An annual tradition. I think overall it’s a pretty good slate this year. Of course we’ll make it better with some bets at some point.
39. Tulane vs. UL-Lafayette
AutoNation Cure Bowl
2:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN, Dec. 15
I’m not telling you this is a great game, but the fact it’s last means there’s nothing truly awful on the bowl slate. ULL has a pretty good offense. Tulane has a decent defense. It could be worse.
38. Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 15
EMU insists on playing nothing but close games, so it should at least be competitive.
37. FIU vs. Toledo
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 21
Toledo’s got a great offense. It’s a Friday afternoon in the Bahamas before a long Christmas weekend.
36. Western Michigan vs. BYU
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
4 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 21
This should probably be lower, but the game will be on when you get home from work on that same Friday heading into Christmas weekend.
35. Arkansas State vs. Nevada
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
1:15 p.m. ET, CBSSN, Dec. 29
Nevada kind of fizzled at the end, but Justice Hansen vs. Ty Gangi is an underrated QB matchup.
34. Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii
SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 22
It’s not on Christmas Eve because the NFL ruins everything, but it’s still a Saturday night in Hawaii and the home team is involved.
33. Marshall vs. South Florida
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 20
This would be a better matchup in years past, but it’s still something to satisfy your Thursday Night Football needs with no NFL game that week.
32. UAB vs. Northern Illinois
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
7 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 18
Boca Raton, FL
Two great defenses doing battle in Boca. You should watch for NIU DE Sutton Smith alone.
31. Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
Noon ET, ESPN, Dec. 31
Virginia Tech might be one of my least favorite teams to watch, but Cinci has had a great year and it’d be cool to see them finish it with a win over a Power 5 team.
30. Temple vs. Duke
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 27
This is probably too high for a Thursday afternoon game in Shreveport, but both teams have occasional outbursts on offense.
29. Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech
Quick Lane Bowl
5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 26
Tough to sell this one, but it should be pretty close. And it won’t last long. Lotta running plays. Probably some talk about oars in water. Paul Johnson’s last game.
28. Baylor vs. Vanderbilt
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 27
This is probably too high. But not for nothing, both teams have reason to be pretty excited just to make it.
27. South Carolina vs. Virginia
Noon ET, ABC, Dec. 29
I guess the appeal here is you’ve got a team from Virginia, a team from South Carolina, and they’re playing in North Carolina. Bryce Perkins is fun. Everybody likes Deebo.
26. Memphis vs. Wake Forest
Jared Birmingham Bowl
Noon ET, ESPN, Dec. 22
This is probably too low if you’re one of those people that enjoys a ton of offense and optional defense. Because that’s what this is gonna be.
25. Houston vs. Army
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 22
Fort Worth, TX
This would be a lot more fun if we were able to watch and see what Ed Oliver could do against the nation’s best option attack. But all is not lost. D’Eriq King and the Houston offense should provide enough entertainment.
24. San Diego State vs. Ohio
DXL Frisco Bowl
8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 19
Two of the most consistent Group of 5 programs doing battle on a Wednesday night in Frisco. What more could you ask for? Juwan Washington is back and that Ohio defense is vulnerable. Ohio’s got their own pair of dominant backs and a 5’9″ leading receiver named Papi.
23. Buffalo vs. Troy
Dollar General Bowl
7 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 22
We’ll see if Neal Brown is still the Troy HC by then, but another good Group of 5 matchup. The men of Troy have a stellar defense and they’ll be pitted up against a great MAC offense.
22. Middle Tennessee vs Appalachian State
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 15
Brent Stockstill vs. Zac Thomas to cap off the first day of bowls.
21. California vs. TCU
9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 26
Well, you’re not going to get a bunch of scoring. Part of that is poor offense, but a lot has to do with two really good defenses. With the game being in Phoenix, we could have multiple Gary Patterson wardrobe changes. You should at least tune in to watch Jalen Raegor because Jalen Raegor is a freak show.
20. Miami vs. Wisconsin
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 27
It’s last year’s Orange Bowl, only the teams are worse, and somehow the QBs have regressed. Quite the sell, I know.
19. Northwestern vs. Utah
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
7 p.m. ET, FS1, Dec. 31
They’d probably get more viewers if they just let Pat Fitzgerald and Kyle Whittingham mud wrestle at mid-field, but I guess we’ll settle for the football. You can watch just to form a half-baked opinion on Clayton Thorson before the draft.
18. NC State vs. Texas A&M
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 31
I’m sure for some of you this will be pre-game material before you go sin all over the city for NYE. Personally, it’ll be the main attraction as I sin on my couch. Maybe the greatest thing about reaching my late-20s was no longer feeling the pressure to wildly overpay for everything associated with NYE.
17. Stanford vs. Pittsburgh
Hyundai Sun Bowl
2 p.m. ET, CBS, Dec. 31
El Paso, TX
It just occurred to me that Bryce Love probably won’t play, but whatever. You can still watch JJAW. Pitt will probably do some wild Pitt things, commit a bunch of penalties and whatnot.
16. Boston College vs. Boise State
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 26
I don’t know why this intrigues me so much, but it does for some reason. Maybe it’s Boise going against a Power 5 team. Maybe it’s AJ Dillon. Maybe it’s because this game will be my only reprieve from work the day after Christmas. It’s definitely that one.
15. Michigan State vs. Oregon
3 p.m. ET, Fox, Dec. 31
Yeah this is definitely too high, but it’s too late to go back now.
14. Kentucky vs. Penn State
VRBO Citrus Bowl
1 p.m. ET, ABC, Jan. 1
There’s a lot of fun players in this game, but I’m not sure it’ll really produce much scoring. These are two great defenses. If Kentucky gets a little creative with the playbook, this might end up being one of the better games. If they don’t, this game might end up like 17-12 and it’s gonna suck.
13. Purdue vs. Auburn
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 28
I can’t imagine Auburn is fired up to play in the Music City Bowl, especially with all of the drama surrounding Gus Malzahn right now.
12. North Texas vs. Utah State
New Mexico Bowl
2 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 15
Jordan Love. Mason Fine. Opening Day.
11. Mississippi State vs. Iowa
Noon ET, ESPN2, Jan. 1
Mississippi State has been peaking at the end of the year. Iowa is playing in what I have to imagine is their 10th straight Outback Bowl. Hard not to love any bowl game that has mascots like this:
10. Fresno State vs. Arizona State
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
3:30 p.m. ET, ABC, Dec. 15
I’m excited to watch the Bulldogs try to take down a Power 5 team after they couldn’t through at Minnesota early in the year. Plus, we get Herm and N’Keal Harry (please play, N’Keal).
9. LSU vs. UCF
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
1 p.m. ET, ESPN, Jan. 1
UCF vs. the SEC, part two. It’s not as exciting as last year because it’s not as fresh and McKenzie Milton won’t be playing, but it’ll certainly generate some conversation. If UCF wins, I’m sure the excuses will be locked and loaded again for SEC nation.
8. Florida vs. Michigan
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Noon ET, ESPN, Dec. 29
It’s not peak Florida vs. Michigan, but it’s still a heavyweight matchup. Not a bad warmup to the playoffs. Maybe Harbaugh can redeem himself for that colossal failure against South Carolina last year.
7. Texas vs. Georgia
Allstate Sugar Bowl
8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN, Jan. 1
This game could end up being a blowout, but if it doesn’t, we’ve got some real strong “TEXAS IS BACK, FOLKS” potential.
6. Iowa State vs. Washington State
Valero Alamo Bowl
9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 28
If you’ve read this blog before, you know the Alamo Bowl has a special place in my heart. This year it’s also occurring on a Friday night. Maybe neither of these teams is the most exciting, but there is a high chance for things to get weird with Leach, the Minshew mustache, and Iowa State’s 12 quarterbacks.
5. West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Camping World Bowl
5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 28
4. Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 31
3. Washington vs. Ohio State
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
5 p.m. ET, ESPN, Jan. 1
2. Clemson vs. Notre Dame
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
4 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 29
1. Alabama vs. Oklahoma
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl
8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Dec. 29