How good are the bowl games? Ranking all the bowl matchups from the worst-looking to the best, starting with the bottom nine.
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Ranking The 2017-2018 Bowls: The Bottom Nine
Pre-Bowl Season Rankings
How awesome is your bowl?
There are 39 of them all leading up to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Of course you’re going to care about all of them all because 1) it’s college football, duh. 2) Otherwise, you have to go shopping for stupid stuff. 3) You invest, therefore, almost every day is Christmas from now until January 8th.
And they’re all wonderful in their own, magical way.
Some bowls are Lonzo, some are LiAngelo, but like you do with the Balls, you’re going to watch.
In order from the ones because-you-have-to, to the ones because-you-HAVE-to, here we go …
Bowl Cool Scale: Like going to an Imagine Dragons concert. Before they open for U2. And you’re that guy wearing the Imagine Dragons t-shirt to the Imagine Dragons concert. And your mom is the one holding the “U2 URock!” sign.
39. AutoNation Cure Bowl
WKU -5 vs. Georgia State, o/u: 52
WKU has a nice passing game, but Georgia State doesn’t score. This might actually be a close, entertaining game if you like close, entertaining competitive games between teams that weren’t very good at college football this season.
But it’s one of the first bowls of the season, and there’s a terrific cause behind the name and the game. Now that the polite portion of our program is out of the way …
38. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Temple -7 vs. FIU, o/u: 56
To be fair, if the two passing games get going, this might turn out to be almost as wild as the bowl name. (Sorry, low-hanging fruit to do an “oh that wacky bowl name” dig so early in the article. I’d like to think I’m better than that. We all would. Please read on anyway.)
For those who find it interesting to watch a former superstar college head coach do wonderful things at a program that needed a boost, Butch Davis really did work some magic for FIU.
37. Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State -5.5 vs. Marshall, o/u: 58
Problem 1: Colorado State has lost its last three bowl games.
Problem 2: There’s no way the Rams can play a game remotely as good a game as last year’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – a 61-50 loss to Idaho.
Problem 3: Marshall is boring. It’s efficient, but it doesn’t score enough.
Problem 4: Marshall has won its last four bowl games and nine of its last ten going back to 1997.
Problem 5: It’s going on at the same time as the Las Vegas Bowl, Boise State vs. Oregon.
Problem 6: You’re going to watch that Las Vegas Bowl and forget that this thing started until it’s too late. And then it’s nap time.
36. Quick Lane Bowl
Duke -4.5 vs. Northern Illinois, o/u: 47.5
It should be a dogfight of a game between a solid Northern Illinois team that beat Nebraska and pushed Boston College, and a Duke team that raised its game another level to win two straight to get here.
So why so low? I had my oil changed at a Quick Lane yesterday, and now my car is leaking impossible-to-get-out oil-type things all over my driveway and garage. So yes, the bowl ranking will pay for the sins.
35. Hawai’i Bowl
Houston -2.5 vs. Fresno State, o/u: 49.5
Defense = boring when it comes to the minor bowls. Fresno State is terrific, but every game is a low-scoring slugfest. Houston’s offense is getting stronger, but for most of the year there wasn’t a four-yard pass it didn’t like to attempt.
Worse yet, the lack of scoring and offensive punch will give the bowl game three hours of time to mock and ridicule you for not being in Hawaii. And if you were, you wouldn’t be watching Houston vs. Fresno State.
34. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Wyoming -1, o/u: 46
Wyoming QB Josh Allen might not even play.
And even if he does, he’s not very good.
And then you’re going to spend the entire time wondering if your favorite NFL team drafting between the 5 and 11 will take him.
And then you’ll have to wait three years for him to develop.
And then you’re going to remember you read this, and you’ll be annoyed that you were told this was going to happen.
And then your NFL team is going to pick up Case Keenum off the free agent pile.
And then your team will be just plucky enough to get close to the playoffs, but not quite.
Low-scoring bowls aren’t necessarily bad, and Central Michigan has been entertaining, but considering last year’s Famous Idaho Potato cranked out 111 points between Colorado State and Idaho, this one has too much to live up to.
33. Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
Akron vs. Florida Atlantic -22.5, o/u: 62.5
Florida Atlantic is going to win this by a bazillion. And you’ll have to watch for the proper context to interpret whatever Greek God of Twitter Lane Kiffin cranks up after.
32. Bahamas Bowl
UAB vs. Ohio -7.5, o/u: 57
It’s absolutely amazing that UAB won a few games, much less get to a bowl, and Ohio should be more than motivated after it gagged away the MAC East. Both teams will try.
The winner receives the totally badass-named Prime Minister’s Trophy. The only thing cooler? If it was the Popeyes Prime Minister’s Trophy.
31. Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Florida State -15 vs. Southern Miss, o/u: 50
Why do you want to watch it if star S Derwin James doesn’t want to play in it and Jimbo Fisher would rather go make $75 million? Maybe if they brought you to the game like this …
This would be higher, but I’m annoyed at every … single … other snarky media type who’s trying to make a joke about walk-on football players in the Walk-On’s Independence bowl.
Worse yet, damn you Walk-On’s for that picture of the greatest-looking bacon double cheeseburger ever posted below the fold on your home page.
Pre-Bowl Season Rankings