Well, we made it. Save for the Army-Navy Game, the college football season is over, and we’ve reached that time-honored span of several weeks where every competent to excellent team faces off in exhibition matches mostly on ESPN.
But how to decode which bowl games are worth your attention? Maybe you’re the sort of fan who likes watching your team play its bowl, and maybe the New Year’s Six and the Playoff get your attention, but other than that you’re all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Or maybe, like me, you like cramming as much bowl-y goodness down your gullet as you can, but you don’t like slop.
I’ll break down the bowl schedule every week we’ve got games, but below I’ve gathered five games with interesting matchups that you might have missed when you took a look at all the football to come. Follow me on a journey down the rabbit hole of this year’s bowl season.
Boca Raton Bowl
App State @ Western Kentucky (Dec. 18, 11a/10a, ESPN) is a matchup I can’t believe we’re lucky enough to get. The Hilltoppers’ QB Bailey Zappe is a known Verballer (check out his interview with Dan and Ty!) and a terrifying matchup for any defense, commanding the best passing attack in the nation. The Mountaineers are pretty stout in the secondary, and they’ve shown off a balanced offense all year, losing only to Louisiana (twice) and Miami (by two points). What I’m saying is with two high-tier teams facing off this early, you won’t want to miss this.
Oregon State @ Utah State (Dec. 18, 7:30p/6:30p, ABC) throwing hands in a bowl sponsored by late night talk show guy Jimmy Kimmel. What are the odds? The Beavers have looked a ton better this year, mostly making their hay on the ground and racking up big 3rd-down conversions. Meanwhile, the Aggies like to pass. Neither team has a great defense, so expect points and big plays in this gonzo slam-banger you can only get this time of year.
Houston @ Auburn (Dec. 28, 12p/11a, ESPN) is intriguing. I’ll be with the Solid Girlfriend post-Christmas and you bet we’ll be parked on the couch for this one. The Tigers gave Bama a pounding headache in the Iron Bowl, capping off a somewhat disappointing first year for Bryan Harsin. Now they get a game Cougar team that has pride to play for after dropping the AAC Championship to Playoff-bound Cincinnati. Clayton “Can Probably Carry A” Tune might have an easier time than usual with a hobbled Auburn secondary that has vulnerabilities galore.
Virginia @ SMU (Dec. 29, 11a/10a, ESPN) sparkles and shines with interest. Played on the Boston Red Sox’s home turf, boasting two pass-first-ask-questions-later offenses and two defenses that could best be described as present. Yeah, this’ll be fun. Tanner Mordecai distributes the pigskin for the ‘Stangs, but I’m most excited to see if Brennan Armstrong can pass for 400 yards and not lose a football game. The in-a-losing-effortest QB to ever throw the ball, I swear.
Wake Forest @ Texas A&M (Dec. 31, 11a/10a, ESPN) in a game sponsored by a tax software company? Sign me up! The Deacs came up short against Pitt in the ACC Championship but still feature a blistering passing attack that gave teams fits all year. It’ll need to be in top form against an Aggie team that just wants something good to come out of this year. After a backbreaking loss to LSU, Jimbo Fisher will have A&M ready to prove themselves, and their vaunted SEC defensive might might show up and lead them to victory.
That’s all! Ready to watch? I know I am. Check back next week for the games you should see, and in the meantime you can find me on Twitter here. Happy watching!