I know everyone has their bowl confidence pools and that alone is a reason to watch every sbowl BUT if you’re looking for a little bit of extra juice? Don’t worry I got you covered right here with week 2 of three reasons!
South Florida vs Marshall
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
8pm(ET) on ESPN
1. Five in a row: The Bulls started the season 7-0 and while many thought it to be fool’s gold it was still impressive. Since then they’ve gone 0-5 and haven’t been competitive in the majority of those games. Can they get break this losing streak?
2. Playmakers: If you like offensive firepower this game could be for you. Marshall has one of the most underrated wide receivers in the country in Tyre Brady. USF has a running back duo in Johnny Ford and Jordan Cronkite that’s hard to stop if it gets going.
3. Finishing on a high note: The way this year started for both teams left their fans hopeful of what it could turn into but unfortunately both kind of fell flat down the stretch. Both of these teams will be playing hard to end their season on a up tick. USF is also playing in their home stadium, that’s not necessarily a good thing though.
FIU vs Toledo
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
12:30pm(ET) on ESPN
1. Butch’s build: This Panthers team surprisingly made a bowl last year and this year improved even more. Butch Davis has something going down in Miami (this has happened before.) The Panthers were one win away from a C-USA title berth and fell just short. But a win here against an established MAC team is a step in the right direction.
2. Young Rockets: Normally Toledo is contending for MAC championships but this year losing really good players at key spots hurt them. They had rough stretch in the middle of the season but pulled it together by the end on the backs of a lot of young and talented players. They should be back in that race next season.
3. James Morgan: The Bowling Green transfer has done a tremendous job this season for FIU. Throwing for just short of 3,000 yards and had 51 touchdowns. It’s made the athletic playmakers that the Panthers have that much better. If you’re looking for some points I think you’ll get it here.
Bonus: This game in THE BAHAMAS
Western Michigan vs BYU
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
4:00pm(ET) on ESPN
1. We don’t know what to think: BYU has a win over Wisconsin earlier in the season which doesn’t look as good now as it did then but is still impressive. The same team also lost a snoozer of a game against Northern Illinois and gave up a huge lead against rival Utah. Truth is we don’t really know what to make of this Cougars team and that’s why you should watch. If they bring their A game? This could be a lot of fun.
2. Strength vs strength: I would be lying to you if I said I’ve watched a ton of Western Michigan football this season. The occasional MACtion game is all I’ve been able to take in. What I did see though is an offense that can score and score quickly. They’re going to have a tough test against the BYU defense that when it shows up can stop event the most prolific offense.
3. Smurf and spuds: Non-football reason here but if colored turf is your thing... man do I have a game for you! Not only do you get the blue turf in Boise but you get to see a man dressed up like a giant potato. If that’s not enough to make you watch, I don’t know what is.
Saturday- December 22nd
Memphis vs Wake Forest
Jared Birmingham Bowl
12:00pm(ET) on ESPN
1. Could get a little pointsy: This Wake defense isn’t like the others they’ve had the last few years and when going up against the offense that Memphis brings to the table it could be a long day even without star running back Darell Henderson. That doesn’t mean they won’t put up points of their own though. While the Memphis defense isn’t terrible it’s more opportunistic than it is good.
2. Memphis is good: The Tigers have a few strange losses on the season (blowout to Tulane) but as the season went on they improved and got better. They’re the only team in the AAC that has been able to go toe to toe with UCF and they beat a good Houston team by double digits. When the quarterback Brady White is consistent this offense can score on ANYONE.
3. G5 vs P5: We don’t get too many of these in the bowls these days so when we do we should cherish them. This is a pretty good one, too it’s a real test for Memphis and a win over an ACC school will always be a good thing.
Houston vs Army
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
3:30pm(ET) on ESPN
1. Styles clash: Army and Houston are essentially nothing alike. The way they play the game, the way the run that program, pretty much everything. That’s what makes this game the best of the day. We love watching these two teams for different reasons and seeing the play against each other is treat.
2. New pieces: Houston won’t have Ed Oliver, D’Eriq King or former defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio in this game. So this will be a different looking Cougars than we would’ve like to have seen. The defense has been a problem all year and I don’t think that gets fixed in the span of a few weeks. Ed Oliver not playing against Army’s rushing attack is a big deal.
3. Army is really good: This year’s Black Knights came really close to beating a team that’s in the college football playoff... seriously it almost happened. What Jeff Monken has done in flipping this program around is amazing. Fun to watch and fun to pull for and now a chance to win 11 games.
Buffalo vs Troy
Dollar General Bowl
7:00pm(ET) on ESPN
1. Not enough buzz: What Buffalo has done this year probably isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Partially because when they’ve had a stage all to themselves they got boat raced by Ohio and blew a huge lead in the MAC championship game. But the Bulls are a lot of fun and have a dynamic offense to boot. They’re going for 11 wins as well.
2. Ending on a high note: This may not have been the season Troy had hoped for. It started off promising with a win on the road at Nebraska but injuries caught up to them. They had head scratching losses against Liberty and Louisiana but Neal Brown has done a good job regrouping. They may not have been playing for the Sun Belt championship but this team is better than it’s record and a win here would prove that.
3. Two good coaches: A few months ago if you had told me that Neal Brown and Lance Leopold would still be on the sidelines for this one I would’ve laughed at you but after a weird coaching cycle here we are. It’s a treat for us though as we get to watch two chess masters go at it in Mobile.
Hawaii vs Louisiana Tech
SoFi Hawaii Bowl
10:30pm(ET) on ESPN
1. No defense: You love points? This game will most likely have them. The Louisiana Tech defense is hit and miss. They played well in games against North Texas, FAU and even LSU (for the most part) but they also have some bad outings against UTEP and Western Kentucky. Hawaii? They score a lot and don’t stop anyone from scoring.
2. Run and shoot: Head Coach Nick Rolevich has brought a fun style of offense back to the island. It’s what made the Rainbow Warriors brand of football stand out for so long. Quarterback Cole McDonald was an early season darling and while some of the luster has worn off this offense is still something I highly recommend watching.
3. Sack daddy: I know I just spent time telling you not to expect a lot of defense BUT one person could change all of that. Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson has become a fan favorite and for good reason. A nickname that was born after a game against UTSA a few years back has taken on a life of its own. He’s earned this honor though because the defensive end has 38 career sacks... that’s a lot.
Bonus: This takes place in Hawaii!!! Watch it.
That’s all for part two but stay tuned for the last installment next week. We have four games (that’s twelve reasons) left to go!