Hey, so I wasn’t working today (a novel idea, I know) so I had a chance to crank out my… pretty much total guesses for how the bowls will shape up! We’ll see how it goes today. Word on the street is that some more games will likely be canceled, but absent that the first game is… Monday. I’ll be back then!
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
7:00: Alabama-Birmingham @ Marshall (Conference USA Championship; CBSS): Well, UAB hasn’t played much, meanwhile Marshall has. As much as I wanna say “Go Blazers!” I think it’s going to be the Herd here.
- Nebraska @ Rutgers (BTN): This is certainly a game happening (maybe) on today, Scott Frost day, of all days. Rutgers is probably going to win, right?
- Buffalo vs. Ball State (Mid-American Conference Championship @ Detroit, MI; ESPN): I have Buffalo all the way here.
8:00: Oregon @ Southern California (Pacific-12 Conference Championship; FOX): So this game might be played, and it might even be played with these teams in this location! So exciting! At any rate, if it’s played as scheduled, I guess I kinda have to go with USC at this point? While they’ve played a bunch of cardiac games, they’ve won, while Oregon’s losses are less understandable.
- Oklahoma vs. Iowa State (Big 12 Conference Championship @ Arlington, TX; ABC): Oklahoma still young, whereas for the Cyclones it feels like they’ve been waiting a while for this. I have this as pretty even, so I’ll say what the hey (hay?) and pick Iowa State.
- Northwestern @ Ohio State (Big Ten Conference Championship @ Indianapolis, IN; FOX): Northwestern’s defense is…. no, I can’t do it. Shenanigans or not. the Buckeyes are the better team.
- Texas A&M @ Tennessee (ESPN): Texas A&M in a romp.
- Florida State @ Wake Forest (ACCN): This is certainly a game that is scheduled to be played less than a week before Christmas. Leaving aside the “why?”, it’s gotta be Wake here.
1:30: Washington State @ Utah (FS1): I have a read on neither of these teams, so I’ll pick Utah.
3:00: Air Force @ Army (CBSS): Man, that Army-Navy game was something, mostly due to the interesting atmospheric conditions. I talked to noted West Point graduate, my Dad, and he said that he didn’t recall anything like that happening up there before. At any rate, fog or no, I like Army here.
- Louisiana @ Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt Conference Championship; ESPN): This game could be really good, or it could be just Coastal from start to finish. I’m leaning toward the latter.
- Mississippi @ Louisiana State (SEC): The end of that LSU-Florida game sure was something, eh? So… the Tigers are going to get bombed to death by Ole Miss in this one aren’t they?
- Missouri @ Mississippi State (SECA): Mizzou seems smart enough to know how to beat 2020 Miss State, and I think they will.
- Clemson vs. Notre Dame (Atlantic Coast Conference Championship @ Charlotte, NC; ABC): I think this will be a close, tight Clemson win that allows both teams to get into the Playoff.
- Minnesota @ Wisconsin (BTN): The axe is on the line, y’all! I think Wisconsin is just mediocre enough this year to give the Gophers a chance, but I’ll still call for the Badgers.
4:30: Boise State vs. San Jose State (Mountain West Conference Championship @ Las Vegas, NV; FOX): San Jose State is good, which means their head coach is probably halfway out the door to another job. I don’t think Boise can cream them this year, but I’ll still pick the Broncos until given a reason otherwise.
5:30: Illinois @ Pennsylvania State (FS1): Well, one of these teams already fired their coach, so I’m going with the one that didn’t: Penn State.
7:00: Stanford @ California-Los Angeles (ESPN): UCLA can play offense, sorta, so I’ll give them the edge over Stanford.
- Florida vs. Alabama (Southeastern Conference Championship @ Atlanta, GA; CBS): I still think Florida is good enough to not get the doors completely blown off, but yeah, they’re not going to win or anything silly like that.
- Tulsa @ Cincinnati (American Athletic Conference Championship; ABC): Cincy knows that this their last chance to make a statement, and they’re going to make it by paving over Tulsa.
10:30: Arizona State @ Oregon State (ESPN): Well, here ya go, some Pac-12 After Dark to close out the 2020 “regular” season, such as it was. As is my tradition for late-season games in Corvallis, let’s check the forecast. It’s going to be a relatively warm 50 degrees or so, but blustery with winds out of the south-southwest at 15 to 25 miles per hour. There’s also a 61% percent chance of rain. Have fun, Sun Devils! I’ll take the Beavers.
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Utah @ Colorado (FOX): Well, I guess a 10am game isn’t as bad as a 9am game, but still, come on Pac-12, are you that desperate? Oh, right, you probably are. Anyway, I’ll take the Utes here.
- Michigan State @ Pennsylvania State (ABC): Penn… State? Sure, let’s go with that, it’ll make as much sense as anything else.
- Alabama @ Arkansas (ESPN): Arkansas is having a good year so far, with an emphasis on the “so far”.
- Illinois @ Northwestern (FS1): I hesitated on this game in the pick ’em I help run because Northwestern is favored by 13.5. I’m almost certain they’ll win, but I’m not sure they’ll score 14 points.
- Georgia @ Missouri (SEC): Meanwhile, Mizzou is having a really solid season (just don’t look too hard at the schedule) and Georgia’s offense just seems to be not really there. It boggles the mind at how much 5-star talent has been wasted in Athens. Any rate, they’ll probably still win.
- Rutgers @ Maryland (BTN): Both these teams are not complete trash this season, which maybe says more about 2020 than anything else. At any rate, Rutgers figures to have a slight edge here, by which I mean I’m randomly guessing.
- Wake Forest @ Louisville (ACCN): Wake’s pretty solid this year, while Louisville is kinda meh, a measurement based almost entirely on whether or not you lost to us.
- Northern Illinois @ Eastern Michigan (espn3.com)
- Western Michigan @ Ball State (ESPN+)
1:00: Alabama-Birmingham @ Rice (espn3.com)
2:30: Akron @ Buffalo (CBSS): I got Buffalo all the way here, y’all.
- Navy @ Army (CBS): It was really, really weird to write this a “@” instead of a “vs.”, though I’m not sure I’ve ever written as “Navy vs. Army” instead of “Army vs. Navy”. So yeah, it’s the first game in this series at a team’s home stadium since the two met at Michie Stadium in 1943. But given that this game usually sells out an NFL stadium, this makes sense. At any rate, even if they’re schedule isn’t that great Army definitely has an edge in this game. But this is also the kind of game where both teams actually do plan for, and look forward to it all year, so it could be interesting. And at rate, you’ll get a heavy dosage of option football, so what more could ask for? (Other than passing.)
- Central Michigan @ Toledo (espn3.com)
- Coastal Carolina @ Troy (ESPN+)
- North Carolina @ Miami (ABC): There are only two matchups featuring ranked teams this week. This is one of them! (I’ll reveal the other at the end of this block of games, so form a guess in your head as to the other right now.) At any rate, Miami is #10 for some reason, I guess purely as a virtue of only having one loss, but they lost 42-17 to Clemson so they’re clearly not in that tier of ACC teams. North Carolina meanwhile has careened into two other losses outside of Florida State (which probably still the weirdest loss of the season), so I guess I’ll go with the Canes?
- Oklahoma State @ Baylor (ESPN): Ah, I remember the heady days of… September, when the Cowboys were anointed as “The Big 12’s Best Shot at the Playoff”. Well, three loses later and they’re right back where they usually are – a winning record and one of the better teams in the conference, but still not championship material. At any rate, they get to beat up on Baylor as a consolation prize.
- Wisconsin @ Iowa (FS1): So this week, in a lot of ways, feels more like a rivalry week than Rivalry Week did. Not the least of which is because we’ve got one of the Big Ten’s traditional trophy games on, though it doesn’t figure to be much of a contest. I have Iowa here. Oh, also the other ranked vs. ranked matchup this week is Georgia-Mizzou. Yeah, go figure.
3:45: Houston @ Memphis (ESPN2): I had sort of assumed that the Cougars had played no games this year, but it turns out they’re 3-2. Huh. At any rate, this isn’t as fun of a Memphis team as we’ve had in past years, but this game could actually be pretty good, provided Houston isn’t rusty after a month off. For that reason, I’ll go with the Tigers.
- California @ Washington State (FOX): Let’s see… Cal lost to UCLA, Oregon State, and Stanford all in a row, and they went out and beat Oregon. Wazzu beat Oregon State, lost badly to Oregon, and got beat by USC. I have no idea what to make of this. It’s on the Palouse, so I’ll go with Wazzu, I guess.
- Duke @ Florida State (ACCN): These are probably… no, not probably, these are the worst teams in the ACC this year, full stop, and it’s probably for the best that they’re quarantined on the ACC Network. Eesh. I guess I’ll go with FSU simply because they supposedly have better talent than Duke? Oof.
- Boise State @ Wyoming (CBSS): I have Boise all the way here.
- Appalachian State @ Georgia Southern (espn3.com)
- Louisiana State @ Florida (ESPN): 7:00 PM, 6:00 PM Central is apparently the Louisiana Power Hour, with both Louisianas State and Tech heading elsewhere to… probably lose very badly to out-of-state opponents. Well, at least LSU is.
- Louisiana Tech @ Texas Christian (FS1): LaTech is a respectable 5-3, but there’s nothing that tells me that they’ll be able to hang with a pretty mediocre TCU team.
- Southern California @ California-Los Angeles (ABC): Get out the colors, both of the jerseys and those incredibly lush end zones at the Rose Bowl. I don’t think I’d go to a UCLA game there, but I really need to go to a Rose Bowl some day. Alas. At least here in 2020, the grand old stadium in Pasadena will be empty, but we’ll get to enjoy this game nonetheless. USC’s early pattern of hanging around and then winning at the end has turned into just outright winning games in dominant fashion, beating Utah and Wazzu by combined 71-30. The Bruins can play a little defense though and I think they can definitely keep this one close. I think USC will win, but with a fair chance of early season shenanigans. This could be a fun one to watch, and if it’s not, well, at least that grass will be real pretty.
- Auburn @ Mississippi State (SEC): Okay, look, rationally I know Auburn is going to win. But Miss State has looked better the past couple of weeks, giving UGA all they want and barely losing to Ole Miss. I’m not sure this will be especially aesthetically pleasing to watch, but there could be something to watch.
8:00: Virginia @ Virginia Tech (ACCN): UVA’s had a pretty anonymous 5-4 season, will VPI has had a very loud and noisy disaster of a 4-6 season. That, combined with what would normally be a raucous Lane Stadium being completely quiet, makes me lean toward the Hoos here.
- San Diego State @ Brigham Young (ESPN2): BYU’s apparently general plan for the season is just to play football. Last weekend, the sent the equipment truck in the general direction of the Carolinas, unsure if they were going to play Liberty or not. When that game was called off, did they turn around? Heck no. They kept rollin’, and parked that truck right in Conway, SC and played probably the game of the year against Coastal Carolina. They lost, but this is a really good team, and I like them over the Aztecs.
- Stanford @ Oregon State (ESPNU): The Beavers might be favorite 2-3 team ever, and I have them all the way against the Cardinal.
10:30: Fresno State vs. New Mexico (@Whitney, NV; FS1): Well, it’s mid-December. Usually I’d be flying back to the South this weekend; instead, I’m parked in my apartment in California. So these teams may perhaps be glad to get the chance to play in UNLV’s old stadium that is currently painted and decked out in New Mexico State‘s logo and banners. 2020. Also, Fresno all the way here.
11:00: Nevada-Las Vegas @ Hawaii (Team1Sports)
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
6:30: Florida Atlantic @ Southern Mississippi (CBSS): FAU’s put a pretty good season together for themselves at 5-2. Southern Miss will probably just be happy to get it over with, so I’ll take the Owls.
7:00: Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech (ACC/RSN): Well, this team continues to play hard and at least get better on offense. Pitt’s defense will present a stiffer challenge than the past couple of defenses we’ve played, so it’ll be interesting to see if that progress continues.
6:00: Texas-El Paso @ North Texas (espn3.com)
7:00: Arizona State @ Arizona (“Duel in the Desert”; ESPN): Provided they’re played, this weekend could well feel more like Rivalry Week than Rivalry Week was. At a combined 0-6, this contest for the Territorial Cup figures to be about the whole season for these two schools. Neither is especially good, but the Sun Devils are less bad, so I’ll go with them.
10:00: Nevada vs. San Jose State (@Las Vegas, NV; CBSS): You may see San Jose State and scoff, but you shouldn’t – these west coast Spartans are 5-0 and beat the team Nevada lost to (Hawaii). This figures to be a fun, close game. I’ll take the Spartans.
Well, I gave the bowl predictions a shot, but given that no one really has any idea what’s going on and games are being canceled/moved constantly, it’s extremely hard to predict anything. I guess on one hand, if I’m wildly off base it’s not really my fault, but on the other hand that doesn’t make for very satisfying predictions. Also, it doesn’t help that this year would’ve been tough anyway because this season would have seen several realignments regardless as many bowl contracts were replaced and more conferences took direct control of the bowl assignment process (which makes predictions much more difficult without inside information).
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Texas @ Kansas State (FOX): So the one team that hasn’t been able to beat Tom Herman at Texas is… K-State. The Wildcats are usually good at being a bee in the bonnet, as it were, but they haven’t been able to get Texas yet. And despite everything around Texas right now, I don’t know that they will this time.
- Ohio State @ Michigan State (ABC): Sparty is playing better than anyone thought this year, but Ohio State’s potentially quixotic quest to get into the college football playoff demands that they play, and that they grind teams like Michigan State into a fine powder.
- Texas A&M @ Auburn (ESPN): If I had time to look up the shruggie emote, that’s what I would use to describe Auburn this year, and likely most years. But this year? Yeah, it’s gonna be the Aggies in this one.
- Oklahoma State @ Texas Christian (ESPN2): Still don’t know what TCU is, and they don’t either. I’ll take the Cowboys here.
- Pennsylvania State @ Rutgers (FS1): Penn State versus Rutgers shouldn’t be an interesting game, and for most people it isn’t. But when you like college football just a bit too much… yeah. I still don’t see how Penn State could lose this game, but I’ve probably said that six times this year and only been right once.
- Arkansas @ Missouri (SEC): Arkansas figures to romp here, which is still a weird thing to say.
- Nebraska @ Purdue (BTN): I think that perhaps the biggest indictment of Scott Frost at Nebraska right now is that I definitely have Purdue all the way here.
- Kansas @ Texas Tech (FS2): Kansas is still real bad.
- Toledo @ Northern Illinois (espn3.com)
- Memphis @ Tulane (ESPN+)
- Rice @ Marshall (ESPN+)
- Ball State @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): Ball State, probably?
- Bowling Green @ Akron (espn3.com)
- Troy @ South Alabama (“Battle for the Belt”; espn3.com)
- Eastern Michigan @ Western Michigan (ESPN+)
2:30: Syracuse @ Notre Dame (NBC): Syracuse doesn’t figure to have many ways to score points against the Irish.
3:00: Louisiana-Monroe @ Arkansas State (espn3.com)
- Florida @ Tennessee (CBS): Tennessee doesn’t figure to have many ways to score points against the Gators.
- Indiana @ Wisconsin (ABC): Well, Indiana’s best quarterback is out, but Wisconsin is also coming off a thorough(?) loss to Northwestern. If Indiana is for real, though, they gotta go up to Camp Randall and take this one. I’ll give them a fair shake to do it.
- West Virginia @ Iowa State (ESPN): WVU doesn’t seem likely to derail Iowa State’s dream season.
- Tulsa @ Navy (ESPN2): Tulsa is ranked? When did that happen? I guess I’ll take them to beat Navy then?
- Iowa @ Illinois (FS1): Iowa figures to romp here.
- Boston College @ Virginia (ACC/RSN): My gut says BC, and my heart doesn’t have a particularly strong opinion on this one.
- Stanford @ Washington (FOX): UDub should obliterate Stanford.
- Georgia Tech @ North Carolina State (ACCN): Well, we were able to take advantage of the ample opportunities Duke provided last week. NCSU figures to be less generous. It’ll be a tougher test, but I think it’s an appropriate step up in difficultly for this team. And at this point, I think that’s what we need.
5:30: Brigham Young @ Coastal Carolina (ESPNU): The next time I hear about a home-and-home scheduled for 2045 with the return in 2052, I’ll think about how BYU managed to make arrangements to fly to South Carolina on two days notice to put a ranked vs. ranked matchup. (If only they had been able to get Cincinnati!) At any rate, the Stormin’ Mormons are the deserved favorites here, but don’t sleep on this game.
- San Jose State @ Hawaii (Team1Sports)
- Florida Atlantic @ Georgia Southern (ESPN+)
- Oregon @ California (ESPN): The Ducks lost to an extremely up-and-coming Oregon State last weekend, but I think they’ll be able to get their bearings back against Cal.
- Colorado @ Arizona (FS1): In a statement that will make sound vastly more confident about this result than I actually am, I have the Buffs all the way here.
- Colorado State @ San Diego State (CBSS): The Aztecs have taken a few L’s this season, but the Rams should provide a soft opponent to get them back above .500.
- Clemson @ Virginia Tech (ABC): Ah, Blacksburg at night in the late fall. The forecast? Oh, temperatures in the low 30’s with a 9mph wind gusting to 20. No chance for snow, unfortunately. Will any of this matter? Will, Trevor Lawrence figures to be in a heavy coat under the heat lamps by halftime (early 3rd quarter at the latest if they want to give him a series in the second half), so probably not.
- South Carolina @ Kentucky (SEC): Neither of these teams is good, but will it still be funny when Kentucky wins? We posit: yes.
- Alabama @ Louisiana State (CBS): Well, when CBS was scheduling the double-headers, this probably looked really good. Now, Mac Jones might be in race to see if he can clock less game time than T-Law tonight.
- Baylor @ Oklahoma (FOX): The Sooners aren’t great, but they are pretty good, and should be able to dispatch the Bears.
- Miami @ Duke (ACCN): Miami is #10? Huh, okay, sure. Even if they weren’t, they’d still have a walkover against this Duke team. Cutcliffe’s gotta retire after this year, right?
9:00: Fresno State @ Nevada (FS2): My gut says Nevada, and for this one, my heart agrees.
- Oregon State @ Utah (ESPN): Okay, Beavers, you’ve got the upset win over your most hated rival down. Now you have to go to a team that is currently 0-2 but they’ve still been much more consistent than you have the past several years. I have no idea who will win this, but it would be more fun if the Beavers do, so let’s go with them.
- California-Los Angeles @ Arizona State (FS1): I’ll favor UCLA since they have played 4 games to Arizona State’s 1. That’s about it.
- Wyoming vs. New Mexico (@Whitney, NV; CBSS): Wyoming.
Noon: Western Kentucky @ Charlotte (espn3.com)
7:30: Washington State @ Southern California (FS1): USC hasn’t played in a few weeks, but I still figure they’ll get to 4-0 in sometime primetime Sunday night football in the weirdest way possible. I don’t know how they’ll do it against Wazzu, but I’m sure they’ll find a way.