College Football Bowl Games: Ranking All 41. How Good Is Your Bowl?

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Bowl Games: Ranking All 41. How Good Is Your Bowl?

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College Football Bowl Games: Ranking All 41. How Good Is Your Bowl?

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How good are all the bowl games? How good are the matchups? We rank all 41 from the best-looking to the worst. How good is your bowl game?


College Football Bowl Games: Ranking Every Bowl, Pre-Bowls

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We’re not getting an expanded College Football Playoff until the 2024 season – that’s going to supercharge this time of year – and now college football is in this strange sort of holding pattern.

The transfer portal is gutting some teams. Players are opting out of the bigger bowls to get ready for the NFL. Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba isn’t able to go in the CFP semifinal against Georgia. Coaches are switching teams, injuries are an issue, and …

Reality has come to breakfast. The business of college football no longer jibes with the exhibition aspect to the end of the season.

Whatever.

We’re getting 41 bowl games – assuming some teams don’t opt out if they just don’t have the personnel – and that means at least half will be awful-to-meh, a  bunch will be fun, and there will be a few that pop up here and there that restore your faith in humanity.

Yes, you may quibble with the interest you might have in the various bowls – OF COURSE you’re watching Michigan vs TCU no matter what. This is all based on what the best games should potentially be.

And with that, here’s our ranking of how good these bowl games should be. The hope is that most of the ones on the bottom rise up and rock, all while knowing that a slew of the top-ranked bowls will fizzle badly.

Here’s how the bowls are categorized as we ask the question. How good is your bowl? (We’ll revisit at the end and rerank based on how good they actually were.)

– Deep Cuts (32-41) | It’s Football. You’ll Watch (25-32)
Bowls. Just Bowls (17-24) | Restaurant Quality (9-16)
Watch or Die (1-8) | Initial Thoughts, Picks on all 41

Bowl Game Rankings: Deep Cuts

Here’s the plan. It’s a bowl game so you have to at least turn it on. If it’s awful, get out and save yourself for later because they keep throwing the bowls at you. However, check back once in a while to make sure you’re not missing anything.

41. Camellia Bowl

Buffalo vs Georgia Southern
Tuesday, December 27, 2022
12:00, ESPN
Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
Last Year: Georgia State 51, Ball State 20
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 24, 2020: 10, 2019: 29
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 27, 2020: 7, 2019: 17

It’s all about Buffalo. Georgia Southern has a big-time offense that’s going to push for 40 points. The Bulls have to prove they can keep up, and the first guess is no, they won’t be able to. That doesn’t mean this can’t be entertaining for a while, but it might mostly be a showcase for the Eagles and former UB QB Kyle Vantrease.

40. HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl

UAB vs Miami University
Friday, December 16, 2022
11:30 am, ESPN
Line: UAB -11.5, o/u: 43.5
Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Last Year: Middle Tennessee 31, Toledo 24
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 10, 2020: NA, 2019: 28
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 42, 2020: NA, 2019: 24

The Bahamas Bowl almost never goes according to plan. It’s right out of the gate, teams know in advance that they’re going to make travel plans, and in a crazy way it’s been in a pattern of great-awful-great-awful. Last year’s was great. It’s a toss-up, though, with the coaching change at UAB offsetting the talent level a bit.

39. LendingTree Bowl

Rice vs Southern Miss
Saturday, December 17, 2022
5:45, ESPN
Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL
Last Year: Liberty 56, Eastern Michigan 20
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 34, 2020: 23, 2019: 37
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 34, 2020: 23, 2019: 28

Okay, so Rice is here because it went to class – it was on top of the APR rankings so it was able to go bowling at 5-7. It’s going to be fired up to have an extra game, Southern Miss hasn’t been all that great over the last part of the season, and it should all combine for a hard-fought, tight bowl that should be more entertaining than it’ll get credit for.

38. Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Houston vs Louisiana  
Friday, December 23, 2022
3:00, ESPN
Independence Bowl, Shreveport, LA
Last Year: UAB 31, BYU 28
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 35, 2020: NA, 2019: 34
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 11, 2020: NA, 2019: 20

Houston will always play up or down to its competition, but it’ll bring the offense when it has to. There’s a problem, though – it might not have to crank up the attack against a Louisiana offense that hasn’t done much of anything against anyone good. This is a true focus bowl – it’s not going to be pretty if the Cougars care. However, it’s going to be a Ragin’ Cajun-friendly crowd.

37. RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

Toledo vs Liberty
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
7:30, ESPN
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Last Year: WKU 59, Appalachian State 38
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 2, 2020: 5, 2019: 16
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 15, 2020: 20, 2019: 23

Toledo might have won the MAC Championship, but it’s been AWFUL in bowl games over the last four years. Liberty was AWFUL over the late part of the season before Hugh Freeze finally took the Auburn gig. The talent is there on both sides to make this fun, but the Boca Raton has been just okay lately.

36. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Eastern Michigan vs San Jose State
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
3:30 ESPN
Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
Last Year: Wyoming 52, Kent State 38
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 13, 2020: 13, 2019: 31
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 14, 2020: 17, 2019: 31

It’s been a few years since we’ve had a good Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but Eastern Michigan keeps every game close. It comes in on a bit of roll, and the chilly weather won’t be a problem. San Jose State is entertaining – QB Chevan Cordeiro is a baller who’s worth the watch.

35. Cricket Celebration Bowl

North Carolina Central vs Jackson State
Saturday, December 17, 2022
12:00, ABC
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Last Year: South Carolina State 31, Jackson State 10
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: , 2020: , 2019:
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: , 2020: , 2019

The man is still there. Deion Sanders has made Colorado the coolest school going, but he’ll still be around to finish the job at Jackson State. North Carolina Central can play and isn’t going to be a pushover, but after last year’s blowout Celebration Bowl loss, Coach Prime’s team should put on a show.

34. Wasabi Fenway Bowl

Louisville vs Cincinnati
Saturday, December 17, 2022
11:00 am, ESPN
Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Last Year: Canceled
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 41, 2020: NA, 2019: NA
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 36, 2020: NA, 2019: NA

Neither team has its head coach with Scott Satterfield leaving from Louisville to Cincinnati, both programs are in a bit of a holding pattern, and with both teams looking to show off who’s still around for next year. Even so, this should be an entertaining dead-even game with the Cardinal defense a fun watch if it’s taking the ball away.

33. Frisco Bowl

Boise State vs North Texas
Saturday, December 17, 2022
9:15, ESPN
Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Last Year: San Diego State 38, UTSA 24
Pre-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 37, 2020: NA, 2019: 32
Post-Bowl Ranking: 2021: 22, 2020: NA, 2019: 8

Uh oh. North Texas fired head coach Seth Littrell even after getting to the Conference USA Championship. Boise State might be too good for this bowl, and if it brings the focus, it’s combination of running game and defense could make this ugly fast. Let’s put it this way – North Texas already played one Mountain West team and lost to UNLV 58-27.

– Deep Cuts (32-41) | It’s Football. You’ll Watch (25-32)
Bowls. Just Bowls (17-24) | Restaurant Quality (9-16)
Watch or Die (1-8) | Initial Thoughts, Picks on all 41

NEXT: Bowl Game Rankings: Bowls. Like You Have Anything Better To Do.

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