My record in the first weekend of bowl season was 4-1.
Boca Raton Bowl: UAB vs Northern Illinois
It’s amazing that UAB is at this point, going for an 11-win season in their second year back after ending their football program for a couple of seasons. Both of these teams are lead by their defenses so I’m expecting a pretty low-scoring game in this one, but I think the UAB offense is better than the Northern Illinois offense and that’ll be the difference in a game where UAB pulls away late.
Frisco Bowl: San Diego State vs Ohio
On paper this is a fascinating matchup. Ohio is very good on offense, lead by quarterback Nathan Rourke, but the Bobcats are dealing with a lot of injuries and San Diego State is a very physical team that can really wear on a team that has a lot of banged up players. San Diego State is not playing well coming in to bowl season, having lost three games in a row to end the regular season, but I think they will wear down Ohio and win this game.
Pick: San Diego State
Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs USF
A lot of people are probably more familiar with USF than they are with Marshall, but Marshall is the better team in my opinion and this is a game they should win. The Thundering Herd have the much better defense and they have a pretty even offenses, plus USF lost five games in a row to end the regular season.
Bahamas Bowl: FIU vs Toledo
Both of these teams can put up points and as a result, I’m expecting this game to be fairly high-scoring. James Morgan is a very good quarterback for FIU and he will need to be special in this one for FIU to be able to pull out a win over a Toledo team that is averaging 41 points per game. I could see this game going either way.
Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs BYU
Expect this game to have very little scoring. BYU likes to ugly games up anyways, but they are dealing with a ton of injuries, and Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink is out with a foot injury. This might be one of the faster moving bowl games in terms of the clock because both teams should run the ball a lot.
Birmingham Bowl: Memphis vs Wake Forest
This would be a really exciting game if both offenses were playing at full strength, but that won’t be the case because Memphis star running back Darrell Henderson will be out to get ready for the NFL Draft and Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman is also out and on top of that, star Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch is dealing with a finger injury. This game really could go either way with some of the star players being injured or unavailable.
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs Army
Army is having a very special season after going 10-2 and beating Navy for the third straight season. This will be a complete contrast of styles as Army runs the triple option and Houston is averaging 46.4 points per game and is lead by D’Eriq King, who has only thrown six interceptions and has accounted for 50 total touchdowns. To me, this game will completely come down to which team can get the game at their style. Something tells me that with no Ed Oliver, Army will be able to slow down this game and frustrate a Houston offense that is used to getting a lot of chances with the ball.
Dollar General Bowl: Buffalo vs Troy
If you haven’t watched the Buffalo offense, and even more specifically, their quarterback Tyree Jackson, that’s reason enough to tune into this game. Jackson is a big quarterback with a strong arm and he has a stud wide receiver in Anthony Johnson to throw the ball to. They also have a strong running game between Emmanuel Reed, Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson. Troy does have a defense that could slow down the weapons on the Buffalo side, but the most important thing to me for Troy would be to control the pace of the game. If they can do that, Buffalo can be beat because when teams have beat them this season, that’s been the formula.
Hawai’i Bowl: Hawai’i vs Louisiana Tech
This game should be really fun. Hawai’i is back in a bowl game and head coach Nick Rolovich deserves a ton of credit for that as he has brought the run and shoot offense back to Hawai’i at a high-level. The guy that is the signal-caller in that offense is Cole McDonald and not only has he been great, but Hawai’i also has three absolute stud wide receivers with John Ursua, Cedric Byrd and JoJo Ward. Now on the flip side, this Hawai’i defense is not much to take seriously and even though Louisiana Tech doesn’t have the best offense, J’Mar Smith and Adrian Hardy can do real damage. I do think Hawai’i playing this game at home will be the difference and Hawai’i will be really fired up to be playing in this one.