2022-12-26 10:04

Merry X-Mas to all!

The 2nd wave of bowls is over.
Some mixed results, not many really good games, from my point of view.

Monday, December 19
Myrtle Beach Bowl
Marshall vs UConn

@Brooks Stadium , Conway, SC
Hmmm. Not sure how the spectators did react on the start of the match, but for me, that looks like bad one.
Marshall had the 1st drive, marched over the field and fumbled the ball in UConn territory.
And the Huskies ... did fumble the ball away ON THE NEXT PLAY! The return did even half the distance to the goal line and Marshall needed 2 plays afterwards to score a Touchdown.
I guess the reaction was from the Marshall fans 'we made a mistake but did equalize it and then made it count' and the UConn fans did say 'Oh boy, it feels so 2021'.
It followed a series of drives with nothing but punts as results until UConn got the ball (after a punt) and tried a pass on 2nd play of the drive and ... PICK SIX!
'Oh boy, it feels so 2021'.
Another series of punt-drives until UConn finally did get into scoring range and ... MISSED a 45-yarder.
For whatever reason did Marshalls offense suddenly expose the Huskies defense in 4 plays, especially on big run play, and Marshall scored again. UConn now down 21-0, which was also the halftime score.
'Oh boy, it feels so 2021'.
In the 3rd quarter did UConn show a glimpse of their newfound self-confidence, but since they were unable to prevent another Marshall score, the Huskies were still down 28-14, which became, after a scoreless 4th quarter, the final score.
I think UConn has some work to do, and of course the bowl participation was already a huge step, but man ... that first half ...
'Oh boy, it feels so 2021'.
PS: In 2021 did UConn win only 1 game out of 12. That win was against FCS-team Yales, while prior in the season they already had lost against FCS-team Holy Cross and later finishing 1-11 UMass. THAT was a bad year.
For Marshall that was a great season finale, I think they can be happy overall with the season.
Jacks BOWL Score: 6-3

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

@Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
It did not start good for EMU, San Jose needed 3 plays on the 1st drive to score a TD.
On top did EMU then fumble the ball on their 3rd play in their 1st drive and gave the ball back to the Spartans in good field position.
Lucky Eagles, the Spartans got stopped and missed the field goal try.
Still, the Eagles had problems, could not move the ball and on the next Spartans drive the bell did ring again and EMU was down 13-0.
But there was suddenly hope, when the extra point try was blocked and returned for a 2-point-conversion. You don't see that often.
Like this was the BAM the Eagles team needed, Eastern Michigan did score 28 unanswered points in the rest of the 1st half, while San Jose did only commit 2 INTs and 1 turnover on downs.
So, 30-13 at the half.
After a series of punts EMU was able to kick a field goal, the Spartans did score TD and it looked like the tide was changing, when EMU was stopped.
But the Spartans were again stopped on 4th and 1 and EMU did punch it in on the next drive.
San Jose did score also afterwards, but time and the margin were not in their favor and the Eagles won finally 41-27.
Big win for the Eastern Michigan University.
Jacks BOWL Score: 7-3 Boca Raton Bowl
Liberty vs Toledo

@FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
It was a quite defense driven game, in which it did look like Liberty would once again be that spoiler you simply underestimate.
It was Flames 10-3 at the half.
But when Toledo came out of the locker room, the were on fire and did score on a long drive a Touchdown to take the lead.
Liberty fumbled on the next drive and Toledo did at least get a field goal out of it.
Remember, the defenses were hard to overcome, so every score counts. Rockets up 13-7.
Then came a period, where Toledo fans might get some angst.
Liberty was stopped, punted, but the return was fumbled, and Liberty did recover.
Big play.
Starting inside the redzone, Liberty was stopped and forced to kick a field goal, which Liberty MISSED.
The Rockets were so pumped up, the come onto the field and marched over the field and scored, including a 2-pointer. 21-7.
Not so fast.
Liberty came out and scored on their drive but missed the PAT. 21-13.
Toledo had 5 plays, but was forced to punt, Liberty took the ball and needed ONE play to score but failed the 2-pointer. 21-19.
Now the Rockets needed time management and was able to get 4 additional 1st downs and ran down the clock to win this.
A big finish for the Rockets, the Flames are on the edge of a new HC era, next season can be totally different.
Jacks BOWL Score: 8-3

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

@Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
I don't know why, but South Alabama had a horrible 1st half, which did already seal their fate.
After 4 drives the team had 37 yards on offense, while WKU had over 200 yards and 21 points, including a missed field goal try.
And it did not become better.
The teams did exchange INTs, which led South Alabama to score a field goal finally, but WKU did also kick one and did score with time running out another TD, leading 31-3 at the half.
It's hard to dig out of that hole and South Alabama did try in the 2nd half, but since they were unable to prevent the Hilltoppers score from time to time, catching up those 28-point difference was too much.
The Jaguars did outscore WKU by 4 in the 3rd quarter and by 3 in the 4th, that's it.
For WKU this game looked like the team did look like in the past, so I hope they can transfer that into the next season.
The Jaguars ... well, I have to admit that this was a very disappointing display, and I can only hope they will get their potential on the field next year.
Jacks BOWL Score: 8-4

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

@Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
I did hope for the best and got a hand full of .
Baylor came out and did suck almost the full 1st half, while Air Force did score and score.
At halftime it was only 9-7, because at some short moments had Baylor a good play.
They blocked the XP after the Falcons TD, they did stop them on 4th down after a long drive, and with time basically gone in the 2nd quarter did Baylor finally score a TD.
Now the 2nd quarter .... was even worse for Baylor.
No scoring until the game was almost over and at that time did Air Force lead by 23 points. 23!
Man, what a bad way to close the season for the Bears, the Falcons had a great one and likely did party until the next day.
Jacks BOWL Score: 8-5

Friday, December 23
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Louisiana vs Houston

@Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
When I say, this game was typical for a Houston-game this season, it makes sense to me, but likely not sense to you.
For me Houston had a season, where they played some sloppy games, and often they were able to dig themselves out of that mess, but sometimes not.
A full concentrated Houston team would have won more games this season and would have won more games with less drama.
THIS game here started sloppy and then Houston was able to overcome the bad start, luckily.
The Cajuns started with a scoring drive, while Houston was unable to do anything.
Starting the 2nd quarter did Louisiana add a field goal and Houston ... was still unable to anything.
Wen Louisiana added another FG, Houston started to wake up and managed to score a Touchdown on the next drive.
Still, they were unable to prevent another long drive by the Cajuns, who capped it with another field goal, leading 16-6 at the half.
Houston got the ball in the 2nd half and scored to shorten the gap.
And the Houston defense started to show some spirit, forcing 2 fumbles which did help on field position, but did not help directly on scoring, which was a pity.
Houston was able to kick at some point between the fumbles a tying field goal, the big turnaround did not happen.
Except, the defense prevented by better plays additional scoring of Louisiana.
The Cougars did late in the 4th then manage to get one more scoring drive together, which led to the final score of 23-16.
Not the result I had in mind, but good enough, I guess.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-5

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Wake Forest vs Missouri

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Congratulation to Wake Forest, they did basically have the whole game the situations under control and Missouri was simply not playing I expected a SEC-team to play.
At halftime Wake Forest was ahead 14-10 and Missouri was always behind.
The 2nd half looked like Missouri would turn the table, when they scored a Touchdown early, but Wake Forest did score also one on the next drive and stopped Mizzou on the drive afterwards.
What followed was a defense battle, which was clearly won by Wake Forest and late in the 4th the Missouri defense did collapse one more time and Wake Forest scored once more.
Final score, 27-17.
Big win from my point of view for the Demon Deacons, a disgrace for the Tigers.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-6

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

Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex, Honolulu, HI
This game here went back and forth, with the Aztecs being the only one to blame keeping Middle Tennessee in the game.
The Aztecs did commit 5 turnovers and you all know that this kind of performance does make it very hard to win a game.
The 1st half was flooded with change of possession, usually you have all together maybe 10-15 drives for both teams, in this game we had 22!
At 1st it looked like the performance I expected, Aztecs going ahead, Middle Tennessee catching up.
But errors did make the game a gamble, Aztecs committed turnovers, played 4th downs and did not made it, the misses a field goal.
The offense was gaining yards but did not score often.
On the other hand, did Middle Tennessee say thanks to the opportunities they got, by turnovers, bad plays and penalties.
Halftime score was 14-13 for SDSU.
This did continue in the 2nd half, only that the Aztecs did score even less and Middle Tennessee used their chances, most of the time.
With 2 minutes left the Blue Raiders did kick a field goal for the 25-23 lead, but of course San Diego got the ball back.
But their offense did NOT klick in that situation and on 4th and 24 the team got desperate and at the end fumbled the ball away while trying to make a play.
The Blue Raiders did win this with -66 yards rushing!
Aztecs, you did play an awful game.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-7

Here is the 3rd wave of bowls, which features a major part, or to be more precise, more bowls in a shorter period of time.

Monday, December 26
Quick Lane Bowl
New Mexico State vs Bowling Green

@Ford Field, Detroit, MI
The bowl exists since 2014 and did feature several teams from several conferences, usually from the ACC, BIG10 and the MAC, with BIG10 and MAC were planned this season.
Finally, we got one of the most boring matchups of all matchups, and Indy, which might not even be here, if not for an exception made, and a MAC team, which did lose steam at the end of the season.
The bowl is played on the home field of the Detroit Lions.
Let's start with Bowling Green, who had the chance to win their MAC division, but lost to Kent State, 2 weeks before season finale, won against later MAC Champ Toledo a week later and lost to Ohio on the regular season finale in the battle for the division title.
The Falcons finished 6-6 with this bowl spot and the honor to be one of 5 teams in the season, who has beaten the MAC Champ.
They face New Mexico State, who did finish also 6-6, but only because they did crush a FCS team in the Championship game week, since their regular 12th game was first postponed and then canceled (against San Jose State). They did already play a FCS-Team during the season, so their record for a bowl spot is officially 5-6 and they got a waiver by the NCAA, since at least in theory they could have reached the 6th win against SJSU, but the cancelation was not their fault. My gut feeling is, they would have lost the game, against SJSU and would have failed the bowl eligibility.
But fine, the matchup is as it is and the people in Detroit can cheer on the Falcons and the Aggies.
Both teams have not played in this bowl so far.
Vegas favors Bowling Green by 3.0 points, which surprised me a bit.
Biggest win of NMSU was likely Liberty, which was already in the time, when the Flames HC was in discussion for the Auburn job, so not sure how much we can take out of that.
But the team did also lose against several weaker CUSA teams, so what to make out of that?
Bowling Green did lose against a FCS team in week 2, played beside that quite consistent, except the last 3 weeks, as written.
I expect Bowling Green to win this, by more than a score, but not much more.
Should be an open game, not sure it will be exciting, but hopefully entertaining.
Falcons win.

Tuesday, December 27
Camellia Bowl
Georgia Southern vs Buffalo

@Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
This is played since 2014 and features usually Sun Belt vs MAC. Only in 2020 did the Sun Belt not send a team to this bowl.
The bowl is owned by ESPN.
Both teams are 6-6 on the season so far.
Both teams do return, Georgia Southern won the bowl in 2018, Buffalo won 2020.
The Sun Belt has a record of 5-2 in this bowl, while the MAC has a 2-4 record.
Georgia Southern did basically lose 5 of those 6 games inside their conference, which is not a good sign.
By that, after the season, the team did lose against all the better sorted teams, but more concerning is, most of those were not close.
The team is in the 1st year of a new HC, so adjustments had to be made, still the team did not click at the end of the season, lost 3 out of 4 games.
Buffalo started bad in non-conference games (1-3), lost even to a FCS-team, but recovered and was 5-3, until the November did kick in and they lost also 3 out of 4. Bad in this context was, they lost to not-so-good-teams.
Now these 2 late season downers do meet, and you can throw a coin, I guess.
Cold weather Buffalo goes to Alabama and plays a Georgia team ... no wonder the Vegas line does favor a bit Georgia Southern 4.5 points.
I did pick a different side every minute thinking about pros and cons of the teams and their results and at the end I do values 2 things a bit more.
The 1st is the site, having the cold weather team coming in. That could have a factor, but likely this would be tougher the other way around.
And 2nd, more important, Buffalo did drop hard in production late in November and became only eligible beating 2-10 Akron in the last game with a single point. Georgia Southern did also become eligible in the last game day, by beating Appalachian State by 3 points, but they are 6-6.
This is maybe just a small difference, but I have not much more.
I'm sure that motivation will do out-perform any small difference by a mile, so if the Eagles players just don't want to play, they will lose, no doubt.
But that is hard to judge.
Eagles win.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Memphis vs Utah State

@Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
Operated since 2010, this had shifting tie ins, usually some power 5 school vs group of 5 school as intention, but the actual matchups did usually never match the intention.
Plan was to have a matchup between teams from the American or ACC or BIG 12.
We have an American vs Mountain West ... Yes.
It's played on the home field of the SMU Mustangs.
Both teams are 6-6, and both did not play in this bowl so far.
I must say, compared to past matchups and quality of teams, this seems to be a weak matchup.
Memphis did navigate through the season not very strong and finished as mid-level team, a level they should not be happy about.
But Utah State is for sure also not happy, since LAST season they won (surprisingly) the Mountain West and this season they did drop heavily, even they did at last finish in a 3-team-tie for 2nd place in the division.
Most surprising this season were their loss to a FCS team in week 2 and against UNLV a bit later.
Memphis is favored by 7.5 points, which I can relate to.
Those losses they had were most of the time close against the better teams of the American, which is a stronger conference than the Mountain West in recent years.
Utah State had those strange losses and became eligible by beating the weaker teams.
So my take is the Tigers will win here, likely with a higher margin than the Vegas line.
My only question mark is, whether the Texas stadium will have an impact, but I think it will not have much impact, ignoring strange weather conditions, which might come up.
Memphis has an explosive offense, if they click, Utah State had some problems on their side, hence ...
Tigers win.

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs East Carolina

@Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL
This bowl exists since 2006.
It should feature a SEC team vs an American Conference team.
Somehow a Sun Belt team did jump in for a SEC team ...
Right now, the stadium is the home field of the UAB Blazers.
Coastal Carolina lost the Sun Belt Championship game and is 9-3 this season. The team lost surprisingly to Old Dominion and if James Madison would have been eligible to play in the Championship game, the Chanticleers wouldn't have lost to Troy in that game, since they wouldn't have got the slot.
East Carolina has a 7-5 season so far and was only mid-level inside the American. But they won against UCF and BYU but did also lose to Navy.
For me this is a quite strange matchup, but interesting, since both teams made some good and bad noise this season and you don't see them clash very often.
East Carolina was twice so far in this bowl and lost both games, Coastal Carolina is new here.
The Pirates are favored by Vegas by 7.0 points, which is likely fair.
As American team, the Pirates have a good talent base, the Chanticleers had some magic in the past, but lost that mojo a bit this season.
With the preparation, this game might become quite open, but that's hard to predict.
I expect the game a bit closer than the 7.5 points, this could also end in a blowout.
In total I'm not picking Coastal Carolina, who finished the season with 2 crucial losses, which is not a good sign of motivation.
Pirates win.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Wisconsin vs Oklahoma State

@Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
This bowl is played since 1989 and it is played as you-buy-it-you-name-it-bowl.
It had several names in the past, from several sponsors.
Regardless, they play in the home stadium of the Arizona Diamondbacks, also a baseball team, and it features a Big 12 vs Big 10 team.
The matchup is ... strange, as is the betting line.
Wisconsin is 6-6, coming to this bowl 2nd time, won the last time.
OSU is 7-5, with their 3rd trip to this bowl, 2-0 so far here.
Both teams had crucial wins and losses, more losses than anticipated.
Worst loss for Wisconsin was the game against Michigan State, best win was likely against Purdue (later division champ), even the name does not sound that way.
Oklahoma State did fade away the longer the season went and most crucial was their losses to Kansas and West Virginia, while they had big games against Baylor and Texas.
Wisconsin is favored by 3.5 points, which might be a nod to Wisconsins name and their toughness, or because Oklahoma State did fade more away than Wisconsin.
The community is almost torn in 2 parties, a small majority does favor also the Badgers.
From coaching point of view has Wisconsin a quite strange situation, the interims coach did a good job, was expected to become the long-term solution, but will be replaced AFTER the bowl, by another guy.
The team likes the interims coach, so they might play their hearts out, but maybe the motivation is gone.
I don't know.
On top comes the cold weather team into the desert. Will this be a factor?
The other way around, for sure, Wisconsin is a fridge.
But will the players dry out in Phoenix?
I do coin flip in my head, throw it away and lean on the loyalty of the Badgers players to the interims coach.
Badgers win.

Wednesday, December 28
Military Bowl Presented by Peraton
UCF vs Duke

@Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Created in 2008 this should feature until 2025/2026 season an ACC vs AAC matchup. And we have one, yeah!
It's played on the homefield of the Midshipmen.
I'm not sure the matchup is ... appealing, since Duke has that legacy to be a push over, but ... let's start with the facts.
UCF is 9-4 and did play for the American Championship but lost to Tulane by 17 points. That must have been a stunner, since they had won against them a month before.
Duke is 8-4 but finished in a 2-team-tie inside their division on 2nd place and won their last 3 games.
Vegas has actually Duke ahead by 3.0 points, while the community does favor a bit more UCF.
Now UCF has built that big offense production name in the past few years, and their average stats are a bit higher than Dukes, while the 2 teams have comparable defense stats, only that Duke is better in run defense, UCF better in passing defense.
Both teams did not play in this bowl so far. For Duke it's the 1st bowl overall since 2018, while UCF did win last season their bowl under the current HC.
I think this will be close game, and both teams have a legit shot for the win.
Duke under the new HC has made tremendous progress, so we might see even development further the last game, which would make Duke a very scary team, compared to their legacy.
My gut feeling is, that Duke will motivate the team a bit better playing in that colder environment than UCF will do.
Small errors will likely decide the game, which can't be anticipated, so I hope for the best and pick ...
Blue Devils win.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Kansas vs Arkansas

@Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, Memphis, TN
The name was changed, the Stadium is still the same, the home field of the Memphis Tigers.
This bowl is played since 1959.
It's a BIG 12 against SEC bowl.
When I saw the matchup the 1st time, I could not believe the Vegas line.
We have the 6-6 Kansas Jayhawks, 1st time in a bowl since 2008, against the Arkansas Razorbacks, also 6-6, who won already last season a bowl under the current HC.
We have a Kansas team which did start 5-0 and finished 1-6. Which did beat as biggest win Oklahoma State (by that became bowl eligible), but which lost also against every other team inside the BIG-12. 3-6 inside the conference.
We have Arkansas, which did win and lose throughout the season, which did lose against Liberty, but won against Ole Miss.
Kansas did stand their ground against TCU, but lost, and from that point onward were always a bit behind the BIG-12 teams.
Arkansas stood their ground against several SEC teams and lost, but the last time against Missouri on season finale.
Ok, with that in mind I saw a betting line of Arkansas -3.0.
For me, that's not enough, having an SEC team, which did come close against later SEC division champ LSU against a BIG 12 team, losing the last 3 games in a row by double digit margin.
With all the great progress Kansas has made compared to the past decade, I think Arkansas will win by a higher margin.
If not, I nod my head for the Jayhawks, but my feeling is ...
Razorbacks win.

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
#15 Oregon vs North Carolina

@Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Again, inside the Baseball stadium of the San Diego Pirates, since the former home, the stadium of the Chargers, was demolished prior 2021 bowl series.
The bowl exists since 1978 and should feature a PAC-12 team vs a ACC team.
My gut feeling is, this will be a blowout.
We have the 9-3 Oregon Ducks, who were denied the spot in the PAC-12 Championship game, because they lost to Oregon State on the final gameday, against UNC with a 9-4 record, who were decked trashed by Clemsons in the ACC Championship game.
Until Oregon lost to Washington in November the team was on pace to become a playoff team.
At that time UNC was already 10 spots deeper in the ranks and only a wonder could have lifted them into the playoffs.
And then ... UNC lost the last 3 games, including the Clemson game, but also including Georgia Tech.
And Oregon lost 'only' against Oregon State.
It doesn't help to compare the wins and losses, the strength of schedule is highly in favor of Oregon, hence the betting line of -14.5!
Only the community is not that convinced and has Oregon only almost 70%.
I see 2 outcomes here.
The 1st is a blowout, 45-10 something, the other is a much close game, since UNC wants to win.
But in total I expect a Ducks win, not a Tar Heels win.
The Heels did not show much resistance against strong teams.
A little side fact at the end, Oregon is 2-1 in this bowl, UNC did not play here so far. Both teams lost in the last 2 years their bowl games.
Ducks win.

TaxAct Texas Bowl
Texas Tech vs Ole Miss

@NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Since 2006 this bowl exists and is played in the home stadium of the Houston Texans.
It's a BIG 12 vs SEC bowl.
Roughly a month ago this matchup would have been a joke.
Ole Miss had all the chances to win the SEC West and would have played Georgia for the SEC, while Texas Tech after a strong start was looking for that 6th win to even get into a bowl.
The Rebels then did lose 3 in a row and finished 8-4, while Texas Tech did win their last 3 games to finish 7-5.
Now the Vegas line is -3.5 Ole Miss, which might be not enough from my point of view.
The good thing is the coaching distraction on whether the Ole Miss HC will switch teams or not is over (which did eventually lead to the losses) and the team can concentrate on the bowl game.
Texas Tech did show strength against stronger teams, but ultimately did lose almost every challenge. Their win against Texas was likely the best win they got.
Now they face a team, which did stand up against the best teams in the SEC, but which did also lose most of those.
Is the betting line OK or not? I think it's a mixed reaction on how the teams MIGHT perform valued against how they DID perform.
Expectations are Ole Miss will win by a mile, at least for me, the numbers say they will have a harder time, only winning in a close one.
It's the Red Raiders 3rd trip to this bowl, 1-1 so far, Ole Miss will play as new team here.
I think you know I will not pick Texas Tech, even I would like them to win, since the talent level of Ole Miss should be more than enough to win here.
Rebels win.

'Til next time

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