Bowl Games 2018: Opening Slate

All the same rules apply as last year, except you can find the full slate here.

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

1:30: Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Cure Bowl @ Orlando, FL; CBSS):

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they’re real
I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

Remembering you standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
Remembering you running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and whiter than snow
And screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage to let it all go

Remembering you fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white so delicate
Lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
Remembering you how you used to be
Slow drowned you were angels
So much more than everything
Hold for the last time
Then slip away quietly
Open my eyes but I never see anything

If only I thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I’d thought of the right words
I wouldn’t be breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
My pictures of you

I’m going with the Ragin’ Cajuns here.
S&P+ line: ULL -1.6
Vegas line: Tulane -3.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: These two in-state foes have met 28 times since 1911. 11 of the meetings were before 1930, with occasional meetings resuming in 1974. Their most recent game was a regular season content in 2016, which the Green Wave won 41-39 in overtime.
Last bowl game: This is Tulane’s first bowl game since that 2013 New Orleans Bowl. ULL was last in a bowl game in the 2016 New Orleans Bowl, where they lost to Southern Mississippi 28-21.
Announcers: Carter Blackburn and Aaron Taylor

2:00: Utah State vs. North Texas (New Mexico Bowl @ Albuquerque, NM; ESPN): These are both teams on the rise, but that almost means their head coaches have been hot commodities. So far, Utah State has lost theirs, but they’re still a better team from a better conference. Going with the Aggies.
S&P+ line: USU -2.7
Vegas line: USU -9.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: Seven meetings in total, with the Aggies holding a 4-3 advantage. The last meeting was in 20014, which UNT won 31-23.
Last bowl game: The Aggies lost to New Mexico State 26-20 in last year’s Arizona Bowl. This is UNT’s third straight bowl game, following a 28-21 loss to Army in the 2016 Heart of Dallas Bowl and a 50-30 loss to Troy in last year’s New Orleans Bowl.
Announcers: Mark Neely and John Congemi

3:30: Arizona State vs. Fresno State (Las Vegas Bowl @ Las Vegas, NV; ABC): HERM! In Vegas! As head coach leading a charge of jazzed Sun Devils thanks to leading them to… 7-5… the same record they had last year. Meanwhile, Jeff Tedford just keeps anonymously rollin’ along down in Fresno, and it looks like it’s about time for the Bulldogs to crush another mediocre Pac-12 team.
S&P+ line: FSU -12.8
Vegas line: FSU -4.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Only three, and all a long time ago: 1931, 1933, and 1941. All were Arizona State wins.
Last bowl game: Arizona State lost 52-31 to North Carolina State in last year’s Sun Bowl. Fresno State has a much shorter trip this season, though they did at least get a 33-27 win over Houston in last year’s trip to the Hawaii Bowl.
Announcers: Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit

5:30: Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern (Camellia Bowl @ Montgomery, AL; ESPN): By EMU’s standard, making two bowl games in three seasons means this is practically a golden age. Meanwhile, Georgia Southern fans have to be seriously contemplating if it was worth trading national championships for trips to Montgomery. Either way, I still like Southern here.
S&P+ line: GSU -0.9
Vegas line: EVEN
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: EMU’s last bowl game was a 24-20 loss to Old Dominion in the 2016 Bahamas Bowl. For Georgia Southern, this is their first taste of postseason play since the only bowl game they’ve everp layed, the 2015 Bowl. They beat Bowling Green 58-27.
Announcers: Mike Corey and Rene Ingoglia

9:00: Middle Tennessee State vs. Appalachian State (New Orleans Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): The New Orleans Bowl returns to its rightful place: prime time. Hopefully the Superdome will be rockin’, but unfortunately the excitement may not last long. I really like the Mountaineers here.
S&P+ line: ASU -12.7
Vegas line: ASU -6.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: Back in 1974, Appalachian State beat MTSU 18-7.
Last bowl game: By all rights, this should be the seventh bowl game in a row for the Blue Raiders, but they didn’t get a trip in 2012 when they went 8-4 (!) or one in 2014 when they went 6-6 (more understandable). Instead, their current streak dates to 2015, a 45-31 loss to Western Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl. Last season they beat Arkansas State 35-30 in the Camellia Bowl. UAB is in their second bowl game in a row, and the third in school history. They lost 41-6 to Ohio in last year’s Bahamas Bowl.
Announcers: Jason Benetti and Kelly Stouffer