Bowl Season Begins!
First thing’s first, we’ve once again made our ESPN Bowl Mania group. Join it here. And don’t worry, I’m going to keep pestering you to join as we go along. Quick hits for the first day of action as we have five bowls on our hands for Saturday. HERE WE GO!
New Orleans Bowl – 11 am on ESPN– Nevada Wolfpack vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
This game is all about the rush attack. Both teams boast dual-threat QBs who don’t throw for a ton of yards but run for it. If you’re not a fan of the ground-and-pound style of football don’t worry, both schools have two of the worst passing defenses in the nation. Nevada QB Cody Fajardo may have had a better season statistically (2,374 passing yards, 997 rushing yards, 31 total TDs) but LA-L QB Terrance Broadway and his RB partner-in-crime Elijah McGuire rushed for 229.4 yards per game, 23rd best in the land. I’m going with the Ragin’ Cajuns.
New Mexico Bowl – 2pm on ESPN – Utah State Aggies vs. UTEP Miners
The Miners haven’t won a bowl game since 1967 and hadn’t had a winning season since 2005 and with 212.7 rushing yards per game, UTEP ranks 32nd in the nation. The downside for UTEP? Their defense isn’t very good. Utah State had a strong five-game winning streak until they were derailed at Boise State when they fell to the Broncos 50-19. The Aggies’ defense is led by MWC defensive player of the year Zach Vigil who is 9th in the land with 145 tackles. Despite having lost three QBs to injuries this season, I’m going with Utah State.
Las Vegas Bowl – 3pm on ABC – #22 Utah Utes vs. Colorado State Rams
The Rams lost head coach Jim McElwain as they head into Vegas but they bring in the 12th ranked overall offense in the FBS with 497.8 yards per game. The 22nd ranked Utes lead the nation in sacks with 52 and ranked third in the Pac-12 against the pass–245.0 yards per game. In terms of common opponents, the Rams opened the season with a 31-17 neutral sight win over Colorado while Utah closed the regular season with a 38-34 win over the Buffaloes. Despite that, Colorado State didn’t win a game over a ranked opponent while Utah went 2-3 against ranked opponents. I’m going with the Utes in this one.
Potato Bowl – 5pm on ESPN – Western Michigan Broncos vs. Air Force Falcons
If you thought the New Orleans Bowl was a ground-and-pound affair, wait until you see this game. The Falcons have the seventh-best rushing attack in the land with 272.2 yards per game and Western Michigan’s freshman phenom Jarvion Franklin ran for 1,525 yards and 24 TDs, thrid in the country. Both of these school’s defenses average just above 140 yards per game so the struggle will be absolutely be real in this one. Air Force takes one.
Camellia Bowl – 9pm on ESPN – South Alabama Jaguars vs. Bowling Green State Falcons
In their sixth season in the FBS, the Jaguars became the fastest school to reach a bowl game. Despite this, South Alabama’s offense ranks 113th in points (20.2 per game) and 87th in total yards (372.8 per game). Whereas, the Falcons average 29.8 points per game and 427.8 yards per game. Taking a page from Chip Kelly, Bowling Green scored touchdowns in 120 seconds or less on 27 of their 43 touchdown drives. I love speed and I’m taking Bowling Green here.