2023-12-27 10:59

And the next set of bowls are played.

Biggest news during that period of bowl games were that Florida State started a legal process to challenge the agreement they had signed with the ACC (and all other ACC teams), which grants the conference the media rights of the schools brand and image to year 2036. That agreement was signed 2013 after Maryland did leave for the BIG10. To prevent such a move for a longer period, the contracts were done very carefully with that long lasting period of time. Leaving the conference by just breaching the contract would Florida State likely cost between 500 and 600 million dollars. Now FSU, after it was left out of the playoffs, while performing a perfect season, tries to cancel the contract based on a the argumentation that the conference management did underperform and basically threaten the teams to become in the global competition 2nd class.
If that would be granted, the conference will be drained of the high-profile teams, not only Florida State, but also other teams, like likely Clemson, Miami and North Carolina.
But nobody knows whether this legal process will be successful or not.
Usually, those kind of processes need time, so it will likely not be finished next season or in 2 seasons and what is also unknown is, whether the change of the playoff system NEXT season will have an impact. For sure this is a major point in the schools history, because whatever happens, the relationship is stained and from here, is there way back? Likely not.
And what is absolutely unknown is, what will happen over time with the ACC.
Say FSU sues and maybe others do join. How many? The conference is nothing more than the representation of the schools and if enough schools want a change, the ACC WILL change.
Look at the PAC-12, 1st at shock when UCLA and USC did announce they will leave and while the conference was debating the future, almost all schools did look for new homes and did LIMIT the remaining schools on decisions while the leaving process was still ongoing.
NOW Washington State and Oregon State do have control over the conference, but they lost at least a season on their future.
If 8 schools inside the ACC decide the ACC is not enough, the ACC will be overtaken by the rebels.
Only future will tell.

Then there was a news on the coaches front. New Mexico States HC Jerry Kill did announce to step down from coaching and the university did name Tony Sanchez, the WR-coach of New Mexico State, as successor. Kill did coach for 2 seasons and guided the team to a record of 17-11, including this 10-5 season, which is the best for the team since the 1960s.
Kill has a history of medical problems and he steps down, because of his health.
His successor Sanchez is a successful High-School HC and was already a HC on college level with UNLV between 2015 and 2019. His record there was 20-40, which does not sound as very good, but neither his predecessor nor his success did win more games so far.

Now let's get to the reviews of the 2nd set of bowls.

The SECOND SET OF BOWLs from next Thursday, 21st to Tuesday, 26th of December.

Thursday, December 21 Boca Raton Bowl
South Florida vs Syracuse

Oh man, this game was only a blast, if you are a Bulls fan.
Syracuse ... just did not show up, not at all.
The Orange were favored to win this, but South Florida did score and score and score and score, while Syracuse did accomplished ... nothing.
At halftime the Bulls did lead 31:0, and at the end they won 45:0.
A big mess for the Orange, a big win for the Bulls.
Jacks BOWL Score: 6-3

Friday, December 22
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Georgia Tech vs UCF

This game was quite equal in the 1st half.
UCF did score 1st, did win the 1st quarter 14:0, but Georgia Tech did fight back and managed to tie the game at 17 shortly before the break.
Now, in the 3rd quarter did the teams not really give anyone an edge, but it did look like GT was a bit better than UCF, score a FG and did compensate an INT with a big stop, forcing a punt by UCF (it seems they did not trust their kicker for a 50-yarder).
Then in the 4th quarter GT took control and never gave it back to win 30:17.
It's a big win for GT, since it shows the team is likely on a the right path to become more relevant.
UCF has one of the worst seasons since years behind them.
Jacks BOWL Score: 6-4

Saturday, December 23
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Troy vs Duke

This became an interesting game in the 2nd half.
The 1st half was all dominated by the Devils, who scored in total 14 points in that half, even by committing a fumble.
Then in the 3rd quarter the game did shift, Duke was unable to score and Troy tried to catch up.
They scored a field goal, limited Duke at the start of the 4th quarter to a field goal also and when Duke did throw an INT, Troy did use the opportunity to score a TD.
Down by 7 points, the Trojans forces a punt by Duke and made an attempt to score again, less than 2 minutes left to play.
They made a long reception on the 1st play, but on the 2nd they were intercepted and the game went 17:10 to the Blue Devils, who did run the clock down.
For a short period, everything seemed to be possible, but that INT did end the hopes.
Jacks BOWL Score: 7-4

Camellia Bowl
Arkansas State vs Northern Illinois

Here we have an example for a chaotic game.
NIU started with a TD, Arkansas State answered with an INT, which the Huskies did answer with another INT to keep the Wolves in the game.
ASU did score, as did NIU, which then stopped Arkansas State and scored after the punt again. 13:7 Huskies at that point.
And that was only the 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter did feature another NIU Touchdown, an Arkansas State Field Goal, a missed FG from the Huskies and a Huskies INT on top.
So, at the half it was only 21:13 Huskies with a lot of chances left on the field.
A scoreless 3rd quarter, highlighted only by another missed Huskies FG late in the quarter did lead to the 4th quarter.
Here NIU did try to burn down the clock and when the Red Wolves got the ball again, they had only 3:30 left to tie the game.
Arkansas State did march over the field and scored a TD with a bit more than a minute left to play but failed the 2-pointer.
The onside-kick failed also and NIU did run down the clock to win the game 21:19.
Jacks BOWL Score: 8-4

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
James Madison vs Air Force

A quite high scoring game, which did not go well for the Dukes as Bowl debut.
Air Force had good control over JMU in the 1st quarter and outscored them 21:7, mainly because they stopped them often enough and got one INT, to deny some scoring on top.
Then the Falcons started to control the clock, while James Madison did try to catch up.
The 3rd quarter was equal, 7:7 and in the 4th did JMU limit Air Force to a field goal after a long drive and score a TD to close the gap.
But they needed a lot of time for that scoring drive and tried an onside-kick 3 minutes left to play to get even closer, but failed and Air Force did win 31:21.
Of course, not the best bowl start for James Madison, but also not a blowout.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-4

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Georgia State vs Utah State

This went totally not as (at least I did) expected it.
The 1st quarter was OK, both teams did score, and it was quite equal, but the 2nd quarter was all Georgia State and Utah State did commit errors and just was unable to move the ball.
At halftime the Panthers did lead 31:14.
Then in the 3rd, nothing did change. Utah State just quit to play, and Georgia State did score another TD on top and did even miss a FG-try.
And suddenly the 4th quarter was on and Utah State still did not find the strength to fight against the upset.
The Panthers scored and finally Utah State did also score, but at that point the game was over, but only with time on the clock.
With a bit under 5 minutes left did the Aggies finally try something, DID get the onside-kick recovered, but sucked on the drive and lost the game a bit later officially 22:45.
Big win for Georgia State, an embarrassing loss for the Aggies.
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-5

68 Ventures Bowl
South Alabama vs Eastern Michigan

Well, this I will do quickly.
South Alabama did outscore the Eagles in every quarter by 17+ points, expect the 4th quarter, where all just tried to run down the clock to end the game.
The Jaguars did win 59:10!
Jacks BOWL Score: 10-5

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Utah vs Northwestern

This was likely a very boring game, since defense was the main force on both sides.
The worst stats for Utah are, beside the score, the turnovers. Northwestern did get 3 turnovers cashed in, while Utah did cash in nothing.
That did hurt in this low scoring game a lot.
At the end did Northwestern win 14:7 after Utah tried a 4th down and 2 at mid-field and failed and Northwestern did hit a TD with 2 big plays afterwards.
Utah needed almost the entire remaining time to crawl over the field and since they trailed by 7, they needed a 1st down and failed another 4th down conversion to lose the game.
A nice finish for that strange season of Northwestern.
Jacks BOWL Score: 10-6

EasyPost Hawai'i Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs San José State

It seemed the Spartans had to idea, why they play in this bowl.
They stayed scoreless in the 1st half, and also scoreless in the 3rd quarter. Had even a few turnovers to stay scoreless.
Only their defense did keep them in the game, so when the 4th quarter started the Spartans did trail only by 14 points.
After a Chanticleers field goal, San José finally did wake up and score a TD. 17:7 at that point for CCU.
Coastal Carolina as stopped and San José score again, 17:14.
Now this became interesting, it did smell like comeback.
But the Spartans defense was finally exhausted and was unable to stop CCU, so they scored a TD and led now 24:14.
When San José knocked again on the door, with a bit more than a minute left, they tried a field goal, but missed the 32-yarder, which did basically end the game.
Coastal Carolina won by 10 points against a good MWC team.
Jacks BOWL Score: 10-7

Tuesday, December 26
Quick Lane Bowl
Bowling Green vs Minnesota

Minnesota did keep Bowling Green in the game by committing too many errors in the 1st half.
The Falcons did score 1st, Minnesota did on their next drive, but a 2-point-conversion did fail.
Bowling Green had another good drive afterwards but failed a 4th and 7 try on the Minnesota 34 and the Gophers got lucky away with that.
A few drives later did the Gophers then hit a field goal to get finally the lead, only to throw a bit later an INT, which gave Bowling Green excellent field position, which they converted into a field goal to take the lead for the half, 10:9.
Minnesota then got their defense together in the 3rd and prevented additional scoring from Bowling Green, while scoring 2 TDs.
In the 4th did then Bowling Green rethink their options and started to score again but were unable to stop Minnesota and when the Falcons did score again there were only a bit over 2 minutes left to play.
The onside-kick did fail and Minnesota was clever enough to run the game home.
Jacks BOWL Score: 11-7

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Texas State vs Rice

At halftime the game seemed to be as open as it can be, with Texas State leading 24:21.
But the 2nd half was all Bobcats and Rice had already left the building as it seems, since Texas State did win 45:21.
Not a good showing of Rice here.
Jacks BOWL Score: 12-7

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Kansas vs UNLV

UNLV tried to get this game on their side.
They trailed at halftime already 10:28, but a strong 3rd quarter, which they won 14:0, did made this a 1-score-game.
The 1st half was all UNLV errors, with a missed field goal and 2 INTs, so avoiding such stuff did help UNLV to score and picking of Kansas twice did also help.
Kansas got the ball back after the last Rebels TD and melted the clock down to the 4th quarter to score again.
UNLV did answer, but Kansas did strike again with a big play to keep the distance.
What finally did break the Rebels chances was, when they were stopped on the next drive and when they were unable to stop Kansas again.
The rest was just score polishing, at the end did Kansas win 49:36 to finish on a high note for a great season.
Jacks BOWL Score: 13-7

Which caps the 2nd set of bowls, with now 20 bowls already played, which is roughly half of all game.
We can advance to the 3rd set.

The THIRD SET OF BOWLs from next Wednesday, 27th to Friday, 29th of December.

Wednesday, December 27
Military Bowl Presented by Peraton
Virginia Tech vs Tulane

@Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland
Created in 2008 this should feature until 2025/2026 season an ACC vs AAC matchup (or Notre Dame).
It's played on the homefield of the Midshipmen.
Both conferences did send so far the most teams, ACC 10 times, won 6, the American 7 times, won 3. You could add 1 appearance and win to the American, since Navy did play in 2008 as Indy and won and is now part of the AAC, but that would statistically not be correct.
I don't like the matchup, because Virginia Tech did not really shine as 'exciting' team this season.
They started slow, 1-3, and lost even against a Sun Belt team at in the beginning. Then the team got better and managed to get to 6-6 with a big win against rival Virginia.
But that Hokies team is still in the phase of rebuilding or readjusting to the new HC in his 2nd year.
On the other hand, we have Tulane, which started very good, and stayed in the lower AP-ranks until they lost the American-Championship game against SMU and finished 11-2.
That loss did cost the program a new-years-bowl participation and instead the team has to play the 6-6 Hokies.
But even with the big difference in wins, the boring Hokies are favored by 10.0 points here.
This might be a reaction on the almost-losses by Tulane the last 3-4 weeks of the regular season, or because the team lost the HC and is on interims management.
If the Green Wave can find the spirit of the early season, the Hokies are in trouble, if not, the Hokies will win.
Played in Maryland, this favors more likely the Hokies.
A tough pick, since my heart says Green Wave, my mind say Hokies and I think I will stick this time with my mind.
Hokies win.

Duke's Mayo Bowl
North Carolina vs West Virginia

@Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina
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 SEC game planned for this season (the bowl switches the opponent conference between SEC and BIG 10 annually right now).
The ACC did send of course the most team so far, their record is 10-11 including last seasons loss.
The SEC did send 7 so far, 4-3 and the BIG 10 is quite new in the mix and has won so far both appearances.
But at the end we have ACC vs BIG-12 and the BIG-12 did never play in this game so far.
North Carolina did play a decent season, but was expected to play better.
Especially the losses against Virginia and Georgia Tech did hurt and did at the end limit their chances for a Championship participation.
The loss against rival NC State was then the last drop to spoil the season in total, finishing 8-4 so far.
West Virginia on the other hand did start quite good, and did from my point of view outplay the expectations. At least at the beginning. Then they lost to Houston and I thought they would now sink as expected, but they did not. They won some crucial games against other mid-level and low-level BIG-12 teams and finished 8-4 and at 6th place in a 14-team conference.
Not bad for a team, which was expected to fight for the bottom place.
In consequence the Mountaineers are favored by 6.5 points here and I will pick also them to win here, even I expect UNC to play a good game.
West Virginia seems to have found a good balance within their team and got the best out of every player.
If they preserve that for one for game, they will win.
Mountaineers win.

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
#15 Louisville vs USC

@Petco Park, San Diego, California
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.
The PAC 12 had 26 teams so far in this bowl and won only 8, including last seasons win.
The ACC is almost brand new in this bowl and had their 1st game last season, which they lost.
This year we have Louisville, which lost the ACC Championship game after a fantastic season, with a record of 10-3.
Each loss did hurt, but the last 2 the most, against rival Kentucky on last gameday and against FSU for the Championship.
Still, the team stayed in the ranks, thanks to a quite demanding schedule and those 10 wins, including a win against Notre Dame.
USC fans had high hopes that their Heisman QB would lift the team into the Championship game and beyond, but the squad did lose 5 of the last 6 games, most against good teams, but if you want to play for a National Championship, you need to win those. The team is 7-5 now and Vegas did put them instantly into the underdog role, likely because that QB of them is sitting out the bowl for the NFL draft.
So Louisville is a 7.0 point favorite here and right now I don't see any reason, why I should pick USC, except the state the bowl is played in.
But I don't expect USC to just lay down and die, so hopefully we see a pass-happy, entertaining game.
Cardinals win.

Mercari Texas Bowl
Texas A&M vs #20 Oklahoma State

@NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Since 2006 this bowl exists and is played in the home stadium of the Houston Texans.
It's a BIG 12 vs SEC bowl.
The BIG 12 has a 7-6 record, including last years win, while the SEC has a officially a 2-5 record by 8 appearances, because the win by LSU in 2015 season was vacated.
And this matchup is a downer.
Texas A&M did play awful the whole season (7-5), which did cost the HC his job (but he will still get a gazillion dollars for compensation, good job) and now we have that one-and-done-situation with the interims HC. How the team will react is open.
And Oklahoma State had on paper a great season (9-4), made it to the BIG-12-Championship game and did lose that one, but in reality, the team was not a favorite of mine.
Their offense not as good as in recent years, their defense often better than in the past years, but sometimes with just backout-games, where nothing did work.
In consequence the team did lose against South Alabama (6-6, Sun Belt), UCF (6-6) and the one which did hurt most, against Texas in the Championship game by 28 points.
THAT team was not worth that Championship game spot, but somehow made it.
Now those 2 embarrassing teams do meet and I have to pick a winner.
I lean towards A&M, 1st because of the unique situation and the hope they get something going under those circumstances, 2nd because they have a LOT of talent on the roster, and 3rd because I don't trust the Cowboys.
Vegas has now Oklahoma State favored by 3.0 points, but the starting line was A&M -4.5, a rare flip in the favorite status, which I did not see so far (as I remember) in the bowl games.
Aggies win.

Thursday, December 28
Wasabi Fenway Bowl
#24 SMU vs Boston College

@Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
A quite new bowl, in his 3rd year now, but this season we will the 2nd real played game.
The game is in the stadium of the Boston Red Sox, a team from the MLB.
Fenway Park is a very old Baseball Stadium, which many Americans like a lot, because it's some sort of history.
It has those strange circumstances that there are external viewing sites on the houses next to the stadium.
Covid did crossed out the first 2 planned games in 2020 and 2021.
The matchup was planned as ACC/Notre Dame vs American.
Last year the ACC team did win that debut.
I guess Boston College will have a bigger fan base in this game as almost a home game.
They will need every support possible, since the matchup is not in their favor.
Since 4 seasons the HC is not able to lift the team up from mid-level. Last year the team did even have a down season with only 3 wins, but did rebound to get the 6 wins back they had in the previous seasons, also.
Even they were eligible in 2020 and 2021, covid-19 did spoil the fun and the team did not play in any bow, so this is the bowl debut for the HC with a 6-6 team, which barely got here and lost the last 3 games.
The opponent is the absolute opposite, with the 2nd year HC having lifted the program from 7 wins in 2022 to 11-2 this season, including a Championship-Game win as underdogs.
The team did not lose a game since September and is favored here by 10.0 points.
It's always hard to say, how the teams will play in a bowl, after a period of no games and just preparation, but the difference is too big to pick Boston.
Mustangs win.

Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers vs Miami

@Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
The Pinstripe Bowl is played since 2010.
It should feature an ACC team against a BIG 10 team.
This matchup is valid since 2014 and of 8 games, the BIG 10 has won 7.
Played inside the Baseball stadium of the NY Yankees, this should draw some attention by that already.
Funny sidenote, why is the stadium official city 'Bronx' and not New York City?
It's the only stadium in the whole list of all bowl sites, which location is not 'City', but 'Borough'. Strange.
The Rutgers University is quite close to New York City, so likely some fans will travel to the bowl.
The HC just got an extension to 2030, which is usually a sign of satisfaction or fear. Not sure what is the driver here, but the HC had lifted the win amount from 3 in 2020 to 6 in 2023 now.
Miami did not play as expected and won only 7 games and lost crucial games, they were supposed to win.
The program is far from the 'U'-image they like to preserve and the Championships they won way in the past.
In this matchup they were the favorite by 1.0 point, but it did flip to Rutgers as 1.5 point favorite.
It's hard to tell, who will win here.
Rutgers lost the last 4 games, Miami won their last game, but lost 3 before. So, both did not play in the last third of the season.
Both shouldn't play in a bowl, and wouldn't have in the old days, when there were less than the half of the current spots.
This is more or less a coin toss, but I lean towards the Knights, because of the weather, the location and the tests they had to do during the season.
Call by whatever you like, but a BIG10 teams still has to work harder than an ACC team.
Scarlet Knights win.

Pop-Tarts Bowl
#18 NC State vs #25 Kansas State

@Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
This bowl here is operated since 1990 and had so many names during that time it is useless to write them all down. And it did change again, prior this seasons matchup.
Another 'Sponsor buys the naming rights'-bowl.
Usually, it's ACC vs BIG 12 matchup.
The ACC did play already 28 games in this bowl and has a 17-11 record, including last years win.
The BIG 12 had so far 12 games and a 4-8 record, including last years loss.
The stadium is only used for Citrus Bowl and this you-name-it-bowl (Pop-Tarts Bowl) and is also the home field of the XFL team Orlando Guardians since 2023.
NC State is since a few seasons quite reliable winning inside the ACC and a team you don't want to play, since they can win against everyone.
Even it did not feel that way, this season with 9-3 is better than last year and did end in regular season with 5 wins straight.
Kansas State on the other hand had last year a big season with winning the conference and even while the team did not change dramatically, the results were mixed and the team finished with 8-4, with many of the losses quite close.
My initial thought was Kansas State will be favored here and Vegas has them favored, but only by 2.5 points.
Not sure it fits, I think I would have given them a bit more credit, but bottom line is, Kansas State has proven they can play, also this season, and that ACC team has to prove the same.
Of course, both teams can win here, and I would not be surprised, if the good defense of NC State shut down the KSU offense, but my feeling is the Wildcats will find ways to score and the Wolfpack will score less.
Wildcats win.

Valero Alamo Bowl
#14 Arizona vs #12 Oklahoma

@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. It's right now also the home field of the UTSA Roadrunners and the XFL team San Antonio Brahmas.
The Alamo bowl is played since 1993 and does feature BIG 12 vs PAC12.
The BIG 12 did send so far the most teams, 27 and has a record of 15-12, including last years loss. The PAC-12 did play 15 games so far and has a 6-9 record, including last years win.
Both teams did play already one game in this bowl, Oklahoma (10-2) did win that in 2021 and Arizona (9-3) did lose that in 2010.
The Sooner did lose this season, their last inside the BIG-12, one game too much.
You can argue which of the 2 was too much, from my point of view the loss against rival Oklahoma State was that one.
Instead of playing against Texas (against which they won during the season) for the Championship, that rival did look like shit in that game and the Sooners had to watch it and were every time reminded that they did lose for whatever reason against that pity team.
Arizona on the other hand did start slow, 3-3, but then did win the remaining 6 games only to not getting in the PAC-12 Championship game because they did also lose 1 game too much.
In this case they lost in OT against USC during the season.
So, 2 could-have-beens against each other.
Both did play strong during the season.
And while Vegas does favor Arizona by 3.0 points does the ESPN community favor the Sooners at 75%.
What to do with this?
I wish Arizona wins, since they did accomplish for the team and the program a great season, but I think the Sooners are really a force here.
Sooners win.

Friday, December 29
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
#22 Clemson vs Kentucky

@EverBank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
This bowl is played on the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was established in 1946 and does usually field teams from SEC, BIG10 or ACC.
Last year and Indy team did make it, which was the 1st time since 2002.
Overall, the SEC did send 44 teams to the bowl so far and won 27 games.
Second is the ACC with 32 teams and 18 wins, and third Indy teams with 24 matches, but only 10 wins, including last years win.
Clemson has another down season, even with the new QB. The team did start 4-2, lost then 2 games against seemingly weaker opponents and got their thing together for the last 4 games to finish 8-4. Those win against UNC and Notre Dame did for sure help them to get some confidence back and also help in the rankings.
Kentucky did drop the last 2 seasons back to that mid-level-result-level (7-5) after a great season in 2021. This year they started good by winning 5 in a row, but then the team had trouble winning against the better teams inside the conference and only the big win against ranked rival Louisville did create some hope for the bowl.
No wonder, Clemson is favored, even it is only 4.0 points.
The reason is likely the last Kentucky game, where the team won against the Cardinals in a very good way.
That kind of team is likely able to challenge the Tigers.
If everything goes normal, Clemson should be better here and win.
If they take this seriously, they should win.
All of that can't be answered, right now, so I gave to rely on the HC of Clemson to have some fight left in him and the team and to prepare the team well.
Tigers win.

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
#19 Oregon State vs #16 Notre Dame

@Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
This bowl is established since 1935.
It's an ACC vs PAC-12 game planned, played on the home field of the UTEP Miners.
The PAC-12 did send so far the most teams here (33) and has a record of 19-13-1 (in the old days even in bowls tied games were OK).
Since it is so old, Indy teams did play 30 times here and have a 17-11-2 record, while the ACC won only 6 games out of 17 so far, including last years win.
This season we have an emerging PAC-12 team against an almost-ACC-team-but-stay-Indy-team.
Notre Dame is favored here, by 6.0 points, and it is OK, I think.
Oregon State did play a great season (8-4), compared to the programs history, but a down-year compared to last season and did lack the final punch to get the team into the TOP2 of the conference.
Now they lost the HC for a better paid gig and the team has to deal here with the interims solution against one of the most prominent teams in all college football.
Notre Dame had also a bit of a down-year, even they did match already the last years win total they had AFTER the bowls (this years record 9-3 so far).
The reason for the down-season-part is, they had much higher hopes, but that loss to Ohio State (by 3) and later against Louisville (by 13) and Clemson (by 8) did show that the team is NOT a playoff contender.
They will likely win here, since the team is stacked with talent, but they need to be IN this game and should not underestimate the Beavers.
I hope for a close game.
Fighting Irish win.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Memphis vs Iowa State

@Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
This is played on the home field of the Memphis Tigers.
This bowl is played since 1959.
It's a BIG 12 against SEC bowl. Only that the SEC did not send a team and the American did send the HOME team, Memphis.
Last year, this was a high scoring thriller in 3 OT, which ended with a SEC win, making it 21 wins in 32 games.
The BIG 12 is quite new in this bowl and won only 4 games out of 10.
The American did so far only play 5 times here and won 3 games.
In 2017 this exact matchup had happened already and Iowa State won by 1 point.
But this season the Tigers are not that good as in the past and did lose 3 times this season (Missouri, Tulane and SMU), so 9-3.
And Iowa State did also not play as planned and finished 7-5, but in a much tougher conference.
Especially in the 2nd half did the team play very tough and lost only to the best teams.
No wonder they are favored by 10.0 points.
I expect a low scoring game with Iowa State shutting down the Tigers often enough.
Cyclones win.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
#9 Missouri vs #7 Ohio State

@AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
One of the big bowls of the College Football Playoff series, this season one of the at-large-bowls.
Played since 1937 this is open for everyone, invited for those big bowls.
It's played in the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
After all those seasons since the conference did die in 1996 the Southwest Conference, out of which a lot of teams went on to build the BIG 12, has still the record for most games, 57, but their win total is tied at 24 with the SEC, which played 41 games so far.
Often the best Group of 5 team is invited here, like last season Tulane.
This year we have a SEC Team vs BIG10.
And a very interesting one it is.
Missouri was quite close to win the division, which did happen not so often, last time in 2013 and 2014. But the team lost to LSU and Georgia, which left the team with that big bowl (10-2).
Ohio State was also quite close to win the division, but got their ass handed to them by Michigan as the only but most important loss (11-1).
Some might be surprised, but Missouri was favored by Vegas by 2.5 points here, but it did flip over time to Ohio State at -1.5.
Overall, I think it will come down to the Ohio State defense.
If they let Missouri do their thing, they Buckeyes will lose.
So, either they can stop the Tigers, or they will go down.
For me, a pick is hard, I thought Ohio State would win against Michigan, but mainly because the Wolverines HC was not at the game and the lack of leadership would lead to a Buckeyes win.
Instead, the team did lose and now they face one of the hottest teams of the season, not many had on the list as contender.
So ... my gut feeling is, Ohio State will need all they have and I doubt they will bring it all to this game.
Tigers win.

That's for the 3rd set of bowls.
Don't know who has the time to watch all that stuff ...

'Til next time

Rating (3 users):

Tags: Block of GraniteNews

 Share on Facebook  Share on Twitter