2014-2015 Bowl Season: Picks And Thoughts On All Non-Committee Bowl Games

It’s one of my favorite times of the year.  It’s not Christmas time or the New Year.  It’s Bowl Season baby!

In this column, I’m going to pick every single bowl game there is in the next couple weeks, as it kicks off tomorrow.

There are some great bowl games this year.  Fantastic.  Though not all of them are between ranked teams, it’s still football.  Bowl season football.

This column though, won’t include any committee-selected bowl games, known now as the New Years Six.  That will be a different column, previewing and picking the games.  This is strictly picks and quick hits.  Let’s go!

As always, rankings reflect College Football Playoff Rankings.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. UL Lafayette

Pick: Nevada

Thoughts: Well, um.  See, this is what is great about bowl season.  Teams we don’t know a whole lot about get to play, and then we see what they’re like.  It’s too bad I have to pick it before the game.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs. UTEP

Pick: Utah State

Thoughts:  Utah State plays in a better conference, and are most likely the better team.  UTEP has a cool stadium though.  Sorry Miners.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: No.22 Utah vs. Colorado State

Pick: Utah

Thoughts: Great game.  Jim McElwain is now the coach at Florida.  Leaving his team before the bowl was a little unfair, so the Rams will be playing with a lot of heart.  Oh yea, Utah is playing!  As you know, Utah scares me.  Colorado State should be scared too.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Air Force

Pick: Air Force

Thoughts: Um.  Another wait-n-see game.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green

Pick: South Alabama

Thoughts: This team got screwed by not making a bowl game last year, so this is redemption.  Bowling Green has been a good program over the past couple years, but this is the time they go down.  Sorry Papa.

Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. Memphis

Pick: Memphis

Thoughts: Upset!  BYU lost their QB mid-year to a nasty broken leg, and also had a four game losing streak at one point.  This was a great team early, but the streak hurt them a lot.  Some people thought this was New Years Six team, but now they find themselves here.  Yikes.

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois

Pick: Marshall

Thoughts: Great game.  Marshall has been a great program all year, and again, people thought this was a possible New Years Six team.  They have a good QB in Rakeem Cato, who’s story is incredible.  Northern Illinois has been great in past years, but this is the start of their fall.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State

Pick: San Diego State

Thoughts: So many great games!  Navy does have potential here.  I’m not ruling them out.  The Aztecs are just better.

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Pick: Central Michigan.

Thoughts: Um.  Both of these teams had the same record.  I know one thing about each team: 1) Eric Fisher went to Central Michigan 2) Western Kentucky almost beat Marshall.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice

Pick: Fresno State

Thoughts:  It wasn’t long ago when I watched a Houston-Rice game on ESPN2.  I was like 12, and some guy named Kevin Sumlin destroyed Rice from the sideline.  Not that it’s the same team, but that’s my main impression of Rice.  Sorry.

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech

Pick: Lousiana Tech

Thoughts: Louisiana Tech and East Carolina are very similar.  They are in a bowl game every year, but it seems like it’s the same bowl each year.  They haven’t taken that next step.  Beating a Power 5 team will help them with it.

Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina

Pick: North Carolina

Thoughts:  As much as I would like to take Rutgers, the Tar Heels are overall the better team.  I don’t see any potential upset here.

Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State vs. UCF

Pick: UCF

Thoughts: Tough call.  Two evenly matched teams.  Pretty much a crapshoot.  A good one, at least.

Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Pick: Cincinnati

Thoughts:  Wait, how did the Hokies get into a bowl game?

Hyundai Sun Bowl: No.15 Arizona State vs. Duke

(Homerism Possible)

Pick:  Arizona State

Thoughts: Did you really think I’d go with Duke?  ASU got disrespected.  Put them againist someone better, please?

Duck Commander Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina

Pick: South Carolina

Thoughts: These games are getting good.  Anyways, South Carolina is another “Wait, how did they get in?” team.  They play in the better conference.  They know big boy football.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl:  Boston College vs. Penn State

Pick: Penn State

Thoughts: Boston College had one big moment this year, beating USC.  That’s about it.  They also hung close with Florida State.  Penn State is finally bowl eligible.  I expect them to make a statement.

National University Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. No.24 USC

Pick: USC

Thoughts:  Not even close.  I really wanted to like and take Nebraska, but after the Mike Riley hire, that collapsed.  I think this will be a close game, but USC will pull out.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia

Pick: West Virginia

Thoughts: It was a QB shuffle for Texas A&M this year.  They were a disaster for part of it.  Remember when we thought Kenny Hill was a Heisman candidate?  Yea, exactly.

From lostletterman.com This is from Instagram after the Mountaineers beat Baylor.  I got rid of the obscene language.
(From lostletterman.com) This is from Instagram after the Mountaineers beat Baylor. I got rid of the obscene language.

(Let’s recover)

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs. (17) Clemson

Pick: Oklahoma

Thoughts: Clemson is another QB carousal team.  They’ve had a rough year, but have stuck it out, and ended up here.  However, Trevor Knight is back for the Sooners, and though Oklahoma isn’t ranked, I feel like they’ll end their season on a positive note.

AdvoCare Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. Texas

Pick: Texas

Thoughts: I cannot wait to watch this game.  Arkansas was one of those spoiler and sneaky teams this past year.  The play in the SEC, which hindered their success.  However, Texas is the better team.  They are more complete and have been consistent all year.

Franklin America Mortgage Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. No.23 LSU

Pick: LSU

Thoughts: Hey look!  It’s the All-Dissapointment Bowl!  Just rename it now!  Both of these teams had disappointing seasons, based on my expectations.  Notre Dame collapsed after losing to Arizona State, and it’s a miracle they made a bowl game.  LSU underachieved, but got on a roll at the end of the year.

Belk Bowl: No.13 Georgia vs. No.21 Louisville

Pick: Georgia

Thoughts: I’ve liked this Georgia team all year after I disrespected them in the preview.  They’ve continued to burn me, and it’s not happening this time.

Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford

Pick: Stanford

Thoughts: The Cardinal were secretly really bad this past year.  I can’t believe they got this far.  I know nothing about Maryland, which is pretty scary.  Anyways,  House of Card baby.

Outback Bowl:  No.19 Auburn vs. No.18 Wisconsin

Pick: Auburn

Thoughts: Great, great game.  Two teams who had rough endings to the year, meet in a big bowl game.  I love it!  This is awesome!  Expect lots of points with this game.

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: No.25 Minnesota vs. No.16 Missouri

Pick: Missouri

Thoughts: It’s not even close.  I think Missouri blows out the Gophers.  I’m sorry, but the competition and talent of the Tigers doesn’t even compare.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Pittsburgh

Pick: Houston

Thoughts: Upset!  Pittsburgh just lost their head coach to Wisconsin (he will coach this game) and fired their AD.  It hasn’t been a great holiday season.  It won’t get better.

TaxSlayer Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee

Pick: Tennessee

Thoughts:  Odd matchup.  This is kinda a crapshoot, but a good one!

Valero Alamo Bowl: No.11 Kansas State vs. No.14 UCLA

Pick: UCLA

Thoughts:  Talk about points.  This thing is going to be a shootout.  This bowl game usually is.  We have two great QB’s in this game, in the complete opposite way.  I really want to take the Wildcats.  If they win, I wouldn’t be surprised.

TicketCity Cactus Bowl: Washington vs. Oklahoma State

Pick: Washington

Thoughts: Another “How did that team make a bowl game?”  I never have thought Oklahoma State was good.  This is where that will show.

Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida

Pick: East Carolina

Thoughts: Haha.  This is a funny game.  I have no idea where to go with this.  It sucks that East Carolina didn’t make a bigger bowl game, but their opponent is a lot better this time.  This should be a good game.

GoDaddy Bowl: Toledo vs. Arkansas State

Pick: Toledo

Thoughts: Um, my dad was born in Toledo? (Cover-up way of saying I have no clue)

Have a great bowl and Holiday season.  I will be publishing next week.  I will also have a preview column of the New Years Six games at some point before December 31st.