One Reason To Watch Each Bowl Game This Week
The opening weekend of college football bowl season was full of close games and upsets. This week features eight different games, and each one has intrigue. Here's a list of the schedule for this week's bowl games and a reason to watch each one.
We start off with the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Monday afternoon and then seesaw back and forth between days with two games and one game before reaching the weekend.
Myrtle Beach Bowl: Old Dominion (6-6) vs. Tulsa (6-6) at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN
If you want to talk about a game where each team is coming in hot, the Myrtle Beach Bowl would be it. After the Old Dominion Monarchs fell to 1-6, they needed to win five straight to make bowl season, and they did just that. They went from the cellars of Conference-USA to finishing third place in the East Division behind Western Kentucky and Marshall. Meanwhile, Tulsa fell to 3-6, and their bowl outlooks were looking bleak, but they won three straight including a huge win against a good SMU team. Regardless of their 6-6 records, look for a very hard-fought bowl game between two teams that grinded out huge resurgences just to get here.
On Tuesday, there's two games for college football fans to check out.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Kent State (7-6) vs. Wyoming (6-6) at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN
The Kent State Golden Flashes rank fourth in the country in rushing yards per game with 243.3, so their ground game has been great all season. They won the MAC East Division thanks to a dramatic 48-47 win in overtime against Miami (OH), but they were crushed by Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game. While the Golden Flashes have been good on offense by averaging 32.6 points per game, their defense ranks 118th in the country by allowing 35.1 points per game. Wyoming is the opposite. They don't score many points, but they also don't give up many either. They have a couple of good wins including one against Northern Illinois and a surprising late-season blowout of eventual Mountain West Champion Utah State, but they also have three losses to teams below .500. Kent State's rushing attack versus the Wyoming defense is the matchup to watch here.
Frisco Bowl: UTSA (12-1) vs. 24. San Diego State (11-2) at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
This may be the best bowl game between group of five programs this season. UTSA had one late-season loss preventing them from reaching a perfect 13-0 record, but the Conference-USA Champions are still an excellent team. Running back Sincere McCormick was the star of the show for UTSA's offense with 1,479 yards and 15 touchdowns this year. However, he will not be playing in the game, so UTSA will have to get creative with their offensive game plan. Meanwhile, San Diego State was pummeled by Utah State in the Mountain West Championship, but that doesn't take away from their great season that features a win over Utah. Their stingy defense gives up 19.5 points per game, so it will be interesting to see what the UTSA offense can do against them without their first-team all-conference back.
Wednesday features a matchup between a service academy and a SEC squad.
Armed Forces Bowl: Missouri (6-6) vs. Army (8-4) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
Missouri may only be 6-6 after going 3-5 in SEC play, but they feature first-team all-SEC running back Tyler Badie who had an excellent season. He ran for 1,604 yards and 14 touchdowns. Badie had five games where he reached the 200-yard mark for the Tigers. Meanwhile, the Army Black Knights triple option offense has them as the second-best rushing team in the nation with an incredible 286.4 yards per game this season on the ground. Ever since giving up 70 to a top 25 Wake Forest squad, the Army defense has given up less than 15 points per game over a five game stretch where they went 4-1. Badie versus the Black Knights defense will be the matchup to watch here.
We are back to two games on Thursday.
Frisco Football Classic: North Texas (6-6) vs. Miami (OH) (6-6) at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN
Similar to Old Dominion out of the C-USA East Division, the North Texas Mean Green out of the West Division are on an absolute tear. They started the season 1-6, just to rip off five straight wins including a shocking 45-23 victory in the last week of the regular season against then 11-0 UTSA. They have the third strongest rushing attack in the country, averaging 246.2 yards per game, and leading the way is running back DeAndre Torrey who had 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns this year. The Miami (OH) Redhawks have an offense more centered around the passing attack and quarterback Brett Gabbert, the brother of former NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert, leads the way. He had his best game in a devastating loss to Kent State in the final week of the season where he threw for 405 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. This will absolutely be a game of contrasting offensive styles, so that should make it an intriguing one to check out.
Gasparilla Bowl: UCF (8-4) vs. Florida (6-6) at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN
Florida fell apart in the second half of the season, which is part of the reason why they hired former Louisiana head coach Billy Napier in the first place. Napier will not be coaching this game, and, even though starting quarterback Emory Jones announced that he would enter the transfer portal, he said that he would play in the team's bowl game first. The dual-threat led the team in rushing and passing yards, and he will look to end his time as a Gator with a bang. There should be a lot of points scored in this game between Florida and the Knights out of the American Conference because UCF averaged over 32 points per game this season.
Friday features a game between two teams in the middle of their respective group of five conferences.
Hawai'i Bowl: Memphis (6-6) vs. Hawai'i (6-7) at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN
The Memphis Tigers have had some bad luck this season with four of their six losses being within one possession, but they also have an impressive win against Mississippi State. Their offense is centered around throwing the football, and they are 16th in the country with 298.8 passing yards per game. Quarterback Seth Henigan had 3,322 yards, 25 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. The Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors are the only team with a losing record going into bowl season, but they also like to throw the ball. They won their last two games by scoring 50 points against Colorado State and 38 against Wyoming. These two teams should air the ball out on Christmas Eve.
If you want a college football game to watch on Christmas Day, you're in luck this year.
Camellia Bowl: Georgia State (7-5) vs. Ball State (6-6) at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN
The Georgia State Panthers out of the Sun Belt went on a roll in the second half of the season, winning six of their final seven games. Their only loss was a tight 21-17 game against the Sun Belt Champion Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. They rank 10th in the country with 222.7 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Ball State has lost three of their last five to finish near the middle of the pack in the MAC. They are similar to Wyoming where they don't score many points, but they also don't allow many points either. Look for Georgia State to continue rolling with their rushing attack against the Cardinals on Christmas Day.
That's all the games for this week. There's only a game or two on each day, and these are some of the last games featuring group of five squads.