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Fenway Bowl - SMU vs. Virginia: How to Watch, Preview, Prediction

SMU is set to take on Virginia in the first ever Fenway Bowl. Here’s everything that you need to know before the game.

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Fenway Bowl is kicking off on December 29, 2021, in what will be the first ever Fenway Bowl. The game was supposed to be played in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. It kicks off at 11:00 AM and will be played at Fenway Park between SMU and Virginia. DraftKings has set the line at SMU +2. That’s pretty much a toss-up. They have also set the over/under at a hefty 71 points.

*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

The Fenway Bowl will be about who isn’t there as much as it will be about who is going to be there. SMU’s Sonny Dykes left for TCU, and new coach Rhett Lashlee won’t be in charge either. Instead, it falls to interim coach Jim Leavitt to lead the Mustangs. SMU is also going to be playing with a rash of players opting out of the game. Then, on Virginia’s side, this will be Bronco Mendenhall’s last game with the Cavaliers, while offensive coordinator Robert Anae has suddenly stepped away. So, both teams are dealing with attrition issues.

How to Watch

The Fenway Bowl kicks off from Fenway Park at 11:00 am EST on December 29th. It will be a cold and early kick, so it’s understandable if you’d rather watch this one from your couch at home. The game is set to air on ESPN.

Previewing the Fenway Bowl

Your knee-jerk reaction to this game is going to be to expect a lot of points to be scored between SMU and Virginia. After all, SMU finished the season 10th in scoring offense, while Virginia finished 22nd. The defenses, on the other hand, were 86th and 103rd. So, expecting a lot of points makes sense. However, some context is required.

VIrginia v Brigham Young Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Both teams are going to be without coaches who served as key offensive decision makers all season long. Danny Gray and Reggie Roberson also opted out for SMU, which could be a major blow to the Mustangs’ offense, particularity their ability to stretch the ball downfield. At the same time, both these teams still have a lot of great players on their offenses, while there is no reason to think that their defenses get better in the next couple of weeks. That is, unless the Boston weather turns for the worst.

Virginia is looking to send head coach Bronco Mendenhall out as a winner after Mendenhall recently announced that he would be resigning following this game. SMU is looking to reset before the next era of Mustangs’ football begins under Rhett Lashlee. The winner will likely be whoever can do a better job of staying focused.

Game Prediction

SMU has struggled in big games, which is a broad umbrella that bowl games fall under. They also didn’t end the season with any sense of pride, as they blew a lead to Tulsa and their fans booed Sonny Dykes on his way out the door. In a cold, likely poorly attended bowl game, who knows if they can get up and be motivated to play. Either way, they’re missing tons of key pieces for this game.

Virginia, meanwhile, has something more tangible to play for.

Virginia 31 SMU 27