Know Your Bowls: College Football Playoff, Bowl Game Quick Previews

Know Your Bowls: College Football Playoff, Bowl Game Quick Previews

Bowls College Football Playoff

Know Your Bowls: College Football Playoff, Bowl Game Quick Previews

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Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Saturday, December 22
3:30, ESPN, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX

Houston

There’s no Ed Oliver – he’s getting ready for the NFL Draft – and there’s no D’Eriq King – the star quarterback got hurt – but this still a fun and entertaining team that can put up yards and points in chunks, and give them up just as quickly. With three losses in the last four games, head coach Major Applewhite, this disappointing season, and this disappointing team could use a bowl win in a big way.

Army

As always, you know what you’re getting. The option offense continues to be an issue for everyone – giving Oklahoma a slew of problems and keeping Kyler Murray and the Sooner offense off the field – and it all works with the defense, too, that has allowed 14 points or fewer in six games (before playing Navy). The two losses were in the opener against Duke and to OU – the Black Knight machine has rolled through everyone else.
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Dollar General Bowl

Saturday, December 22
7:00, ESPN, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL

Buffalo

Just how motivated will the Bulls be after the collapse/choke to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship? They were brilliant throughout most of the season winning nine of their first ten games with a group of NFL-caliber skill players, but a blowout loss at Ohio and the NIU debacle soured the season. QB Tyree Jackson is erratic and inconsistent, but he’s worth watching, and so is this Bull team.

Troy

The Trojans were supposed to be in the Sun Belt championship mix, but a loss at Appalachian State cost them a shot in the regular season finale. Now it’s redemption time. They were good enough to get by Nebraska early on, and they defense was good all season long, but the consistency wasn’t quite there. Even so, this is a well-coached, strong team getting what amounts to a home bowl.
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Hawai’i Bowl

Saturday, December 22
10:30, ESPN, Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union Field at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI

Louisiana Tech

This isn’t the fun and wild Bulldog team of a few seasons ago, relying on a devastating pass rush and a strong defense over an offense that struggled to consistently score. Limping across the finish line, they lost three of their last four games and couldn’t score more than 20 points in any of them – including a clunker against a bad WKU team. But this is the bowl to finally get the O going, even if ht hasn’t scored more than 31 against any FBS team.

Hawaii

How much fun will this team be with its run-and-shoot offense in a home bowl? Just when it looked like the season was about to collapse – losing four straight after a 6-1 start – it bounced back in a big way with wins over UNLV and San Diego State to come into the bowl on a high note. The offense will turn it loose for a full four quarters, but the defense is all but guaranteed to give up close to 40 points.
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SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Wednesday, December 26
1:30, ESPN, Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, TX

Boise State

The Broncos suffered a heartbreaking home loss to Fresno State for the Mountain West championship, but it doesn’t matter – going to this bowl against Boston College is stronger than going to Las Vegas to deal with Arizona State. Now they have to close strong with a killer defense that dominated over the back half of the season to go along with QB Brett Rypien and an amazing offensive backfield.

Boston College

Just a few short weeks ago, the Eagles were the hot team that had GameDay coming to Boston for the showdown against Clemson. A three-game losing streak later, and the season took on a different tone – this team needs the bowl win to keep the season from being truly soured. The time off should do wonders for the running game, and the defense has the talent and pass rush to take over.
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Quick Lane Bowl

Wednesday, December 26
5:15, ESPN, Ford Field, Detroit, MI

Georgia Tech

It’s the end of the Paul Johnson era with the high-powered option offense coming off a fantastic second half of the season. The loss to Georgia to close things out hurt, but that came off a run of six wins over a seven game span – the attack worked. A game against Minnesota in Detroit won’t turn into a referendum on what Johnson was able to do with the program or if the style worked, but a win would create one of the better narratives of the early bowl season.

Minnesota

It’s already been a successful season because the Gophers got back the Paul Bunyan Axe from Wisconsin. The team was spotty, it got its doors blown off by Illinois, and it went through a rough patch of two wins in eight games when it looked like the PJ Fleck era was about to get toasty. But the team rose up in blowout wins over the Badgers and Purdue, and now the defense has to match the Georgia Tech ground game punch for punch.
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Cheez-It Bowl

Wednesday, December 26
9:00, ESPN, Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

TCU

Give TCU some credit for fighting though a disastrous run to get it back and get here. The program that got to the Big 12 Championship last year fell off the map losing five games in six in what seemed like a lost year. But it rallied with its great defense to win three of the last four to get bowling, beating Baylor and Oklahoma State to get it done. However, the offense needs to find something that works in a hurry.

Cal

If you like all defense and no offense – like TCU – welcome to Cal. The Bears got the O going against Colorado, but it’s been pulling teeth to get points scoring 15 or fewer in four of the last five games. However, the defense has been nasty throughout the year and keeps games close. It won’t be pretty against the Horned Frogs, but the Bears play hard and they keep every game close.
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