2015-12-21 05:57

And that's how it starts.

The Bowl-season did start on Saturday and it got interesting right from the beginning.

Let’s have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 2:00 pm ET
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Arizona vs. New Mexico

@ University Stadium - Albuquerque, NM
This was a very error prone game.
It started good for the Lobos, which I expected to win.
The Wildcats did fumble and New Mexico did score a field goal out of this.
But then did the Lobos turn the ball over (interception) and Arizona did score a TD.
Later did Arizona throw an interception, but on 4th and 8 did New Mexico decided to run (on Arizonas 23 yard line) and failed.
Exact 3 plays later did Arizona score a TD and went up 14-3.
Until the half did then follow a TD there and TD here game which ended up to remain the margin of 11 at the half for Arizona.
They added each another score after the half (35-24 now) when the Lobos made the next bad mistake.
An interception in New Mexicos own red zone gave Arizona the ball on the 4 yards line.
The Wildcats said THANK YOU and scored again.
But the Lobos did answer with a score, made a surprising onside kick, recovered it and scored again!
Now the score was 42-37.
Arizona miss a FG, but the Lobos were unable to score the next drive and Arizona tried another FG in their next drive.
It was good and the score was 45-37.
With around 1:30 left on the clock did New Mexico try one last comeback, but failed by getting intercepted.
Arizona did win by 8 thanks to some crucial mistakes from the Lobos.
A bit sad for New Mexico, I think they really had a chance here, but such mistakes did not result in wins often.
Arizona 45 - New Mexico 37 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 0-1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 3:30 pm ET
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. #22 Utah

@Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
This was CRAZY (you would need something bigger than capital letters to describe it ...)
The very 1st drive? BYU fumbles and Utah does score a TD.
Second BYU drive? PICK SIX!
Third BYU drive? Interception and Utah does score a TD.
Forth BYU drive? PICK SIX!
Fifth BYU drive? Fumble and Utah scores a TD.
At that point it was 35-0 and 4:38 left in the 1st Quarter!
BYU then got a good drive going and miss a FG.
Then very long nothing until before the half did BYU had another big drive and score a TD.
Second half? All BYU and the scored a TD after TD, but needed way too long to score and way too long to stop Utah.
It was 35-28 for Utah when BYU score the last TD of the game, almost 3:30 left.
Were they able to stop Utah? No ....
Bad clock management and a bad defense effort left the Cougars losing that game, which was lost by the offense and 5 turnover at the start.
Utah was strong enough to hold BYU off long enough to secure the win, but they can't be proud of that.
BYU 28 - Utah 35 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 1-1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 5:30 pm ET
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Ohio vs. Appalachian State

@Crampton Bowl - Montgomery, AL
A great game, I hope you did see it.
The Mountaineers did score 1st, but then did the Bobcats shift into 2nd gear and went ahead 24-7 in the 3rd quarter.
Appalachian State woke up just early enough to score, intercept Ohio the next drive and score again, intercept Ohio AGAIN and score another TD.
Suddenly it was Ohio trailing 24-28.
Ohio was unable to move on offense, but scored a safety the next play after the punt and were also able to score a field goal after the following free kick.
That 21 yarder did lift Ohio ahead 29-28!
But the game was not over.
With 1:47 left did Appalachian State work themselves down the field and with 2 ticks left on the clock did the kicker step on the field, kicked it with time running out and MADE IT!
From 23 yards away it was the game winning FG.
Appalachian State won their 1st bowl ever.
Ohio 29 - Appalachian State 31 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 2-1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 7:00 pm ET
AutoNation Cure Bowl
San Jose State vs. Georgia State

@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
Arghhh, the poor Panthers.
SJSU did lead at the half 10-7.
They did lead at the end of the 3rd quarter 13-7.
Georgia State then did score a Safety and a TD and suddenly were leading 16-13!
But the Spartans answered with a TD on their own and got the lead back. 20-16.
Then were Georgia State unable to answer that, punted and San Jose were able to make a scoring drive. 27-16.
Trailing that much did lead to a more demanding passing play selection and at the end ... to an interception.
Georgia State did play their 1st bowl but the 5-7 Spartans did win that bowl they were not supposed to play and finished the season 6-7.
San Jose State 27 - Georgia State 16 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 2-2

Sat. Dec. 19 - 9:00 pm ET
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech

@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
Kenneth Dixon is the Bulldogs record setting running back.
He overcame the record set by Navy QB Keenan Reynolds last week (85 career TDs) and pushed the record to 87 TDs over a career by a 4TD games in this bowl.
During the game he had 215 yards from scrimmage and did change his jersey (his front number got ripped off and he later changed to a jersey with #1 on it, more because of the record I think, a bit because of the jersey).
Until halftime it was an open game, tied at 17.
Later tied at 20, LT got away after that for good.
Arkansas State did score again when Lt was already leading by 24 points.
At the end did Louisiana win this one by a huge margin.
Arkansas State 28 - Louisiana Tech 47 -> Jacks BOWL Score: 3-2

That was the 1st wave of bowls at the weekend. The 2nd wave will cover all bowl until Christmas.


Mon. Dec. 21 - 2:30 pm ET
Miami Beach Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. South Florida

@Marlins Park - Miami, FL
This was established last season.
The bowl itself is hosted by the AAC and the feel free to invite teams from the CUSA, MAC or SBC.
The payout for each team is still not known.
WKU won the CUSA and went 11-2 over the season.
South Florida did go 8-4 which was a surprise.
Advantage playing field (which is a baseball stadium) is on South Florida, advantage in team strength for me is on Western Kentucky.
How South Florida will handle this explosive team is not known yet, my take is, they won't be able to stop them often enough to win this.
The crowd will keep them in the game, the players will lose it on the field.
Hilltoppers win.

Tues. Dec. 22 - 3:30 pm ET
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Akron vs. Utah State

@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.
The field was long time the only FBS playing field with a different colour than green. (the other stadium is now, since 2014, the field of Eastern Michigan, coloured in grey)
Its blue colour did lead to one of many nick names, one of the most often used is the "Smurf turf".
With Akron (7-5) and Utah State (6-6) the class of the teams this season is not that good.
Akron is on a high note with their winning record.
This is only their second bowl game, ever (and that team exists since 1891!).
Last bowl was 2005 (a loss).
Utah State on the other hand is on a low.
Last season they hand 9 wins during the regular season and added another in a bowl game, this season they had so far 6 wins and lost 3 of their last 4 games.
I have to say, Akron will have to show me something to work with, until then, I will pick Utah State in this matchup.
Akron did make progress, no doubt, but a MAC team playing against a MWC team will have to do better than winning just 1 more game in regular season to convince me to pick that MAC team.
I wish Akron all the best, the program can use it for sure.
Still, Aggies win.

Tues. Dec. 22 - 7:00 pm ET
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
#24 Temple vs. Toledo

@FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, FL
This bowl is in his 2nd season, founded 2014.
It belongs basically to the MAC.
As planned they did invite an AAC team and they got a division champ in Temple.
Toledo did almost win their division, but lost their last game and fell to 3rd place.
It's played in the home stadium of Florida Atlantic University (playing in the CUSA).
The payout is named 400.000$ per team.
Toledo will be different from the high flying team we saw during the season.
Their coach did go to Iowa State and their OC got promoted to permanent HC and will guide the team to the bowl.
Temple on the other hand will be guided by their coach, who did agree on an extension.
I hope both teams do enjoy the sun in Florida, because back at home it will be frosty.
I can't see any real big argument to pick Toledo here. Sure a good team, but they will play a team which almost beat Notre Dame.
Not saying they will go down for sure, it's very likely Temple will win here under given circumstances.
I think only the x-factor of playing a bowl game itself in a stadium far far away might give Temple trouble.
If the team treat this as holiday trip, they might stumble.
I think Matt Rhule will have his team focused.
Owls win.

Wed. Dec. 23 - 4:30 pm ET
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Boise State vs. Northern Illinois

@Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
This is played on the home field of the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs.
It is played since 2005 and each team gets around 612.500$.
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and different teams from different conferences each year, if they are eligible.
Boise State did underperform and did not win their division, finished 8-4.
Northern Illinois did win their division with help of Toledo, which lost their last game.
As consequence did NIU then lose in the MAC Championship game and finished 8-5.
I will make this quick here.
Boise State has still enough reputation and I have still enough faith in the Broncos to overcome the Huskies.
If these Huskies would have been the Huskies from former seasons, I would have had 2nd guesses regarding picking Boise State, but this season, NIU did not play on a constant level.
Boise State did also struggle 4 times, but I have bigger faith in Harsin (Boises HC) to guide his team to a win, than I have in Carey (NIUs HC).
Broncos win.

Wed. Dec. 23 - 8:00 pm ET
GoDaddy Bowl
Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green

@Ladd Peebles Stadium - Mobile, AL
Since 1999 is this Bowl played and its played at the home of the South Alabama Jaguars.
At the moment it is a Sun Belt Conference vs MAC Bowl.
Each team gets around 750.000$.
The huge (compared to other bowls) payout is probably the reason why Bowling Green (10-3) as MAC Champ does play Georgia Southern (8-4).
I don't understand why not Arkansas State as SBC champ does play here.
Geographical reasons? Not really.
Maybe Georgia fans are better known for traveling.
I don't think Georgia Southern will win here.
Bowling Green did look very good in the Championship game and Georgia Southern did lose to Georgia State on the last gameday.
Some conspiracy might see there a thrown game to give the SBC another bowl game, but I doubt that.
The only thing that might help Georgia Southern is that Bowling Greens HC did bolt to Syracuse and the team will be coached on an interims basis.
THAT might give them a chance.
A big one?
Big enough?
Probably not.
Falcons win.

Thurs. Dec. 24 - 12:00 pm ET
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan

@Thomas Robinson Stadium - Nassau, Bahamas
This one is the stupidest bowl I've seen so far.
A new Bowl since 2014 for FBS-Football, it's played on the Bahamas in a 15.000 seat multipurpose stadium, which is mainly used for soccer matches.
Last year it was not sold out.
I'm sure this year’s matchup will bring more attendance ... not.
The bowl is only a MAC-Bowl and plays against the CUSA.
They payout for each team is not known, I did find 450.000$ for each team, but that might be a misleading number, because there was a press release that last season’s MAC team Central Michigan got 450.000$ from the MAC just to GET there.
In best case the MAC got really the money back with CMU attending.
This season it's MTSU vs. WMU.
The 7-5 Blue Raiders from the CUSA will have to play a nice game to overcome the quite hot 7-5 Broncos from the MAC.
But Middle Tennessee has won their last 4 games, while the hot Western Michigan team did start strong, but lost some big games and was only able to regain form against Toledo at season finale to win that last one.
Tough to make a pick, but I favoured the Broncos, until I did scan the season results.
Middle Tennessee had many games against bigger teams, lost by a few points, while WMU lost several games against stronger teams by a mile.
Given some time for preparation, I assume MTSU will get this done in from of 14.000 tourists in the sun.
I hope they can enjoy the time after the game.
Happy holidays!
Blue Raiders win.

Thurs. Dec. 24 - 8:00 pm ET
Hawai'i Bowl
San Diego State vs. Cincinnati

@Aloha Stadium - Honolulu, HI
I love that welcome call.
Normally Hawai'i does play here (if eligible, not happened since 2010) and then some other team.
The Hawai'i Bowl is played since 2002 and each team gets around 750.000$.
It does team up MWC teams against a CUSA team.
Obviously that did not work this season and an American Athletic team, Cincinnati, was chose to play against the Mountain West Champ San Diego State.
This should be interesting.
I expect SDSU to be dominant in this game.
The 7-5 Bearcats did lose many bigger games in the American and San Diego State win 10 games and lost only 3. Only the OT loss to South Alabama does not really fit here.
Overall we have a sun proven team from California against a team from snowfall prone Ohio playing on a tropical island.
Alone the weather should make Cincinnati play worse than usual, while San Diego should be comfortable.
And don't underestimate the extra traveling time ...
Aztecs win.

'Til next time

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