College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Predictions, Lines

College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Predictions, Lines

College Football Predictions

College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Predictions, Lines


The first predictions, early lines, and quick analysis on all college football bowl and College Football Playoff games. 

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Future College Football Playoff Sites & Dates

YEAH! … Bowl time. Let’s go.

Every year, I try to predict the lines and don’t look at or know any of them, just to see just how far I’m off with the general public and the prevailing investment wisdom. I write this, and then look at the lines and add them after.

After the bowl pairings and everything we all just did trying to find out who was going where – by the way, no one actually knows until it happens – here are the first knee-jerk reactions and predictions.

The actual picks might, can and will change by the time all the bowl previews are done, depending on which players sit out, further deep-dive analysis, etc. – and, of course, after actually researching these matchups.

Like they tell you in third grade, though, always go with your first answer.

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

Friday, December 20
2:00 ET, ESPN, Thomas Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Buffalo vs. Charlotte

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Charlotte will be jacked up to be in its first bowl game ever, Buffalo will be fired up to try winning its first bowl game ever. It should be a decent show with plenty of points. Looking for a high-scoring game with UB finally getting the job done in a post-season game.

First Thought Prediction: Buffalo 37, Charlotte 27
First Thought Line Guess: Buffalo -7.5
Actual Initial Line: Buffalo -4.5
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Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl

Friday, December 20
7:30 ET, ESPN2, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Kent State vs. Utah State

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: The FlashFast offense of Kent State might be putting up points late in the season, but Utah State is coming in on a bit of a roll, too. With time to prepare, this is when QB Jordan Love and the Utah State offense finally play like it was supposed to this season. Mountain West over upstart – but fired up – MAC team in front of dozens in Frisco.

First Thought Prediction: Utah State 38, Kent State 24
First Thought Line Guess: Utah State -7.5
Actual Initial Line: Utah State -9
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FBS Mortgage Cure Bowl

Saturday, December 21
1:30 ET, CBS Sports Network, Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
Liberty vs. Georgia Southern

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Can Liberty stop the run? Short answer – not really. Hugh Freeze has his team in a bowl game with a fun offense, a lot of excitement, and with no defense to stop what’s coming with the Georgia Southern triple-option. However, knee-jerk reaction … the Flames show up hot in Orlando.

First Thought Prediction: Liberty 31, Georgia Southern 27
First Thought Line Guess: Georgia Southern -5
Actual Initial Line: Georgia Southern -6
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New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 21
2:00 ET, ESPN, Branch Field at Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Central Michigan vs. San Diego State

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: The first one to ten wins? Central Michigan’s offense was roaring before losing the MAC Championship loss to Miami University, but San Diego State has a way of dragging down teams to its own level. However, SDSU is a WEIRD bowl team under Rocky Long – it didn’t get off the bus in a lifeless loss to Ohio last year. This version makes up for it.

First Thought Prediction: San Diego State 27, Central Michigan 13
First Thought Line Guess: San Diego State -8
Actual Initial Line: San Diego State -3.5
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Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

Saturday, December 21
3:30 ET, ABC, Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
SMU vs. Florida Atlantic

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Owl fans barely showed up when Lane Kiffin was there, but the team is still terrific and it should be able to come up with a good game against an SMU team that was in the New Year’s Six mix a month ago. Here’s the problem for the home team – it hasn’t faced too many passing games late in the year, and SMU is going to care.

First Thought Prediction: SMU 37, Florida Atlantic 20
First Thought Line Guess: SMU -8
Actual Initial Line: SMU -3.5
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Camellia Bowl

Saturday, December 21
5:30 ET, ESPN, Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
Arkansas State vs. FIU

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: FIU has beaten NO ONE … except that Miami team down the road. The Golden Panthers fattened up to six wins on a slew of cupcakes before coming up with that big win over the Hurricanes, and now they’ll get the ASU offense that can put up points in a hurry. However, the FIU D is good enough to keep this interesting.

First Thought Prediction: Arkansas State 30, FIU 23
First Thought Line Guess: Arkansas State -3.5
Actual Initial Line: Arkansas State -3
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Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl

Saturday, December 21
7:30 ET, ABC, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Boise State vs. Washington

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Of course this was going to be the Chris Petersen bowl matchup. Boise State deserved to be more in the mix for the Cotton Bowl, Washington shouldn’t have been as flaky as it was over the second half of the season. Of course the Huskies are going to bring it in the final game of the Coach Pete era, but Boise State is for real.

First Thought Prediction: Boise State 31, Washington 27
First Thought Line Guess: Washington -2
Actual Initial Line: Washington -3.5
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R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, December 21
9:00 ET, ESPN, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
UAB vs. Appalachian State

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: No one takes advantage of a schedule full of really, really bad teams better than UAB. Appalachian State deserves a much better opponent than this in the designated Sun Belt champion matchup, and it’s about to come up with a big-time performance to hit the 13-win mark.

First Thought Prediction: Appalachian State 31, UAB 14
First Thought Line Guess: Appalachian State -14
Actual Initial Line: Appalachian State -16.5
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NEXT: Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla, SoFi Hawai’i, Walk-On’s Independence,Quick Lane

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