Teams & Conferences

Bowl Final Thoughts, Predictions & Advice: Heart of Dallas, Military, Holiday, Cactus

Bowl Final Thoughts, Predictions & Advice: Heart of Dallas, Military, Holiday, Cactus Bowls


Check out the final thoughts, a few predictions, and some investment advice for the Heart of Dallas, Military, Holiday and Cactus bowls – because you have to.


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– CFN Bowl Central with game previews & predictions

Game Previews & Predictions 
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas, Army vs. North Texas, Dec. 27, 12:00, ESPN
– Military, Temple vs. Wake Forest, Dec. 27, 3:30, ESPN
National Funding Holiday, Minnesota vs. Washington St, Dec. 27, 7:00, ESPN
Motel 6 Cactus, Boise State vs. Baylor, Dec. 27, 10:15, ESPN

It’s okay to admit it. The bowls have been fun and fantastic so far – give or take an AutoNation Cure Bowl here and a Miami Beach Bowl there – and even most of the ones that have been one-sided at least have been interesting.

But you don’t care about interesting. You’re still trying to figure out how to pay for that drone thing that’s already broken, or why you need to keep shelling out for film for a Polaroid camera, even though your kids have the greatest digital cameras ever invented in their phones.

At the very least, the big leagues are starting to ramp it up over the course of this tremendous bowl week. Along the way, check out how everyone is doing in the CFN Confidence Pool Picks.

This is all just for spits, giggles, and entertainment purposes only. However, just in case you dabble …

After Mississippi State slipped by Miami University, APR teams are 4-0 over the last two years. Just sayin’, North Texas.

For the uninitiated, APR is the Academic Progress Report. Those are the 5-7 teams that get in on – as you might guess – their academic progress when there aren’t enough bowl eligible teams with 6+ wins. They just seem to be happier to be in bowls. Throw in Hawaii, and the teams in the last two bowl seasons with losing records are 5-0.

And the Heart of Dallas Bowl is a home game for North Texas. And the Mean Green Rick-rolled Army 35-18 in the first meeting.

So let’s just say there are plenty of factors working against the Black Knights winning this game by more than 11.

The 48.5 total seems a wee bit light, too. The conditions should be fine, and the two offenses combine to average more than 53 points per game.

Have we learned anything from the ACC so far? Boston College played out of its gourd in the Quick Lane win over Maryland, and NC State rocked a decent and jacked up Vanderbilt team. What was the big key? Both of the ACC teams forced a ton of turnovers.

Wake Forest is 15th in the nation in turnover margin. Temple doesn’t have its head coach anymore. Do with that what you will.

Have we learned anything from the American Athletic Conference so far? Yeah, it stinks in bowl games. Tulsa beat Central Michigan, but Houston, UCF, Memphis and Navy all clunked.

So let’s just say there are plenty of factors working against the Owls winning this game by more than 12.

Minnesota, after all of that misguided hoo-ha, you have better show up in San Diego.

Not sure if it really matters or not, but Luke Falk announcing that he’s coming back for his final year at Washington State should matter.

No, I don’t hate the Pac-12. I just don’t think it was any good at playing college football this season, with all due respect. With that said, I can’t ditch my original pick of Minnesota to win this thing outright – much less cover the 10 – but the suspensions that the Gopher players went to the wall for affect the secondary the most. That’s not a good thing when facing the Cougars.

I keep saying this thinking it means something. Sorry if you’ve already heard this a million times – the Pac-12’s best non-conference win this year was Stanford over Kansas State. There isn’t a No. 2 on the best-win list.

Considering last year’s Holiday Bowl was brilliant – a Wisconsin thriller against USC – and ended around 2:30 am EST, the earlier time for this year’s version has a lot to live up to.

Speaking of late games, last year’s Arizona State-West Virginia Cactus Bowl might have been the best of the bowl season. This had better be worth the 10:15 EST start time.

Okay, I’ll ask. Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols rightly chose to forego his senior year to go to the NFL. And he’s playing against Baylor, why?

An okay bowl season for the Mountain West can turn into a great one with a Boise State win.

Boise State has had a habit of keeping games close this year that it probably shouldn’t. Baylor might be ready to gear it up for one final big performance before the whole world starts anew. Even so, it’s the No. 1, top-spot, most-confident straight-up game in the CFN Confidence Pool Picks, and Boise State had better play like it.

But 83% the country will be sleeping by the time this game ends, so if Baylor pulls this off, it’ll be swept aside with four more bowl games coming Wednesday.

AND FINALLY … as you’re reading this, I’ll probably be on a plane to Atlanta. My early call? Washington covers the massive 14-point spread. I can’t wait to see the attitude of the Huskies – I need this one. I totally whiffed on my first two semi-final CFP games I covered – I picked Florida State to beat Oregon and Oklahoma to beat Clemson.