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Bowl Games: How and Why to Watch

It’s time for some post-season college football!

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Florida Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This season’s round of post-season play kickoffs, tomorrow (Saturday) Dec. 17th. Here’s how to watch and most importantly who you should root for as Beaver fans. All times eastern. Enjoy!

Saturday December 17th:

AFR Celebration Bowl: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga

N.C. Central vs. Grambling State

Atlanta will be rocking and it won’t be because of who is playing football, but who is playing the instruments in the band. The Band at GSU is amazing. I’ve had the pleasure of watching them in person and it was worth sitting through the football game. Root for Grambling State, simply because of the band.

12pm ABC

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM

New Mexico vs. UT-San Antonio

New Mexico gets a big boost playing in their home state. And let’s be honest in a matchup featuring Roadrunners and Lobos, this game is closer to a Saturday morning cartoon then a heated football game. Roadrunners are pretty cool, but Lobos have that fight in them, that raw, New Mexico attitude. I take the Lobos in a close game.

2pm ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

Houston vs. San Diego State

It truly depends which Cougars team shows up. The Aztecs have been pretty consistent, so the Cougars need to bring their A game. Rocky Long, Head Coach of SDSU is a legend and deserves to win. Root for the underdogs in the Aztecs.

3:30 ABC

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL

Appalachian State vs. Toledo

It’s the Mountaineers vs. the Rockets and the Rockets live up to their name... They can let it fly, but Mountains are pretty cool too. I mean, Mountains don’t crash, but they do blow up. Rockets can crash and blow up. So, this is kind of a toss-up. But, you can’t go hiking on a rocket. So, edge goes to the Mountaineers.

5:30 ESPN

AutoNation Cure Bowl: Camping World Stadium Orlando, FL

UCF vs. Arkansas State

The Golden Knights and the Red Wolves. This is basically a home match for the Golden Knights. Which is why you should root for the Red Wolves who are the underdog and who doesn’t like an underdog? America loves an underdog. I say The Red Wolves take advantage of the turmoil and coaching change happening in the UCF program and win a close game.

5:30 CBSSN

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, LA

Southern Mississippi vs. UL Lafayette

The Golden Eagles and the Rajun-Cajuns. This is another game where there is an in-state University in the fold. The Cajuns should pull away early from the Golden Eagles. But, who doesn’t like the name Rajun-Cajuns? Cajuns pull away early and cruise to an easy victory! Get your crawfish boil ready!

9:00 ESPN

Monday, Dec. 19:

Miami Beach Bowl: Marlins Park, Miami FL

Central Michigan vs. Tulsa

The Chippewas and Golden Hurricanes. Everyone remembers what happened in Stillwater with CMU. Fast forward to now and again the Chips are taking on an Oklahoman team, on the road. Depending on how you feel about Oklahoma State, might determine who you root for. If you don’t have feelings at all about OKST then you might wanna root for the Chips again to pull another last second drama filled upset. Chips should pull away from the Canes in the second half.

2:30 ESPN

Tuesday, Dec. 20:

Boca Raton Bowl: FAU Stadium. Boca Raton, FL

Memphis vs. Western Kentucky

The Tigers and Hilltoppers. Hilltoppers are going through a lot of change and that could be a distraction. While the Tigers have done sneaky well this season. Make sure to tune into this game to see a Memphis team no one has talked about. Memphis will never be in doubt in this matchup. Look for Freshman All-American Tony Pollard in this game, especially in kick and punt returns.


Wednesday, Dec 21

San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl: Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego, CA

Wyoming vs. BYU

Wyoming is coming off of a loss at home in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game. BYU had it’s first season with new head coach and former Oregon State defensive coordinator, Kalani Sitake. Wyoming has a running back who is a beast and very hard to stop. He runs down “Hill” and doesn’t shy away from contact. Brian Hill is his name and he is the guy you need to watch, going up against a huge defense that will try to contain Hill. I believe Wyoming has the advantage as BYU continues their transition.


Thursday, Dec 22

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Albertson's Stadium, Boise, ID

Idaho vs. Colorado State

You need to watch this bowl game for a few reasons. If you’re a Beavers fan, the Beavers play the Rams next season in Fort Collins. Also, if you are just a CFB fan, this is Idaho’s last division one game. They are moving back to the FCS. So on that note, I am rooting for the Vandals. Go out on top Vandals!


Friday Dec 23

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas

Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion

The Eagles and Monarchs. The Eagles are in their first bowl game in 30 seasons. Monarchs are playing in their first bowl game, ever! That alone should be a reason to watch. They are familiar foes, having played the last two seasons. ODU has won both matchups. Running game gives ODU the advantage! I take ODU in a close and fun game.


Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Amon G. Carter Stadium Fort Worth, TX

LA Tech vs. Navy

Navy has to be upset about the loss to Army and is looking to take it out on someone. Navy has had some injuries and La Tech will pull away early. Navy has been turnover prone and you can’t do that against Tech. Look for this game to be over early. Louisiana Tech is 4-1 ATS in its last five games in December. Navy is 1-4 ATS in its last five games against Conference USA. Tech is favored.

4:30 ESPN

Dollar General Bowl: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL

Ohio vs. Troy

The Bobcats are coached by Frank Solich. He is a legend and the Trojans are closer to home, in nearby Mobile. Therefor you should root for the Legend on the road. He will no doubt be in the Hall Of Fame. The last time the Troy Trojans played in a bowl game, six seasons ago, they beat up the Ohio Bobcats in the New Orleans Bowl. Another reason you should root for the Bobcats! Bobcats pull away off of a big play late.


Sat Dec 24

Hawai'i Bowl: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI

Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee State.

I am rooting for the refs, simply because you have two teams who are in Hawaii on Christmas Eve. Enough said!!! In all seriousness you should root for the Blue Raiders. They only get to visit. Hawaii gets to be there, year round. If the Blue Raiders don’t get their starting quarterback, back from injury (Brent Stockstill) from that broken collarbone, look for Hawaii to pull away early. If they do, then look for a really good game, in the most beautiful State in the Union!


Mon Dec 26

St. Petersburg Bowl: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL

Miami (OH) vs. Mississippi State

In this matchup, we see two completely different teams. A small(er) University from up North and a good size University in the South, meeting up in Florida. Bulldogs are 5-7 and the Redhawks who are 6-6 have won 6 in a row. Honestly, this has to be the most boring bowl game. So, if you hate the SEC root for the hot team and hope for the best. I see MSU pulling it out, but I am not too confident on that.


Quick Lane Bowl: Ford Field Detroit, MI

Maryland vs. Boston College

A matchup of former ACC foes. I believe the x-factor in this game that will separate both of these 6-6 teams, will be the Special Teams play of Boston College. Look for the field position game to be big. I see B.C. pulling away slowly in the second half. You should watch this game to remember what it was like before realignment ruined college football.

2:30 ESPN

Camping World Independence Bowl: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

NC State vs. Vanderbilt

The reason to watch this game is the running attack of Vandy vs the ACC’s best rushing defense. Who bends first? I really like the NC State defense. I think that will be the separation needed to win this game. Time of possession will also be key in this game. Look for a tight game that can truly go anyway.


Tuesday Dec 27th

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl: Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, TX

Army vs. North Texas

The Black Knights are in their first bowl game in 6 years and on a roll after defeating Navy in their annual matchup. Mean Green are coming off of a 5 win season and just 3 wins in the Conference USA. I see this as a blowout by Army and maybe the biggest blowout of the bowl season. The offense of Army is clicking and even with UNT playing in front of basically a home crowd, look for this one to be over early. Full disclosure, I am a Army fan.


National Funding Holiday Bowl: Qualcomm Stadium San Diego, CA

Minnesota vs. Washington State

Before all the suspensions for Minnesota, this would’ve been a lot closer game. I see this as a game that can get ugly, depending on who you’re rooting for. Wazzu has a very serious passing attack and it will be the separation. We’ll see if Minnesota even plays this game though. Boycott?


Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

Boise State vs. Baylor

Boise State is a tough, gritty, fun team who can put up points. Baylor has been inconsistent. You should watcg to see if Baylor can hang, if they can then get ready for a classic. Baylor is going to need to get out and jump on a lead, quickly to remain in this game. If the Broncos get going early, then it will be over fast.

10:15 ESPN

Wednesday Dec 28

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Yankee Stadium Bronx, NY

Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern

Look for Pitt’s defensive line to be the reason they win this matchup. Now, if NW can find a way to stop the Pitt DL, then look for their offense to light it up. You need to watch this game, because it’s going to be a homerun in Yankee Stadium. Pitt wins in a close game.


Russell Athletic Bowl: Camping World Stadium Orlando, FL

West Virginia vs. Miami

WVU will prove early to be too much for Miami. WVU, is loaded on offense, as they always are. Ray Lewis isn’t at Miami anymore. This game doesn’t even look fair on paper. Watch this game because of the WVU Mascot, he is pretty epic!

5:30 ESPN

Foster Farms Bowl: Levi's Stadium Santa Clara, CA

Indiana vs. Utah

Utes will have this one is hand in the end, but IU isn’t a team to sleep on either. They are a team that could sneak in this game and surprise a lot of people. This is the first time since 1990-1991 that IU has made back to back bowl games. The question is how will the IU O-Line hold up vs the Utah D-line ? The -7 turnover margin for IU might be their undoing, but if they can win that battle, then who knows ? Watch for the slight chance that Utah shoots themselves in the foot.

8:30 Fox

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

Texas A&M vs. Kansas State

A meeting of former Big-12 foes, the Aggies will have the upperhand. Kansas St is outmatched in this game. Aggies will pull away early, in what could be a “home” game for TAMU. Only chance that KSU has is big plays on Special Teams. Look for this to be close in the 1st half. Why to watch? Bill Snyder is a genius and he loves KSU. You need to love Bill Snyder!


Thursday Dec 29

Birmingham Bowl: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

South Florida vs. South Carolina

The Gamecocks are poised to have a great recruiting class, but that doesn’t save them in this bowl. USF is coming off of their best season ever with 10 wins and look poised to continue their ways to 11 wins, but it won’t be easy. If SC can survive the front 7 of USF, then they might have a chance, but I see USF pulling away and winning. Why to watch ? Because these teams are heading opposite directions next season. So this might be the last time you see USF with 10 wins and SC with only 6.


Belk Bowl: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC

Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech

This is one of the most underrated bowl games. Both are high powered offenses who can put up points and quick. This will be exciting and very fun to watch! Who ever has less turnovers and the ball last, should win. Won’t be surprised by overtime either. Must watch if you like points!

5:30 ESPN

Valero Alamo Bowl: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

Oklahoma State vs. Colorado

Both teams can air it out and score points and both have decent defenses. Could be a thriller. Injuries to CU might damper things a little bit. Fanbases should be pretty even. Turnovers can change the tempo in this game. Play clean and with smart field position and you should be good. CU pulls it out in the end! Watch if you like points and want to see the youth of CU and OKSU! Teams who should continue to rise!

9pm ESPN

Friday Dec 30th

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN

Georgia vs. TCU

With the running game of UGA, look for this to be over lately. TCU doesn’t know how to stop the run. Chubb will EAT all day! TCU gives up 201 yards rushing on avg a game. The passing game of UGA will build around Chubb. Look for a lot of points on one side of the ball. Why watch ? UGA is one of the young teams in the SEC and they will be showcasing a lot of the future. Maybe Chubb’s last game in a UGA uniform.


Hyundai Sun Bowl: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX

Stanford vs. North Carolina

Stanford and UNC are both offensively loaded, one is a passing team (UNC) and the other a power running team (Stanford). If you like offense (seems to be a trend) then this is the bowl game for you. McCaffery and Trubisky both seemed poised to be in the 2017 NFL Draft, so this is the reason to watch. Also watchout for Love, the heir apparent to McCaffery.


Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City Bowl: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

Nebraska vs. Tennessee

Huskers if they want to win will run, run, run and rum some more. Tenn will be the 2nd worse rush defense that Neb will face. If Tenn can stop the run, then they have the advantage. Reason to watch this game? The positional battles will lead to a great game, both inside and outside of the trenches. Also watch to see what Riley does with his timeouts before halftime.

3:30 ESPN

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

South Alabama vs. Air Force

In a game of two teams who love to rush, who will have more..? Not just yards, but touchdowns ? You can really make this game into a drinking game. Double shots when a pass is attempted. Jags are good, but the Falcons are a little better. Look for Air Force to slowly pull away after halftime. O/U for yards combined? 1000? 2000? Enjoy responsibly folks!

5:30 ASN/C.I.

Capital One Orange Bowl: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL

Michigan vs. Florida State

Combined these two teams have 91 sacks. With that said, look for Cook (FSU RB) to expose that pours UM rushing defense. If Cook can run like he wants, it may cause the UM defensive backfield to creep up and then that will open up the passing game and it can get ugly. Look for there to be a healthy dose of D Cook and he will be the difference. Even if the O line is rusty from the layoff, that UM DL is bad, bad bad... Watch for 2 players, J Peppers (Heisman candidate) and D Cook (Heisman candidate). They have both/will declare for the draft.


Saturday Dec 31st

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

LSU vs. Louisville

There will be a lot of points in this game. Multiple players in this game that can score and quick. Heisman winner Lamar Jackson for Louisville. Fournette and Guice for LSU. I wouldn’t at all be shocked if this turned into a shootout. Whoever can force more turnovers and or come up with huge plays on 3rd down, wins this scoring fest. I say they combine for around a 100 points. Why to watch ? Because, even if you’re a defensive guy, you have to respect all the talent in this game, offensively. LSU comes up with timely sacks and a turnover or two and escapes with a win.

11 ABC

TaxSlayer Bowl: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL

Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky

Another game we will see a heavy rush, with the triple spread option of Tech. UK isn’t the best team against the run. I believe that the Tech defense will be able to contain the Cats and Snell. Leading to an easy victory over UK. Tech will then be 2-0 their last 2 matchups with SEC foes in the postseason (Miss St 2014).


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA (CFB Playoff Semifinal)

Washington vs. Alabama

Browning, Ross and company need to really step up against a Tide squad that is leading the nation 2,while the Huskies have 0. These two squads force turnovers. This game will go back and forth early, but whoever wins the turnover battle, should win. Saban and Peterson both have a month to plan. Browning and Hurts are two different QB’s and that makes it interesting. Bama likes to spread it out, while Bama likes to play pro style. Both defenses are stout and who ever bends and turns over the ball more, will lose. Hard to against Saban, in any game. Bama pulls away in the last 10 mins. Do I really have to list reasons to watch?


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: U. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Ohio State vs. Clemson

In this game it’s really about what Buckeyes squad will show up. Watson and Clemson will have their hands full, facing the toughest opponent they have on their schedule. Watson wants a stage to showcase his talent, this is it. But, I don’t see the Buckeyes Defense laying down. I see OSU forcing 2-3 turnovers by Watson, his one weakness is turnovers. OSU needs to capitalize on them. Watson is a fantastic talent, no doubt. But OSU has already forced 19 turnovers this season and it won’t stop. If Clemson can’t balance their offense, this can get ugly quick. Their running game has been very inconsistent. Watson’s favorite target, Mike Williams needs to have a career game, to help out his QB. A lot of future NFL talent in this game and so many ways this game can go, is why you need to watch!


Outback Bowl: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

Florida vs. Iowa

Iowa's running game vs. Florida's front seven. That’s the game, right there. So don't expect a shootout in this one. Instead, we're likely to see two hard-nosed defenses control the action while each team tries to scrape together drives. And lots of punts. First one to 21 wins ? Desmond King will cap his outstanding career in the Outback Bowl, and given the Gators' weak passing attack, he could go out with a bang. Florida quarterback Austin Alppleby is turnover prone. DEFENSE, DEFENSE DEFENSE in this game and one of the rare bowl games where that will be the case. Look for low scoring, but fun game. Iowa wins.


Goodyear Cotton Bowl: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin

The Broncos along with Corey Davis will “ Row The Boat “ away and away, from Wisconsin. I don’t see a situation where Wisconsin can hold the Broncos offense to a season low and that is what The Badgers would have to do, in order to win. Davis is the best player in the Nation that no one has heard of. Including the Heisman voters. Time of possession will be essential for Wisconsin, if they hope to win. Davis and the Broncos will pull away early.


Rose Bowl Game: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

USC vs. Penn State

Lions have had to come back a few times this season and if they get down early, they won’t be able to come back against a Trojans offense that has been clicking for a few weeks. Trojans may very well pull away early in this game. Why to watch? Can Franklin and the Lions pull off an upset in Trojans territory?


Allstate Sugar Bowl: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Auburn vs. Oklahoma

The Sooners, Mayfield, Westbrook, Mixon, etc will all be too much for an Auburn defense who will have fits against the offense of the Sooners. Oklahoma is 9th in the Nation in Game Control. Auburn lost their starting DT prior to this game and it’s a huge loss. Look for Bob Stoops and company to right the ship and end their 2 game bowl losing streak in dramatic fashion. Why watch? A powerful Big-12 Offense up against a Powerful SEC Defense! OU wins in the end.

8:30 ESPN