How good were the bowl games? Ranking all the bowl games from the worst to the best.
Overall it wasn’t all that bad.
There wasn’t anything truly magical, but even the bad bowls had something interesting. There were just enough good battles to make this bowl season a success, but … there were too many forgettable matchups.
There’s still one little game to go – No. 40 is coming – but the College Football Playoff National Championship is an event that’s obviously bigger than the glut of friendlies. LSU vs. Clemson will be ranked in this late Monday night.
Here’s how good the bowl games were this season.
Bowl Rankings: Total Duds
These weren’t just the worst games of this bowl season, these made the world a lesser place.
40. TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Cincinnati 38, Boston College 6
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 23
It was delayed by bad weather. The speculation over whether or not a second straight Boston College bowl could be cancelled was the highlight was the highlight of the game.
BC might have lost its head coach, and it didn’t have star RB AJ Dillon, but it’s still an ACC team and it was AWFUL. The offense was 0-11 on third downs, didn’t score – the points came off a blocked field goal – and Cincinnati took advantage by enjoying an afternoon of light exercise and fine fellowship.
39. Camping World Bowl
Notre Dame 33, Iowa State 9
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 9
Boooooooo – this was a massive disappointment. Notre Dame was flawless, Iowa State didn’t seem particularly interested in scoring touchdowns, and this was effectively over in 12 minutes.
Playing at the same time as Penn State and Memphis were seeing which defense could be more miserable in the Cotton Bowl – leading to a whole bunch of fun – this was intriguing as a Young Sheldon bingefest.
– 5 Thoughts on the Camping World Bowl
38. Valero Alamo Bowl
Texas 38, Utah 10
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 13
The Alamo Bowl threw a party and Utah forgot to show up. Texas looked and played like a rested team that cared, Utah looked and played like a team that got steamrolled in the Pac-12 Championship in – arguably – the biggest game in the program’s history, and it was never interesting.
– 5 Thoughts on the Valero Alamo Bowl
37. New Mexico Bowl
San Diego State 48, Central Michigan 11
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 36
This wasn’t supposed to be anything great, and it wasn’t … but for different reasons than expected. The San Diego State defense was going to make this a slow, dull, low-scoring game, and it did all of that – but the O worked, too. The Aztec D forced five takeaways, the offense came up with 510 yards, and this was never close.
– 5 Thoughts on the New Mexico Bowl
36. Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Washington 38, Boise State 7
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 15
A total disappointment, Boise State got rocked in the Chris Petersen farewell game with just 266 yards of total offense and three turnovers. Washington was sharp right away, the Bronco offense was stuffed, and this was over fast. Up 24-0 in the third quarter, Washington was able to cruise a bit up until one decent Boise State scoring drive.
– 5 Thoughts on the Las Vegas Bowl
35. NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Wyoming 38, Georgia State 17
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 38
This was a clunker for the opposite reason than expected. Wyoming’s defense made every game low-scoring this year, but it was the offense that showed up to put this away in the first quarter. Georgia State had one great drive to open the game, and one big play in the third, and that was about it.
– 5 Thoughts on the Arizona Bowl
34. Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Buffalo 31, Charlotte 9
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 17
It was entertaining only if you liked the brutal efficiency of the Buffalo running game that pounded for 205 yards. Neither team did much to move the ball – neither side hit 300 yards of total offense – but UB RB Jaret Patterson put on a show. Charlotte was never in it, though, after the first half.
– 5 Thoughts on the Bahamas Bowl
33. Military Bowl Presented By Northrup Grumman
North Carolina 55, Temple 13
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 27
The North Carolina passing show – with some phenomenal plays by the receiving corps – was just enough to keep this from being truly miserable. The Tar Heels got up 10-0, allowed a touchdown run, and was up 41-6 before the Owls got on the board again in what amounted to a light scrimmage.
– 5 Thoughts on the Military Bowl
32. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Tulane 30, Southern Miss 13
Pre-Bowl Matchup Ranking: 21
To be fair to your 2020 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, this was almost a whole lot better. It was a tale of two game. USM got up 13-0, lost starting QB Jack Abraham and RB De’Michael Harris, and gave up 30 unanswered as everything crashed and burned. A 24-point third quarter turned it into a rout.