Category Archives: college football

Bowl Games 2020: Epilogue

Well, I was pretty off about how the course of the game would go. Naturally, I had a meeting during the first hour of the game, which was about the amount of time that it was a competitive game. Alas.

For my bowl predictions this season, I went 0.500 (13-13), which took my lifetime percentage down from 55.4% to 54.9%.

Otherwise, I’m not sure what else to say. I hope we have something approaching a normal 2021 college football season. If I don’t post any other updates to the site before then, well, stay healthy and safe and I’ll see you in August.

Bowl Games 2020: Final

As usual, all times eastern and all predictions wrong.

Monday, January 11

8:00: Alabama vs. Ohio State (CFP Championship Game @ Miami Gardens, FL; ESPN): There are no shortage of variables going into this game. Ohio State is very, very good, but they don’t have the body of work. I mean that in two ways, and I’m not necessarily docking them credit if they do win because they didn’t play enough games. I mean it purely from an analysis perspective. How do we weigh factors like them them running roughshod over Clemson but looking pedestrian against certain other Big Ten teams? What is the extent of Justin Fields’s injury? The latter could be key in the run game if Alabama doesn’t think he’s a credible run threat. That said, he also was presumably no longer a credible run threat in the Clemson game after taking the hit, but that didn’t seem to slow the Ohio State offense down, especially in the second half. But that said, I’m here to just pick winners and losers. I suspect many thing this will be a blowout in Bama’s favor, as though that feels inevitable. I don’t think so. I’m optimistic this will still be a close game that will definitely see the Buckeyes with a chance to win at the end. But… I will still go with the majority in that I don’t think they’ll quite get there. So perhaps if I were a betting guy, I’d go with Ohio State to cover but Bama to win.
SP+ line:  Alabama by 4.3
Vegas line: Bama -8
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Just four all time. The first was in 1978, a 35-6 Alabama win in the Sugar Bowl. The only regular season meeting was the Kick-Off Classic in the Meadowlands at the start of the 1986 season, and Bama won that one 16-10. For the 1994-95 season, they met in the Citrus Bowl, and Alabama won 24-17. And finally, their most recent meeting was the only Ohio State victory so far in the series, a 42-35 win in the 2014-15 Sugar Bowl that took the Buckeyes to the national title game in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Last bowl game: Alabama defeated Notre Dame 31-14 in the “Rose” Bowl. Ohio State defeated Clemson 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor, Allison Williams

Bowl Games 2020: Happy New Year!

The page is updated, and 2020 is almost over. Thank goodness.

Thursday, December 31

12:00: Tulsa vs. Mississippi State (Armed Forces Bowl @ Fort Worth, TX; ESPN): This one is mostly a high watchability tier because Tulsa should put on a display in terms of shutting down a 3-7 Miss State team. I have the Golden Hurricane all the way here.
SP+ line: Tulsa by 6.9
Vegas line: Tulsa -2.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: Tulsa’s last bowl game was the 2016 Miami Beach Bowl, where they beat Central Michigan 55-10. And thanks to 2020 rules, 3-7 Miss State will be heading to their eleventh straight bowl game. The streak started with a 52-14 win over Michigan in the 2010-11 Gator Bowl, and last season they lost 38-28 to Louisville in the Music City Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich, Ian Fitzsimmons

2:00: San Jose State vs. Ball State (Arizona Bowl @ Tuscon, AZ; CBS): We’ve got a battle of champions here! And it could be good! But you’ll also have overlap between the earlier game and the later game, and this one may lose out. Plus, I like San Jose to cover here. The Spartans just flat out won the Mountain West this year and while their success seems a bit out-of-nowhere, they definitely earned it.
SP+ line: SJSU by 6
Vegas line: SJSU -7
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: For the Spartans, this is their first bowl game since the 2015 Cure Bowl, where they beat Georgia State 27-16. For Ball State, this is their eighth bowl appearance all-time, with the most recent being a 23-20 loss to Arkansas State in the 2013-14 GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Announcers: Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson, Jamie Erdahl

4:00: West Virginia vs. Army (Liberty Bowl @ Memphis, TN; ESPN): Look down at the announcers. It’s cool, I can wait. Okay, now that you’re back, I AM SO PSYCHED. Former Voice of the Yellow Jackets Wes Durham will be on the call, along with former Yellow Jacket Roddy Jones! Talk about a perfect duo to call some flexbone offense. I am here for this. So… the awkward part is that West Virginia is a touchdown favorite even by the advance metrics. And I’m here to say, look, Army probably wanted to play in a bowl game this year more than any team not in the playoff, and maybe more than one or two of those teams. I think they will show up ready, while West Virginia will not. Against an option team, this is deadly.
SP+ line: WVU by 6.8
Vegas line: WVU -7
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: Three, and they were all a long time ago. Army won the first two meetings in 1941 and 1946, 7-6 and 19-0 respectively. The last meeting was in 1961, where WVU won 7-3.
Last bowl game: West Virginia’s last bowl appearance was the 2018 Camping World Bowl, where they lost 34-18 to Syracuse. Army’s last bowl appearance was the 2018 Armed Forces Bowl, a 70-14 rout of Houston.
Announcers: Wes Durham, Roddy Jones, Eric Wood

Friday, January 1

12:00: Cincinnati vs. Georgia (Peach Bowl @ Atlanta, GA; ESPN): Hoping this is more like Georgia’s game against Texas two years ago rather than their game against Baylor last year. Cincy’s certainly got the defense to pull this off, and I don’t buy this business about UGA’s offense suddenly being competent. I’m taking Cincy straight-up here.
SP+ line: Cincinnati by 1.4
Vegas line: UGA -7
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Just one, in 1976. Georgia won 31-17.
Last bowl game: Cincy’s made three straight bowl games. In 2018 they beat Virginia Tech 35-31 in the Military Bowl, and last season they beat Boston College 38-6 in the Birmingham Bowl. For Georgia, this is their 24th straight bowl game, dating back to the 1997-98 Outback Bowl, where they beat Wisconsin 33-6. Last season they beat Baylor 26-14 in the Sugar Bowl.
Announcers: Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Kris Budden

1:00: Northwestern vs. Auburn (Citrus Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): This is certainly a bowl game that will probably happen. Auburn did finally do the thing and Fire Gus, but in the end they wound up making a sensible hire, so that’s not even that funny. That said, it’s not like Harsin will be coaching this game, and let’s see who will be on the sidelines for the Tigers instead…ah right, it’s the guy who tried to start a coup, Kevin Steele. Wonder how he feels about not getting the big job? I’ll take Northwestern to come out ready to play and to hold on to win.
SP+ line: Auburn by 0.7
Vegas line: NU -3.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: Just one, a 38-35 Northwestern victory in the 2009-10 Outback Bowl.
Last bowl game: Northwestern’s last bowl game was the 2018 Holiday Bowl, a 31-20 win over Utah. Auburn’s been to seven straight bowls, going back to the a 34-31 loss to Florida State in the 2013-14 BCS Championship Game. Last season they lost 34-24 to Minnesota in the Outback Bowl.
Announcers: Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore, Paul Carcaterra

4:00: Alabama vs. Notre Dame (Rose? Bowl @ Arlington, TX; ESPN): This is just wrong, but apparently the city of Pasadena is getting $2 millions for the use of the Rose Bowl name, so I more power to them I guess. That said, I don’t have a lot of reason to think this will be anything other than a dominant Alabama victory. Thanks for playing, Irish.
SP+ line: Bama by 13.3
Vegas line: Bama – 19.95
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Seven. The first was in the 1973 Sugar Bowl, a 24-23 Notre Dame win. They met a few times in the regular seasdon in the 80’s, and you probably already know about their most recent meeting, a 42-14 Alabama win in the 2012-13 BCS Championship Game. Notre Dame holds an overall 7-2 advantage in the series, though.
Last bowl game: In 2004, Alabama lost 20-16 to Minnesota in the Music City Bowl, a return of sorts after improving to 6-6 from 4-9. They’ve gone to the postseason every year since then. Last season, they didn’t make a New Year’s Six bowl, but beat Michigan 35-16 in the Citrus Bowl anyway. The Irish have been to four straight bowl games, dating to the 2017-18 Citrus Bowl, where they beat LSU 21-17. Last season they beat Iowa State 33-9 in the Camping World Bowl.
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Todd McShay, Allison Williams

8:00: Clemson vs. Ohio State (Sugar Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): I think Clemson will win, but I am tired of hearing so far in bowl games about how Ohio State hasn’t played enough games and blah-blah-blah. So I essentially hope this is (yet again) the best bowl game of the season and it entirely proves the Buckeyes deserve to be here.
SP+ line: Clemson by 1.8
Vegas line: Clemson -7.5
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: These two have played each a few times recently. Their first meeting was a 17-15 win Clemson back in the 1978 Gator Bowl. The previous three have all also been Clemson wins, most recently 29-23 in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, you know, last season’s playoff semi-final. Clemson therefore has a 4-0 overall series lead.
Last bowl game: Clemson beat Colorado 19-10 in the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl, and including that they’ve been to bowl games in 16 straight seasons. Last season, they beat Ohio State 29-23 in the Fiesta Bowl and then were felled by LSU 42-25 in the CFP Championship Game. Ohio State has been to eight consecutive postseasons, dating to a 40-35 loss to… Clemson in the 2013-14 Orange Bowl. And as previously stated, they lost 29-23 to Clemson in last year’s excellent Fiesta Bowl. Let’s hope this is more of the same.
Announcers: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor, Tom Rinaldi

Saturday, January 2

12:00: North Carolina State vs. Kentucky (Gator Bowl @ Jacksonville, FL; ESPN): This game exists purely to hold you over until the fireworks start at the bottom of the hour. I have NC State here.
SP+ line: NCSU by 4.3
Vegas line: UK -3
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: Just one, a 1970 27-2 win for NC State.
Last bowl game: The Wolfpack were last seen in the postseason as participants in the 2018 TaxSlayer Bowl, where they lost 52-13 to Texas A&M. Kentucky have been to five straight bowl games, starting with a 33-18 loss to Georgia Tech in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl (woo). Last season they beat Virginia Tech 37-30 in the Belk Bowl.
Announcers: Anish Shroff, Tom Luginbill, Lericia Harris

12:30: Indiana vs. Mississippi (Outback Bowl @ Tampa, FL; ABC):  HERE WE GO. Indiana is a fun team that, while missing their all-time great QB, is still fun to watch and pretty good. Ole Miss, meanwhile, runs what I am calling the “YOLO Offense” because their playcalling is essentially “eh, screw it, throw it deep”. And it seems to work! This game should have all the points. Well, hopefully. That said, Indiana actually plays a little defense, so I think the Hoosiers will get a spot and pull out a win.
SP+ line: Indiana by 7.2
Vegas line: Indiana -7
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: Indiana’s making their second consecutive bowl season, after last season’s narrow loss to Tennessee in the Gator Bowl, 23-22. Ole Miss is appearing in their first bowl game since the 2015-16 Sugar Bowl, where they beat Oklahoma State 48-20.
Announcers: Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic

4:00: Oregon vs. Iowa State (Fiesta Bowl @ Glendale, AZ; ESPN): Iowa State has had an all-time great season by their standards, and I think they’ll carry that all the way through to a victory.
SP+ line: Iowa State by 2.9
Vegas line: Iowa State -4.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: This will be the fourth straight bowl appearance for the Ducks, dating to a 38-28 loss to Boise State in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. Last season, they beat Wisconsin on a perfect day in Pasadena, 28-27. The Cyclones have now been to four straight bowls, dating to a 21-20 win over Memphis in the 2017 Liberty Bowl. Last season they lost 33-9 to Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl.
Announcers: Dave Pasch, Mike Golic, Quint Kessenich

8:00: North Carolina vs. Texas A&M (Orange Bowl @ Miami Gardens, FL; ESPN): And finally, what will probably be the last bowl game before the title game. And boy howdy I hope Carolina wins, because the TAMU whining after not getting in the playoff was awful. That’s not a great basis for prognostication, but it’s what I’ve got.
SP+ line: UNC by 2.5
Vegas line: TAMU -6
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: UNC won last year’s Military Bowl 55-13 over Temple. TAMU has been to 12 straight bowl games, dating to the 2009 Independence Bowl, a 44-20 loss to Georgia. Last season they beat Oklahoma State 24-21 in the Texas Bowl.
Announcers: Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky, Katie George

Bowl Games 2020: Four Games, but I Wish There Were More

The latest schedule and picks can be found here in convenient table form. As you might have surmised, I’m posting these at a trickle so I don’t spend a bunch of time researching stuff for games that get canceled. So let’s talk about the games for Tuesday and Wednesday.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday, December 29

5:30: Miami vs. Oklahoma State (Cheez-It Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): There’s been one constant this season, and that’s the incessant parade of Cheez-It commercials during games. It all culminates right here, right now. Formerly, they sponsored what would’ve been the Guaranteed Rate Bowl this year, but that game won’t be played, so here we are with what used to the Camping World Bowl. So yeah, what’s your favorite flavor? Me, I love white cheddar anything, but I usually get the reduced fat ones because… oh, right, there’s a football game. Both these teams head into this game going backward, especially since the Canes were most recently seen getting their doors blown off by North Carolina. Also, Miami has recently been hot garbage in bowl games. For those reasons, I’m going against the numbers and picking Oklahoma State.
SP+ line: Miami by 1.8
Vegas line: OSU -3
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Just one, a regular season matchup back in the Orange Bowl in 1991. Miami won 40-3.
Last bowl game: While Miami still isn’t back, they’re definitely on a consistent bowl streak now. This will be the eighth straight bowl game for the Canes, dating to the 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl, where they lost to Louisville 36-9. Last season they lost 14-0 to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl. For Oklahoma State, this will be their 15th consecutive bowl game, going back to the 2006 Independence Bowl, 34-31 win over Alabama. Last season they lost 24-21 to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl.
Announcers: Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Katie George
Fun fact: Did you know that this is the first Power 5 vs. Power 5 matchup of the 2020 season?

9:00: Texas vs. Colorado (Alamo Bowl @ San Antonio, TX; ESPN): I was supposed to travel a lot this year, but as with most things 2020 those plans have gone by the wayside. Instead, of the two times I’ve left California this year, one of them was to go to San Antonio. Anyway, that’s about my entire connection this. I don’t think I watched Colorado at all this year, so I don’t have a great read on them. That said, if Texas has done anything consistently under Tom Herman, it’s “show up for bowl games”, so I’m picking the ‘Horns.
SP+ line: Texas by 12
Vegas line: Texas -12.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: There’s been 18 meetings between the Longhorns and the Buffs all-time. 6 of those were before the implosion of the Southwest Conference, and the other 12 were when they were both in the Big 12. Texas won the first meeting back in 1940 39-7. The last time they met was also a Texas victory, 38-14 in 2009. Overall, Texas has a 11-7 record in the series.”
Last bowl game: “This will be Texas’s fourth straight bowl game, dating to the 2017 Texas Bowl, where they beat Mizzou 33-16. Last season they beat Utah in the Alamo Bowl 38-10. For the Buffs, this is the first bowl game since the 2016 Alamo Bowl, where they lost 38-8 to Oklahoma state.
Announcers: Jason Benetti, Mike Golic, Kris Budden

Wednesday, December 30

12:00: Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin (Mayo Bowl @ Charlotte, NC; ESPN): Sure, it’s officially the “Duke’s Mayo Bowl”, but a) I’m from the South and I’ve never heard of Duke’s Mayo before I saw the announcement for the title sponsor of this bowl game and b) it’s always more fun to have just the product if possible. Anyway, I’m not sure there’ll be much to this game, which is maybe why ESPN is leaving it at noon even though the in-between game for today, the Music City Bowl, was canceled when Mizzou pulled out. I’m off work this week and I’m still on the West Coast, so this one may be over before I even wake up.
SP+ line: Wisky by 14.5
Vegas line: Wisky -7
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: This is Wake’s fifth straight bowl game, going back to the 2016 Military Bowl, a 34-26 win over Temple. Most recently, they lost 27-21 to Michigan State in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers are meanwhile appearing in their 19th consecutive bowl game, dating to the 2002 Alamo Bowl, where they beat Colorado 31-28. Last season they lost 28-27 to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Announcers: Taylor Zazour, Matt Stinchcomb, Marty Smith

7:15: Oklahoma vs. Florida (Cotton Bowl @ Arlington, TX; ESPN): After several Florida players opt-ed out today, I thought about maybe taking this game down a notch, but I think this will still be pretty good regardless. The Sooners are extremely young, so there is still a risk of Florida pulling away, but I’ve actually got this down as a close Sooners win.
SP+ line: Florida by 1.9
Vegas line: Florida -3
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Just one, the 2009 BCS Championship Game. The Gators won 24-14.
Last bowl game: This is Oklahoma’s 22nd consecutive bowl game, dating to the 1999 Independence Bowl, where they lost to Ole Miss 27-25. Last season they lost to LSU in the Peach Bowl, 63-28. This is the third straight bowl game for the Gators. They beat Michigan 41-15 in the 2018 Peach Bowl and beat UVA 36-28 in last season’s Orange Bowl.
Announcers: Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy, Holly Rowe

Bowl Games 2020: Boxing Day

The picks have been updated and put here. I probably won’t be projecting too far out this year, just because whether a given game will happen or not is, well, not a given.

As usual, times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Saturday, December 26

3:30:

  • Texas-San Antonio vs. Louisiana (First Responder Bowl @ Dallas, TX; ABC): The main reason this isn’t a I on the watchability tier is because, well, UTSA is kinda good this year and you almost certainly haven’t seen them. But that said, the Cajuns (who are, we’re being told, are ragin’) have earned the right to be just Louisiana, and I suspect that will continue after this game.
    SP+ line: Louisiana by 15.6
    Vegas line: Louisiana -13
    Watchability tier: II
    Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
    Last bowl game: This is UTSA’s second ever bowl game, after the 2016 New Mexico Bowl, which they lost 20-16 to the hometown Lobos. This is Cajuns’ third straight bowl game. They lost 41-24 to Tulane in the 2018 Cure Bowl, and beat Miami (the one in Ohio) 27-17 in last season’s Mobile Bowl.
    Announcers: Anish Shroff, Tom Luginbill, Quint Kessenich
  • Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State (LendingTree Bowl @ Mobile, AL; ESPN): This is game that may be close by virtue of neither team being especially good, but hey, at least we’ll have a brief moment of being able to flip between two games this bowl season. I’ve got the Hilltoppers coming out on top here.
    SP+ line: WKU by 0.9
    Vegas line: GSU -4.5
    Watchability tier: I
    Previous meetings: Two. The first was a 44-28 WKU win in 2013, and in 2017 Georgia State won 27-17 in the Cure Bowl.
    Last bowl game: Western Kentucky beat Western Michigan 23-20 in last year’s First Responder Bowl. The Panthers, meanwhile, lost last year’s Arizona Bowl 38-17 to Wyoming.
    Announcers: Mike Couzens, Jay Walker, Dawn Davenport

7:30: Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina (Cure Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ESPN):  Yesterday I got so old
I felt like I could die
Yesterday I got so old
It made me want to cry
Go on go on
Just walk away
Your choice is made
Go on go on
And disappear
Go on go on
Away from here

And I know I was wrong
When I said it was true
That it couldn’t be me and be her
In between without you
Without you

Yesterday I got so scared
I shivered like a child
Yesterday away from you
It froze me deep inside
Come back come back
Don’t walk away
Come back come back
Come back today
Come back come back
Why can’t you see
Come back come back
Come back to me

And I know I was wrong
When I said it was true
That it couldn’t be me and be her
In between without you
Without you

Like most of the college football Internet, I’m hoping this one is an absolute rout by Coastal Carolina.
SP+ line: CCU by 6
Vegas line: CCU -6
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: They’ve met several times when one, the other, or both were in FCS, but this is their first meeting as FBS teams.
Last bowl game: Liberty ventures to their second consecutive Cure Bowl, after last year’s 23-16 win over Georgia Southern. Meanwhile, this is the first bowl game ever for the Chanticleers.
Announcers: Roy Philapott, Kelly Stouffer, Alex Chappell