Previews And Predictions For All 35 Bowl Games
Previews and Predictions for all 35 Bowl Games
The Bowl season is finally upon us, and there are great matchups galore, but who will be the surprise teams of this bowl season? The Bowl season gives college football fans a few more presents around the holidays, but will your team deliver a win and some holiday joy, or will they deliver a clunker of a performance? Several teams have already gotten their gifts for just making a bowl game they do not deserve, but some teams have a BCS game win on their Christmas list.
Who will be the players that show up this bowl season? There will be the usual suspects, but which under-the-radar players will step up and shine in the national spotlight? Some players and teams are just at the bowl games for a free vacation and the swag bag, but the true players are there to add another win to their resume and support the team. Several high-profile athletes have the chance to go out on top with a win, but will they deliver career defining performances?
The biggest matchups come at the end of the bowl season, but which Non-BCS Bowl will be the best? Bowl games usually come down to who wants it more, but the coaching carousel has shaken things up this year. With so many coaches changing locales, it is hard to tell how their former teams will do. Will an interim coach step up to the challenge and lead their team to victory? Bowl season is one of the best spectacles in sports due to the many storylines it provides and the sheer volume of games.
Let's take a look at all 35 bowls and decipher who has the edge in each one.
Greg Douglas is a College Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
This game features two programs that have not been to a bowl game in quite some time. Washington State has not been to a bowl game since 2003 and Colorado State has not been bowling in four years. The matchup features the Air Raid offense of Washington State and the more balanced attack of Colorado State.
Prediction: Washington State wins. Even though Colorado State's offense is balanced, the Rams have not proven themselves against a quality opponent. Washington State's Air Raid offense will be too much for the Rams in a high-scoring contest.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
This bowl game features standout quarterback Derek Carr and the coaching carousel that is USC. The game features a clash of styles when an offensive-minded Bulldogs squad goes up against the defensively-tough Trojans. In arguably the best matchup before New Year's day, the Bulldogs of Fresno State will look to upset the mighty Trojans of Southern California.
Prediction: Fresno State Wins. Historically, USC does not show up for lower-level bowl games, and the departure of Oregeron will have an emotional impact on a young team. Derek Carr and Fresno State have something to prove to the country, and the team will do just that in the bowl game.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Both of these teams had a rocky start to the season, but have since bounced back nicely and look to finish off the season on a high note. The matchup features the MAC against the Mountain West in a game that will likely go down to the wire.
Prediction: San Diego State Wins. San Diego State has gone through a more difficult schedule this season which has prepared the Aztecs for this game.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
The New Orleans Bowl features two teams that are no stranger to a game at the Superdome. Tulane are going bowling for the time since 2002 and are playing in the team's home city. This will be Louisiana-Lafayette's third straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, but will the result be the same as in previous years? Who will come out on top in the Big Easy?
Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette Wins. Even if Broadway is unavailable for this game, the Ragin' Cajuns will lean on the run game to get the job done. The Green Wave's offense is balanced, but a lack of explosiveness will hurt Tulane in this game.
Beef "O" Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg
This matchup features two veteran quarterbacks who have led their team to respectable records and will look to cap off the season with a win in the bowl game. Both teams like to throw the ball around the lot, but who will win this high-scoring affair?
Prediction: East Carolina Wins. The Pirates' offense is simply too much for the Bobcats' defense to handle. East Carolina will win handily as Tettleton continues to struggle offensively.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
This matchup features two teams from the west that have different styles on offense. The Broncos of Boise State like to keep a balanced attack while the Beavers of Oregon State are a pass-heavy team. Who will win this clash of styles in what could be a shootout on the island?
Prediction: Oregon State Wins. This is not the BCS-busting Broncos of years past. The Broncos' offense is lethargic at times and the defense is not exactly noteworthy. The Broncos will not be able to keep pace with the Beavers' offense, and the Mannion-to-Cooks connection will be lethal in this game.
Little Caesars Bowl
This bowl features two teams trending in opposite directions when an offensively-challenged Panthers team meets a defensive-minded Falcons squad in one of the more lopsided contests of the bowl season. The name recognition will get you into a bowl, but it will not win it for you.
Prediction: Bowling Green Wins. Bowling Green has not lost a game since October, and a balanced offense gives the Falcons the edge over a mediocre Panthers team.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
This bowl features a matchup of two teams that lost in the conference championship. The stout defense of Utah State meets up with one of the more dynamic quarterbacks in the country in Jordan Lynch.
Prediction: Utah State Wins. Utah State's defense is similar to Bowling Green's defense, and Falcons were able to shut down the Heisman finalist. This game should be reminiscent of the MAC Championship where Utah State stops Lynch while the Aggies' offense puts up points at will.
Military Bowl - Pres. By Northrop Grumman
The Military Bowl features the high-octane offense of the Thundering Herd and the underrated playmaker C.J. Brown. Marshall's offense features a plethora of weapons, but Maryland's offense only has one true threat.
Prediction: Marshall Wins. Marshall's offense is more balanced and Maryland's defense has been shaky throughout the season.
The Texas Bowl features an ACC vs Big 10 matchup where points will be at a premium. Minnesota and Syracuse do not score a lot of points, but the teams do not give up a lot either, so don't expect a shootout. Which team will prevail in this defensive struggle?
Prediction: Minnesota Wins. Minnesota wins a close game in an ugly defensive struggle. Cobb leads the way for the Golden Gophers and proves to be the difference in this matchup.
Fight Hunger Bowl
The Cougars and the Huskies both average over 30 points a game, so this game could come down to who has the ball last. Both teams have played difficult schedules this season and are run-heavy offenses. These two teams are a carbon copy of one another, but who will get the win in the city by the bay?
Prediction: Washington Wins. BYU scores points and has a good defense, but the Cougars have not faced a Washington-caliber team all season. Washington's balanced attack gives them the edge over BYU and Taysom Hill.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
The Pinstripe bowl features two teams that have underperformed this year. While Rutgers was near the bottom of the AAC conference, Notre Dame fell off after last season's trip to the Championship. Which team will get the win in iconic Yankee stadium?
Prediction: Notre Dame Wins. Notre Dame is simply the better team, and Rutgers is just lucky to be in a bowl game. Notre Dame will assert their dominance and win the game by a comfortable margin.
The Belk Bowl features two surging teams and a battle of backup quarterbacks. The Bearcats return to the Belk Bowl after winning the game last season, but can Cincinnati repeat?
Prediction: North Carolina wins. North Carolina has played the tougher schedule this season, which has the Tar Heels ready for this game. The insertion of Williams has sparked the Tar Heels to success, which should carry over to the bowl game.
Russell Athletic Bowl
The Russell Athletic Bowl features two pro-caliber quarterbacks in Stephen Morris and Teddy Bridgewater. Miami's high-powered offense meets Louisville's strong defense in a clash of styles, but what kind of pace will this game have? This game will likely come down to Louisville's defense, and the Cardinals' ability to stop the Miami offense.
Prediction: Miami Wins. Louisville has not seen a team like Miami this season, and that will be a great hindrance to the Cardinals in the bowl game. Miami's three dominant receivers will be on the field together once again, which will prove to be the difference in this game.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Michigan and Kansas State were both picked to finish toward the top of their respective conferences, but both finished middle of the pack. Both teams will be looking for redemption, but only one can raise the trophy. What will happen when the pass-heavy offense of Michigan meets the run-heavy offense of Kansas State?
Prediction: Michigan Wins. Even though Michigan lost to Ohio State, the Wolverines found their rhythm in the season finale and look to build on that good outing. Michigan is a more complete team than Kansas State and the Wolverines should control both sides of the ball.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
The Armed Forces Bowl features the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State and the Navy Midshipmen. This marks the first time the two programs have ever met on the gridiron, but will the Blue Raiders be able to outscore the Midshipmen?
Prediction: Navy Wins. The Midshipmen offense is difficult to figure out and the Blue Raiders will not be able to figure out Navy's offensive scheme.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
The Music City Bowl features the triple-option of the Yellow Jackets and the up-tempo offense of the Rebels. The Rebels' offense has been rolling all season, but the team is coming into the bowl game on a two-game losing streak. The Yellow Jackets have struggled on the offensive side of the ball at times this season, and a matchup against an SEC defense will not help the offensive struggles.
Prediction: Ole Miss Wins. Ole Miss' balanced attack gives the Rebels the edge in this game. The Rebels' offense should have their way with the Yellow Jackets' defense, and the Rebels' defense should put an end to Georgia Tech's option-offense success.
Valero Alamo Bowl
The headline of the Alamo Bowl will be centered around Mack Brown's swansong, but can the Longhorns deliver a win in Brown's last ride? The Ducks bring the electric carnival uniforms down to Texas to play the Longhorns in their backyard, but will talent or emotions prevail in this game?
Prediction: Oregon Wins. The talent discrepancy will be just too much for the Longhorns to overcome in Brown's farewell.
National University Holiday Bowl
The Holiday Bowl is sure to be a shootout when the Sun Devils of Arizona State go up against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. Both teams are pass-oriented, but can the Big 12 team get the better of their PAC 12 counterparts? Texas Tech is currently in a state of turmoil after starting quarterback Baker Mayfield decided to transfer just weeks before the team's bowl game.
Prediction: Arizona State Wins. Texas Tech has fallen and the Red Raiders cannot get up. Arizona State should manhandle their vulnerable opponent.
AdvoCare V100 Bowl
The AdvoCare Bowl features the nation's top two rushers when the Arizona Wilcats play the Eagles of Boston College. Heisman finalist Andre Williams meets PAC 12 standout Ka'deem Carey in a game that will be won in the trenches. Both teams lost the regular season finale, but the bowl game gives these two teams a chance to end the season on a high note.
Prediction: Arizona Wins. While Arizona has only won seven games this season, the Wildcats have hung around with some of the best teams in the country. If the Wildcats shut down Williams, the Eagles will have a tough time keeping up in the game.
Hyundai Sun Bowl
The Sun Bowl features two dual-threat quarterbacks who are hungry for a bowl win in Brett Hundley and Logan Thomas. While the Hokies' season has been a roller coaster ride, the Bruins have been consistent in the PAC 12. Virgina Tech has not fared well against PAC 12 teams, but the Hokies have a chance to change that trend in the Sun Bowl.
Prediction: UCLA wins. The Bruins offense features multiple weapons that will create havoc for the Hokies' defense. Hundley will get the better of Thomas in a quarterback duel.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
The Liberty Bowl matches the Conference USA champions up with a bottom-feeder SEC team. While the Owls beat up on weaker teams throughout the season, the Bulldogs went through the gauntlet of the SEC. Can a team from a mid-level conference knock off a team from the best conference in college football?
Prediction: Mississippi State wins. Mississippi State's six losses came against teams that are ranked in the top-25 of the current BCS. Rice has better numbers across the board, but Mississippi State has something to prove in this game.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl features the most surprising team in the country in Duke and the most entertaining player in college football. This will more than likely be Johnny Manziel's final game as a collegiate athlete, and what a show it might be. Can Duke spoil Manziel's farewell or will Johnny Football light it up one more time?
Prediction: Texas A&M wins. Manziel will not lose the final game of his college career. He has had breakout games before, but he will bring out all the stops for this game to create a highlight-reel win over Duke.
Heart Of Dallas Bowl Pres. by Plainscapital Bank
You will probably not be watching this game with all of the options on New Year's Day, but the UNLV Running Rebels will look to turn around their 93rd-ranked defense in points allowed when the team faces North Texas, whose defense is in the top-10 in the country in points allowed. They will look to shut down the UNLV offense in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Prediction: North Texas Wins. The Mean Green's defense will stop the offense of the Runnin' Rebels and win this game. North Texas will be able to run the ball down hill against the bad front of UNLV.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
The classic SEC vs. Big 10 rivalry is in full effect for this game when the Georgia Bulldogs play the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Let the battle of backup quarterbacks begin in a game that will be centered around the run. Who will earn bragging rights for conference supremacy in this game?
Prediction: Georgia Wins. Both teams have dealt with injuries throughout the season, but Georgia has the more talented players remaining. Georgia will impose its will on the Cornhuskers and come out of the game with a win.
The SEC vs. Big 10 rivalry is renewed when the LSU Tigers meet up with the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl. Both teams feature multiple running backs and a stingy defense, but who will get the victory when conference pride is on the line?
Prediction: LSU wins. Even without Mettenberger, LSU is still the far more talented team and the Tigers will prove that in the game. A heavy dose of Hill will open up lanes for the other backs to run through late in the game.
Capital One Bowl
The Capital One Bowl features Wisconsin's two talented running backs and the bionic man of South Carolina. Shaw and head coach Steve Spurrier have had success over the past few years, but can the senior quarterback deliver another bowl win?
Prediction: South Carolina Wins. Wisconsin has the eighth-best rushing attack in the country, but the Badgers are one dimensional. South Carolina will contain the Badgers' running game, and Shaw will have a solid performance for the offense.
Rose Bowl Game Pres. by Vizio
The grandaddy of them all features two hard-nosed defenses and two smash-mouth rushing attacks in a battle of brawn. Stanford and Michigan State won their conference championship games to get here, but who will win this test of wills? The PAC 12 has had the Big 10's number in the Rose Bowl for several years now, but can Michigan State pull off the upset?
Prediction: Stanford Wins. While Michigan State has beaten two top-25 teams, Stanford has beaten seven. Stanford is the more proven team and the Cardinal has better players on both sides of the ball.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl features two of the best quarterbacks in the nation when Blake Bortles of UCF meets Bryce Petty of Baylor. This bowl figures to be a shootout when two good offenses meet in the desert. Will the AAC champion get the best of the Big 12 powerhouse in this bowl?
Prediction: Baylor Wins. Baylor's offense is one of the best in the country and UCF has not seen a similar attack all season. This game could get ugly in the second half if Baylor gets in a groove.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
The Sugar Bowl features two of the most storied programs in college football history when Alabama meets Oklahoma. Fate has brought these two teams together for a duel after Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had a few choice words for the SEC in the preseason. Be careful what you wish for Bob, because now you have to go against one of the SEC's best. The Sultan of the SEC looks to stomp Stoops in the Sugar Bowl, but will this game be reminiscent of the 2009 Sugar Bowl when Alabama lost to Utah?
Prediction: Alabama wins. Alabama's defense should completely shut down the Sooners' attack and get the easy win. McCarron could have a big day in his college finale.
AT&T Cotton Bowl
The Cotton bowl renews an old Big 12 rivalry when Oklahoma State meets Missouri. The Cowboys were a minute away from a BCS bid when the arch-rival snatched that opportunity away. Missouri lost a spot in the national championship with the loss to Auburn in the the SEC Championship. Both teams will be hungry to avenge losses in the Cotton Bowl, but who will win when two old foes collide?
Prediction: Oklahoma State wins. The Cowboys' offense will prove too much for Missouri's secondary. Missouri will not be able to keep pace in a high-scoring game.
Discover Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl features two teams that lost their regular season finale when the Clemson Tigers face the Ohio State Buckeyes. Clemson lost to the two best teams the Tigers played this season, but have a chance to get a statement win against the Buckeyes. Ohio State lost in the Big 10 Championship to the Spartans and will now look for redemption against a high-octane offense.
Prediction: Ohio State Wins. Clemson has the better talent, but the Tigers never perform well in the postseason. Hyde should be able to gash Clemson's defense and carry the Buckeyes to a much-needed win.
BBVA Compass Bowl
The Compass Bowl features two middle-of-the road teams looking for a statement win in a post-New Year's Bowl. The Vanderbilt Commodores face the Houston Cougars in an offensive battle that will come down to the wire.
Prediction: Houston Wins. The Commodores will be without their starting quarterback and the Cougars' defense will fluster the backup. Houston's passing offense will be enough to beat Vanderbilt.
The final game before the BCS National Championship features the Red Wolves of Arkansas State and the Ball State Cardinals. Arkansas State returns to Mobile for the third-straight season, but the Red Wolves will be without coach Bryan Harsin who bolted to Boise State. Ball State looks to atone for a late-season loss to Northen Illinois in a game that would have sent the Cardinals to the MAC Championship.
Prediction: Ball State Wins. The Cardinals have the better offense in this game and will be able to pick apart Arkansas State's secondary.
BCS National Championship
Two surprise teams have made it all the way to Pasadena this year, but who will be holding the crystal ball when the night is over? Heisman winner Jameis Winston leads the Seminoles into battle against the top-ranked rushing attack in all the land. Can the frosh from Florida State deliver a long overdue championship, or will the Auburn Tigers' storybook season end happily ever after?
Prediction: Auburn Wins. Auburn's running attack has yet to be stopped this year, and an ACC defense will not be the first one to figure it out. Jameis Winston will crumble under the pressure, and the Tigers will win a high-scoring game.