2022-12-29 14:46

And the 3rd wave of this season’s bowl games are over. It's now coming in big portions, and you may like that, or not.
For me it means a lot of typing

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

@Ford Field, Detroit, MI
As in many games so far in this bowl season, this game was decided not by good plays on offense, more by more-or-less-good-plays on defense, or as I see it, bad offense.
Bowling Green got the ball first and after 4 plays they did throw the ball away into the hands of a defender.
The Aggies took the ball and after 8 plays had a Touchdown.
The Falcons on the other hand got the ball back and marched over the field, but were stopped on NMSU 31-yard line, so they tried to kick a field goal, but missed the kick.
Sure, a quite long kick, but ....
New Mexico got the ball back, after 2 drives exchanging punts, and scored again.
Bowling Green on their drive ... was stopped and missed another long field goal try.
Halftime score, NMSU did lead 14-0.
The 3rd quarter was OK, but Bowling Green was just unable to move the ball. They did score a TD, but on a kick-off-return, after an Aggies FG.
And a bit later did New Mexico State score another TD, so this quarter went also into the bag of the Aggies, now leading 24-7.
Finally, Bowling Green did wake up, on both sides of the line-of-scrimmage, but a quite strong quarter was not enough.
The Aggies stopped the Falcons often enough to prevent big scoring drives, allowing only a TD late in the game.
And it did not help to fumble the ball away on one drive. Not that did not help.
At the end, when New Mexico State got the ball after the TD back, the Falcons were unable to stop the Aggies from getting fresh sets of downs and running down the clock.
So, the Aggies, as unlikely it did look prior the game, did win this bowl game.
Big win for them and the program, since the team had several seasons with losing record and now, they are 7-6 with a bowl win.
For the Falcons a bad season finale.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-8

Tuesday, December 27
Camellia Bowl
Georgia Southern vs Buffalo

@Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL
This game made me think that all my picks are opposite the expected results, but later bowls did prove that thought wrong.
Why did I think this?
Because Georgia Southern did all they could to give the game away, in a silent way.
The 1st quarter was scoreless for both teams, Georgia Southern then made it to the Buffalo 2 yard line but was unable to punch it in and settled with a field goal.
Buffalo was pumped and marched over the field, scored a TD.
Georgia Southern did also get some plays going, was at the Buffalo 3-yard line and ... settle for a field goal.
Buffalo was against pumped up and scored again a TD after a long drive.
Halftime score Buffalo leading 14-6, which was not the close game I expected.
Then it seemed Buffalo will lose the grip, lost a fumble and Georgia Southern scored on the next drive.
Well, and then things did not go well for Georgia Southern again.
Buffalo kicks a field goal after the TD, the Eagles fumbled, followed by another Bulls FG and a bit later did the Eagles throw an INT.
Another FG by Buffalo made it 23-14.
Still all open, since it's only mid of the 4th quarter.
Georgia Southern needed 5 min but scored a TD. 23-21.
Now all they had to do was, stop Buffalo and kick a FG.
But the Eagles were unable to do the 1st and the time ran out.
Nice win by the Bulls, another bad pick my me.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-9

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Memphis vs Utah State

@Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
This one I will make short.
Memphis did play great offense and Utah State had problems on their offense side, with 3 INTs and much much less production as the Tigers.
So, no wonder the Tigers won 38-10, but basically after a strong 2nd quarter they were the winners at halftime already leading by 21 points.
Nice end for Memphis, Utah State has to take the time and figure out, what went wrong this season, which worked the year before, when they won the conference.
Jacks BOWL Score: 10-9

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs East Carolina

@Protective Stadium, Birmingham, AL
This became a high scoring game, and East Carolina did win this by mile, 53-29.
The Pirates did score in every quarter at least 10 points and never lost a quarter at all.
Coastal Carolina had too many turnovers, while East Carolina did play almost perfect.
I'm still wondering, why they did not get the spot in the conference championship game, but overall, the Pirates fans can look positive into the future.
CCU has a coaching change, the will have to adjust now.
Jacks BOWL Score: 11-9

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Wisconsin vs Oklahoma State

@Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
This was quite defense driven and Wisconsin had some trouble early.
They did throw a pick early, giving OSU the lead afterwards.
A bit later did Wisconsin recover and at halftime it was 17-7 Badgers.
The 3rd quarter was highlighted by a Cowboys INT, followed by Wisconsin to extent the lead.
The game became almost open again, when the Cowboys were knocking on the door mid-4th quarter, but Wisconsin did deny the TD and Oklahoma State had to kick the field goal.
Down by 7 points the Cowboys did then stop the Badgers fast, but the Cowboys QB did throw a pick and Wisconsin did cruise home with a 24-17 win.
Disappointing for the Cowboys, since they had it in their hands to at least tie the game with a good drive, but overall it when as expected.
Jacks BOWL Score: 12-9

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

@Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Oh man, Duke did really show some muscles here.
Both teams did exchange TDs at the start, but slowly did Duke pull away.
A fumbling UCF team did give Duke another good field position and until halftime did Duke lead 20-7.
The 3rd quarter was basically defense, but Duke still made another FG, until in the 4t UCF did score a TD and did shorten the gab a bit.
But another fumble did give Duke the next and last scoring chance and they took it to win 30-13.
If I would be Duke fan, I would be in heaven, not only by this win, but having this great season in the 1st season of the new HC.
I would dream of a bright future.
UCF needs to analyze, what went wrong during the season and in this game here, if they want to attack again.
Jacks BOWL Score: 13-9

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Kansas vs Arkansas

@Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, Memphis, TN
This went closer than I expected and all the respect for the Kansas team, which hopefully will go further next season built on that season.
They lost here, but really in a great manner.
The 1st half was more or less all Arkansas.
At that half did the Razorbacks lead 31-13.
For most teams, this would be over, but Kansas started a comeback, after Arkansas did even increase the lead, short after the start of the 2nd half.
Kansas did score and more important, they did keep Arkansas out of scoring range.
A bit of luck did help, but that's what you need. Turnovers and a successful onsite kick, a desperate last drive and THEY MADE IT!
A Touchdown with 41 ticks to go AND a 2-pointer to tie the game.
Arkansas was unable to score in regular time, so this went to OT.
Kansas 1st, on 4th and 2, BAM, Touchdown.
Arkansas did just need 2 downs and BAM, tied game again.
In 2nd OT did Arkansas do it again, 2 plays, a QB keeper and BAM, Arkansas in the lead.
Kansas had to answer and their QB did take it also in. Tied game again, now into 3rd OT, which has only 2-point-conversion-tries.
Arkansas did start and made it.
Kansas did try some trickery, the guy with ball did oversee a free TE and ... the pass went too high for a WR, end of game.
Great finish, even Kansas did lose this, and my heart said ... dang.
But my pick was correct.
Jacks BOWL Score: 14-9

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

@Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Another exciting game, which was also much closer than I anticipated.
Oregon had one crucial INT in the 2nd quarter and by that did trail 14-21 at the half.
Both teams had missed FGs in the 1st half also.
The 3rd quarter was scoreless and then Oregon did turn on the turbo, after UNC had extended the lead to 10, to get back into the game.
They scored a TD, did hold the Heels to a field goal and scored again, with the XP bouncing of the goal post into the net, with 19 ticks left to play.
UNC got the ball and .... did not made it.
Oregon wins by a single point, UNC did show some skills, but at the end their defense did allow too many plays.
Jacks BOWL Score: 15-9

TaxAct Texas Bowl
Texas Tech vs Ole Miss

@NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
This was the turnover-Bowl, with Texas Tech being the team with less turnovers and more points, winning 42-25.
If I would be an Ole Miss fan, I would be mad.
The did commit 5! Turnovers.
The team had to play catch up the whole game, was more or less out of the game after halftime, trailing 26-7.
Ole Miss did finish the season now with 3 losses in a row and 4 out of 5.
I hope they can fix this for next season.
Regarding Texas Tech, there is also a lot of stuff to work on, but the team did show some skills during the season and if it becomes more consistent, they will challenge the bigger teams.
Jacks BOWL Score: 15-10

And this is the 4th wave of games in the next few days until 31st of December.
It includes both semi-finales for the National Championship.

Thursday, December 29
Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Syracuse vs Minnesota

@Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
The Pinstripe Bowl is played since 2010.
It should feature an ACC team against a BIG 10 team.
Played inside the Baseball stadium of the NY Yankees, this should draw some attention by that already.
What an odd matchup.
Syracuse had their last bowl in 2018 and before that in 2013.
That 2018 season was the best season the current HC had so far with the Orange and the start of this season did look like he will break that record.
They did start 6-0 and looked like a real contender inside the ACC.
Then came a quite close loss to Clemson and from that point onward it went down the drain, winning only the last game against Boston College, to have 7-5.
And we have Minnesota, who had good seasons under the current HC, but was only OK, 8-4, more troubling, the 4 losses were all inside the conference and did cost them the spot in the Championship game.
Last season they won their bowl game.
In this bowl here, Syracuse has 2 wins in 2 games and will after this game be the team with most appearances inside this bowl, Minnesota did never play in the bowl so far.
Minnesota is favored by 10.5 points, so it's clear Syracuse is the outsider in this game.
And there is actually no reason to believe different, the losing streak was brutal, the win against BC just by 9 against a bad team.
Minnesota on the other hand did win a game more, but they did also not have a signature win this season, with the division rivals all win and lose any given Saturday.
Still, I believe Syracuse is a bit weaker than Minnesota.
Both coaches are not bad, but the Gophers got better seasons over the years, so I expect them to be better prepared and better overall.
Gophers win.

Cheez-It Bowl
Oklahoma vs #13 Florida State

@Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
This bowl here is operated since 1990 and had so many names during that time it is useless to write them all down.
Another 'Sponsor buys the naming rights'-bowl.
For me, that sounds not good to setup a brand, from the bowl point of view, but I guess there is always another company willing to take a gamble on the naming rights.
Usually, it's ACC vs BIG 12 matchup.
The stadium is only used for Citrus Bowl and that you-name-it-bowl and will likely be the home field of the XFL team Orlando Guardians in 2023.
We have Florida State, who had a quite good season compared to their recent ones, still it did lack some crunch.
They did finish 9-3, but lost crucial games against Clemson, NC State and Wake Forest.
No way to win the division by that kind of play.
But the team did seem to find some offense late in the season, so maybe they can challenge the quite weak Oklahoma Sooners.
The Sooners did finish 6-6, which is the worst season since 1998. Neither Bob Stoobs nor Lincoln Riley had ever such bad results.
Sure, that was a tough transition, since Riley did leave the Sooners off-guard, still the talent alone should have net them more wins.
Florida State did win this bowl 3 times so far, on 3 tries, Oklahoma did play once and lost.
The betting line is clearly in favor of FSU, -9.5.
It's hard to pick against the much more successful team, since Oklahoma did lose against almost every Big-12 team, while FSU did win against SEC Florida on the last day.
Do I believe in FSU? A bit more than in Oklahoma.
I can't believe Oklahoma will just roll-over and let FSU play, but I also can't believe Oklahoma to win here.
Seminoles win.

Valero Alamo Bowl
#20 Texas vs #12 Washington

@Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
The dome in San Antonio is the home of the San Antonio Spurs, the Basketball team, and they play in only half of the dome as far as I know.
Initially the dome was built to get an NFL team to San Antonio, but they still wait for that and with new build domes are now way fancier, I guess they will never see an NFL team playing there regularly.
The Alamo bowl is played since 1993 and does feature BIG 12 vs PAC12.
Here we have the 10-2 Washington team, who lost only to UCLA and Arizona State, but still was kept out of the Championship game, thanks to a quite weak schedule.
Their best win was against Oregon and Oregon State, I guess.
And Texas did play good this season, 8-4, but lost crucial games against TCU and Alabama, but more dump, against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.
In total they were kept by that also out of a Championship game and they can only blame themselves.
I think that Texas is a bit tougher than the Huskies, but of course they can prove me wrong.
Vegas sees Texas ahead by 3.0.
Not too much, but OK.
Texas is record holder inside the bowl for most games, 4-1, Washington is 0-1 so far.
Given the site and the current season results, I pick ...
Longhorns win.

Friday, December 30
Duke's Mayo Bowl
Maryland vs #23 NC State

@Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Played in the home field of the Carolina Panthers, this bowl is played under different names since 2002, latest change since 2020.
It's an ACC vs BIG 10 game planned for this season.
Maryland is 7-5 this season, NC State is 8-4.
For Maryland, this is a new bowl, NC State had 3 games already in the past and won 2.
The Terrapin did play the whole season and the mid-level-team they seemed to be.
No big wins, no big losses, regarding the strength of the opponents.
All just in line.
NC State had from my point of view 2 concerning losses, late in November, Boston College and Louisville.
In total the country is torn, who will win here, Community does favor Maryland by a few %, Vegas does favor now NC State by 1.0, while Maryland was the early favorite, but also just by 1.0 points.
For me, this is very hard to predict, I think NC State would have had all the potential to even win the division, but somehow, they were unable to bring it on the field.
I hope NC State found the strength and the motivation to play here, then I think they will win.
Wolfpack win.

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Pittsburgh vs #18 UCLA

@Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX
This bowl is established since 1935.
It's an ACC vs PAC-12 game planned, played on the home field of the UTEP Miners.
This is clearly UCLA to lose here.
Pittsburg is 8-4 and had up and down games but finished with a 4-game winning streak. More concerning was the loss to Georgia Tech mid-season. Inside this bowl they are 2-2.
Well, UCLA did finish 9-3, but did lose also a bad one, against Arizona, but late in the season. Inside this bowl they are 3-1.
Vegas has the Bruins ahead, by 6.5, which is already quite much.
I think if UCLA WANTS to play, they will have a much better team than Pitt.
If Pitt can stop the offense of UCLA, however, they have a chance.
Bruins win.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
#21 Notre Dame vs #19 South Carolina

@TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
This bowl is played on the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was established in 1946 and does usually field SEC vs either Big10 or ACC, depended on the year.
This season planned was an ACC team, which did almost happen, since Notre Dame is ACC in all sports, except Football.
So, an Indy team technically.
An interesting matchup, with Notre Dame being on a rollercoaster trip this year, so far 8-4.
They started with 2 losses, one which did give them some 'wow', when they lost in a quite open game against Ohio State (as 17-point underdog) and then a week later which gave them some 'wtf?', when they lost against Marshall (as 20.5 points favorite).
After that they did rebuild their reputation, but lost against weak Stanford, won against later ACC Champ Clemson and lost on season finale against USC. Ups and downs.
They play South Carolina, also 8-4, who had also a rough season, except those 4 losses were all inside the conference, against better teams, except maybe Missouri and Florida. On the other hand, did they beat favored Tennessee.
The consensus is, Notre Dame will win here, even Vegas has them only as 2.0-point favorite.
I have doubts here.
South Carolina did really play well, and I think they can beat Notre Dame in this.
Notre Dame is 1-2 in this bowl, South Carolina is 0-4.
That does not help much.
The 2 HC did play a bowl also last year, with the same teams, even Notre Dame was under interim condition.
The Irish lost, the Gamecocks won.
My concerns do root on the bad games of Notre Dame, especially on that USC game.
My say hope is, that South Carolinas QB does once more show his class, and does not make the same errors he made in 60% of the games.
If he comes up ready and in good shape, the Gamecocks will win.
Gamecocks win.

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Ohio vs Wyoming

@Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Last season this was canceled, because the teams had COVID-Issues are were moved to better paid bowls.
It exists since 2015 and is supposed to field a MAC team against a Mountain West team.
The contest is played on the home field of the Arizona Wildcats.
The matchup is ... can't describe it.
Ohio did let their fans down, when they played a very bad game in the MAC-Championship game.
That did sting, also for me.
My confidence in them, 9-4, is damaged.
Now they face Wyoming, 7-5, who lost their last 2 games against both teams later playing in the MWC Championship game.
So, Wyoming is not the cream of the MWC.
Ohio is favored by 1.5 points, which is not much.
Wyoming won this bowl on their 1st appearance here, Ohio did never before play this. The site itself will be much warmer than the cold weather teams will be comfortable with, but on the other hand they will eventually embrace the warm weather, who knows.
I do favor Wyoming a bit more than Ohio, because they stood their ground in some tough matches and the MAC is talent side not the strongest conference.
BUT ... that Cowboys team losing 0-30 against Fresno State will likely also lose against Ohio.
So ... which team will show up?
I hope again for the best and say ...
Cowboys win.

Capital One Orange Bowl
#6 Tennessee vs #7 Clemson

@Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Last season a semi-finale, this season one of the TOP at-large-bowls outside the playoffs.
It should feature a ACC/SEC/BIG 10/Notre Dame matchup, but I think at the end it's always what suits best.
And the matchup is at least interesting.
We have Tennessee, 10-2, who had hoped for the division crown, but 2 losses, Georgia and South Carolina, did doom them to be outside the SEC Championship race and also outside the playoff spots.
This team did play tough throughout the season, did basically dethrone Alabama and only the surprising Gamecocks game did stop their almost perfect season.
And Clemson, 11-2, did battle the whole season with some sort of not-in-synch-offense, which did cost them a playoff spot and almost the conference. But the coach did at the end sit the starter and the much better backup did win the team the Conference Championship.
This team now is better and has more offense power.
Clemson is favored by ... hold your breath .... 4.5 points, which I cannot relate to.
The Vols did play really good, so why are they almost a score behind?
Likely this is because the starting QB is out.
The Vols are 1-3 in this bowl, Clemson is 4-2.
Hard to say, what will happen, I personally think that the defense units will make the difference.
One thing is sure, an Orange branded team will win the Orange Bowl ... haha.
With the troubles the Clemson defense had in the past games, I lean towards Tennessee, but wouldn't be surprised to see Clemson finding their strength again and win this.
Volunteers win.

Saturday, December 31
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#5 Alabama vs #9 Kansas State

@Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
The Sugar Bowl is this season again an at-large-CFP-bowl, and it is alive since 1935.
Usually, a BIG 12 team battles a SEC team, but also here is valid, invited is what fits best.
It's played in the home of the New Orleans Saints.
This matchup is weird at best.
Alabama was favored to at least play for the SEC Championship and making a push for the playoffs, but losses to Tennessee and LSU did let them drop outside the TOP 4 as 10-2 team.
They are a very strong team, which is basically 2-points away from playing in the playoffs.
On the other hand, we have Kansas State, who did play a great season, but lost 3 times during the season, sneaking into the BIG-12-Championship game and did then win it in OT, now being 10-3.
On the 1st sight, this is all Alabama, which does Vegas honor with a line of -6.5, so almost a score.
If Alabama can translate the talent on the field into plays, Kansas State will get slaughtered.
But the Tide had some issues, so it will come down, whether the HC is able to solve the problems he had, especially on defense.
Kansas State will need all the passion and pride they did already field against TCU to stay in the game.
If they find holes and can exploit the weaknesses of the Alabama defense, KSU has a chance.
I do believe that the Alabama coaching staff will prepare the team best way possible and that KSU will play catch-up throughout the game, which will lead into error, which will lead into more scoring opportunities for the Tide.
PS: Alabama hold the record on appearances here, with a 9-7 result, Kansas State has never played here before.
Crimson Tide win.

TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Iowa vs Kentucky

@Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
This is played in the Tennessee Titans home stadium.
The bowl itself exists since 1998.
It's a BIG 10 vs SEC game.
Oh, damn it, it's again a matchup, which is not very clear, since Iowa is an enigma.
They CAN play, if they have the day form, but they can suck, if not.
Both teams are 7-5, both teams did win and lose some strange games.
But Iowa had the lead on strange losses, starting with losing against Iowa State at home, against Illinois and worst against Nebraska on season finale also at home.
Kentucky did lose all those games against likely stronger SEC teams, but that Vanderbilt loss is beyond understanding.
Now those 2 teams do meet and the 1st thing I do ask myself is, whether Iowa will bring an offense or not.
They score only 17 points per game! And that includes wins against Rutgers, Nevada and Northwestern, which might boost the average too much.
Against strong teams, the team has a scoring issue.
Kentucky on the other hand has a defense issue, allowing too much against stronger teams (that's why they lost of course).
Vegas says Iowa is favorite by 2.0 points, I say this is Wildcats to lose.
Kentucky is the team with most appearances here, record is 2-3, Iowa is new here.
I think it will come down to the Kentucky QB.
If he can crack the defense, Iowa will not be able to score as much.
I hope for the best.
Wildcats win.

CFP Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
#3 TCU vs #2 Michigan

@State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
The Bowl exists since 1971 and is played in the home site of the Arizona Cardinals.
This season the rotation of the college Football playoffs did lead to the 1st semi-finale.
The matchup is ... hard to tackle.
We have Michigan, 13-0, BIG 10 Champion, who lost almost to Maryland and Illinois, but won big against much better teams than those before that and later.
We have TCU, 12-1, who did march from win to win, sometimes close, sometimes not, but made it untouched to the BIG 12 Championship game and lost against Kansas State in OT.
What do make out of this.
My gut feeling is, Michigan is 1 or 2 points stronger and better.
The betting line is -7.5 Michigan, so no doubt who is favored here.
The biggest X-factor is, how the team build up only in THIS season, by the new TCU HC, will perform.
They had some time to rest now, they had time to prepare.
Will this be enough? Or better, will this give them the boost to beat Michigan?
During the season I always expected the Horned Frogs to lose at some point, they did in the most important game at that time.
They GOT a 2nd chance with the playoff spot, but I think, they do not belong here.
But my gut feeling also has the same feeling on Michigan.
And one of those teams will play for the National Championship. Haha.
To make it short ...
Wolverines win.

CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#4 Ohio State vs #1 Georgia

@Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
This season the bowl has the 2nd semi-finale in it.
The bowl is played since 1968 and is played now inside the new home of the Atlanta Falcons.
This one I can only make short.
Ohio State did suck in the most important game of the season in THE GAME against Michigan AT HOME!
Now they are 11-1 and got into the playoffs by a limited selection to choose from.
Playing Georgia, 13-0, the SEC-Champ, will cost them a lot and overall, I think they will not win here
Betting line is Georgia, -6.5.
A bit surprising, but OK, I guess.
I expect a very defense driven game, which might end up on the last possession.
I'm not saying Ohio State can't win here, just saying in 9 out of 10 it's Georgia.
Bulldogs win.

'Til next time

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