How good are the bowl games? Ranking all the bowl matchups from the worst-looking to the best.
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. 2) Otherwise, you have to go shopping for stupid stuff. 3) You invest, therefore, almost every day is Christmas from now until January 7th.
They’re all wonderful in their own, magical way. There’s one thing about this list that’s an absolute, 100% guarantee: several on the bottom will end up near the top of the post-bowl rankings, and vice versa.
In order from the ones because-you-have-to, to the ones because-you-HAVE-to, here we go …
39. Frisco Bowl
Wednesday, December 19
8:00, ESPN, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Ohio vs. San Diego State
You’re going to have to really, really love bowls to get into this, but it’s a standalone game on a Wednesday night. San Diego State’s offense provides as much punch as the latest episode of Murphy Brown, but the D should slow down the Ohio O. The problem is that if there’s any offense in this, it’ll be a one-sided blowout.
38. Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl
Tuesday, December 18
7:00, ESPN, Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Northern Illinois vs. UAB
Northern Illinois is miserable in bowl games under head coach Rod Carey. UAB was miserable in its 41-6 loss to Ohio in last year’s Bahama’s Bowl. Something has to give between one of only three bowls with conference champs going at it – the Rose and Orange the two others. It’s a Tuesday night, what else are going to do, be miserable?
37. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Friday, December 21
4:00, ESPN, Lyle Smith Field at Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Western Michigan vs. BYU
I love bowl games. You love bowl games. We all love bowl games. But this might take some work to love on a Friday night. BYU will care, Western Michigan doesn’t have a defense, and that could either spell doom, or a shootout on the blue turf.
36. Cheez-It Bowl
Wednesday, December 26
9:00, ESPN, Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
TCU vs. Cal
It might turn out to be a good game, but it’s not necessarily going to be a thrill ride. Both defenses should dominate with points coming at a premium. The fear is that this will be 26-3 one way or another, but this will be a bowl for the hardcore bowl fan.
35. AutoNation Cure Bowl
Saturday, December 15
2:30, CBS Sports Network, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Tulane vs. Louisiana
It would be more fun if this was played in, say, the New Orleans Bowl with a crazier crowd bringing more of an atmosphere. It should be an entertaining game with both teams caring enough to show the effort, but the game will get lost in the Saturday glut of bowls.
34. Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Thursday, December 27
1:30, ESPN, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Temple vs. Duke
Temple lost head coach Geoff Collins to Georgia Tech, but can the Owl offense keep going without him against the wildly inconsistent Duke team? This has the potential to at least keep your interest for a while with a whole lot of yards and points, but if Duke gets up fast, move on.
33. Redbox Bowl
Monday, December 31
3:00, FOX, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Michigan State vs. Oregon
Michigan State doesn’t have an offense. Start with that, and there’s a problem. Either the Spartans can’t score, and Oregon gets up early and coasts, or the Spartans can’t score, the defense dominates, and this turns into a MSU win in a war of attrition. Bet on the latter.
32. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
Monday, December 31st
7:00, FS1, SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA
Northwestern vs. Utah
Utah doesn’t lose bowl games under Kyle Whittingham, Northwestern doesn’t have an offense, and both teams have strong defenses. Be pleasantly surprised if this is anything other than a 7-6 Ute win.
31. Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Friday, December 21
12:30, ESPN, Thomas Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
FIU vs. Toledo
Okay, you two … show up. Among the biggest of the 2017 bowl season clunkers – FIU lose to Temple 28-3 in the St. Petersburg, and Toledo was off using its gift cards and drones in the swag bag in a 34-0 Dollar General disaster – the motivation should make the trip to the Bahamas.