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

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Quick Lane Bowl

Monday, December 27
ESPN, 11:00 am
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Nevada vs Western Michigan 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Which Western Michigan team will show up? It’s got the talent and experience, but it didn’t play like it often enough throughout the second half of the year. It will be the Carson Strong show as the NFL types get all into the Nevada quarterback and passing game, but expect the Broncos – with a little time off – to pull off a good sort-of-home upset.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Western Michigan 34, Nevada 30
Early Bowl Line Guess: Nevada -6.5
Actual Line: Nevada -6

Military Bowl presented by Peraton

Monday, December 27
ESPN, 2:30 pm
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
East Carolina vs Boston College 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: East Carolina will bring a good defense, a veteran quarterback in Holton Ahlers, and a good fan base that should travel enough to matter. Boston College, though, is going to be a Power Five program that will try. It’ll be a good-energy game.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Boston College 27, East Carolina 20
Early Bowl Line Guess: Boston College -6.5
Actual Line: Boston College -3

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Tuesday, December 28
ESPN, 12:00 pm
Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL
Houston vs Auburn 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: It’s a Prove-It game for Houston. The Cougars didn’t beat anyone in the regular season, and it couldn’t handle Cincinnati in the second half of the American Athletic Conference championship, but that all goes away with a win over an SEC team. Auburn will show up in front of the home fans in a surprising defensive battle.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Auburn 27, Houston 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Auburn -5
Actual Line: Auburn -3.5

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Tuesday, December 28
ESPN, 3:15 pm
Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
Bowl Matchup: Air Force vs Louisville 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Can Louisville stop the run? Not really. Air Force isn’t quite Army-like in the way it dominates games with it ground attack, but it does lead the nation in rushing and should control this throughout in more of a grind than the Cardinals would like.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Air Force 24, Louisville 20
Early Bowl Line Guess: Louisville -2
Actual Line: Louisville -1.5

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Tuesday, December 28
ESPN, 6:45 pm
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Texas Tech vs Mississippi State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Well look at the bowl types getting cheeky. Mike Leach is going to be extra-Mike Leach as he tries to dial up something more for old employer and his former quarterback-now-interim coach, Sonny Cumbie. Texas Tech is okay, but Mississippi State is going to show how it’s done. Running game aficionados need not watch.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Mississippi State 38, Texas Tech 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Mississippi State -8
Actual Line: Mississippi State -8

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Tuesday, December 28
FOX, 8:00 pm
Petco Park, San Diego, CA
NC State vs UCLA 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: It should be a good game with plenty of energy – at least as much as a UCLA team can muster from the base. It should be a good back-and-forth game between two well-coached teams that should be more physical than most might think.

No Research Bowl Prediction: UCLA 34, NC State 30
Early Bowl Line Guess: NC State -3
Actual Line: NC State -1

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Tuesday, December 28
FOX, 10:15 pm
Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
West Virginia vs Minnesota

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: There are two perfectly good football stadiums in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and they’re going to keep rolling in the baseball park. Minnesota always shows up big in bowl games under PJ Fleck, and the pounding ground game behind the massive offensive line should take over right away.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Minnesota 24, West Virginia 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Minnesota -6
Actual Line: Minnesota -4.5

2021-2022 Bowl First Thoughts 
Dec 17-18: Bahamas, Cure, Boca Raton
New Mexico, Indy, LendingTree, LA
Dec 20-25: Myrtle, Potato, Frisco, AF
Frisco Classic, Gasp, Hawaii, Camellia
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

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