How good are the bowl games? Ranking all the bowl matchups from the worst-looking to the best, continuing with the bowls ranked 11th to 20th.
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Ranking The 2017-2018 Bowls: 11-20
Ranking all the bowls on the how-much-do-you-have-to-watch-them scale, here’s the next tier. These are the bowls good enough that you need them in your life. You want them into your life.
These should be good.
In order from the ones because-you-have-to, to the ones because-you-HAVE-to, here we go …
Bowl Cool Scale: You got an amazing new phone, but you call it the letter X.
20. TaxSlayer Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Louisville -6.5, o/u: 63
It’s a shot at seeing Lamar Jackson play college football for – almost certainly – the last time, but what sort of Mississippi State team will show up?
New head coach Joe “it’s a last name not a condition” Moorhead will be around, but it’s not his ship to sail quite yet. Without Nick Fitzgerald at quarterback, and with the program in total overhaul, will the Bulldogs care?
Why so low, though? He says he’ll play, but if by some chance Jackson comes to his senses and sits this thing out to save himself for the NFL – he’s now the No. 1 QB on some boards – then there’s no reason to watch.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the TaxSlayer swag bag will include enough pre-hacked dark web fake identities to file a slew of phony fake tax returns.
19. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
Michigan State vs. Washington State -3, o/u: 45
Maybe, just maybe, Mike Leach will say something weird, and people will laugh nervously, just because.
Maybe, just maybe, Washington State won’t lay an egg like it did in last year’s Holiday Bowl when a depleted Minnesota team tried harder in a 17-12 win. Nothing to see here on the CFP loss to Alabama two seasons ago, but Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State won four straight bowl games before the debacle.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the San Diego County Credit Union swag bag will include a pre-qualified Home Sweet HELOC equity loan at competitive rates.
18. Outback Bowl
Michigan -7.5 vs. South Carolina, o/u: 43
Back in the old country, when you decide to fire your offensive coordinator, you don’t do it while preparing for one of the best defenses in college football.
South Carolina’s offense is boring, and it wanted to quit being so boring because it was boring everyone, so now offensive coordinator Kurt Roper goes from being in the mix for the Rice head coaching job, to not, to getting a peanut butter sandwich and a bus ticket by USC.
However, if you really want to have some fun with the social media world and the fan reaction to a bowl and Jim Harbaugh, watch what happens if the Gamecocks pull this off.
Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson isn’t a Wolverine yet, but Brandon Peters should be back.
By the way, the combined final scores of the last two Outback Bowls? SEC 75, Big Ten 9.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Outback swag bag will include a Big Aussie Bloom, a Lipitor, and a race to see which one wins first.
17. Foster Farms Bowl
Arizona -3.5 vs. Purdue, o/u: 66
I’ve been hurt before. I’m still scarred by Purdue’s 58-14 loss in your 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The Boilermakers will be jacked up to be here under first year head coach Jeff Brohm, but there’s still a concern that 1) Brohm is still on the radar for any and every decent coaching opportunity, and 2) Arizona QB Khalil Tate will be rested and ready.
This might be really fun if these two go at it in a firefight from the start. Or, Purdue peaked with its Indiana win, Arizona is mad because of its Arizona State loss, and Tate is about to run for 935 yards in front of a Foster Farms Bowl crowd of dozens.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Foster Farms swag bag will include a recipe for a delightful Lime Gorgonzola Chicken Melt.
16. Cactus Bowl
UCLA -2.5 vs. Kansas State, o/u: 63.5
For some mind-mumblingly insane reason, Josh Rosen might actually play in this. Crazy for the future NFL franchise quarterback, great for all of us – especially those of you who find that whole playing defense thing a nuisance.
Chip Kelly isn’t a part of the show yet, and with a coaching change there’s an outside chance the Bruins just don’t show up.
However, if this works like it’s supposed to, Rosen will throw for a gajillion yards against the second-worst pass defense in college football, Kansas State will run for a gajillion yards against the second-worst run defense in college football, and this will be an insane shootout to make up for your 2016 Cactus Bowl wasting everyone’s time with a 31-12 Baylor win over Boise State.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Cactus Bowl swag bag will include a title sponsor.
15. AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Iowa State vs. Memphis -3.5, o/u: 66.5
It’s the biggest upset of the bowl season – both teams still have their elite young head coaches. Memphis head man Mike Norvell and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell each signed contract extensions, and that should help make these two ready to rock with no interruption.
Lots of scoring, lots of offense, no Memphis defense = fun. However, the Tigers were destroyed in their last two bowls by a combined score of 82-41, and Iowa State was blown out in its last two bowl appearances in 2011 and 2012.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the AutoZone swag bag will include the dumpy-thin guy in the ads who wants to “get you what you need.”
14. Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
Texas vs. Missouri -3, o/u: 60.5
Texas will bring the defense in a pressure-packed game after closing out the season with a clunker against Texas Tech. Missouri will bring the offensive punch even without offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.
For the two head coaches – Tom Herman of Texas and Barry Odom of Missouri – a win will make this a much, much better offseason, and their teams should play like it.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Academy Sports + Outdoors swag bag will include a IWI Tavor SAR Flattop .223 Rem/5.56 NATO Semiautomatic Rifle.
13. Camping World Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State -6.5, o/u: 63
How do both teams still have their head coaches? It wouldn’t have been the slightest shock if Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente was taking over the Florida State gig, and Mike Gundy appeared to be all but gone to Tennessee.
These two were the third-best teams in their respective conferences, and both were in the mix for the College Football Playoff late in the process. Now it would be nice if they just played a decent game.
The Camping World/Russell Athletic has been a powerful brand of awful over the last four years, with the winning side taking the bowl by a combined score of 156 to 67.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Camping World Bowl swag bag will include a FloJet RV Waste Pump Kit and a Porta-Pak Holding Tank Deodorizer and Waste Digester with a Fresh Clean Scent.
12. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Army vs. San Diego State (No Line Yet)
The two teams will combine for about 700 rushing yards, there will be a grand total of 15 passes thrown – all by San Diego State – and it’s a chance to see 2,000-yard rusher Rashaad Penny do his thing.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Lockheed Martin swag bag will include a potpourri of Special Edition Dual Mode Laser Guided Bombs.
11. DXL Frisco Bowl
SMU -5 vs. Louisiana Tech, o/u: 70
With Chad Morris off doing his thing for Arkansas, what does SMU do now? Nothing. The machine rolls.
It’s SMU vs. Louisiana Tech – why is it this high on the list? Offense, offense, offense. SMU is all about the O – and who isn’t? – and doesn’t play any D. The Bulldogs haven’t cranked up its attack like last year’s juggernaut, but watch out – this will be a wild and crazy shootout in the inaugural bowl.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the DXL swag bag will be loaded with a lovely assortment of big and tall dress shirts and tees.