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Bowl Preview, Part 1

by Big Al

Yeah, I know, we all want the playoffs coming next year. But let's enjoy the wonderful weirdness that is the bowl season. A bunch of teams get to call themselves champions of something. I like to see teams succeed.

Myrtle Beach Bowl
Georgia Southern vs. Ohio

I miss the Bahamas Bowl. Two middle-of-the-road teams from a couple of lower-tier conferences get sent to the Bahamas in December. How sweet is that? Or at least it was sweet. Now them go to Conway, South Carolina. It's just not the same.

Anyway, we've got a team from Ohio against a team from Georgia. That's as much as I know about either team. Ooh, I do know that Ohio is from Athens, Ohio! And that's it for trivia.

Knowing that I pretty much never make a correct pick before Christmas, let's just go with Georgia Southern.

Cricket Celebration Bowl
Howard vs. Florida A&M

Well, we've got a 6-5 FCS team playing an 11-1 FCS team in a bowl game for some reason. The 11-1 team (Florida A&M) is so obvious a pick that I'm barely going to acknowledge I made it.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana

Thanks to a lack of bowl-eligible teams, Jacksonville State gets to go to a bowl game. I like their chances against Louisiana. So I'm picking Jacksonville State.

Avocados From Mexico Cure Bowl
Miami (OH) vs. Appalachian State

This game is being held in Orlando, Florida, which is not really anywhere near Mexico. But I guess they like avocados there? I don't know.

Miami is coming in at 11-2 and App State is coming in at 8-5. Miami seems like an obvious pick. But this is the sort of game that App State wins anyway. So I'm picking them to do just that.

Isleta New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico State vs. Fresno State

New Mexico State for the win in the New Mexico Bowl.

Starco Brands LA Bowl
UCLA vs. Boise State

I'd be all in with UCLA if their top quarterback wasn't in the transfer portal. So I'd then pick Boise State, but their quarterback is also in the transfer portal. This is sort of like a guy I used to play hockey with who told a story about relentlessly stopping a former pro hockey player because the pro kept doing double fakes, and this guy would still be reacting to the first fake. UCLA it is.

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
California vs. Texas Tech

See, now here is an interesting game between, um, two 6-6 teams. But they are in top-tier conferences! But both those conferences are basically evaporating over the next 3-4 weeks. Good gravy, can we just let both teams get a win here? Because I feel like they could use a little pick-me-up. No? Okay, well, Texas Tech then.

Famous Toastery Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion

And we're back to the obscure games. Um... I'll go with Western Kentucky because I like Big Red.

Scooter's Coffee Frisco Bowl
UTSA vs. Marshall

So, is Scooter's Coffee a coffee brand, or a coffee house chain? And does it really matter? I guess I'll find out if I manage to tune into this game. Anyway, UTSA it is.

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl
South Florida vs. Syracuse

I'm going with Syracuse here, because they're going to be a lot happier to be in Boca than South Florida is.

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Georgia Tech vs. UCF

I've got a pretty good idea of what Union Home Mortgage is. But I got no idea what a gasparilla is. Or even whether it's a proper noun. From what I can tell, nobody else has a clear idea of what it is either. Anyway, I'll go with Georgia Tech for reasons given above.

76 Birmingham Bowl
Troy vs. Duke

76? 76? 76? Oh, right, the gas station! Anyway, Duke wins because their backup quarterback, who is now the starter since Riley Leonard transfered, is pretty good himself.

Camellia Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Northern Illinois

Oh, let's go with Arkansas State here. I don't know why.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
James Madison vs. Air Force

Just like Jacksonville State, James Madison is benefitting from the lack of 6-6 teams in college football. But playing Air Force is hardly a good introduction to bowl season. Air Force wins.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Georgia State vs. Utah State

I love the fact that, at the end of this game, the winning coach gets doused with a bucket of french fries. One of those goofy little nods to the game being played. I like that. And I like Utah State to get the win, because it's cold in Boise in December.

68 Ventures Bowl
South Alabama vs. Eastern Michigan

I don't know what 68 Ventures is. But I assume that it is 68 Ventures, because I've never heard of a "Ventures Bowl" prior to this year. And in the battle of directional teams, I'm going with South Alabama.

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Utah vs. Northwestern

Northwestern's ability to make it to a bowl is one of the great stories of the season. They had a very rough offseason, so it's nice to see them bounce back. But Utah ruins the vibe.

EasyPost Hawai'i Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State

The last kickoff before Christmas Eve. In most of the country, it will be Christmas Eve by the time this game ends. Anyway, I like San Jose State to win, thanks to a much shorter flight, and being far less out-of-sorts in Hawai'i.

Columns

Bowl Preview, Part 2

The big finish of the last go-round of the old ways of doing things.

Bowl Preview, Part 1

The start of the celebrations of way too many teams in college football. But darn it, I love these games.

Week 14 Recap

Championship week is complete, and the conferences have their winners for 2023.

Week 14 Preview

Conference championship time. Let's take a look.

Week 13 Recap

Rivalry week definitely delivered.

Week 13 Preview

Rivalry week. There is nothing better.