Photo courtesy of Florida Atlantic athletics
Bowl season is here! We’re almost to the finish line, college football fans.
We did it!
Now, we get to reward ourselves with plenty of fantastic bowl games this holiday season. Those games were finally announced with names attached to them and we got some fun ones. There were also plenty of bowl games canceled with the number of teams that opted out, but the ones that remain are quite the treat.
So let’s start picking each and every one of the remaining bowl games. We’ll start with an appetizer with the first game that gets underway on Monday to games through Christmas. Don’t worry though, we got plenty of more predictions coming.
In the first piece of a multi-part series, check out the early bowl projections.
Myrtle Beach Bowl
North Texas (4-5) vs. Appalachian State (8-3)
The Mountaineers lost on the teal turf already once this season when they fell to host Coastal Carolina. That won’t happen again as Appalachian State will cruise in this one to another 9-win season under first-year head coach Shawn Clark.
Prediction: Appalachian State 34, North Texas 13
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Nevada (6-2) vs. Tulane (6-5)
The Wolf Pack quietly had a very solid season near the top of the Mountain West. Jay Norvell really seems to have it going in year No. 4 up in Reno. They’re unfortunately hitting a Tulane team on a roll.
The Green Wave started 2-4, but have since won four out of five with their lone loss to Tulsa – who nearly knocked off undefeated Cincinnati in the American Athletic Championship – in overtime. We’ll go with the hot hand in this one.
Prediction: Tulane 34, Nevada 28
Boca Raton Bowl
UCF (6-3) vs. No. 16 BYU (10-1)
This one is going to be fun. In what will be a sellout at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, we have a team that recently claimed a national championship and another deemed the “next UCF”.
The Knights and Dillon Gabriel are solid, but BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is just so good. BYU is a yard away from being undefeated, and it’ll feel the disrespect in this one. The Cougars will pull away in a shootout after a close first half.
Prediction: BYU 45, UCF 31
Memphis (7-3) vs. Florida Atlantic (5-3)
This is another match-up of two programs that are both typically successful on the Group of 5 level. The Owls also play some lockdown defense though, slated at ninth in the nation, and giving up just 16.5 points per game.
That’s enough to give head coach Willie Taggart and staff the edge. They’ll get it done in Montgomery.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 27, Memphis 20
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Louisiana Tech (5-4) vs. Georgia Southern (7-5)
Here’s an interesting tidbit for you: Louisiana Tech has won six straight bowl games — the longest active streak in America. The Bulldogs will look to extend that against the Eagles in their own backyard of New Orleans, but four of of Georgia Southern’s five losses this season have been by eight points or less.
Georgia Southern is just a play or two away from being 10-2. The amount of games played by the Eagles will prove worthy in this one. Georgia Southern, for the win.
Prediction: Georgia Southern 27, Louisiana Tech 24
New Mexico Bowl
Hawaii (4-4) vs. Houston (3-4)
There’s nothing better than the New Mexico Bowl being played in Texas. Hawaii has been a rather inconsistent team this season, and failed to win back-to-back games all season long.
The Rainbow Warriors did however,pick up an upset win against Nevada, which likely saved their season. Houston has had all kinds of COVID-19 issues, and really has not looked competitive at all against some of the better teams in The American.
This game is probably one of the weakest as far as quality of teams, but we’ll lean towards the Rainbow Warriors based on how much they’ve played recently compared to the Cougars.
Prediction: Hawaii 28, Houston 20
Buffalo (5-1) vs. Marshall (7-2)
What a treat we have on Christmas Day. Two teams that laid eggs in their conference championship games now get to duke it for a chance at redemption.
Buffalo lost as a double-digit favorite to Ball State in the MAC Championship, as star running back Jaret Patterson only rushed for 47 yards on 18 attempts before leaving with an injury. He’ll be challenged against a fantastic Marshall defense, but Patterson isn’t the type of guy to have two bad games in a row.
Marshall has looked less than inspiring in its last two games, losing as a 24-point favorite to Rice by 20 before being dominated by UAB in the Conference USA Championship on its own turf. See where we’re going here? Buffalo will get it done against a great defense, but not so great offense.
Prediction: Buffalo 24, Marshall 13