2022-12-19 08:29

And the bowl season has started, and I get wounded fingertips.
How nice was it in the past, when there were only 20+ bowl games ... so much more relaxing ...
Well, it doesn't help.
I might have made the previews a bit more extensive than in recent years, so my bad.

Here the bowl results of the 1st wave.

Friday, December 16
HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl
UAB vs Miami (OH)

@Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, NP
A quite entertaining game, even with low scoring.
UAB scored early and led 10-0 for the 1st quarter.
A series of unsuccessful drives did follow until Miami did score a TD, near the end of the half (PAT blocked).
UAB did try to score in the last 30 seconds, but a deep ball on the last play with time already run out (there was a penalty on the last play) was intercepted and the teams did split 10-6 UAB.
Then came a shock for the Blazers fans, when on a punt return near their own endzone the ball was fumbled and Miami recovered it, making the TD on the next play.
UAB now behind!
But they recovered, made a long drive, crowned with a score for the 17-13 lead.
The RedHawks did answer that with a long drive also and scored to get the lead back, 20-17.
Blazers fumbled on the next drive, Miami missed a FG, so now harm.
UAB did try everything and made a Touchdown after a deep pass and some extra plays, now leading 24-20.
With now chance to tie the game with a Field Goal, the RedHawks made a last effort and ... were stopped on a too short pass, 2 yards before the goal line.
Blazers did win.
Jacks BOWL Score: 1-0

Duluth Trading Cure Bowl
UTSA vs Troy

@Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
No shout-out, just turnovers on turnovers.
What a disappointing game, at least for me.
A wild 1st half, featuring a Safety, Fumble, 3 INTs, a Field Goal and 2 Touchdowns.
UTSA did lead after that 12-7. They would not score more points in the whole game.
But the 2nd half did feature additionally 2 Fumbles, 1 INT, 1 Touchdown and 1 Field Goal.
I think you can guess who got the turnover-trophy and who got the bowl-trophy.
The Trojans won the game 18-12.
Jacks BOWL Score: 1-1

Saturday, December 17
Wasabi Fenway Bowl
Cincinnati vs Louisville

@Fenway Park, Boston, MA
This started as open as possible, with no scores until end of the 1st quarter.
Then for some reason the next drive did also result in a Touchdown and the game was tied again.
Until then, nothing did work and Louisville with their 1st TD got this one handed to them by a Bearcats fumble before that.
But suddenly Cincinnati did march over the field and tied the game.
Hope for the Bearcats fans.
But not for long, since on the next drive did suddenly Louisville find space and the endzone and the Cardinals took the lead and never looked back.
After that score, Cincinnati did stop playing, the were unable to do anything on offense, ridiculous.
At the end did Louisville win this, even they committed several turnovers and gave Cincinnati all the chances and some, 24-7.
If you don't want to play in a bowl, Cincinnati, just don't commit to it and leave the space for someone who wants.
Jacks BOWL Score: 1-2

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Florida vs #14 Oregon State

@Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Same, if not worse, can be said for the Florida Gators.
If I would be a Gator-Fan, I would go nuts and some on THIS display of NOTHING.
They did play the Beavers (oh man, I would love to splash that into a Gators-Fans after years 'Didn't you lose to the Beavers in 2022 by a mile?'), even they play much better than in recent years, but man ...
I did pick the Beavers, yes, and I'm still fine with that, but I did expect SOME resistance and the Beavers to show some teeth, but the Gators did just roll over and surrendered.
It was 7-0 after the 1st quarter, 10-0 at the half.
All Florida had was a missed Field Goal in that half and they did block a FG try of Oregon State at halftime.
Then came Oregon out of the locker room and scored a TD on top, 17-0, Florida did ... 3-and-out and Oregon did ... score again! 23-0.
Florida did ... play 6 plays and punted and Oregon did ... SCORE AGAIN! 30-0!
No kidding, 37 seconds before the game ended did Florida KICK A FIELD GOAL to get points on the board.
The Beavers can dream of this game for the rest of their lives, winning 30-3 against the Florida Traitors.
Jacks BOWL Score: 2-2

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel
Washington State vs Fresno State

@SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Oh, and the next team not willing to play.
Washington State did trail at the half against Fresno State 0-16.
They were just outplayed.
Late in the 3rd the Cougars did finally score, failed the 2-pointer and trailed 6-16.
But the Bulldogs were still unstoppable and went to a Touchdown on the next drive.
And the Cougars ... did rest and rest and rest until the game was over and Fresno State did win 29-6.
Great effort by the Bulldogs, Cougars with a disappointing outing, but not as bad as Florida.
Jacks BOWL Score: 2-3

LendingTree Bowl
Rice vs Southern Miss

@Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL
This game was more fun, even some Eagle fans might have had a heart attack in the 3rd quarter and did not see the happy ending.
Southern Miss did lead early, scoring on the 1st drive of the game.
They led at the half 17-3 against a not-so-good-Rice-team.
So far so expected.
Then came Rice out of the locker room and scored a Touchdown, Southern Miss did commit a fumble, Rice scored against, kept Southern Miss at 5 plays and a punt and SCORED AGAIN!
Those 3 scores needed in total 13 plays and less than 6 minutes, now Rice leading 24-17.
I hope nobody died on that shock.
Lucky Eagles fans, Southern Miss did score from this point onwards and kept Rice suddenly again scoreless, winning 38-24.
I think this one was entertaining, but not for the fans, since THAT was a rollercoaster ride.
Jacks BOWL Score: 3-3

New Mexico Bowl

@University Stadium , Albuquerque, NM
THIS was like a bowl game you want.
Close, until the end, some comeback, some tragedy.
Both teams play well in the 1st half and did split 10-10. I would have wished for more points, but OK.
In the 3rd quarter did the 1st turnover happen, when BYUs pass was intercepted in SMU territory.
SMU did build a long drive on that, which was stopped by another INT, this time by BYU, and this time returned for a TD!
The Mustangs locked confused, did not make anything on the next drive and allowed on the BYU-drive another TD.
The Cougars now ahead 24-10.
But the Mustangs did recover and started the comeback try, scored, and stopped BYU.
On the next few drives, nothing did happen, until the game started to fade away, time was running.
SMU made a last effort, long pass into the endzone ... CAUGHT!
They go for TWO, a QB draw, or maybe all receivers locked, a little shake, a little roll, a little BAM and the QB was stopped shorter the goal line, BYU won 24-23.
Jacks BOWL Score: 4-3

Frisco Bowl
North Texas vs Boise State

@Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
North Texas did play much better than I did anticipated.
They did lead at the half 10-6, which was surprising, since the Broncos and the Green Wave are more high scoring teams.
Then came the fun part of the game.
Five drives, 5 Touchdowns.
This was only stopped by a North Texas Drive which was intercepted.
The 2 more Touchdowns and the Broncos did lead at that time 35-32, North Texas had just scored.
And suddenly the offense fire powers were halted again.
Boise, stopped, North Texas, stopped, Boise, stopped against, North Texas now close to a loss, time running out, stopped.
Boise got the ball back at that point, deep in UNT territory, but with 50 ticks left, decided to kneel down and win the game, 35-32.
Fun, fun, fun, at least for me.
Jacks BOWL Score: 5-3

Some coaches news.

Mississippi State did hire from withing and promoted DC Zach Arnett to head coach. It's his 1st HC gig and he is just 36 years old.
Not bad getting the 1st gig as SEC head coach that age.

Kent State did also find a new HC, hiring Kenni Burns, RB and assistant HC of Minnesota. Also, his 1st gig, age 39.
That's a promotion I can understand.

Now the 2nd wave of bowls.

Monday, December 19
Myrtle Beach Bowl
Marshall vs UConn

@Brooks Stadium , Conway, SC
This is played the 3rd time now, since it was founded in 2020.
They play in the stadium of the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers football team.
The bowl is owned by ESPN and has conference tie ins with the American, Sun Belt and the MAC and we got ... a Sun Belt team and an Indy team.
Well, that's how it goes.
Let's start with Marshall, 8-4 this season, which does play in a bowl regularly since a decade, only off a bowl in 2016 and 2012.
Since the bowl is quite new, they did never play in this one.
The team did start great, did even upset Notre Dame, but lost then some games and did at the end finish 1 win behind the sharing division winners, thanks to a 4 game winning streak.
UConn is a different team this season, with a new HC in Jim L. Mora.
He did something I would never expected on the Huskies that fast, he did guide them to a bowl.
UConn was bad, really bad, the past 10+ seasons.
In 2010 it was the last time the team won a conference with a 8-5 record overall in that season and a bowl trip.
Then the HC did go to Maryland and the team fell apart.
In 2015 had a coach, the 2nd after the championship coach, go to a bowl with a 6-6 record and lost, after that the Championship coach came back (in 2017) and managed only losing seasons (7 wins in 4 seasons), was fired last year and Mora came in this year.
And suddenly UConn wins. At least a bit. The season had some ups and downs, but the team won in total 6 games, including later Mountain West Champ Fresno State and the feared indy team Liberty.
Not too bad. Now they play in this bowl, 1st time, which is the 1st bowl since 2015.
So, who is favored here under such conditions?
Vegas says Marshal -12.0.
That's unfriendly, I think.
I'm willing to follow the Marshall trail, but my gut feeling is, the team will not lose by 10+ points.
And a little voice even says silently 'upset', but I ignore it.
Thundering Herd wins.

Tuesday, December 20
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs San José State

@Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
This is a quite long running bowl, since 1997, and it's played on the smurf turf field of Boise State Broncos.
It's basically a Mountain West bowl with some other team invited this season again from the MAC.
The matchup is interesting, since Eastern Michigan, 8-4, does play very good in recent years and won a share of the division the 1st time since, well, not sure, but the last time the won anything was in 1987, when the MAC had no divisions, and the team did win the conference.
Since then, until 2016 it was more or less a HC-burial-site.
But since 2016 the team was in 4 bowls, which is a lot for that program and, well, lost all.
It's the 1st time for them in this bowl here.
San Jose State is also new in this bowl, have a 7-4 record this season so far and won the Mountain West under this HC in 2020, but had a setback in 2021 and was clearly not the best team in their division this season.
In 2020 was the last time the team went to a bowl and lost.
Since the MAC and the Mountain West are a bit apart in terms of strength, it's no wonder that the Spartans are favored by 4.0 points.
For me that's a big bow towards the Eagles, since this team usually is disregarded.
I ask myself, whether the weather will be a factor.
The Michigans should be OK playing outside in cold conditions, San Jose comes for comfortable warm California.
I give Eastern Michigan here the pick.
They seem to have a competitive team and on the smurf turf, they should be comfortable (funny fact, the Eagles have a similar field in color grey) in Idaho, while San Jose is likely OK with the turf (they have a different kind of turf, but also artificial) but the cold should be a big minus.
Eagles win. Boca Raton Bowl
Liberty vs Toledo

@FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
A bowl since 2014 it's a game between always new negotiated conference tie ins, usually for 2 seasons.
This season we should have had any Group of 5 team or Army in it and got an Indy team and the MAC Champ.
It's played on the home field of the Florida Atlantic Owls.
Not a bad matchup.
Toledo did play already in that bowl and won in 2015.
This season they are 8-5 and won the MAC, while they lost some games, I would have expected them to win.
Liberty had a great run under the now former HC, winning 8+ games in every season since they joined FBS in 2019.
This season they have a 8-4 record, but the HC is gone and maybe I'm over interpretate the results, but the team lost the last 3 games, against teams, the team did win against usually, and I put that on the distraction on the HC, getting the contract done for his Auburn job.
Now the interims HC has to guide the team through the bowl against an offense fire power team.
Betting line is Toledo -4.5, which is OK I think.
If Liberty comes in as their former self, the team will win.
But whether this will happen and whether the things made the team click are still in place and possible, I don't know.
I have doubts.
So ...
Rockets win.

Wednesday, December 21
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Western Kentucky vs South Alabama

@Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
This exists since 2001 and is a Sun Belt vs Conference USA game.
Played in the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints.
We have the 8-5 Western Kentucky, who were tied with North Texas for 2nd place in the CUSA, but their loss to UNT during the season meant no Championship game spot for them.
And we have South Alabama, 10-2, who were tied with Troy for 1st place in their division, but their loss to Troy during the season meant no Championship game spot in the Sun Belt for them.
Both teams did not play inside this bowl so far.
South Alabama is favored by 4.5 points, but the community does favor WKU.
Hmm. I'm with Vegas here, South Alabama did show a lot of potential and did play most of the games really good.
They are basically just 7 points in scoring shy a perfect season, which would have included an upset over UCLA and a spot in the Sun Belt finale.
Granted, WKU can win here, it's likely a close game, but I will go with the Jaguars here, since they run a winning streak, played well and stayed in every game.
WKU did play also well in most games, but those stumbles against UNT and Auburn, in which they lost with quite big margin are concerning.
Jaguars win.

Thursday, December 22
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Baylor vs Air Force

@Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
This is played on the field of the SMU Mustangs and the bowl is alive since 2003.
This season a matchup between an American team and a Conference USA team was planned.
We got a BIG 12 vs Mountain West ... Hmmm.
Baylor is 6-6 this season but was dangerous in most games and lost many of those 6 games in very close results.
They never played in this bowl.
Air Force in the other hand did play here 5 times already and are 1-4. This season their record is 9-3, but they did lack the punch to win the division or more. They finished in a 3-team-tie with Wyoming and Utah State at 2nd place but lost to all of those teams and also Boise.
Wanna bet, who is favored here? The mid-level-BIG-12 or the mid-level-MWC?
I guess you did it right and do also favor Baylor, it's just the level of talent compare and the check on the results.
Vegas has Baylor ahead by 4.0 points.
I think it will come down to, which face will Baylor bring onto the field.
If they bring the team, which did almost upset TCU, Air Force will get slaughtered.
If not, Air Force has a chance. They lost those 3 games in quite close games and stayed in those games, so they will likely use the chances they get.
A sloppy Baylor team will lose here, a concentrated one will win.
I hope for the best ....
Bears win.

Friday, December 23
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Louisiana vs Houston

@Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Played since 1976 and current tie-ins are Army against a team from the Conference USA.
The alignment does change from time to time and honestly, I think they grab what's available, leaning maybe towards some teams more than some other.
At the end it's Sun Belt vs American this season.
The stadium is usually only used for this bowl on sports, beside some event games.
Louisiana has a readjustment season under the new HC, having a record of only 6-6, while they were much better last season, which is a bit surprising, since the new HC is the old OC.
Houston had also a quite disappointing season so far, 7-5, after getting to the American Championship game last season they dropped to mid-level this year.
Both teams will likely want to finish on a high note, and of course is Houston as American team with a slightly better record favored over the Sun Belt team.
Both teams did not play in this bowl ever.
The betting line is Houston -7.0, which in my head is not enough, but maybe that's the name vs name compare, not the real compare.
With Rice there is even a common opponent, Houston won by a score, Louisiana lost by more than a score, but those games were in the 1st third of the season and has not much to do with the current state of the teams.
I'm a bit concerned Houston did drop their last game against Tulsa at home, while the games of Louisiana do not feature big surprised, except their loss to rival Louisiana-Monroe, but that's also weeks ago.
My pick is, the talent level of Houston should be a factor, if Houston gets that on the field motivated, Louisiana should be in deep trouble.
But if the team performs as they did against Tulsa, the Ragin’ Cajuns have a chance to win.
I'm still hoping the best ...
Cougars win.

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Wake Forest vs Missouri

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
This is played since 2008, formerly known as the St. Petersberg-Bowl after the former playing site in Florida.
The tie-ins were negotiated quite wide open since 2020, so basically this means the bowl organizer can s e l e c t teams assumed to draw some attention and willing to participate.
Planned is teams from American, ACC, SEC or Notre Dame. Well ... at least that made the selection easy, ACC vs SEC this season.
They will be playing in the stadium of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Both teams did not play in this bowl, which is not a big surprise with those wide selection criteria.
Wake Forest is 7-5 and was expected to have a bigger say inside the ACC this season but lost crucial games and ended up almost last place in their division.
Missouri was also expected to make a bigger push inside their SEC division but lost most games against good SEC teams with a margin of a score or less.
The level of contention for the Tigers was there, hopefully still IS there, but the execution did lack the, maybe lucky, punch.
Surprising for me, Wake Forest is favored, by 1.0 points.
For me the Demon Deacons lost too many games against good teams, and sometimes even not so good teams. And most were ACC teams.
The Tigers could have been in contention, but fair to say, failed. Still with the prep time for the bowl, my expectation is, the team gets more of the SEC talent on the field than we have seen so far or in most games.
Sure, Wake Forest has the same time, and I DO expect a close game, but at the end ...
Tigers win.

Saturday, December 24
EasyPost Hawai'i Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs San Diego State

Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Honolulu, HI
Played basically on the practice field of the Hawai'i Rainbows, since the regular stadium has major problems and will likely be replaced.
The field has only 9.300 seats this season and will be expanded until 2023 to 17.000 to fulfill the minimum demands of the FBS football rules.
The old playing site, the Aloha Stadium, which was famous for the ability to be configured as Baseball- or Football-Stadium with movable ranks and feature basically a round or a long configuration, and which was also famous for the Pro Bowl of the NFL and the home field of the Hawai'i College Team is shut down. THAT had 50.000 seats.
The Bowl has tie-ins on American, Conference USA and Mountain West and we got .... CUSA vs MWC, fine.
Middle Tennessee did play here 2016 and lost. They are this season 7-5 and their most surprising loss was against Tennessee State (FCS) in week 3 and their most surprising win was against Miami (FL), ranked at that time at #25, in week 4. They ended the regular season with 3 wins to get into bowl and some more.
San Diego State was at least in the mix to win their division but lost 2 more games inside the division than the later Champ Fresno State and finished overall with 7-5 also. Based on the season results their losses do not feature great abbreviations, neither the wins. 2015 did the team play this bowl and won.
The conference power does say SDSU is favored, and Vegas has them ahead by 7.0 points.
That sound fair.
If MTSU brings on the energy of the Miami game, or SDSU does take this too lightly, the Blue Raiders do have a chance.
The overall bowl record of Middle Tennessee is 5-8, which is likely based on the fact that the CUSA as one of the weakest conferences usually gets much stronger teams as opponents in bowls, and the current coach has of that record all, but 4 (those were in the 50s and 60s).
San Diego State is 10-9, as in info.
Will Middle Tennessee win here? Likely not, but not impossible.
Will San Diego State dominate here? Likely not, I expect a close game, in which MTSU plays catchup over most parts of the game.
Aztecs win.

That's it for the 2nd wave of Bowl games.
Merry X-Mas to all of you.

'Til next time

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