Picking bowl games is exercise in futility

Picking bowl games is exercise in futility


Picking bowl games is exercise in futility


There are approximately 3,402 bowl games, and three of them really matter.

That won’t stop me from watching all 3,402 of them, however. Or predicting the winners in them, despite that being a nearly impossible task, as the motivations of 18-23 year olds in their final games of the season, which are essentially exhibitions and mostly played in fun, warm climates, are a tad unpredictable.

So, here goes nothing.

New Orleans Bowl, 11 a.m. today, ESPN: La. Lafayette 31, Nevada 28

New Mexico Bowl, 2:20 p.m. today, ESPN: UTEP 27, Utah State 20

Las Vegas Bowl, 3:30 p.m. today, ABC: No. 22 Utah 34, Colorado State 21

Idaho Potato Bowl, 5:45 p.m. today, ESPN: Western Michigan 38, Air Force 35

Camellia Bowl, 9:15 p.m. today, ESPN: South Alabama 34, Bowling Green 14

Miami Beach Bowl, 2 p.m. Monday, ESPN: Memphis 20, BYU 14

Boca Raton Bowl, 6 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN: Marshall 48, Northern Illinois 45 – You may actually want to watch this one, as it features two of the top non-Power 5 teams in the country.

Poinsettia Bowl, 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN: San Diego State 24, Navy 21

Bahamas Bowl, noon Wednesday, ESPN: Western Kentucky 34, Central Michigan 28

Hawaii Bowl, 8 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN: Rice 24, Fresno State 17

Heart of Dallas Bowl, 1 p.m. Dec. 26, ESPN: La. Tech 31, Illinois 27

Quick Lane Bowl, 4:30 p.m. Dec. 26, ESPN: North Carolina 45, Rutgers 35

St. Petersburg Bowl, 8 p.m. Dec. 26, ESPN: Central Florida 34, NC State 28

Military Bowl, 1 p.m. Dec. 27, ESPN: Cincinnati 24, Virginia Tech 21

Sun Bowl, 2 p.m. Dec. 27, CBS: No. 15 Arizona State 38, Duke 24

Independence Bowl, 3:30 p.m. Dec. 27, ABC: South Carolina 21, Miami 20 — This game would have seemed like an interesting, possibly Jan. 1, bowl matchup in August. In December, not so much.

Pinstripe Bowl, 4:30 p.m., Dec. 27, ESPN: Boston College 14, Penn State 10

Holiday Bowl, 8 p.m., Dec. 27, ESPN: No. 24 USC 37, Nebraska 28

Liberty Bowl, 2 p.m. Dec. 29, ESPN: Texas A&M 41, West Virginia 38

Russell Athletic Bowl, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 29, ESPN: Oklahoma 27, No. 17 Clemson 24

Texas Bowl, 9 p.m. Dec. 29, ESPN: Arkansas 20, Texas 14

Music City Bowl, 3 p.m. Dec. 30, ESPN: No. 23 LSU 34, Notre Dame 17

Belk Bowl, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 30, ESPN: No. 13 Georgia 24, No. 21 Louisville 21

Foster Farms Bowl, 10 p.m. Dec. 30, ESPN: Stanford 10, Maryland 3

Peach Bowl, 12:30 p.m. Dec. 31, ESPN: No. 6 TCU 21, No. 9 Ole Miss 13 — Don’t expect a rousing “we shoulda been there!” type of performance from TCU, because I don’t know if even a great team can run away from Ole Miss’s defense. But I don’t see Ole Miss scoring much.

Fiesta Bowl, 4 p.m. Dec. 31, ESPN: No. 10 Arizona 35, No. 20 Boise State 24 — Boise State is not on the same level it was a few years back. Not really all that close, honestly.

Orange Bowl, 8 p.m. Dec. 31, ESPN: No. 7 Mississippi State 38, No. 12 Georgia Tech 24 — The triple option is a pain, but with a month to prepare and nothing afterward, it becomes less so.

Outback Bowl, noon Jan. 1, ESPN 2: No. 19 Auburn 31, No. 18 Wisconsin 20 — This is one of those games where psyche is hard to judge, as Wisconsin just lost its coach to Oregon State of all places. Auburn’s defense isn’t great, but it can basically ignore Wisconsin’s pass game, which helps.

Cotton Bowl, 12:30 p.m. Jan. 1, ESPN: No. 8 Michigan State 38, No. 5 Baylor 35 – Baylor will score on Michigan State, because Baylor’s offense is still amazing, and MSU’s defense is a notch or two below amazing. But the Spartans can score, too, and if I have to trust one of the two defenses to make a stop, I trust the Spartans much more than I do Baylor.

Citrus Bowl, 1 p.m. Jan. 1, ABC: No. 16 Missouri 24, No. 25 Minnesota 21

Rose Bowl (semifinal), 5 p.m. Jan. 1, ESPN: No. 2 Oregon 38, No. 3 Florida State 37 — I think we have an instant classic on our hands here. Oregon is the better team, but Florida State with Jameis Winston is going to make any game against anyone interesting. This time, though, the Seminoles will come up just short.

Sugar Bowl (semifinal), 8:30 p.m. Jan. 1, ESPN: No. 1 Alabama 34, No. 4 Ohio State 20 — Cardale Jones was impressive against Wisconsin, but now Alabama will be chasing him all over the field, and I don’t think anyone can stop this Tide offense the way it’s rolling.

Armed Forces Bowl, noon Jan. 2, ESPN: Pittsburgh 21, Houston 17

Taxslayer Bowl, 3:20 p.m. Jan. 2, ESPN: Tennessee 27, Iowa 17

Alamo Bowl, 6:45 p.m. Jan. 2, ESPN: No. 11 Kansas State 30, No. 14 UCLA 27

Cactus Bowl, 10:15 p.m. Jan. 2, ESPN: Washington 24, Oklahoma State 20

Birmingham Bowl, noon Jan. 3, ESPN: Florida 27, East Carolina 13

GoDaddy Bowl, 9 p.m. Jan. 4, ESPN: Toledo 35, Arkansas State 31

National Championship, 8:30 p.m. Jan. 12, ESPN: No. 2 Oregon 41, No. 1 Alabama 38 – Oregon is the best team in the country, and I think it will finally prove that in a final worthy of the inaugural playoff.

Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or pcostanzo@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.


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