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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TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Friday, December 31
ESPN, 11:00 am
TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Bowl Tie-Ins: ACC vs. SEC
Wake Forest vs Texas A&M 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Can Texas A&M grind it down or can Wake Forest do what it does and speed it up? Here comes the A&M running game, the defensive talent, and the takeaways against a Demon Deacon offense that will look great early and melt down late.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Texas A&M 37, Wake Forest 23
Early Bowl Line Guess: Texas A&M -4
Actual Line: Texas A&M -6.5

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Friday, December 31
CBS, 12:30 pm
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Miami vs Washington State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Who’s Miami’s coach? How’s this going to look by December 31st? Is Mario Cristobal’s agent just angling for more coin out of Oregon, or is there really going to be a sacking of Manny Diaz for someone else? This Hurricane team played hard through a whole lot of adversity, but Washington State ended the season rolling and has its coach in place with the hiring of Jake Dickert.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Washington State 38, Miami 24
Early Bowl Line Guess: Washington State -2.5
Actual Line: Washington State -1.5

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Friday, December 31
Barstool Sports, 2:00 pm
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Central Michigan vs Boise State 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Central Michigan is far more dangerous than you might think – this won’t play like your normal MAC team. Boise State certainly isn’t going to take the game lightly, but it’s going to need to keep the offense going for a full 60 minutes to pull this off.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Boise State 34, Central Michigan 30
Early Bowl Line Guess: Boise State -8.5
Actual Line: Boise State -9.5

Outback Bowl

Saturday, January 1
ESPN2, 12:00 pm
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Penn State vs Arkansas 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Bowl games might mostly be exhibitions, but this one will be used as validation. Penn State didn’t win anything all that big, but it battled hard against the top teams. Arkansas was great down the stretch, but it lost at home to Auburn. Yeah, Penn State beat Auburn … and lost to Illinois. I’ll quit stalling and get there already …

No Research Bowl Prediction: Arkansas 27, Penn State 23
Early Bowl Line Guess: Penn State -4.5
Actual Line: Penn State -3

Vrbo Citrus Bowl

Saturday, January 1
ABC, 1:00 pm
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Iowa vs Kentucky 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: Is Iowa’s offense going to get better over the month between the Big Ten Championship and the bowl game? Probably not. Will Kentucky turn into Tennessee and start winging the ball all over the yard? Probably not. However, both teams will be happy with the other’s style, As long as the Wildcats don’t have turnover issues, they’ll be fine.

No Research Bowl Prediction: Kentucky 23, Iowa 17
Early Bowl Line Guess: Kentucky -2.5
Actual Line: Kentucky -2.5

Mercari Texas Bowl

Tuesday, January 4
ESPN, Time 9:00 pm
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Kansas State vs LSU 

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: The energy and hype will be all about the Brian Kelly era kicking in after this is all over. Offensive line coach Brad Davis will take over for now, and for the players still around and not opting out, they’ll play hard. However, Kansas State should be relatively intact and should be a wee bit more consistent … and Davis’s lines will take over anyway.

No Research Bowl Prediction: LSU 24, Kansas State 20
Early Bowl Line Guess: LSU -2.5
Actual Line: LSU -2.5

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 27-28: Quick Lane, Military, Birm
SERVPRO, Liberty, Holiday, Guar Rate
Dec 29-30: Fenway, Pinstripe, Cheez-It
Alamo, Mayo, Music City, Peach, Vegas
NY6 Fiesta, Citrus, Rose, Sugar
CFP Cotton, Orange | CFP NC
Bowl Schedule, Game Times 

NEXT: Bowl Game First Thought Predictions, Analysis: New Year’s Six Games

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