So many bowl games, and so little time to watch them given your, likely, busy year end work schedule, Holiday Parties and gift wrapping, getting ready for Santa etc.
Fortunately, for you, I've taken a look at most of them and am ready to offer up totally irrational opinions here. I won't be watching all of them, but I will be watching most of them. Unlike some I love bowl season. It's like the dessert we earned from stuffing ourselves on the buffet of the College Football season.
R +L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. 1PM ET Saturday, Dec 16th.
[10-2]Troy (-7) vs. [9-4] North Texas T: 62.5
The RLC New Orleans Bowl is the crown jewel of the SunBelt conference. They play in it (every year) and they often win the dang thing. This year the SunBelt gives us Troy, of the 'we beat LSU at home' Trojans who are favored by a touchdown over North Texas. Both the Mean Green and the Trojans feature strong offenses, and little in the way of defense. As such this game is expected to be an offensive showcase to kick off the bowl slate. I don't see anything to dispute that except for the fact that North Texas will be missing their leading rusher (Jeffery Wilson) due to a foot injury.
Pick: Troy to cover -7 and OVER the total of 62.5.
AutoNation Cure Bowl. 2:30 PM ET Saturday, Dec 16th.
[6-6] Western Kentucky vs. [6-5] Georgia State (-6.5) T: 53.5
I think it's safe to say that both of these teams are coming off disappointing regular seasons as both expected themselves to compete for their respective conference championships. These teams had remarkably different seasons to boot. Western Kentucky started off strong, then faltered down the stretch before beating rival Middle Tennessee State in the "100 miles of hate" game to become bowl eligible. Georgia State, on the other hand, struggled at the beginning (Maybe they were shell-shocked in their new stadium) before charging down the stretch to finish with a winning record. The problem for Georgia State in this game is that they aren't good at stopping what Western Kentucky does well, passing the football, and they don't have the offensive firepower to take that much advantage of the Hilltoppers shaky defense. This feels like a ho-hum bowl game which should still draw just under a Million viewers on TV.
Pick: Western Kentucky to win on the ML and UNDER 53.5
Las Vegas Bowl. 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, Dec 16th.
[10-3] Boise State vs. [7-5] Oregon (-7) T: 61.5
This is the first bowl game that we'll see which features a "great player who won't be playing" in the person of Oregon running back Royce Freeman. Oregon will also be without former coach, and new Florida State head coach Willie Taggart. Still, these are two good teams and since Oregon's QB Justin Herbert will be playing the Ducks are much better than they would be otherwise. Oregon's problem? They won't be "up" for this game and Boise State (the Mountain West Champion) will. Because the Broncos pride themselves on beating Power 5 teams. Should be a close game however, and I have it pegged as the best game of the day.
Pick: Boise State to WIN on the ML and Under 61.5
Gildan New Mexico Bowl. 4:30 ET, Saturday, Dec 16th.
[7-5] Marshall vs. [7-5] Colorado State (-5.5) T: 58.5
Here's the thing about this game. If you watch it you're going to be subjected to those truly awful Blake Shelton underwear commercials and that's just harsh. Another thing is that Colorado State's offense is very, very sputtery and Marshall's defense fell off a cliff in the last half of the season. Both of these teams are incomplete, especially on defense and both teams come into this game with something to prove (to themselves and their respective fan bases) so this game certainly comes with barn-burner potential. I, for one, am intrigued by the match-up at QB between the Rams Stevens and the Herd's Litton. Points will be plentiful.
Pick: Marshall to cover +4 and OVER 58.5
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. 8:00 PM ET. Saturday, Dec 16th.
[6-6] Middle Tennessee State vs. [7-4] Arkansas State (-4) T: 62
The line for this game started at -3.5 for Arkansas State and has slowly slid toward the Red Wolves since. Part of the reason for this is that it's widely speculated that Middle Tennessee State has severe "mail this one in" potential after a disappointing season. The Blue Raiders do have a potent offense and Brent Stockstill makes the game worth watching, but I think that the Red Wolves have too much on defense and Stockstill could have a long night behind a bad offensive line who's going to struggle to stop an Arkansas State pass rush led by NFL prospect Ja'Von Rolland Jones. Still, there will be a LOT of flinging the ball around the yard in this one.
Pick: Arkansas State to cover -4 and OVER 62.
Enjoy the beginning of Bowl season. There's still some fun football to play.