more time after that, and likely would have finished 12-1 if not for some injuries that occurred to its star players. Give them a month to rest and prepare, and this could be another blowout bowl victory for the Mountaineers, who crushed Toledo 34-0 last year in the Dollar General Bowl
Prediction: Appalachian State-45, Middle Tennessee- 21
Tue., Dec. 18
BOCA RATON BOWL
UAB vs. Northern Illinois
ESPN, 7 p.m.
It’s a battle between conference champions in Boca Raton. One of the best, and most underappreciated, storylines of the college football season was UAB becoming champs of the Conference USA after having the program eliminated in 2014. Northern Illinois is a well-coached team that do all the little things well, which is why they were able to defeat Buffalo on its way to yet another MAC Championship. This should be a solid match-up for your Tuesday night.
Prediction: UAB-27, Northern Illinois-23
Wed., Dec. 19
San Diego State vs. Ohio
ESPN, 8 p.m.
Frank Solich remains one of the nation’s most underrated coaches, regularly leading Ohio to winning records and bowl appearances, something that almost never occurred prior to his tenure in Athens. San Diego State has been one of the nation’s top Non5 programs as of late, but took a step back with a 1-4 finish that derailed a once promising season. It may be a tall order for the Aztecks to come in motivated after such a disappointing finish.
Prediction: Ohio-24, San Diego State-20
Thur., Dec. 20
Marshall at South Florida
ESPN, 8 p.m.
Here’s a fun fact- Marshall has the highest bowl game win percentage (11-2, 84.6%) of any FBS program with at least five bowl appearances. They will now look to improve to 6-0 in bowl games under Doc Holliday. That may not be too difficulty against South Florida, who ended the season on a five-game losing skid that derailed a promising season that started with a 7-0 record.
Prediction: Marshall-40, South Florida-24
Fri., Dec. 21
Florida International vs. Toledo
ESPN, 12:30 p.m.
If you’re fortunate to have a winter break that starts by this date, then there will be some college football in the afternoon to enjoy. Toledo took a step back this season, but can still light up a scoreboard. This could easily be the highest scoring game of the bowl season, as Florida International comes in with a potent offense as well.
Prediction: Toledo-51, FIU-41
IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Western Michigan vs. BYU
ESPN, 4 p.m.
This game is far from appointment viewing, but again, it’s enough to celebrate that there’s college football kicking off at 4 p.m. on a weekday. BYU has already suffered a loss to a MAC opponent this season, losing 7-6 to Northern Illinois. This could be an interesting battle, as BYU had difficulties putting up points, while WMU had trouble keeping teams out of the end zone throughout the year.
Prediction: BYU-27, WMU-26