Myrtle Beach Bowl: Old Dominion vs Tulsa (December 20th, 2021)
RESULT: Tulsa wins 30-17
Tulsa should win this game going away. It has a decided advantage on both sides of the ball. Additionally, Tulsa statistically speaking has a better offense. The athleticism aspect of this game also heavily favors the Hurricanes. Expect Shamari Brooks to have a big day on the ground in this one.
Pregame Prediction: Tulsa
Image Source: Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports, Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Wyoming vs Kent State (December 21st, 2021)
RESULT: Wyoming wins 52-38
Wyoming has lost six of its last eight contest. With that said, the Cowboys have registered wins over some quality opponents (Ball State, Colorado State, Utah State). Kent State is very balanced offensively — averaging over 200 yards a game both throwing and running the football. We don’t have a great feel for this contest considering both have been somewhat underwhelming over the last month of the year. Based on talent and proximity to Laramie, we’ll roll with the Cowboys.
Pregame Prediction: Wyoming
Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl: San Diego State vs UTSA (December 21st, 2021)
RESULT: SDSU wins 38-24
These are two of the better non Power Five teams in the country. UTSA (12-1) and SDSU (11-2) would be more than competitive if they played in the major conferences within their regions (Big 12, Pac-12). The Roadrunners are led by QB Frank Harris and RB Sincere McCormick. McCormick rushed for 1,479 yards and 15 touchdowns. SDSU’s stingy defense will have to account for UTSA’s explosiveness. If the Aztecs can keep it a low scoring affair, they should be able to win the contest. If the game involves a ton of extra possessions, it favors UTSA.
Pregame Prediction: SDSU
Image Source: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports, Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs Missouri (December 22nd, 2021)
RESULT: Army wins 24-22
There’s a lot of buzz around Eli Drinkwitz’s program. The Tigers are recruiting at a very respectable level (hence the commitment of Luther Burden). Though a 6-6 mark isn’t spectacular, it’s a nice start within the Drinkwitz era to at least become bowl eligible. Army rushes on average for more than 300 yards a game on the ground. Mizzou must be disciplined and heady in order to win this game. Ultimately, we think Army will be a bit too tough for the Tigers.
Pregame Prediction: Army
Frisco Football Classic: Miami (Ohio) vs North Texas (December 23rd, 2021)
RESULT: Miami (OH) wins 27-14
Both teams average more than 420 total yards of offense on the year. Miami is more prolific when it comes to slinging the rock in the air — whereas North Texas totes the ball to the tune of nearly 250 yards per contest on the ground. It’ll be a fascinating clashing of styles here. Whomever can control the ball to their liking will ultimately come out on top. UNT has won five-straight contests heading into this game. We like their chances to continue the winning streak.
Pregame Prediction: North Texas
Image Source: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports, Dominic Gwinn / Hattiesburg American / USA TODAY NETWORK
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl: UCF vs Florida (December 23rd, 2021)
RESULT: UCF wins 29-17
This is a weird one. Florida has had a tumultuous season all year — which culminated in the firing of Dan Mullen. Before Billy Napier officially takes over, the 6-6 Gators must play a contest against UCF. It’s tricky considering the standpoint that UCF has a roster full of Floridians who were deemed ‘not good enough’ for Florida coming out of high school.
You’d think a chip on the proverbial shoulder would exist. This is especially the case when Florida is currently mirroring a wounded animal waiting for someone to turn the page from this year onto the next season. Look for UCF to come out firing in this game. The Knights have nothing to lose.
Pregame Prediction: UCF
Image Source: Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK
EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl: Memphis vs Hawai’i (December 24th, 2021)
RESULT: Game cancelled
Neither one of these teams are very good. Memphis needed a late season victory to even become bowl eligible. Hawaii has yo-yo’d throughout the year as a team looking good one night — and atrocious the next week. The game is being played in Hawaii, which will favor Todd Graham and his attack-minded defense.
However, Hawaii’s starting QB Chevan Cordeiro recently left the program in favor of the transfer portal. He was the heart and soul of the team (not to mention the team’s primary playmaker). He’s the only player in Hawaii history to throw for more than 6,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards. Without him behind center, the Rainbows may struggle against a team with superior athleticism.
Pregame Prediction: Memphis
Image Source: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
TaxAct Camellia Bowl: Georgia State vs Ball State (December 25th, 2021)
RESULT: Georgia State wins 51-20
On Christmas Day, you’ll be treated to the classic matchup featuring Ball State and Georgia State. The Cardinals enter this contest 6-6 — whereas the Panthers are 7-5. Most projections favor Georgia State in this contest. Darren Grainger was highly efficient as the QB running the offense. Georgia State racked up over 220 yards a game on the ground (leading to 26.3 PPG).
Ball State operates with more of a throwing offense. Drew Plitt threw for 17 TDs and more than 2,248 yards through the air. The Cardinals may be able to exploit GSU’s defense. On the year, the Panthers relinquished over 400 yards a game defensively.
Pregame Prediction: Ball State
Image Source: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs Nevada (December 27th, 2021)
RESULT: Western Michigan wins 52-24
This is a head versus heart matchup from a prediction’s standpoint. Collectively on paper, Nevada (8-4) is the better football team. QB Carson Strong is a future NFL player, and WR Romeo Doubs is among the better receivers you’ve never heard of (1,109 receiving yards, 11 TDs).
The problem sits with the coaching staff. Jay Norvell took the job at Colorado State. You never know how something like that will impact a team — especially during the bowl prep period. We’re sticking with Nevada to win the game (despite us not being overly confident).
Pregame Prediction: Nevada
Image Source: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Military Bowl: East Carolina vs Boston College (December 27, 2021)
RESULT: Game was cancelled
Boston College is a grind-it-out team with minimal offensive talent and a very good defensive scheme. On the other hand, East Carolina has the more prolific offense. RB Keaton Mitchell rushed for over 1,100 yards and 9 TDs this year. Holton Ahlers threw for 18 TDs and more than 3,000 yards passing.
However, East Carolina hasn’t seen a defensive unit as good as Boston College’s. BC allows only 22.2 PPG on the year. If the Eagles can keep this a low scoring ballgame, I give them the big advantage in winning. Otherwise, East Carolina’s athletes will cause a lot of problems.
Pregame Prediction: East Carolina
Image Source: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs Houston (December 28th, 2021)
Houston was no slouch this year — going 11-2 and winning the AAC. Its reward? Playing Auburn — a team who was within a whisker of dashing Alabama’s National Championship hopes. If Auburn is to win this game, it must dominate up front. Houston’s offensive line has been shaky throughout the year. It’s allowed nearly three sacks per game. It’s also relinquishing more than seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
While Dana Holgorsen is a prolific offensive coach, we aren’t so sure the talent is there up front to keep Auburn from mauling QB Clayton Tune. Cincinnati was the closest thing Houston’s seen to Auburn from a defensive line talent standpoint. In that game (played last week), Houston lost 35-20. Cincinnati accrued 8.0 sacks and 12.0 tackles-for-loss.
Image Source: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: Air Force vs Louisville (December 28th, 2021)
No one wants to play the Air Force in this sort of setting. For one, the team is darn good. Air Force finished atop the Mountain West with a 9-3 record. Secondly, the team does not possess big-time name recognition. As such, the opposition coming from a bigger conference won’t be overly jazzed about playing them.
Third, Air Force runs the ball a crazy amount of the time. The team has a whopping 42 rushing touchdowns in 12 games this year. The atypical running scheme is highly difficult to prepare for, and Louisville simply doesn’t have the talent to mitigate the quirky nature of Air Force’s scheme.
Prediction: Air Force
Image Source: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State vs Texas Tech (December 28th, 2021)
The irony of the bowl season is never lost on us. Mike Leach — now the commander of Mississippi State — will square off against the program which made him famous in Texas Tech. The Bulldogs enter this contest as a big-time favorite (-8.5) — namely due to their strength up front. This is normally what separates most SEC teams from the rest of the competition.
In this case, Mississippi State has been battle-tested all year long. Akin to a normal Leach squad, the team has been competitive in most of its contests. We just don’t see a path for the Raiders to earn the victory — especially with Leach surely motivated to take out the Red Raiders.
Prediction: Mississippi State
Image Source: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Holiday Bowl: UCLA vs North Carolina State (December 28th, 2021)
As of December 10th, we don’t know the status of UCLA head coach Chip Kelly. Multiple reports indicate that Kelly may be returning to be the head coach at the University of Oregon. Should this come to fruition, UCLA may be dead in the water for this contest. It’s feasible that the Bruins could see multiple projected high-round picks (Sean Rhyan, Zach Charbonnet) sit out the game in favor of staying healthy for the NFL combine.
North Carolina State (9-3) enjoyed a very nice year. Dan Doeren’s team is well-coached and rock-solid on both sides of the ball. This is actually a game we’re hoping that both teams stay fully intact for. We think it could be one of the more compelling non-NYE day bowl games. However, despite being the more talented team top-to-bottom, UCLA will struggle in more ways than one should Kelly leave the program high and dry.
Prediction: North Carolina State
Image Source: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Minnesota vs West Virginia (December 28th, 2021)
Minnesota enters this game as a 4-point favorite. The Golden Gophers (8-4) enter this contest having won two in-a-row — including a 10-point victory over Wisconsin. Minnesota plays with a ton of energy, and often mimics the edge its head coach P.J. Fleck exudes.
West Virginia went 6-6 in a bad Big 12 this season. The Mountaineers do have a capable QB-WR duo of Jarret Doege-Leddie Brown. Brown went over 1,000 yards rushing this year, and Doege threw for 19 TDs and nearly 3,000 yards through the air. With that said, Minnesota should be better up front on both sides of the ball. Fleck’s team will control the line of scrimmage, and ultimately the game as a whole.
Image Source: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Wasabi Fenway Bowl: Virginia vs SMU (December 29th, 2021)
RESULT: Game is cancelled
We’ve got yet ANOTHER bowl game in which both teams lost their head coaches. Sonny Dykes left SMU for TCU — whereas Bronco Mendenhall ended up stepping down from the program. We aren’t sure as to how this will impact either team. Virginia has already lost multiple starters to the transfer portal — including two all-conference offensive linemen.
SMU put up a ton of points this past season. We’d have to think the offensive scheme will stay relatively the same for this contest. As such, look for the Ponies to become victorious.
Pregame Prediction: SMU
Image Source: Jordan Hofeditz/Reporter-News / USA TODAY NETWORK
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Maryland vs Virginia Tech (December 29th, 2021)
These are two 6-6 clubs who most likely would rather be home for the holidays as opposed to playing a meaningless bowl game on a wonky playing surface constructed on a baseball field. Neither team is very good, and the Hokies will be playing this contest without fired head coach Justin Fuente.
As such, we’ll give the Terps the slight edge.
Image Source: G Fiume/Getty Images
Cheez-It Bowl: Clemson vs Iowa State (December 29th, 2021)
This was supposed to be the best team Matt Campbell has had to date in Ames. For whatever reason, the Cyclones (7-5) just couldn’t put it together. Brock Purdy seemed to regress a bit when it came to throwing the football. Duly, the offensive line wasn’t nearly as potent as it had been. Clemson should ultimately win this game. It could act as a springboard moving forward into next season.
Image Source: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs Oklahoma (December 29th, 2021)
We have no idea what to make of this contest. Both teams lost their head coaches in rather shocking fashion. Oregon was pummeled twice in a row by Utah to end the season on a very sour note. Oklahoma also lost out on a potential playoff spot when losing to rival Oklahoma State.
Ultimately, neither of these teams will be overly excited to participate in a bowl game. While there’s NFL talent littered throughout both rosters, we’ll opt to go with OU — namely because Caleb Williams (assuming he stays in Norman) appears to be the real deal.
Image Source: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Duke’s Mayo Bowl: North Carolina vs South Carolina (December 30th, 2021)
Credit those cheeky bowl matchup makers for giving us the battle of the Carolinas. We have an interesting juxtaposition in this ballgame. UNC underachieved massively this year relative to the expectations placed on the program. The Tar Heels were supposed to be fighting for a potential Playoff Spot — not the Mayo Bowl.
On the other hand, South Carolina is as happy as a clam to be in this contest. Despite a team beset by talent deficiencies and depth issues, Shane Beamer led the Gamecocks to 6-6 record. North Carolina is the more talented team, though South Carolina won’t make it easy.
Prediction: North Carolina
Image Source: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
TransPerfect Music City Bowl: Tennessee vs Purdue (December 30th, 2021)
This is another one of those ho-hum bowl games which you may have casually on in the background as you get some work done. Neither team is overly clinical — nor will you be watching many of these players on Sundays in the future. You could see a lot of points scored. This usually happens in a bowl game with two programs on relatively equal footing.
Purdue has the better coach (Jeff Brohm) — though the Boilermakers didn’t benefit from the location of this contest. It’ll be heavy pro-Tennessee crowd. The Vols collectively speaking are also the more talented bunch.
Image Source: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Pittsburgh vs Michigan State (December 30th, 2021)
This game is essentially a toss-up. Michigan State (10-2) enjoyed a very successful season with Mel Tucker at the helm. RB Kenneth Walker was among the best rushers in the country. He sets the tone for the Spartans when chewing up clock and wearing down the opposition.
On the other side of the coin, Pitt’s QB Kenny Pickett is phenomenal. He had a Heisman-esque season in which he threw for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns. The Panthers (11-2) shocked everyone by winning both the Coastal Division and the ACC Championship.
Image Source: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Las Vegas Bowl: Wisconsin vs Arizona State (December 30th, 2021)
You’ve got two 8-4 teams in what should be a hotly contested game. Wisconsin is your typical Badgers’ team: Well-coached, fundamentally-sound, and rooted in running the football. They won’t ‘wow’ anyone with talent. However, there’s a ton of playable depth on the roster (particularly defensively) where they can remain fresh and throw bodies at the opposition in waves.
Arizona State is the more talented team without a doubt. However, the Sun Devils are sometimes prone to shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. Against a team like Wisconsin, you simply cannot do that and expect to win. I see the Badgers winning a low scoring game.
Image Source: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Texas A&M vs Wake Forest (December 31st, 2021)
A&M had a decent year — winning the games it was supposed to win (while losing some of the games it was expected to win). The Aggies are still missing a few pieces before anyone can consider them to be a real National Title threat. However, the slow burn is certainly present in College Station.
Wake Forest was an offensive juggernaut this season. Dave Clawson’s team ranked No. 5 nationally this year in average points per contest (41.2). Sam Hartman is the best QB you’ve never heard of. Additionally, it’s quite rare to see a college program with two receivers accruing over 1,000 yards in a single season. Both A.T. Perry and Jaquarii Roberson eclipsed this mark. The duo combined for 2,244 receiving yards and a whopping 22 touchdown receptions. While the Aggies are routinely in bowl games, Wake Forest isn’t. The Demon Deacons will be up for this game without question.
Prediction: Wake Forest
Image Source: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl: Miami vs Washington State (December 31st, 2021)
Both of these programs have experienced coaching volatility. Nick Rolovich refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine — leading to his dismissal midseason. Interim head coach Jake Dickert was named the full-time coach after leading the Cougs to wins in four of their last five games (including a 40-13 pounding of Washington in the Apple Cup).
Manny Diaz is no longer leading Miami’s program. Mario Cristobal is coming home after a short stint up in the Pacific Northwest. He’ll work on rebuilding the lines, and ultimately fixing Miami’s recruiting problems (which seems unfathomable considering the talent in that region). Unfortunately for Miami, help isn’t coming in this game. The cold, frigid El Paso temperatures will favor the Cougs in this contest. QB Jayden de Laura will also prove to the country that he’s the real deal.
Prediction: Washington State
Image Source: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl: Central Michigan vs Boise State (December 31st, 2021)
Boise State uncharacteristically finished third in the Mountain West this year. The Broncos dealt with a plethora of injuries — as well as some inconsistency on both sides of the ball. Central Michigan (8-4) enters this contest having won four games in-a-row.
When looking at the respective schedules of both teams, Boise has a number of good wins (at Fresno State, at Colorado State, at BYU). Central Michigan’s resume isn’t nearly as impressive. BSU QB Hank Bachmeier and WR Khalil Shakir will link up multiple times in what will amount to be a win.
Prediction: Boise State
Image Source: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
CFB Semifinal Playoff #1 ; Cotton Bowl: Cincinnati vs Alabama (December 31st, 2021)
On paper, Alabama should win handily. Cincinnati hasn’t exactly looked convincing throughout the year (despite an undefeated record). The Crimson Tide have an advantage depth-wise, talent-wise, and coaching-wise. With that said, the one scary component for Alabama would be Desmond Ridder.
Cincinnati’s signal-caller is a future NFL player. He’s very dynamic both throwing and running the football. As we’ve seen over the years, the Crimson Tide are at times prone to being hurt by any quarterback with running capabilities. Ridder certainly brings that dimension to the table.
Image Source: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
CFB Semifinal Playoff #2 ; Orange Bowl: Georgia vs Michigan (December 31st, 2021)
Suffice it to say that Georgia had a bit of a soft schedule this year. Why do we say that? Well, Alabama popped the Dawgs in the mouth during the SEC Championship Game. For the first time all year, the Bulldogs looked absolutely shell-shocked by Alabama’s tempo and pace. The Crimson Tide dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Georgia’s offense couldn’t get going — and it made life difficult on its vaunted defense as a result.
Unfortunately for Kirby Smart’s team, Michigan is the opponent in the second Semifinal on New Year’s Day. The Wolverines are clicking on all cylinders right now — led by a vicious run game and a defense featuring all-everything DE Aidan Hutchinson. This figures to be a very competitive game. Will Georgia stick with Stetson Bennett — or pivot to the more talented QB in J.T. Daniels? This will be a major storyline heading into this contest.
Image Source: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Outback Bowl: Penn State vs Arkansas (January 1st, 2022)
After a promising start to the season, Penn State finds itself in a bit of a freefall. The Nittany Lions lost five of their last seven games en route to an appearance here in the Outback Bowl. Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks certainly performed above their heads in 2021. Led by a smashmouth run game, Arkansas finished with a respectable 8-4 record in the treacherous SEC West.
Remember, Arkansas was within one score of beating Alabama a few weeks prior. A win here could be a very nice boost in recruiting for the program. On a gut-feel, we’d have to think Arkansas will get up for this game compared to Penn State — a team thinking it was going to compete for a Big Ten title prior to the year starting. The last thing it wants to do is play a physical, hard-nosed team in a ‘meaningless’ game.
Image Source: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Vrbo Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs Kentucky (January 1st, 2022)
Iowa is coming off getting blown out in the Big Ten Championship Game. Kentucky had a very solid year — finishing 9-3 collectively. The Wildcats’ offense has plenty of balance — as it’s buoyed by the three-headed monster of QB Will Levis, RB Chris Rodriguez, and WR Wan’Dale Robinson. Kentucky will have its work cut out for itself, as Iowa’s defense is ranked among the Top-15 nationally in a number of defensive categories.
Iowa traditionally plays well in bowl games. However, we have to wonder if there will be some sort of hangover in the midst of getting plastered by Michigan. Additionally, winning 10 games in a single season could do wonders for Mark Stoops and the future of his program.
Image Source: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs Oklahoma State (January 1st, 2022)
Both teams have seen some coaching turnover as we head into this contest. Brian Kelly left South Bend for LSU. Marcus Freeman — one of the game’s biggest up-and-coming coaches — was promoted from DC to take over the team. As for OSU, DC Jim Knowles decided to leave Stillwater in favor of Ohio State. Neither departure should completely impact either squad. Freeman is hugely loved by the Fighting Irish, and Oklahoma State has enough on the staff remaining to piece together a game plan.
This should ultimately be a rather competitive game. You’ve got two well coached teams beset by the frustration of just missing out of the Playoff picture. It could go either way — though we’ll opt to roll with the momentum ND has in the wake of promoting Freeman.
Prediction: Notre Dame
Image Source: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Rose Bowl: Utah vs Ohio State (January 1st, 2022)
This should be a highly interesting game. Before you think Ohio State will destroy Utah, you may want to look at the numbers. Ohio State lost to Oregon at home — whereas Utah is coming off two-straight efforts in which the Utes dominated the Ducks. Utah is nasty up front, and has a very strong running game led by both QB Cam Rising and JUCO RB transfer Tavion Thomas.
Ohio State has the advantage at the skill spots — though we don’t know yet whether Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson will actually play (or sit out for the NFL Draft). Utah is very similar to Michigan in all aspects. We saw how the Wolverines physically punished the Buckeyes up front. The Utes are motivated to showcase themselves in front of the nation in the Rose Bowl. As such, Utah will pull the upset.
Image Source: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs Ole Miss (January 1st, 2022)
We’ve got a tale of two teams here. Ole Miss’ explosive offense is led by California native Matt Corral. The gunslinger was truly snubbed as a Heisman Trophy candidate. He accounted for nearly 4,000 yards of total offense and 31 total touchdowns. Corral has the ability to hurt the opposition with both his arm and legs — which is why Lane Kiffin’s offense racked up 35.9 PPG.
On the other hand, Baylor is a team rooted in defensive prowess. It’s taken after its head coach Dave Aranda in every way possible. While the team may not have any household names, the Bears are very good collectively as a unit. After winning 11 games/the Big 12 title, Baylor is looking to represent for its beleaguered conference. However, Ole Miss may have a bit too much firepower.
Prediction: Ole Miss
Image Source: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
TaxAct Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs LSU (January 4th, 2021)
This is a contest of two teams in completely different sports. LSU is going through a major transition — which saw Ed Orgeron fired and Brian Kelly hired. A few of LSU’s players have left via the transfer portal, and others likely will sit out as to not damage their NFL Draft stock. Making things even worse for the Tigers is the fact that true frosh Garrett Nussmeier is the only scholarship QB on the roster. If he plays in this contest, he’ll burn his redshirt. It’ll be a very interesting situation for both Nussmeier and the team.
Kansas State isn’t as talented as LSU across the board. However, it’s a far more stable program. Head coach Chris Klieman is among the best in the sport at developing his players. K-State plays hard, and is very well-coached. Expect the Wildcats to ‘care’ more about this contest.
Prediction: Kansas State
Image Source: USA TODAY Sports