College football predictions: Pre-New Year’s bowls
Time to predict the 16 bowl games played between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Of course, some of us can remember when there were less than 16 bowl games total.
Little Caesars Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan. Chippewas 41-30. My vote for the worst bowl. A 7-5 Sun Belt team against a 6-6 MAC team. How did Little Caesars end up with the two schools that should have been the only two bowl-eligible teams not playing? Western Kentucky got a bowl bid over Middle Tennessee, which finished two games ahead of Western in the Sun Belt, was 8-4 overall and beat Western. Central Michigan got a bid and 9-3 Louisiana Tech did not.
Military Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green. Spartans 30-10. San Jose State’s excellent season, 10-2, cost it its coach. Mike MacIntyre is now at Colorado. This bowl, played at the Redskins’ stadium, is crying for Army to get good.
Belk Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Duke. Blue Devils 34-14. Cincinnati, the cradle of coaches, with Mark Dantonio going to Michigan State and doing a much better job than Mike D’Antoni is doing with the Lakers; Brian Kelly waking echoes at Notre Dame; Butch Jones off to Rocky Top if not the mountain top of the SEC; and now Tommy Tuberville finding happiness in Lubbock, Texas, in the rearview mirror. Quite a contrast to Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who did a solid job at Ole Miss and was fired when he refused to axe some of his staff and now has made Duke relative and not jumped at other prime opportunities.
Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA. Bruins 41-40. You know, the scout in you should watch this game. Baylor stayed competitive without Robert Griffin and just might do the same without Nick Florence. Expect this to be high-scoring, but the Bears won their 2012 Alamo Bowl 67-56. Not going to be that high-scoring.
Independence Bowl: Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe. Warhawks 38-36. There was a time when I was talking Ohio to the Orange Bowl. The Bobcats were unbeaten, including a knockoff of Penn State. But injuries ravaged old pal Frank Solich and his team led by Okies. Now Ohio U. is just a consolation prize for Shreverport, which hoped to match Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana Tech, which took turns playing Cinderella this season but eventually gave way to Northern Illinois, which got that Orange Bowl slot.
Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech. Scarlet Knights 23-14. Here’s how desolate is Big East football. This bowl matches a school that not so long ago was in the Big East (VPI) against a school that’s leaving the Big East (Rutgers), AND IT’S NOT EVEN THE ONLY BOWL THAT FITS THAT DESCRIPTION! The Pinstripe does, too.
Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech. Golden Gophers 29-28. In the 2006 Insight Bowl, Minnesota roared to a 31-point lead, but Texas Tech rallied to win in overtime. The Gopher brass was so angry, it fired coach Glen Mason. And has been paying for it ever since. The Gophers are 26-48 since that bowl debacle, Mason had gone 64-57 in 10 seasons. He was the first Minnesota coach with a winning record since Murray Warmath, who retired after the 1971 season.
Armed Force Bowls: Air Force vs. Rice. Falcons 31-20. Do you realize how close we came to having all three Oklahoma schools in DFW bowls? If Tulsa had lost to Central Florida in the Conference USA title game (TU won in overtime), the Hurricane likely would have ended up in this Fort Worth bowl against Air Force. That would have meant TU, OSU and OU all playing in the Metroplex in a seven-day span.
Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy vs. Arizona State. Sun Devils 38-22. Some people have a life of luxury. Pac-12 schools make the following road trips regularly — Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City and barely-inland Oregon, where you’re 45 minutes from the most beautiful coast in America. But the exotic locales don’t stop there. In bowl season, the Pac-12 is sending/sent teams to San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Antonio, Phoenix and Pasadena. El Paso and Albuquerque aren’t necessarily tropical, but they are a little exotic.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients