2017-18 Bowl Rankings: Watchability

39. Western Kentucky – Georgia State
AutoNation Cure Bowl
Dec. 16, 2:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Camping World Stadium | Orlando, Florida

Here’s the rank of teams beaten by WKU and GSU this season, according to TeamRankings. Keep in mind that there are 130 FBS teams.

127 x2
FCS team

There would be “FCS team x2” except GSU lost to Tennessee State 17-10 at home.

In case you were wondering, WKU is rated 102nd and Georgia State is rated 116th.

38. Central Michigan – Wyoming
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Dec. 22, 4 p.m. | ESPN
Lyle Smith Field at Albertsons Stadium | Boise, Idaho

This game might end up seeming more fun than it really is because it’s on an early Friday evening heading into a three or four day, holiday weekend.

My favorite thing about this game will be Shane Morris outplaying Top 5 NFL Draft prospect Josh Allen, who has completed 56% of his passes en route to 13 passing touchdowns this season. I’m not sure that would’ve made you a Top 5 pick in 1974, BUT LOOK HOW FAR HE CAN THROW IT!!!

37. Duke – Northern Illinois
Quick Lane Bowl
Dec. 26, 5:15 p.m. | ESPN
Ford Field | Detroit

I feel for the Quick Lane Bowl marketing staff. Tough sell.

36. SMU – Louisiana Tech
DXL Frisco Bowl
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. | ESPN
Toyota Stadium | Frisco, Texas

There might be some points, but it’s another duo that just beat the worst teams on their schedule. It’s a glorified home game for SMU.

35. Utah State – NMSU
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Arizona Stadium | Tucson, Arizona

There’s really not a lot to get the juices flowing for this one, but it’ll be fun to watch NMSU play in their first bowl game in like a million years, I guess.

34. Temple – FIU
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Dec. 21, 8 p.m. | ESPN
Tropicana Field | St. Petersburg, Florida

First year for the Gasparilla Bowl, formerly the St. Petersburg Bowl, which featured that Mississippi State 17, Miami (OH) 16 barn-burner last year.

Bad Boy Mowers getting deep into the sponsor game. They just did the Battle 4 Atlantis, where things got wild, so that’s something. Also, they make a sturdy mower. Little slow though.

33. Ohio – UAB
Bahamas Bowl
Dec. 22 12:30 p.m. | ESPN
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium | Nassau, Bahamas

Much like the Hawaii Bowl, the Bahamas Bowl is better when there’s a ton of points. I don’t know why, maybe it just reminds me of the Colt Brennan/Timmy Chang/June Jones days of the Rainbow Warriors. Save the 24-20 battles for all those shitty bowls in Alabama.

The over/under here is 57, but Ohio is 15th in the country in scoring so we’ve got hope.

32. Utah – West Virginia
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Dec. 26, 1:30 p.m. | ESPN
Cotton Bowl | Dallas

This would be a lot higher, but Will Grier most likely isn’t going to play and Tyler Huntley is questionable. Nothing like a duel between a pair of QB2’s on a Tuesday afternoon to get the juices flowing.

31. Iowa – BC
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Dec. 27, 5:15 p.m. | ESPN
Yankee Stadium | New York

I’m not totally against the idea of Iowa and BC grinding out a “3 yards and a cloud of snow” game in Yankee Stadium, but just knowing how much better it would be with Anthony Brown at QB for BC will be in the back of my mind the whole time.

30. Kansas State – UCLA
Cactus Bowl
Dec. 26, 9 p.m. | ESPN
Chase Field | Phoenix

All due respect to Bill Snyder, but the Cats just don’t put asses in the seats.

Look for a lot of people confirming their opinion on Josh Rosen’s NFL potential based on how well he plays in this very important Cactus Bowl.

29. Colorado State – Marshall
GILDAN New Mexico Bowl
Dec. 16, 4:30 p.m. | ESPN
Branch Field at Dreamstyle Stadium | Albuquerque, New Mexico

It’s a fairly even game? I don’t know. CSU’s pretty fun when their offense is rolling.

28. Northwestern – Kentucky
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. | ESPN
Nissan Stadium | Nashville, Tennessee

Another one that’s helped out by the fact you’ll be coming home for another three-day weekend happy as can be, probably crack a cold one or your favorite holiday mixer, sit down on the couch, and turn this otherwise blah game on. That’s a special feeling.

27. Florida State – Southern Miss
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Dec. 27, 1:30 p.m. | ESPN
Independence Stadium | Shreveport, Louisiana

This excites me only because I know how embarrassed FSU fans have to be playing Southern Miss in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport on a Wednesday afternoon.

26. Arkansas State – MTSU
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Dec. 16, 8 p.m. | ESPN
Cramton Bowl | Montgomery, Alabama

It would be a lot more fun if Richie James was playing, but it should be another doozy of a Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. I’m not joking about that, either. This is the fourth edition. The first three have been amazingly consistent good games:

2014: Bowling Green 33, South Alabama 28
2015: App State 31, Ohio 29
2016: App State 31, Toledo 28

Those totals: 61, 60, 59.

If you put any action on the over/under of 62 this year, you’re a legitimate psycho.

25. Navy – Virginia
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Dec. 28, 1:30 p.m. | ESPN
Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium | Annapolis, Maryland

I don’t really know if this should be this high, but my biggest bet of the bowl season is Navy and I’m very self-involved.

24. FAU – Akron
Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
Dec. 19, 7 p.m. | ESPN
Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium | Boca Raton, Florida

It’d be more fun if FAU got a crack at a Power 5 school, but nobody moves the needle like Joey Fresh. At this point, it seems like the Lane Train is staying in Boca for another year. Might go undefeated next year after cleaning up on the transfer market.

23. Troy – North Texas
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Dec. 16, 1 p.m. | ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome | New Orleans

First bowl game of the season and it’s a pretty good one. Quality quarterback play and two coaches who will probably be in bigger jobs in the next few years.

22. Houston – Fresno State
Hawaii Bowl
Dec. 24, 8:30 p.m. | ESPN
Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union Field at Aloha Stadium | Honolulu

Houston kind of sucks now and their offense was a shell of itself without Greg Ward, but Ed Oliver is as fun as defensive tackles can get. Fresno is a fun story and QB Marcus McMaryion is like a poor man’s Lamar Jackson.

At the end of the day, it’s the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. If you have a bad time, you’re dead inside.

21. SDSU – Army
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Dec. 23, 3:30 p.m. | ESPN
Amon G. Carter Stadium | Fort Worth, Texas

Two of my favorite teams. Rashaad Penny vs. the troops. Every possible running play you could create. Should be fun.

20. Wake Forest – Texas A&M
Belk Bowl
Dec. 29, 1 p.m. | ESPN
Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, North Carolina

Probably a little high, but if you haven’t watched much of John Wolford, it’s your last chance. It’s also your last chance to watch Texas A&M before Jimbo Fisher…keeps them exactly where they’re at.

19. Michigan – South Carolina
Outback Bowl
Jan. 1, Noon | ESPN2
Raymond James Stadium | Tampa, Florida

Not a great ranking for a New Year’s Day bowl, but you can watch Brandon Peters vs. Jake Bentley. Two young QBs who will never look as good as they actually are in their dated offensive systems. Catch the Outback Bowl fever!

18. Toledo – App State
Dollar General Bowl
Dec. 23, 7 p.m. | ESPN
Ladd-Peebles Stadium | Mobile, Alabama

Remember that 2016 Camellia Bowl score? Of course you do, how could you forget?

Well, it’s a rematch. Lotta people gonna “discover” Logan Woodside.

17. Arizona – Purdue
Foster Farms Bowl
Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m. | FOX
Levi’s Stadium | Santa Clara, California

This could be a biased take, but I think this is a fun game. Khalil Tate is appointment TV always. On the other side, although Purdue’s offense has been spotty, you’re giving Jeff Brohm a month to come up with as many variations of the flea-flicker as humanly possible. And he will exhaust those possibilities.

16. Louisville – Mississippi State
TaxSlayer Bowl
Dec. 30, Noon | ESPN
EverBank Field | Jacksonville, Florida

Potential through the roof if Nick Fitzgerald was playing, but still…it’s Lamar Jackson.

15. TCU – Stanford
Valero Alamo Bowl
Dec. 28, 9 p.m. | ESPN
Alamodome | San Antonio, Texas

Bryce Love. All of the TCU jitterbugs. The potential of Kenny Hill doing something colossally stupid. Gary Patterson wearing many outfits. Top 5 bowl venue, in my opinion. There are worse ways to spend a Thursday night.

14. Wisconsin – Miami
Capital One Orange Bowl
Dec. 30, 8 p.m. | ESPN
Hard Rock Stadium | Miami Gardens, Florida

A whole lot of defense and running the football. Some white linebackers. Your dad will love this game. And he’ll be cheering for Wisconsin.

13. NC State – Arizona State
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Dec. 29, 3 p.m. | CBS
Sun Bowl | El Paso, Texas

A bowl game that has stood the test of time. It’s also the biggest bowl game CBS has to offer, which seems like a poor job by them.

12. Washington State – Michigan State
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
Dec. 28, 9 p.m. | FOX
SDCCU Stadium | San Diego

It’s going to feature A TON of 4-7 yard plays, but I’m excited. For as big of a dump as Qualcomm SDCCU Stadium is, I’ve always enjoyed watching games there. I like the color clash here. I like the coaches. I like that I’ll be flipping back and forth between this and the Alamo Bowl, knowing I’m about to mail in a day of work the next day. Both games are likely to be close. Just good, clean, bowl season fun.

11. Memphis – Iowa State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Dec. 30, 12:30 p.m. | ABC
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium | Memphis, Tennessee

It’s a home game for Memphis, but it just feels like Iowa State is up for the challenge. I mean, they’ve been terrible in recent years, so getting to the Liberty Bowl is a big deal. I don’t have a clue who’s playing QB for them, but they’re basically the same whether it’s QB1 or QB5.

10. Texas – Missouri
Academy Sports + Outdoors Bowl
Dec. 27, 9 p.m. | ESPN
NRG Stadium | Houston

I told myself to never bet a total again, but I feel like I need to come out of retirement to bet the over on 60.5 for this game.

9. Oregon – Boise
Las Vegas Bowl
Dec. 16, 3:30 p.m. | ABC
Sam Boyd Stadium | Las Vegas


also, boise and oregon in vegas on opening day is fun.

8. Oklahoma State – Virginia Tech
Camping World Bowl
Dec. 28, 5:15 p.m. | ESPN
Camping World Stadium | Orlando, Florida

The Camping World Bowl aka the Russell Athletic Bowl aka the Champs Sports Bowl feels like it’s always two teams that had the potential for greatness, but ended up being just “good”. It’s been dominated by the ACC over the years.

That sounds a bit negative, but this should be a great game. It stinks that it’s an early Thursday evening, but there’s two really good quarterbacks, two good head coaches, James Washington, and the Virginia Tech defense.

7. South Florida – Texas Tech
Birmingham Bowl
Dec. 23, Noon | ESPN
Legion Field | Birmingham, Alabama

Maybe won’t be as many points as one would think, but it’s got the potential. I don’t know anything about Nic Shimonek outside of football, but I know he has the ultimate villain hairdo and I find it very easy and enjoyable to root against him.

6. LSU – Notre Dame
Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton’s
Jan. 1, 1 p.m. | ABC
Camping World Stadium | Orlando, Florida

Two brand names playing on New Year’s Day. Hard not to like. Also, you’ve got one of the most lovable coaches (Coach O) against one of the biggest assholes (Brian Kelly).

5. Penn State – Washington
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
Dec. 30, 4 p.m. | ESPN
University of Phoenix Stadium | Glendale, Arizona

This game needs Dante Pettis to play to reach its full potential, but it’s still got a lot of firepower.

4. Auburn – UCF
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. | ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Stadium | Atlanta

Aside from Purdue, I will not be rooting harder for anyone than UCF. No offense to Auburn, you can just play the “we didn’t want to be there” card.

3. Ohio State – USC
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m. | ESPN
AT&T Stadium | Arlington, Texas

Just a ridiculous amount of talent on the field. It’s a Friday night. Ohio State and USC both playing for “we should’ve been in the playoff” position. Microscope on Sam Darnold. A bowl game’s bowl game.

2. Georgia – Oklahoma
College Football Playoff
Jan. 1, 5 p.m. | ESPN
Rose Bowl | Pasadena, California

Obviously high stakes on the line, but more than that it’s going to be a really interesting contrast in styles.

1. Clemson – Alabama
College Football Playoff
Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m. | ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome | New Orleans


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