Bowls, Part I
by Big Al
It's bowl season again, which means it's time for me to perform my annual exercise in futility known as my bowl picks. Seriously, I stink at this. But that's part of the fun.
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl - December 17
North Carolina Central vs. Grambling
Considering I have hardly seen any college football all year, I am hardly qualified to make picks for most of these bowl games. This one especially, since you have about zero chance of seeing any FCS games all year... doubly so for HBCU games. So I'll go with Grambling, because I do love that name. Just say it: "Grambling". It's looks cool in print and it sounds cool when you say it. Sure, the reasoning is silly, but it's no sillier (or just blindly wrong) than any of the other picks here.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl - December 17
New Mexico vs. UTSA
Heck, I don't know. How about New Mexico, because they're at home for this "neutral site" game.
Las Vegas Bowl Presented by Geico - December 17
Houston vs. San Diego State
This is actually one of the most interesting games of the bowl season. Houston is coming off a very good season, but lost their coach to Texas after the end of the season. Motivation may be low due to losing their coach, or may be high to show they don't need him. On the other side, San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey only needs 108 yards on the ground to set a new career rushing record. Either way, this is a pretty evenly matched game between two good teams that aren't quite at the top level of FBS. Which is exactly the sort of thing you want from your early bowl games. Look for San Diego State to take down a Houston team that is going to be a little lost.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl - December 17
Appalachian State vs. Toledo
Have seen neither team play a single down all year. So I'll go with the team from farther south: Appalachian State it is.
AutoNation Cure Bowl - December 17
UCF vs. Arkansas State
UCF is another neutral site home team. After a down year last year, I'll go with them to finish it off strong.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - December 17
Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
It used to be that everyone would talk about what a stupid bowl this is and why would anyone want to go to it? Because it's in New Orleans... duh. It's kind of like Las Vegas, except there's no gambling, there's way more booze, and the best shows are free. Anyway, I'll pick Louisiana-Lafayette because I have to pick somebody.
Miami Beach Bowl - December 19
Central Michigan vs. Tulsa
This is a game between teams that ain't so bad. Central Michigan knocked off Oklahoma State this year, and Tulsa was pretty decent all around. I'll go with Tulsa here.
Boca Raton Bowl - December 20
Memphis vs. Western Kentucky
Heck, I don't know. How about Memphis?
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - December 21
BYU vs. Wyoming
This game has a tendency to produce some very good games. This year is more that. I approve. And I pick BYU.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - December 22
Idaho vs. Colorado State
Idaho is home for the holidays... before the holidays even start. So they are doubly home for the holidays. But I'll still take Colorado State.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl - December 23
Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion
With all the teams that have been joining the FBS in the last few years, I sometimes forget that some of them have made the move. Like Old Dominion, for instance. And they are bowl eligible this year. Why not pick them to win their first bowl? Don't have a reason, so I'll run with it.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl - December 24
Louisiana Tech vs. Navy
It's the Armed Forces Bowl, I'll pick the armed force. Actually, I think I always do that. Navy it is.
Dollar General Bowl - December 24
Ohio vs. Troy
Every year, some MAC team goes down to Mobile and gets blasted by some Sun Belt team. And, for some reason, the entire game is very poorly lit when you watch it on television. I hope it's better in person. Who am I to argue with history. Troy.
Hawai'i Bowl - December 24
Middle Tennessee at Hawai'i
Let's not kid ourselves, there is nothing neutral about this site.
This bowl has usually been a cutoff point between my complete incompetence and my ability to make some decent picks. Which side of the line this game falls on, however, is anyone's guess.
Hawai'i is not very good. Middle Tennessee State is okay. How's that for a convincing for MTSU?