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Bowl Preview, Part 1

by Big Al

It's time to pick games in the early part of bowl season. It often happens that I cannot pick one game right before Christmas, so we'll see how we do this year.

Saturday, December 15
Tulane vs. Louisiana - AutoNation Cure Bowl

It's a big 'ol Louisiana party in Orlando, with two teams from the Pelican State coming to the land of Mickey Mouse. I'll spare you any sort of made-up analysis and go with Tulane to win because I like their logo.

Utah State vs. North Texas - New Mexico Bowl

I feel like the winner of this game should get to have New Mexico for the rest of the year. I'll say Utah State, just because.

Arizona State vs. Fresno State - Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl

Herm Edwards has had quite a first year at Arizona State. And Jeff Tedford has turned around Fresno State in only two years in his own return to college head coaching. That is surprising lot of established coaching talent for the first day of bowl season. Look for Fresno State to establish themselves as a real player with a win here.

Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan - Raycon Media Camellia Bowl

Oh, how about Georgia Southern.

Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State - R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Appalachian State continues their rise.

Tuesday, December 18
UAB vs. Northern Illinois - Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

UAB continues the feel-good tour.

Wednesday, December 19
San Diego State vs. Ohio - DXL Frisco Bowl

Ohio continues losing bowl games.

Thursday, December 20
Marshall vs. South Florida - Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

I tried to figure out what a Gasparilla is, but I have only figured out that it is the name of a pirate festival in Tampa. It's named for Jose Gaspar, a pirate who may not have even existed. Either way, this is exactly the sort of ludicrous regionalism that is exactly what I love about bowl season. It's fun. That's the whole ____ point. You want to name your bowl after a festival named after an imaginary pirate? You make that happen, Tampa! Anyway, South Florida wins.

Friday, December 21
Florida International vs. Toledo - Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

Someone some time ago was making fun of this bowl. Because, you know, who wants to be in the Bahamas in December? Idiot. Anyway, Florida International wins.

Western Michigan vs. BYU - Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Okay, Idaho in December isn't exactly the sort of trip you win on a game show. But I love the cold-weather bowls. Something different. Though Western Michigan is probably going to be complaining about the heat. That will cost them against BYU.

Saturday, December 22
Memphis vs. Wake Forest - Jared Birmingham Bowl

Oh, hey, Wake Forest made it to a bowl! Great job Wake Forest! Anyway, Memphis wins.

Houston vs. Army - Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

I love Major Applewhite (I remember him from his days playing quarterback for Texas), but I don't see this Houston team winning a bowl game. Army it is.

Buffalo vs. Troy - Dollar General Bowl

Sun Belt vs. MAC. The Sun Belt always wins. Troy.

Hawai'i vs. Louisiana Tech - Sofi Hawai'i Bowl

I don't know of anybody who makes fun of the Hawai'i Bowl. Though maybe they should, since it's really just another home game for Hawai'i almost every year. But, again, Hawai'i ain't a bad place to be in December. Hawai'i wins their home game.

Wednesday, December 26
Boston College vs. Boise State - ServPro First Responders Bowl

Things really start getting interesting here. Boston College has been a decent ACC team. Boise State has been a very good Mountain West team. That is about even most years. But have you seen the ACC lately? Boise State.

Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech - Quick Lane Bowl

Oh hell, how about Minnesota?

California vs. TCU - Cheez-It Bowl

TCU has been up and down all year, but they seem to have settled into a quarterback of their future. California has been on fire for the last half of the season. No, literally, California has been burning. Lots. Not good. But I think getting away from the smoke will do the Bears some good. Cal wins.

Thursday, December 27
Temple vs. Duke - Walk-On's Independence Bowl

Temple made it to a bowl! This is big news for them. Duke has been chugging along with David Cutcliffe though, and they are actually a pretty good football team, all told. Duke wins.

Miami vs. Wisconsin - New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Another of my favorite bowls. It's in New York and it always snows. Every time. I think that, even if there's no snow, they should make snow for this game. That would be awesome! In other news, Miami has not been very good this year and Wisconsin has been sort of average. That's good enough for a Wisconsin win.

Baylor vs. Vanderbilt - Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

Twenty years ago, I would have spit my drink out if someone said that Baylor will be playing Vanderbilt in a bowl game. But now, it's not that big of a deal. Okay, it still is for Vanderbilt, but Baylor is an old hand at this. That may have something to do with Baylor being a good football team. Good enough for me. Baylor wins.

Friday, December 28
Purdue vs. Auburn - Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Purdue has been short on miracles since that game against Ohio State. And not even very good. Auburn wins.

West Virginia vs. Syracuse - Camping World Bowl

I'd be all in for West Virginia in the biggest matchup of the bowl season to this point. But Will Grier won't be playing in it, so Syracuse it is.

Iowa State vs. Washington State - Valero Alamo Bowl

Washington State had better be wary, Iowa State has a tendency to bite teams that come in expecting too much. I think Washington State will be ready though. So Washington State it is.

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