Between December 17th and January 9th a total of 35 Bowl Games will be played and we are going to discuss every single one of them. The WWL owns the rights to 33 of the 35 Bowl Games so there is hardly even any overlap between them. Thus, you have absolutely no excuse for not attempting to watch every single one of them. Their evil plan is working!
Sure, half of these games are sponsored by companies that you have never heard of, and feature teams that you didn't even realize were bowl eligible. That's half the fun right?
As ridiculous and controversial as the bowl season has become, I remain a guilty consumer. I am certain that in my case it is some combination of holiday spirit, tradition, and college football gluttony, but I really do enjoy watching all of the bowl games. I have also found over the years that a friendly bowl pool or two makes these games even more interesting. Just sayin'.
I am going to break these previews down into three digestible chunks over the course of the next couple of weeks. This first installment will cover the 10 games being played between December 17th and December 27th.
Like my weekly National Previews these previews will be equal parts viewer's guide and prognostications. Consider them a glimpse into the logic behind some of my picks in the OFD Bowl Mania pool. Did you sign up yet?
Since I am ineligible to win the free shirt you will have to guess as to whether or not I am intentionally trying to throw you off track when finalizing your picks. Strategy.
For those interested in the full TV schedule utilize the link below or one of the others in our left sidebar.
Rankings are per the BCS Standings.
*All times listed below are EST.
Games after the jump.Saturday 17 December
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Temple (8-4) vs Wyoming (8-4)
What is Gildan? Whatever. We will kick off bowl season with Temple roughing up Wyoming in the Land of Enchantment. Bring on the green chiles! The Cowboys will be attempting to stop the Owls #7 ranked rushing attack with their #115 ranked rushing defense. Good plan. Temple rolls.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio (9-4) vs. Utah State (7-5)
I think I liked it more when this game was sponsored by a truck stop. These two teams are a combined 1-7 in bowl games all time which makes this game ooze potential awesomeness. Both of these teams have a few close losses on the season and could have gone +/- a couple of wins in either direction. Will Frank Solich and the Bobcats pick up their first ever bowl victory on the Smurf Turf? Will anyone from Ohio make the trip in hopes of witnessing Bobcat history? I think the Ags cross the state line to the north and pick up a W in a close one.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
San Diego State (8-4) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (8-4)
Is it really smart to pick against the Ragin' Cajuns in their own backyard? Perhaps not but I'm going to do it anyway. With a local team in the mix I wonder if the Superdome will look as empty for this game as it does every other year? It won't phase the Aztecs as they are used to playing in an empty Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego State has a legit back in Ronnie Hillman and I think he's the difference in this game.
Tuesday 20 December
Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg
Florida International (8-4) vs. Marshall (6-6)
What is a 6-6 CUSA team doing in a bowl game? I guess that's what happens when your Head Coach kills Johnny Ringo. Marshall is not a good football team and has already been on the receiving end of a few beat downs this season. FIU on the other hand has a couple of athletes and a Head Coach with a rising stock in Mario Cristobal. I think the Golden Panthers get it done at The Trop.
Wednesday 21 December
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
#18 TCU (10-2) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
The Bulldogs are better than one might think. They started 1-3 with September losses to Southern Miss, Houston and Mississippi State by a combined total of 9 points. They then dropped a hangover game to Hawai'i before righting the ship and ripping off 7 straight wins to finish the season. TCU however, is TCU and it would be insanity to pick against them here. I think I might actually go to this game. I know they are having hell getting rid of the tickets. It could be a good time kicking it with the Frog people.
Thursday 22 December
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
Arizona State (6-6) vs. #7 Boise State (11-1)
Hey check it out, the #7 ranked team in the BCS standings is playing in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Makes sense right? Damned TCU! The Sun Devils finished the season by losing all 4 of their November contests to UCLA, Wazzu, Arizona and Cal. For that nice streak Dennis Erickson was sent packing just like the Head Coaches of those first three teams. Now the Sun Devils get to roll into Vegas and tangle with Kellen Moore and the Broncs. Unless Vontaze Burfict manages to knock Moore out of the game early this should be a Boise runaway.
Saturday 24 December
Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl
Nevada (7-5) vs. #21 Southern Miss (11-2)
If Larry Fedora wasn't on his way to Chapel Hill this pick would be a true no-brainer. The fact that he is out the door does give me a little pause here. But I seem to remember Nevada not showing up in this game at all a couple of years back against SMU so I'm not real inclined to jump on their bandwagon this time around. I'll stick with the Golden Eagles in what could end up being a pretty interesting shootout.
Monday 26 December
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Missouri (7-5) vs. North Carolina (7-5)
At a glance this appears to be anybody's ballgame but I actually think that Mizzu will pull away with this one in the end. The Tigers played a pretty tough schedule and lost some relatively close games to good football teams. In addition UNC has been pretty mediocre all season. Tigahs.
Tuesday 27 December
Little Caesars Bowl
Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6)
Neither of these teams come into this game having done much of anything that is impressive over the course of the season. Western Michigan is a pseudo decent MAC squad and the Boilers are a bad Big Ten team that clawed its way to 6-6 in ugly fashion. Bronco QB Alex Carder has shown an ability to generate some offense with his arm but the Western Michigan defense has been less than stellar across the board and downright incapable of stopping the run. Western Michigan could definitely win this game but I have to give Purdue the nod here. Surely Hope's squad will have some pride and prevent ending up with a losing record at the hands of a MAC squad.
Louisville (7-5) vs. NC State (7-5)
Louisville has an anemic offense and a pretty solid defense. I suppose that should be expected of a Charlie Strong coached team. The Wolfpack is just plain mediocre in all respects with the exception of their paper mache' run defense which is downright bad. Tom O'Brien and company did however manage to get it together and spank a pretty decent Clemson squad this year. If NC State shows up they should be able to win this game but I remain skeptical as Charlie Strong will likely have his team ready to play. The fact that the game is being played in Charlotte tips my hand to go with NC State here in a toss up.
What do you all think?