Bowl Games 2019: 2020

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Wednesday, January 1

  • Michigan vs. Alabama (Citrus Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): There’s definitely been plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth about how this “clash of the titans” will be overhyped on the way to New Year’s Day. Which, look, I understand: I’m as tired of hearing about Michigan and (especially) Alabama as anyone. But that said, this should still be a pretty good football game! Well, provided Bama doesn’t just up and run away with it. Which is entirely possible.
    SP+ line: Bama -11.3
    Vegas line: Bama -6.5
    Watchability tier: IV
    Previous meetings: The series is even, a 2-2 split. Three of the previous meetings were bowl games: the 1987-88 Hall of Fame Bowl (28-24, Michigan), the 1996-97 Outback Bowl (17-14, Bama), and an overtime thriller in the 1999-2000 Outback Bowl that Michigan won 35-34. They kicked off the regular season in 2012, and Bama won 41-14.
    Last bowl game: This is Michigan’s fifth straight bowl game, dating to the 2015 Citrus Bowl, where they beat Florida 41-7. Florida then got them back in the Peach Bowl last season, where the Gators won 41-15. Alabama has been to sixteen straight bowl games, dating to a 20-16 loss to Minnesota in the 2004 Music City Bowl. Last season, they defeated Oklahoma 45-34 in the Orange Bowl, and then used their kicker as a lead blocker on a fake field goal while getting blown out 44-16 by Clemson in the College Football Playoff Championship Game.
    Announcers: Dave Pasch and Greg McElroy
  • Minnesota vs. Auburn (Outback Bowl @ Tampa, FL; ESPN): Congratulations on one of the best seasons in school history, Minnesota! Your reward is to lose in some bizarre way to Auburn, the random number generator of college football teams.
    SP+ line: Auburn -4.3
    Vegas line: Auburn -7.5
    Watchability tier: IV
    Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
    Last bowl game: Minnesota defeated Georgia Tech 34-10 in last season’s Quick Lane Bowl. Auburn has been to seven straight bowl games, dating to the 2013 BCS Championship Game, where they lost 34-31 to Florida State. Last season they beat Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl.
    Announcers: Jason Benetti and Rod Gilmore

5:00: Wisconsin vs. Oregon (Rose Bowl @ Pasadena, CA; ESPN): This actually seems like a perfectly fun Rose Bowl! I don’t really have a good idea of who will win. There are both really-good-not-great teams that should produce a fun contrast of styles: Wisconsin should be able to run Jonathan Taylor behind their huge offensive line, but Oregon should be faster. I think (slash am hoping) that this will produce a close, fun matchup, though I think Wisconsin will win in the end.
SP+ line: Wisky -3.1
Vegas line: Wisky -2.5
Watchability tier: IV
Previous meetings: Wisky is 3-2 overall against Oregon. The first four meetings were in 1977, 1978, 2000, and 2001. Wisky won the first three. Their last meeting was the 2011-12 Rose Bowl, a 45-38 Oregon win.
Last bowl game: Wisconsin has been to 18 consecutive bowl games, dating to a 31-28 win over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. Last season they demolished Miami 35-3 in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Ducks have been to three consecutive bowl games. They lost 38-28 to Boise State in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl and beat Michigan State 7-6 last season in the Redbox Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit

8:45: Baylor vs. Georgia (Sugar Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; ESPN): I’m not really giving Baylor much of a chance in this one, but the the main thing that could keep them in it is Georgia’s offense, which hopefully remains pretty much non-functional against a Big 12 defense. If Georgia gets up by multiple scores, though, this is (probably) over.
SP+ line: UGA -7.8
Vegas line: UGA -6.5
Watchability tier: III
Previous meetings: UGA is 4-0 all-time against Baylor. They first met in 1972, a 24-14 UGA win. Their last meeting was in 1989, a 15-3 Georgia win.
Last bowl game: Baylor defeated Vandy 45-38 last season in the Texas Bowl. Georgia has the country’s second longest consecutive bowls streak, now at 23 games. Their streak dates to the 1997 Outback Bowl, where they defeated Wisconsin 33-6. They lost 28-21 to Texas in last season’s Sugar Bowl.
Announcers: Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge

Thursday, January 2
3:00: Boston College vs. Cincinnati (Birmingham Bowl @ Birmingham, AL; ESPN): Let’s see… Cincy is pretty good, BC just fired their coach and is kinda bad on offense… yeah, this isn’t looking good for a Boston College win.
SP+ line: Cincy -12.3
Vegas line: Cincy -6.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: BC is 4-3 all-time against Cincy. They first met in 1961, a 23-0 BC win. They last met in 1997, a 24-6 Cincy win.
Last bowl game: Boston College’s last bowl game was the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl, a 27-20 loss to Iowa. Cincy defeated VPI 35-31 in last season’s Military Bowl.
Announcers: Kevin Brown and Andre Ware

7:00: Indiana vs. Tennessee (Gator Bowl @ Jacksonville, FL; ESPN): So I picked Indiana a couple weeks ago, but I’ve since started talking myself into the Vols. They finished the season pretty strong! Whereas I don’t really know what to make of the Hoosiers at all. I’ll stick to my guns, though.
SP+ line: Indiana -4
Vegas line: Vols -1.5
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: Just one, a 27-22 Tennessee win in the 1987-88 Peach Bowl.
Last bowl game: Indiana’s last bowl game was the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl, a 26-24 loss to Utah. This is the first bowl game for the Vols since the 2016 Music City Bowl, where they beat Nebraska 38-24.
Announcers: Dave O’Brien and Tim Hasselbeck

Friday, January 3
3:30: Nevada vs. Ohio (Potato Bowl @ Boise, ID; ESPN): I don’t think that Nevada is actually two touchdowns bad, but, yeah, on paper at least this should be close. But we’ll see if the data actually bears that out.
SP+ line: Ohio -15
Vegas line: Ohio -7.5
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: This is the first meeting between these teams.
Last bowl game: Nevada defeated Arkansas State 16-13 in last season’s Arizona Bowl. For the Bobcats, this is their fifth straight bowl game, dating to a 31-29 loss to Appalachai nState in the 2015 Camellia Bowl. Last season they shutout San Diego State 27-0 in the Frisco Bowl.
Announcers: Anish Shroff and John Congemi

Saturday, January 4
11:30: Tulane vs. Southern Mississippi (Armed Forces Bowl @ Fort Worth, TX; ESPN): Tulane had a fantastic season and should be able to cap it off with a win over a mediocre Conference USA team.
SP+ line: Tulane -10.8
Vegas line: Tulane -6.5
Watchability tier: II
Previous meetings: USM leads the all-time series 23-7 between these closely located former conference-mates (from 1996-2010). Tulane won the first matchup in 1979, but it’s been all downhill from there, including losing the last six in a row.
Last bowl game: Tulane beat Louisiana-Lafayette 41-24 in last season’s Cure Bowl. Southern Miss’s last bowl game was a 42-13 defeat to Florida State in the 2017 Independence Bowl.
Announcers: Chris Cotter and Mark Herzlich

Monday, January 6
7:30: Miami vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Mobile Alabama Bowl @ Mobile, AL; ESPN): And, finally, the last bit of college football for an entire week. It’ll be odd to go back to, well, normal as it were? It’s the first indication of the long dark of the offseason. And, unfortunately, this should really be a romp by the Cajuns. But I’ll watch it anyway.
SP+ line: Cajuns -19.2
Vegas line: Cajuns -13.5
Watchability tier: I
Previous meetings: I was fully expecting that this would be the first meeting between these teams, but it’s not! They first met in 1991, a 27-14 Miami victory, and then again in 1993, a 29-28 Miami win.
Last bowl game: Miami’s last bowl game was a 17-16 loss to Mississippi State in the 2016 St. Petersburg Bowl. ULL los 41-24 to Tulane in last season’s Cure Bowl.
Announcers: Dave Lamont and Gene Chizik