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Archived: College Bowl Previews


Dec 22, 2020 EST


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New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech (5-4) vs. Georgia Southern (7-5), at New Orleans, Dec. 23, 3 p.m. ESPN

Staying rather close to home, Louisiana Tech puts its six-game bowl winning streak on the line. However, the Bulldogs must rebound from a rough 51-10 loss at TCU to close the regular season. Georgia Southern, meanwhile, is making a third consecutive bowl appearance after winning at least seven games for a third straight season. The Eagles, though, have lost three of their last four contests.

 

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* A Selection on each and every Bowl game.
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Montgomery Bowl: Memphis (7-3) vs. Florida Atlantic (5-3), at Montgomery, AL, Dec. 23, 7 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2

The good news for Memphis is that it earned a seventh straight bowl bid. The potentially bad news: the Tigers are in danger of dropping their sixth consecutive bowl game. FAU had all kinds of COVID-19 issues inside and outside of the program in 2020 but still managed a solid season during Willie Taggart’s first year in charge of the program. However, the Owls will try to avoid concluding the season with a third straight defeat.

New Mexico Bowl: Hawai’i (4-4) vs. Houston (3-4), at Frisco, Texas, Dec. 24, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

The New Mexico Bowl being played in Texas. Another nod to 2020. This is also the first time since the Sugar Bowl during the 2007 season that Hawai’i is playing in a bowl game outside of the islands. Another of those teams with a losing record earning a bowl bid, Houston has played just once since Nov. 14 — a 30-27 loss at Memphis on Dec. 12. The Cougars lost 54-48 to the Warriors in three overtimes when these schools met in the 2003 Hawai’i Bowl.

Camellia Bowl: Marshall (7-2) vs. Buffalo (5-1), at Montgomery, AL, Dec. 25, 2:30 p.m., ESPN

A pair of teams that enter this Christmas Day affair looking to end promising seasons turned disappointing on a positive note. Marshall started 7-0, then lost 20-0 to two-win Rice and 22-13 to UAB in the Conference USA title contest. Buffalo, which boasts talented running backs Jaret Patterson (1,072 yards, 19 TDs) and Kevin Marks (603 yards, six TDs), must rebound following a 38-28 upset loss to Ball State in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game.

Gasparilla Bowl: South Carolina (2-8) vs. UAB (6-3), at Tampa, FL, Dec. 26, Noon, ABC

Seriously? South Carolina , with all of its two wins, is playing in a bowl game. New coach Shane Beamer at least gets another chance to watch his future team take the field as it tries to avoid concluding the season with a seventh straight defeat. UAB is coming off a 22-13 win over Marshall in the Conference USA title game thanks to Spencer Brown (4,011 career rushing yards, 41 TDs), who ran for 149 on 30 carries.

Cure Bowl: Liberty (9-1) vs. No. 12 Coastal Carolina (11-0), at Orlando, FL, Dec. 26, Noon, ESPN

A couple of the more positive stories of this crazy 2020 college football season. These teams were slated to meet on Dec. 5, but Liberty had COVID-19 issues. BYU stepped in to take the Flames’ place, but now we finally get this potentially entertaining matchup. The best season in the young FBS history of Coastal Carolina gets one more moment in the sun. And, another chance to catch quarterback Grayson McCall (2,170 yards, 23 touchdowns, two interceptions; 473 rushing yards) in 2020.

First Responder Bowl: No. 19 Louisiana (9-1) vs. UTSA (7-4), at Dallas, Dec. 26, 3:30 p.m., ABC

UTSA, which boasts one of the nation’s top rushers in Sincere McCormick (1,345 yards, 11 TDs), was scheduled to play in the Frisco Bowl, but that was scrapped when opponent SMU had COVID-19 issues. Now, the Roadrunners get a Louisiana team that won at Iowa State and is riding a six-game winning streak since losing 30-27 to Coastal Carolina back on Oct. 14.

LendingTree Bowl: Western Kentucky (5-6) vs. Georgia State (5-4), at Mobile, AL, Dec. 26, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

So, to every team that has the privilege of making a bowl this season, it’s obviously a big deal. Some matchups are more potentially compelling than others. This does not seem like one of them, though Georgia State will be aiming for a third consecutive win. WKU has an overall losing record, but did go 4-3 in Conference USA and brings a three-game winning streak into this contest.

Cheez-It Bowl: No. 21 Oklahoma State (7-3) vs. No. 18 Miami (8-2), at Orlando, FL, Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

This seems like a fitting matchup between two programs that still aren’t ready for prime time. Oklahoma State seems to have too much talent — running back Chuba Hubbard and receiver Tylan Wallace — to be a three-loss team in the Big 12. Miami, meanwhile, was rolling along with five straight victories until that run was abruptly halted with a 62-26 loss to North Carolina on Dec. 12 (in which the Hurricanes allowed 554 rushing yards and 778 total).

Alamo Bowl: No. 20 Texas (6-3) vs. Colorado (4-1), at San Antonio, Dec. 29, 9 p.m., ESPN

Maybe it just seems like Texas plays in the Alamo Bowl every year (this will be four times in nine seasons). It’s also the Longhorns swan song for quarterback Sam Ehlinger (11,276 career passing yards, 93 TDs; 1,908 rushing yards, 33 TDs). It will come against a Colorado squad that fared well enough in coach Karl Dorrell’s first season to make its first bowl game since 2016. The Buffaloes’ last bowl win came in 2004.

Mayo Bowl: Wake Forest (4-4) vs. Wisconsin (3-3), at Charlotte, N.C., Dec. 30, Noon, ESPN

The Badgers expected more than a .500 regular-season within the Big Ten. Unfortunately, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the program in 2020. That said, Wisconsin did halt a three-game slide with a 20-17 overtime win over Minnesota in its regular-season finale. The Badgers have totaled just 40 points over the last four games. Wake, meanwhile, will try to avoid a third consecutive defeat after going 4-0 in October.

Music City Bowl: No. 15 Iowa (6-2) vs. Missouri (5-5), at Nashville, TN, Dec. 30, 4 p.m., ESPN

One wonders what could have been for the Hawkeyes, who lost their first two games to Purdue and Northwestern by a combined five points. Iowa is getting it done defensively, allowing an average of 16.0 points. Missouri won three in a row during late November and early December before losing its last two vs. Georgia and Mississippi State. The Tigers have also allowed an average of 49.3 points in three December games.

** Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 6 Oklahoma (8-2) vs. No. 7 Florida (8-3), at Arlington, Texas, Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN

This one could go on for hours. Expect plenty of scoring between these two teams to kick off the New Year’s Six slate of bowl games. Oklahoma has won seven straight since losing back-to-back losses to Iowa State and Kansas State. The Sooners have also allowed an average of 14.3 points in its last four contests, but Florida is averaging 41.6 on the season. The Gators, however, allowed a combined 89 points in losing their last two games to LSU and Alabama.

Armed Forces Bowl: No. 24 Tulsa (6-2) vs. Mississippi State (3-7), at Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 31, Noon, ESPN

Let’s face it, Tulsa probably deserves a better matchup than this one. The Golden Hurricane played for an American Athletic Conference championship, and they get rewarded by facing a Mississippi State team that underachieved under first-year coach Mike Leach. Now, the Bulldogs did conclude the regular season with a win over Missouri and scored a season-high 51 points in the process. Tulsa is allowing a respectable 20.8 points per game.

Arizona Bowl: Ball State (6-1) vs. No. 22 San Jose State (7-0), at Tuscon, AZ, Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS Sports Network

A couple of feel-good stories on the 2020 college football scene. San Jose State, which played three home games outside of California due to the coronavirus pandemic, won the Mountain West (first league crown since 1991) two years removed from a 1-11 campaign. This will be the Spartans’ first bowl game since 2015. Ball State also enjoyed a tremendous season, winning its first Mid-American Conference title since 1996 and earning its first bowl berth since 2013.

Liberty Bowl: West Virginia (5-4) vs. Army (9-2), at Memphis, TN, Dec. 31, 4 p.m., ESPN

It’s been a season of inconsistency for West Virginia, which went 5-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. This is obviously a neutral site contest for the Mountaineers, who are trying to snap a three-game bowl skid. Army, which was shunned from a bowl bid when the Independence Bowl was scrapped due to lack of an opponent, gets new life in Memphis. Winners of their final three regular-season contests, the Cadets are also trying for a fifth straight bowl victory.

Texas Bowl: Arkansas (3-7) vs. TCU (6-4), at Houston, Dec. 31, 8 p.m., ESPN

TCU enters on a three-game winning streak during which it outscored its opponents 140-55. Credit quarterback Max Duggan for some of that success while throwing five touchdowns and rushing for four during the winning streak. Arkansas, meanwhile, benefited from the lack of available teams willing to play in bowl games and now gets a chance to end a four-game losing streak.

** Peach Bowl No. 8 Cincinnati (9-0) vs. No. 9 Georgia (7-2), at Atlanta, Jan. 1, Noon, ESPN

This might end up being one of the best bowl matchups on the docket. There are some college football pundits who thought the Bearcats deserved serious CFP consideration. Well, OK. Instead, they get a quality matchup against Georgia, which has won three in a row and suffered its only two losses to Alabama and Florida. The Bulldogs average 33.2 points while Cincinnati yields 16.0 per contest. Should be fun.

Citrus Bowl Auburn (6-4) vs. No. 14 Northwestern (6-2), at Orlando, FL, Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ABC

While Auburn looks for its new head coach, Northwestern boss Pat Fitzgerald remains a hot commodity — apparently on the NFL level. These teams last met in the Outback Bowl to conclude the 2009 season. The Tigers won that contest 38-35 in overtime. However, Northwestern is the better team, nearly beating Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, entering this contest as the program continues to overachieve under Fitzgerald.

** Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal): No. 1 Alabama (11-0) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1), at Arlington, Texas, Jan. 1, 4 p.m., ESPN

Even with that 24-point loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, Notre Dame is worthy of a spot in the CFP. However, we don’t see things going much better for the Irish against the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s averaged 53.0 points in its last three games and boasts three of the country’s best players in Mac Jones (3,739 passing yards, 32 touchdowns), Najee Harris (1,262 rushing yards, 24 TDs), and DeVonta Smith (98 receptions, 1,511 yards, 17 TDs). Will this be the Notre Dame swan song for Ian Book (8,719 career passing yards, 72 touchdowns)? Also, playing the Rose Bowl in Texas is so 2020.

** Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal): No. 2 Clemson (10-1) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (6-0), at New Orleans, Jan. 1, 8 p.m., ESPN

A rematch of last season’s highly entertaining CFP semifinal, which Clemson won 29-23. The Tigers’ Trevor Lawrence threw for 259 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 107 with a score. Justin Fields, meanwhile, was picked off twice for Ohio State. The Buckeyes needed to rally to win the Big Ten Championship Game. Clemson, however, rolled over Notre Dame in the ACC title game and has outscored its last three opponents 131-37.

Gator Bowl: No. 23 North Carolina State (8-3) vs Kentucky (4-6), at Jacksonville, FL, Jan. 2, Noon, ESPN

N.C. State enters bowl season as one of the hottest teams in the country, a winner in four straight following back-to-back defeats to North Carolina and Miami. The Wolfpack have done it with defense — allowing an average of 19.5 points in those last four. That might not bode well for Kentucky, which in a normal season would not be bowl eligible and averages 21.7 points on the season.

Outback Bowl: Mississippi (4-5) vs. No. 11 Indiana (6-1), at Tampa, FL, Jan. 2, 12:30 p.m., ABC

First, the Big Ten changes the rules to get Ohio State into the league title game over Indiana and now the Hoosiers face a team with a losing record in this bowl contest. It just seems spirited coach Tom Allen and the Hoosiers deserved better during their special 2020 campaign. Ole Miss’ three-game winning streak ended with that wild 53-48 loss at LSU, and it won’t have NFL-bound receiver Elijah Moore (86 receptions, 1,193 yards) available for this contest.

** Fiesta Bowl: No. 25 Oregon (4-2) vs. No. 10 Iowa State (8-3), at Glendale, AZ, Jan. 2, 4 p.m., ESPN

How’s this? Oregon did not win either of the Pac-12’s divisions and yet was thrust into the league’s title game and beat USC 31-24. That earned the Ducks, who had dropped its two previous games to Oregon State and Cal — teams that won a combined three games — a New Year’s Six berth. Another great 2020 moment. Iowa State, meanwhile, saw its five-game winning streak end with a 27-21 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game. Still, Brock Purdy (2,594 passing yards, 18 TDs) and Breece Hall (1,436 rushing yards, 19 TDs) seem too tough for the Ducks to handle).

** Orange Bowl: No. 5 Texas A&M (8-1) vs. No. 13 North Carolina (8-3), at Miami Gardens, FL, Jan. 2, 8 p.m., ESPN

Texas A&M was not all that happy by not being included in the CFP . Sure, the Aggies might have a solid argument while riding a seven-game winning streak since losing to Alabama and claiming its last four by a 133-43 scoring margin. North Carolina, which has never played in the Orange Bowl, will aim for a third straight win but must do after it was reported that running back Michael Carter (1,245 rushing yards), receiver Dyami Brown (55 receptions, 1,099 yards) and linebacker Chazz Surratt have all opted out of the game.

2020 College Bowl / NFL Playoff Package!

* Over 40 Big College Bowl Selections!
* A Selection on each and every Bowl game.
* Key Unit Ratings on each Play!
* All the NFL PLAYOFFS!
* All NCAAF Bowl Lock of Weeks!
* 2 Bowl Games of the Month!
* The Bowl Game of the Year!
* The Bowl Parlay of the Year!
* BONUS: 7 Days NCAAB FREE!

You Get it ALL for only $149

Join Now!

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