2014-12-19 07:07

I decided to give the BOWLs a complete coverage, because this is the fun part of the season and we will have the first playoffs here, so we shouldn't miss that one.

Unfortunately many matchups before the End-Of-The-Year/Start-Of-The-New-Year timeframe are not that exciting, but I take what I can get.

This season the Bowls will start at Saturday, December 20th and will be played until Monday, January 12th, which is the National Championship game with no participator decided yet.

39 Bowls will be played, 76 teams are set to battle it out a last time.
Remember that we have the National Championship game played by winners of two Bowls.
In the past there were exactly double as many teams as Bowls, but because of the playoffs, this rule is broken now.

81 teams were eligible to participate in a Bowl, so at the end 5 teams were left out.
Ohio (MAC, 6-6), Texas State (SBC 7-5), Temple (AAC 6-6), UAB (CUSA 6-6) and Middle Tennessee (CUSA 6-6) are these teams.

Appalachian State (SBC 7–5), Georgia Southern (SBC 9–3) and Old Dominion (6–6 CUSA) would have been eligible, if they wouldn't be in a FCS-FBS transition year. Because of that transition, their records were really impressive, especially Georgia Southern winning the SBC.

All FBS-Team can become eligible for Bowls (except those teams in transition) with 6 wins and you can have even 2 games against FCS-Teams on your schedule (which normally are blowouts and sure wins) and still be eligible. In the past, this did not have much impact but this year the strength of schedule got very important, especially for the playoffs.
Hopefully many teams will rethink this scheduling behaviour.
This would mean the bigger teams would at least play FBS teams, which would reduce the eligible teams in the future (because some weaker FBS teams will now not get a 6th win by bashing a FCS team, but getting creamed by stronger teams and will not get the needed win amount).
Down side of this will be that FCS teams can't get that easy money anymore by playing FBS teams. This will have an impact on the team landscape.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 1

Saturday, December 20, 11:00 AM ET R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Louisiana-Lafayette @ MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
This is played since 2001 and each team gets around 500.000$.
The teams are chosen from the MWC and the SBC.
And if not enough teams are eligible from the MWC, they can choose some other team.
The Ragin' Cajuns are now playing this Bowl since 2011 the 4th time in a row.
So far they did win all of them.
I'm not truly convinced they will win this year again, but they have all the chances.
The Ragin' Cajuns were almost Co-Champs of the SBC. They finished 8-4, 7-1 inside the conference and did lose to Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Boise State and Appalachian State, which did cost them the co-champ title.
Nevada did finish 7-5, and did finish in the conference with 4-4, so no really major winning team here.
Granted, they did not lose against bad teams and they did win some higher profile games.
Still, they are not in a THAT good shape.
The question here is, are they good enough to take a SBC team in an almost home game in Louisiana?
I'm expecting a close game here and my gut says, the winning series of ULL will snap, but my head is routing for the Cajuns, so I pick them, where ever it may take me.

Saturday, December 20, 2:20 PM ET GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
Utah State vs. UTEP @ University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
This is played at the University of New Mexico and is played since 2006.
Each team gets around 456,250$
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and CUSA.
Utah State did finish 6-2 in the conference and 9-4 overall. Not a bad year, but last season they played for the MWC Championship, this season they were only 3rd in the division, because Boise State and Colorado State had very good seasons.
UTEP went more or less under the radar and finished 5-3 in the conference and 7-5 overall, which is not a bad year for them. Last year they were 2-10.
I don't want to discount the Miners, but the Utah State Aggies are for sure the team to beat in this game.
They will be tough to handle and honestly I can't see UTEP coming into this bowl and win it.
So I pick the Aggies.

Saturday, December 20, 3:30 PM ET ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
#22 Utah vs. Colorado State @ Sam Boyd Stadium, LAS VEGAS, NV
They play in the home of the UNLV Rebels.
It is played since 1992 and each team gets around 1.350.000 $.
The Tie-ins on conferences are since 2001 between PAC 12 and MWC.
This could have been a great matchup, if not for the factor than Colorado State did lose their HC to Florida and the Rams will now be guided by an interims coach.
CSU had a great season, 10-2 overall and 6-2 in the conference.
Utah on the other had only 8-4, but did play spoiler inside the conference.
Biggest wins were winning against Michigan on the road, UCLA on the road and ranked USC at home.
I think, if the interims coach gets the Rams ready, this will be fun to watch.
I'm more convinced this will be a disaster for the Rams and the Utes will win this easily.
So I pick the Utes.

Saturday, December 21, 5:45 PM ET FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Western Michigan vs. Air Force @ Albertsons Stadium, BOISE, ID
This was known as the Humanitarian Bowl.
It is played at the University of Boise in Idaho and is worth around 325.000$ for each team.
This Bowl is played since 1997 and it is played at the moment between teams from the MWC and the MAC.
Air Force Falcons went more or less unnoticed to a 9–3 record, but were only 5-3 inside the conference.
They won even against the now new MWC Champ Boise State, but did also lose against the bad Wyoming team.
But I'm sure they will challenge the Broncos of Western Michigan.
Western Michigan went 8–4 and 6-2 in the MAC.
They lost to Toledo and now MAC Champ NIU.
I think this will be a nice head to head compare, but I don't find both teams very interesting so I'm not that excited about the game.
I pick the Falcons, since I think the MWC is a bit better than the MAC, so the quality of wins and schedule should help Air Force.
But be prepared, everything is possible.

Saturday, December 20, 9:15 PM ET RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL
South Alabama vs. Bowling Green @ Cramton Bowl, MONTGOMERY, AL
We have a brand new bowl game here.
The CAMELLIA BOWL was played in the past (1948 and 1961-1980) but this new version is played this season for the first time.
It ties in to the SBC and the MAC.
They payout is not public so far, so no numbers are known, but it's likely it's under 400.000$ a team, maybe even under 300.000$.
South Alabama was 6-6 overall and 5-3 in the SBC.
Bowling Green is 7-6 after their bad loss against NIU and 5-3 in the MAC.
I have to admit I can't figure out, which team will here have the upper side.
Bowling Green had some good games, most notable the win against Big 10 team Indiana.
South Alabama had no real signature win, but went OK.
So by the numbers, Bowling Green should be the better team, but I don't count out the home factor.
This is played in Alabama in a former home stadium of the Crimson Tide and other Alabama teams and I'm sure the Jaguars will get a warmer welcome than the Ohio team of Bowling Green.
So I'm expecting a close game with a Falcons win.

‘Til next time

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