College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Thought Predictions, Analysis For All 44

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Thought Predictions, Analysis For All 44

Bowls College Football Playoff

College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Thought Predictions, Analysis For All 44


College Football Playoff and bowl game first quick-thought predictions. early lines, and analysis before starting the deep dive into the matchups.  

College Football Playoff, Bowl Game First Thought Predictions, Analysis

The real work and deep dives into all of the bowl games are coming over the next few weeks. With the matchups just released, here’s the first-thought, off-the-top-of-the-head, knee-jerk reactions, predictions, and analysis.

Now, this can and will all change with opt-outs, injury updates, coaching changes, and all the other parts of the fun. But we’re here – it’s bowl game time.

Always go with your first answer.

All times Eastern 

Bahamas Bowl

Friday, December 17
ESPN, 12:00 pm
Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Middle Tennessee vs Toledo  

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Middle Tennessee loves to take the ball away and found ways to get the job done over the second half of the season to get here, but Toledo is red hot over the last several weeks – all be it against bad teams.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Toledo 34, Middle Tennessee 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Toledo -7.5
Actual Line: Toledo -9.5

Tailgreeter Cure Bowl

Friday, December 17
ESPN2, 6:00 pm
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Coastal Carolina vs Northern Illinois 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Can the Huskies possibly control the clock and the tempo like they did in the MAC Championship win over Kent State. They might have just dealt with a high-octane offense that places well in space, but Coastal Carolina – with time to heal up the key parts – will be more effective.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Coastal Carolina 34, Northern Illinois 26
Early Bowl Line Guess: Coastal Carolina -6
Actual Line: Coastal Carolina -10 Boca Raton Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ESPN, 11:00 am
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
WKU vs Appalachian State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Does Bailey Zappe already have 230 yards? Appalachian State is going to grind it out, keep running, and it’ll try to do what UTSA did in the Conference USA Championship. The Mountaineer running game is about to go off.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Appalachian State 45, WKU 37
Early Bowl Line Guess: Appalachian State -2.5
Actual Line: Appalachian State -2.5

Cricket Celebration Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ABC, 12:00 pm
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
South Carolina State vs Jackson State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: South Carolina State has an okay defense that can get into the backfield and thrives on turnover margin. That’s nothing compared to the pass rush that Coach Prime’s Jackson State defense is about to bring.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Jackson State 30, South Carolina State 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Jackson State -10
Actual Line: Jackson State -11.5

PUBG New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ESPN, 2:15 pm
Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
UTEP vs Fresno State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: In normal times this would be a total wipeout. Not to program-shame UTEP, but a fully-functional Fresno State wins this after the first two drives. However, head coach Kalen DeBoer and QB Jake Haener are busy being Washington Huskies, so … Fresno State still rolls.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Fresno State 37, UTEP 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Fresno State -11.5
Actual Line: Fresno State -12.5

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ABC, 3:30 pm
Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Not to program-shame or anything, but we were sort of promised UTSA here to play BYU, not UAB. BYU should probably be in a New Year’s Six Bowl, and while UAB is plucky … it would’ve been nice to have the Conference USA champ here.

No Research Bowl Prediction: BYU 38, UAB 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: BYU -10.5
Actual Line: BYU -7

LendingTree Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ESPN, 5:45 pm
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
Liberty vs Eastern Michigan 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: What happened, Liberty? You used to be beautiful. The team that cranked through 2020 and won a wonderful bowl game against Coastal Carolina fell off a cliff with three losses to end the regular season, however, those were against Ole Miss, Louisiana, and Army. It’ll bounce back against Eastern Michigan, but it’ll be entertaining.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Liberty 27, Eastern Michigan 23
Early Bowl Line Guess: Liberty -7.5
Actual Line: Liberty -8.5

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ABC, 7:30 pm
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Utah State vs Oregon State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Can the Pac-12 finally start beating the better Mountain West teams? Utah State got Washington State to start the season, but Oregon State beat Hawaii. Utah State is on a great run – including a Mountain West championship – but the high-powered offense is about to hit a rested Beaver team that cares.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Oregon State 30, Utah State 20
Early Bowl Line Guess: Oregon State -7.5
Actual Line: Oregon State -7.5

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, December 18
ESPN, 9:15 pm
Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Marshall vs Louisiana 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: No Billy Napier as the Louisiana head coach, but there should be a bit of a home field element in the Superdome. Marshall has been a bit hit-or-miss, but the defense should be just fine to keep this a fight. This is a veteran enough Ragin’ Cajun team to be strong without the head man.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Louisiana 26, Marshall 20
Early Bowl Line Guess: Louisiana -3.5
Actual Line: Louisiana -6

2021-2022 Bowl First Thoughts  
Dec 20-25: Myrtle, Potato, Frisco, AF
Frisco Classic, Gasp, Hawaii, Camellia
Dec 27-28: Quick Lane, Military, Birm
SERVPRO, Liberty, Holiday, Guar Rate
Dec 29-30: Fenway, Pinstripe, Cheez-It
Alamo, Mayo, Music City, Peach, Vegas
Dec 31-Jan 4 Gator, Sun, Arizona, Texas
NY6 Fiesta, Citrus, Rose, Sugar
CFP Cotton, Orange | CFP NC
Bowl Schedule, Game Times

NEXT: Bowl Game First Thought Predictions, Analysis: December 20-25 Games

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