December 17 Bowl Final Thoughts, Predictions & Advice: Saturday Games
Check out the final thoughts, a few predictions, and some investment advice for the opening weekend of the bowl season – because you have to.
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Game Previews & Predictions
Gildan New Mexico: UTSA vs. New Mexico, 2:00, ESPN
Las Vegas: SDSU vs. Houston, 3:30 ABC
AutoNation Cure: Arkansas State vs. UCF, 3:30, ABC
Raycom Media Camellia, Toledo vs. Appalachian St, 5:30, ESPN
R&L Carriers New Orleans: Southern Miss vs. Louisiana, 9:00, ESPN
It’s such a happy time now that the games are back. Finally.
From WakeyLeaks (silly, not a real world issue), to the Joe Mixon tape (horrific, real world issue), to the Minnesota controversy (horrible, also, a real world issue), it’s been a rough time for the college football world.
The bowls can’t get here fast enough.
I’m about to tell you everything that’s about to happen in the first five games of the bowl season so you can go do something else with your lives – like freeze, or something – with the next installment coming out Sunday.
This is all just for spits, giggles, and entertainment purposes only. However, just in case you dabble …
First of all, this isn’t Russia, Danny. At least, it’s not Russia quite yet. No one’s making you do anything. If you don’t want to watch a bowl game, you don’t have to. You have nothing better to do, and it’s college football. Next month about this time, you’ll be begging for UTSA vs. New Mexico.
You’ll know right away whether or not the New Mexico Bowl is worth watching. New Mexico’s running game will put up massive yards, but UTSA needs to hang around in the first quarter. If the Lobos are up big early, it’s uh-oh time.
The Roadrunners will put up points, and they’ll make it interesting for a while, but the Lobos will pull away in the second half. The weather is supposed to be sort of ugly, but it’s perfect for the New Mexico ground game.
The Las Vegas Bowl might be the marquee game of the day, but if Houston has the faucet turned on, forget it. San Diego State has beaten two teams in bowl games – Hawaii and Wyoming. The Cougars could turn the lights out on this thing fast. But …
The San Diego State D is just good enough to make this interesting. The Major Applewhite factor will matter, though. The Cougars won’t have an issue with the interim head coaching world – they’ve got their guy. Las Vegas is giving you a gift with Houston at -4.5. You don’t say no to Las Vegas.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you wouldn’t normally watch Arkansas State vs. UCF on a bet. It’s probably going to be about 75-degrees warmer in Orlando than where you are. The conditions are going to be perfect.
It’s the last thing you want in an early bowl – a defensive slugfest. The AutoNation Cure Bowl over/under might be about ten points too light. If it’s not a UCF wipeout – I’m going to get killed on Twitter for that if it’s not – it’s going to be a low-scoring battle that won’t hit the 50-point mark.
If you can find an over/under on the running game in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, take the over. Way, way over.
Appalachian State is a good, smart, veteran team, but Toledo has the firepower. The Rocket and Mountaineer running games will play to a draw, but Logan Woodside will be the difference.
Forget about the defense. ASU and Toledo will go back and forth just like a Cameo song. The Rockets will win in a fun fight worth watching.
The crowd will be the X factor in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Louisiana-Lafayette – and, usually, the Sun Belt – play at another level in this. Southern Miss has the better team, but the Ragin’ Cajuns won four straight before New Orleans Bowls before last year. This is a Sun Belt bowl.
AND FINALLY … Minnesota is going to end up playing in the Holiday Bowl. I have no knowledge of this, but call it an educated guess. If you can get in on Gophers +9.5 – it’s being taken off the board in most books. Still not wavering of my call of Minnesota outright.