I will have a New Years Six Preview column before it comes around. For now, these are my picks, with little-to-a lot of analysis on the matchups.
Air Force Bowl: Alcorn State vs. North Carolina AT&T
Pick: North Carolina AT&T
Uh, nice way to start off the column. I know nothing about either of these teams (What does AT&T stand for anyways?). But I will definitely watch this game.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. New Mexico
OK, I’m being a total homer. But we have to win this game. I don’t buy into the whole “You should be lucky that you even made a bowl game.” No. We better win this.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: No.22 Utah vs. BYU
BYU is gonna be emotional and fired up, giving this is the last game for Bronco Mendenhall as coach (I love the hire of Mendenhall for Virginia.). With all the passion going into this rivalry, BYU will get it done. Oh, and I hate Utah. So go Cougars!
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Ohio
Pick: Appalachian State
See, this is what’s great about bowl season. I get to pick and watch teams I know nothing about!
Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs. San Jose State
Pick: Georgia State
I’m someone who loves all the bowl games, and doesn’t complain about how many there are, but letting in San Jose State at 5-7 is pretty cheap. There has to be a better alternative right?
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech
Pick: Louisiana Tech
I swear it’s these two teams every year in this bowl…
Miami Beach Bowl: USF vs. Western Kentucky
Pick: Western Kentucky
Put on a show for me, WKU!
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron vs. Utah State
Hey, the bowl games that are the best, feature the teams no one knows anything about. Akron’s defense is super good though!
Boca Raton Bowl: #24 Temple vs. Toledo
Underrated game. Both of these teams were at some point ranked this season. I’m gonna pick Temple, even though I’m not a fan of their offense, and quarterback P.J. Walker seems very rattled while in the pocket sometimes.
Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State vs. Northern Illinois
Pick: Boise State
I thought the Broncos were one of the biggest non-Power 5 Playoff threats this year. Also, can you imagine what kind of game this would have been three years ago? These two teams were so fun 2-3 years ago. The final score would have been like 75-70.
GoDaddy Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern
Pick: Bowling Green
Hey look! I know stuff about these teams! There’s no way Georgia Southern is gonna score enough points to keep up in this game. This will probably get ugly.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan
Pick: Middle Tennessee
This game was insane last year between Western Kentucky and Central Michigan. I’m gonna go with Middle Tennessee in this because of their bowl history and the teams they beat this season. Also, they hung somewhat close with Alabama!
Hawaii Bowl: Cincinnati vs. San Diego State
Pick: San Diego State
It concerns me too much that Gunner Kiel won’t be playing for the Bearcats. This may be considered an upset pick, but San Diego State won their last nine games consecutively.
St. Petersburg Bowl: Marshall vs. UConn
It’s no surprise Marshall is back in a bowl game, even after all the talent they have lost over the past couple seasons. And UConn, why are you here?
Sun Bowl: Miami vs. Washington State
Pick: Washington State
The Cougars have been one of the best stories and most surprising teams of the year. A win in this game would be quite the finish. It makes sense, obviously, for Mark Richt not to be coaching. I love the hire though. It’s basically the dream scenario Miami never thought about happening.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Washington
Pick: Southern Miss
Again, why are you here, Huskies?
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Duke vs. Indiana
This is a college football bowl game being played between two basketball schools in a baseball stadium. Your guess is as good as mine… Just kidding. Duke proved they weren’t a one-year fluke, and Indiana overcame an ugly six game losing streak to make it back to eligibility. The reason why they got into a bowl game: That was a very hard six game schedule where the losses came: Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Michigan State, Iowa, and Michigan. Fine, let them in. But they aren’t winning.
Camping World Independence Bowl: Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech
Pick: Virginia Tech
The Hokies are going to be playing this game with more emotion than ever. That, in itself, will be enough.
Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska vs. UCLA
The expectations were too high for the Bruins this year. It got the best of them. This should be an easy way to salvage what will be looked at as a failure.
Military Bowl: #21 Navy vs. Pittsburgh
I do think the Panthers can challenge Navy a bit, but Keenan Reynolds is just too hard to defend. He’s one of the best athletes we’ve had in college football. It’s still incredible he wasn’t even on the Heisman ballot, but you could say that about a lot of guys too.
Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota
Pick: Central Michigan
The Gophers have been way too sketchy this year for me to pick them. Again, why are you here?
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. California
Pick: Air Force
I think this could be a great game. California hasn’t lived up to expectations, like a lot of Pac-12 teams this year. I’m not 100% sold on Jared Goff yet. I don’t like the awareness he shows. Maybe he’ll grow on me before the Draft. Air Force will run all over the Bears and give them the win.
Russell Athletic Bowl: #10 North Carolina vs. #17 Baylor
Pick: North Carolina
What a fantastic game. Two top 11 scoring offenses match up in this game. The QB situation is concerning, especially so if Chris Johnson is gonna be starting at quarterback for Baylor, but it’s been made clear they can score in any way. No one seems to know who’s gonna start as this point, as rumors have Jarrett Stidham possibly being available. If Baylor’s offense can’t get going, there’s gonna be serious trouble. North Carolina has annihilated teams as of late, and came very close to upsetting the No.1 team in the country. If Baylor can score, than this comes down to the last possession.
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Colorado State vs. Nevada
Kinda a crapshoot, right? I’m gonna go with Nevada in this one. Hey look, I picked a .500 team to win a bowl game!
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: #20 LSU vs. Texas Tech
This has the potential to be a shootout too. Texas Tech was the 2nd highest scoring team in the country this season, yet will have no luck defending Leonard Fournette. LSU’s offense doesn’t have much else, so Fournette is going to have a big game to keep the Tigers in it.
Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis
How in the world is Auburn favored? These biased SEC people are ridiculous. What is there to like about Auburn’s offense? Memphis is gonna score all over them, as this will get ugly fast.
Belk Bowl: Mississippi State vs. NC State
Pick: Mississippi State
I think this game another crapshoot, but I like the Bulldogs defense, and that will be a difference.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville vs. Texas A&M
What is going on with the Aggies? Kyle Allen transferring is no surprise, but Kyler Murray too? I really liked Murray. He killed Arizona State earlier this year. He’s fast and mobile, and is accurate enough to take over games. This has left the Aggies in a tough spot, especially for this bowl game. Jake Hubenak (who?) is gonna start. Louisville isn’t that great of a team, but I just don’t trust the Aggies in this one.
National University Holiday Bowl: #25 USC vs. Wisconsin
Sneaky good game here. Wisconsin’s defense is incredible, and will stifle the Trojans, who are gonna have to make big plays to win. Wisconsin’s offense shouldn’t face a ton of problems against USC, but if the Badgers do fault, USC will be right there, keeping it close.
Outback Bowl: #13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee
Northwestern has been so underrated all year, possessing one of the country’s best defenses. Tennessee was lucky to make the rankings. I can’t stand watching them. They’re just (hot take incoming) boring to watch. Look, this was a successful season, but the Wildcats are gonna be too strong for Tennessee to overcome.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: #14 Michigan vs. #19 Florida
This is gonna be an old-school, grudge-match type game. Both teams have very good defenses, but after watching the Gators in the SEC Championship game, Michigan better win this game. We’ve seen flashes from the Wolverines offense, and that might just be enough to win.
TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia vs. Penn State
This could be a pretty crappy game, since none of these teams seem to be that interested in scoring points, like ever. I think Georgia’s defense is what will it for them, but that’s if the Nittany Lions offense even poses a threat.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas State
The Razorbacks have been that fun and frisky team that makes almost every game interesting this season. And yes, that was enough to pick them over my Wildcats.
Valero Alamo Bowl: #11 TCU vs. #15 Oregon
Another great game that could be a complete shootout. I don’t see any defense in this game, and the Alamo Bowl has a history of that. Oregon has the rushing attack that could be a dagger to a TCU defense that’s had it’s ups and downs this year. However, Gary Patterson is a fantastic schemer, and has modeled his offense after Oregon. I really don’t feel good about this pick.
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: Arizona State vs. West Virginia
Pick: West Virginia
Last one is a rotten egg! Seriously… I have strong bias here for the Sun Devils, but this really could be a crapfest. Neither offense is that exciting. I think the Mountaineers defense is a tad underrated though. Arizona State needs big plays, and I’m worried that they’re not gonna get them.