(Photo from Joel Auerbach/Getty Pictures)
The very best time of year for school football has finally arrived. Beginning this Saturday, Bowl year will begin with several interesting matchups for programs which are seeking to limit off their powerful regular seasons with an emphatic postseason success. Even though nearly all the teams which is going to be participating in this week’s events will probably be largely unknown, the fact that all of them are going to be competing for a coveted Bowl decoration raises the aggressive nature and notoriety of those underrated applications. As we inch ever closer to the highly expected College Football Playoff contests, fans and pundits will be satiated with plenty of high-octane contests until New Years Day.
College Bowl Games On Now
1. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy Trojans vs. North Texas Mean Green
Time: Saturday, 1:00 PM E.T.
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV Channel: ESPN
By app names independently, Troy and North Texas don’t appear to offer much in the manner of compelling and excitable football. However, both of these mid-major conference competitions actually possess two exceptional and prolific offenses which should keep fans locked in from begin to finish. For the Trojans, their electrical offense relies upon the scrambling and throwing capacities of quarterback Brandon Silvers (62.9 CMP%). While Silvers’ game handling prowess is notable, the Mean Green have a far more prolific passer in Mason Fine (64.3 CMP%, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions). However, what the Trojans shortage in a gunslinging quarterback, they compensate for using a consistent and formidable defense (17.5 PAPG, held all of their opponents to less than 30 points). If Troy can prevent careless turnovers, then they ought to be able to rely upon their exceptional protection and permit Silvers to chip away in the Mean Green’s bad defense (33.8 PAPG).
Final rating: Troy 31 Mean Green 26 Spread: Troy -6.5
2. Autonation Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Georgia State Panthers
Time: Saturday, 2:30 PM E.T.
Location: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
TV Channel: CBSSN
Not surprisingly, the Hilltoppers live and die by their relentless passing game, a large reason for them completing the year with a 6-6 record. Luckily, even in the Hilltoppers declines, quarterback Mike White has been true (65.6 CMP%) and intelligent when it comes to not forcing passes to recipients which are heavily covered (seven interceptions). Though the Panthers may not possess the shining passing figures the Hilltoppers have, they actually have an equally cerebral albeit less prolific passer in quarterback Conner Manning (63.7 CMP%, 13 touchdowns, seven interceptions). As both programs struggle to run the football, this will be a thrilling shootout which will see the Hilltoppers overwhelm the Panthers using their unique passing game.
Final rating: Hilltoppers 34 Georgia State 30 Spread: Georgia State -6.5
3. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State Broncos (25) vs. Oregon Ducks
Time: Saturday, 3:30 PM E.T.
Location: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV Channel: ABC
Even though the Broncos may not be a perennial juggernaut among the mid-major programs any longer, they have still managed to put together one remarkable season after another. Determined by notable quarterback play against Brett Rypien (8.11 yards per pass attempt, 14 touchdowns, four interceptions), the Broncos have been able to grind out wins by playing largely mistake-free football when relying upon their athletic defense to finish off their respective opponents (22.5 PAPG). Though the Ducks may not have a disciplined passer to direct their crime, they do have a formidable and immensely talented running in Royce Freeman (16 rushing touchdowns, six yards per rush attempt). Even though the Ducks possess an elite rushing game in their disposal, it’s been exposed on numerous occasions by stout guards, an Achilles Heel which should be exploited by the Broncos resilient front.
Final rating: Broncos 29 Ducks 20 Spread: Oregon -7.0
4. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Colorado State Rams
Time: Saturday, 4:30 PM E.T.
Location: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
TV Channel: ESPN
Despite losing four of the last five games to complete the regular season, the Thundering Herd definitely have one of the best guards in college football (19.3 PAPG). Regrettably, Marshall’s talented defense has been overshadowed from the exceptionally inconsistent quarterback play of Chase Litton (23 touchdowns, 12 interceptions). Unlike the Thundering Herd, the Rams have an incredibly dynamic crime that flows throughout quarterback Nick Stevens (27 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 3479 passing yards) and running Dalyn Dawkins (eight rushing touchdowns, 6.2 yards per rushing attempt). Though Marshall may have the daring defense to eliminate the Rams efficient crime initially, their absence of a trusted death game may do them in contrary to a highly well-rounded opponent.
Final rating: Thundering Herd 21 Rams 28 Spread: Colorado State -5.5
5. Raycom Media Camella Bowl: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves
Time: Saturday, 8:00 PM E.T.
Location: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama
TV Channel: ESPN
Even though the Blue Raiders may not be particularly powerful on offense and defense, they’re actually not horrible in either of these respects. With that being said, the very clear weakness for the Blue Raiders has been the absence of continuity in the quarterback position, with all junior Brent Stockhill carrying over signal-calling duties during the final four games of the year (10 touchdowns, three interceptions in final four games of the year). Conversely, the Red Wolves are privileged to have a positive gunslinger in their roster in quarterback Justice Hansen (34 touchdowns, 8.44 yards per pass attempt). Despite not having a more serious rushing game to fall back, the Red Wolves have still been able to overwhelm their opponents with their fantastic passing game, an aspect that will be particularly tricky for the ordinary Blue Raiders to close down frequently.
Final Score Blue Raiders 24 Red Wolves 40 Spread: Arkansas State -4.0