This week on Ryno Sports Talk is a little bit of a longer article, I will quickly talk about and preview each and every bowl game for the 2015 bowl season. The games are spaced out by when they are played, at the bottom are my quick thoughts on the bowl season and a quick preview for the Ryno Sports Podcast this week.
The College Football Playoff games will be covered in a future post.
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl: Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T
This game is between two small schools in the NCAA with Alcorn State coming-out of the SWAC and NC A&T coming from the MEAC. I do not know much about these teams besides the fact that the only play smaller schools that almost know one has heard of. Based solely on the fact that when NC A&T played North Carolina and lost by a lesser margin compared to Alcorn State playing Georgia Tech NC A&T wins.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. New Mexico
This game is closer to home for New Mexico since it is in Albuquerque. Arizona is in a down year by the preseason standards set by the media but the Pac-12 also is better than Mountain West. New Mexico did have a good year and beat teams they should have, Arizona also has one of the better quarterbacks in the nation in Anu Soloman. Arizona wins because they have a better schedule and quarterback.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: BYU v. Utah
In state rivals play in the neighboring state of Las Vegas. Utah was the surprise team in the Pac-12 this year as they competed most of the way into the season and were highly ranked. BYU has held it together for the most part after losing their starting quarterback for the year in the first game against Nebraska. Utah has a great all around team while BYU has a better than average offense with their backup quarterback in. In all Utah is the better team and should win but with the in state rivals this game will be fun and fast paced.
Raycon Media Camellia Bowl: Ohio v. Appalachian St.
Neither of these teams have played a particularly tough schedule as they are in smaller conferences (Ohio in the Mac and App St. in the Sun Belt). App St. did play Clemson relatively close losing only 41-10, while Ohio played a good Minnesota team and only lost 27-24. I think that Ohio has a little better offense while App St. has a better defense, that said I will take App St. and their better scoring margin.
Cure Bowl: San Jose State v. Georgia State
This game is between 2 teams that are .500 or lower, with San Jose having a 5-7 record and Georgia State being 6-6. Georgia State has won 4 straight games while San Jose State has only won 1 of the last 4. Georgia State will win this game because they are riding a hot streak into this game.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State v. Louisiana Tech
Arkansas State has a explosive offense that produces points while Louisiana Tech has a defense that limits them. Arkansas State did not have a hard schedule so Louisiana Tech should shut down their offense and control the game.
Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky v. South Florida
This game is in Florida so it is almost a home game for South Florida. Both teams come in on a win streak, Western Kentucky winning 5 and South Florida winning 4. Neither team has beaten a higher quality opponent but they both have played them. Western Kentucky seems like the better team with record and playing a little bit of a harder schedule and should win this game.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron v. Utah State
Another game of teams with near .500 records, Akron has won 4 straight while Utah State has won one of its last four. Utah State has the better QB in Chuckie Keeton, while Akron has a little bit of a better defense. Keeton will be playing in the NFL next season as a QB and this is his last real game and will try to show out and up his stock and Utah State will win this game.
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo v. Temple
Temple has played a harder schedule so far this year and nearly upset Notre Dame mid-season while Toledo has not played any good team this year. Temple has a overall better team with almost beating Notre Dame and knocking off Memphis means that this team knows how to play, Temple will win this game.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State v. Northern Illinois
Boise State is not as good as previous years as they did not win games that were toss up games. Northern Illinois did not play a great schedule as they are in a smaller conference. Boise State is having a down year and will be capped off with a tough loss to a better than average Northern Illinois team.
GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern v. Bowling Green
Georgia Southern played Georgia close only losing 23-17. Bowling Green has not played anyone of substance so far this year. With Bowling Green losing only 1 of its last 10 games I will take Bowling Green.
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee v. Western Michigan
Middle Tennessee started slow this year but ended strong ending the season with 4 straight wins. Western Michigan has lost its last two games and being in the B1G does not help, they did play both Ohio State and Michigan State close. I think Western Michigan gets the win.
Hawai’i Bowl: San Diego State v. Cincinnati
San Diego State has won 8 straight games coming into this game, Cincinnati has been alternating wins and losses all season with only 1 back to back win. San Diego St. is a hotter team and that streak should continue with a win here.
St. Petersburg Bowl: Connecticut v. Marshall
Connecticut has had a defense that prevents the other team from moving the ball, while Marshall has done the same thing in wins. I don’t feel very safe picking either team but if I had to I would take Marshall because they have a better record.
Hyundai Sun Bowl: Miami v. Washington State
Mike Leach will take his team against a lowly Miami trying to finish the season on a strong note. Notably Washington State has had a explosive offense this season winning most shootouts and beating Oregon at its own game. With Miami it has underperformed this year and will look to send their interim coach coach out on a good note. Miami has the better QB but not playmakers, in a shootout Washington State wins
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Washington v. Southern Miss
Washington has beaten two decent schools coming into this game while Southern Miss hasn’t played anyone of note until now. Southern Miss has a better record while Washington has a little better schedule and team. Southern Miss will make a game of this and make Washington sweat but Washington still wins.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Indiana v. Duke
I saw on twitter a funny little quip about this game: “Two basketball schools playing football in a baseball stadium.” Duke still has a great coach in Cutliffe while Indiana is still a up and coming school for football with a few stars. Both teams have had long losing streaks this season so it is a hard game to pick because neither are coming in on a winning streak. If this were basketball it would be a good game but its not so I will say Duke because they have the better coach.
Camping World Independence Bowl: Tulsa v. Virginia Tech
Tulsa is in a small conference but every year we hear about them being decent and playing in a middle of the bowl season bowl, meaning they are a sneaky good team. Virginia Tech is playing its last game under coach Frank Beamer, that said they have a purpose to win and will come out firing on all cylinders trying to send Beamer out with a win. Beamer will get that as Virginia Tech cruises to a win.
Foster Farms Bowl: UCLA v. Nebraska
This game is a match-up of teams who wouldn’t have thought they would play in this bowl before the season. It seems like Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong will be going for the season record for interceptions, which he isn’t close but could be the modern day record, while Rosen for UCLA is having a phenomenal season as a freshman. UCLA will have the better defense than Nebraska and that combined with Rosen means that UCLA will cruise to this win.
Military Bowl: Pittsburgh v. Navy
This is the last game as a Midshipmen for do-all-QB Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds was a huge heisman snub, read my last article about that, he is having a great year as a triple option QB. Pittsburgh is having a sneaky good season with playing a lot of highly ranked teams close. This game should be close and whoever controls the ball more and better will win. That team will be Navy they want to send Reynolds out with a win.
Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan v. Minnesota
Central Michigan has not played anyone good because they play in a smaller conference while Minnesota does not have the offense to compliment their solid defense. This game will be low scoring with Minnesota getting a close win over a smaller Central Michigan team.
Lockhead Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Cal v. Air Force
This will be stud QB Jared Goff’s last game as a Bear, I believe he will be a top pick in the upcoming draft and he would like to boost his stock with a big win over a lowly Air Force team. Air Force is always a good team that plays well at the end of the season, this game will be tight going into half and maybe the last quarter but Cal will pull away and get Goff to the NFL with another win under his belt.
Russell Athletic Bowl: North Carolina v. Baylor
The combined score of this game might be more than the amount of words that are typed about this game. North Carolina has been scoring at a torrid pace by running such a fast paced offense and having a solid defense. Baylor as always has a efficient and high scoring offense. Both teams are coming off a loss, Baylors worse as they lost to a bad Texas team and UNC lost to #1 Clemson. Baylor is most likely starting its third string QB but could have their season opening starter back. UNC just seems like a more certain team to win this game, if Baylor gets its first QB back the have a better chance than not to win this game. With that UNC will win this game no matter who Baylor starts at QB.
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Nevada v. Colorado State
Two teams that are from the same conference play in this game that is not even going to be nationally televised. CSU lost its QB and coach from last year but still have all the receivers back from last year. Nevada has always been a middle of the pack team and will not change until they get different coaches and better players. This game will be a snooze-fest and most likely won by a good Nevada team.
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl: LSU v. Texas Tech
Can Leonard Fournette continue to carry this team offensively as Les Miles starts his campaign to keep his job for longer than next year? Texas Tech has a explosive offense that scores as fast as any of its Big 12 competitors, LSU is a true running team with its QB being in flux and not very good. If LSU can hold the ball most of the game and importantly last, with the lead or tied, they win. Tech just has to try to stop their run game and do what they do best on offense. LSU still wins because of their solid defense and ability to control time of possession.
Birmingham Bowl: Auburn v. Memphis
Auburn is coming off a bad year by their standards, it does help that the SEC is weak and they play some bad out of conference games. Memphis is looking for their second win over a SEC team this season. Memphis is lead by Paxton Lynch who should be a top pick in the upcoming draft should he come out. Auburn has no niche this year and will lose by double digits to a good Memphis team.
Belk Bowl: NC St. v. Mississippi St.
NC State does have a good QB in Jacoby Brissett but Mississippi State still has Dak Prescott in what is most likely his last game as a Bulldog. Prescott has not been talked about much this year but has gotten better than last year. I think that this Mississippi State team will have a tough test with the Wolfpack but will end up victorious as most of Prescott’s career has been.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Texas A&M v. Louisville
Louisville has yet another solid QB again this year, Texas A&M still has a good defense led by Myles Garrett. Louisville’s QB will be able to pick apart the weak secondary of A&M if he doesn’t get pressured by Garrett and that solid line. A&M does not have the QB to get the ball to the playmakers on this team. Louisville should win this game with little opposition by A&M.
Holiday Bowl: USC v. Wisconsin
Yet another bowl with teams that didn’t think they would be playing in it, USC after all the things that they went through with Sarkisian is a surprise team in this highly watched bowl. Wisconsin is having a down year with them not being able to establish their run game like in the past. USC should win this game but watch Wisconsin as they try to establish their run game to take into next year.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Houston v. Florida St.
Florida State would not have expected to play in this game against Houston who is a surprisingly good team and will be a good test for this FSU team. Dalvin Cook will look to start his 2016 Heisman campaign strong with a strong finish this year. FSU is also looking to the future and seeing if Sean McGuire is the guy next year at QB. Houston has a solid offense and will be trying to finish this season on a high note knocking off a top tier ACC team. Houston’s offense will make this a game but FSU with a late score.
Outback Bowl: Northwestern v. Tennessee
Northwestern has a great defense and will show it against a spotty Tennessee offense, the Vols offense isn’t anemic but not very good. Tennessee will look to see what they have going into next year where they should contend in a weak SEC. Northwestern will start the show of how weak the SEC is by beating Tennessee with a great defensive effort.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Michigan v. Florida
Two teams that overachieved and flamed out at the end of the year, Michigan was the talk of the B1G to start the year but losses to Michigan State and Ohio State made them fall out of the Top 10. Florida looked like the king of the SEC then they lost their top QB to suspension. With that their whole offense looked like a flag football offense, Michigan will completely shut down that offense and if their offense can move the ball they will be in good shape. If you like defense this is your game.
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame v. Ohio St.
Two teams talked about being in the playoff all year until late season losses. Notre Dame looks like a solid offense even after losing their QB for the year. Ohio State is still Ohio State and is just now catching fire and has finally figure out their whole QB situation. Ohio State should win this game but not without a fight from Notre Dame.
Rose Bowl: Stanford v. Iowa
I’ve said it before Iowa is not a great football team, they had a suer easy schedule and their offense is not very good. The defense is outstanding and will be a interesting matchup for Christian McCaffrey (watch my podcast about that here).If Stanford can get McCaffrey going he will give Stanford a huge edge and win as well as show why he should have won the Heisman.
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma State v. Ole Miss
Oklahoma State is a team that had a good year and suffered from the conference not having a championship game but still lost to two good teams in Baylor (with their second string QB) and Oklahoma. Ole Miss is a up and down team, they beat Alabama then lose to Memphis, they have all the parts to win but if they can all come together is the question. Robert Nkemdiche is also a possibility for not playing because of a police arrest in the recent weeks. Oklahoma State wins this shootout because I do not trust Chad Kelly enough to pick them.
TaxSlayer Bowl: Penn State v. Georgia
These teams come into this bowl after having a season in which they did not play well but have star caliber players with no one surrounding them. Nick Chubb was Georgia’s star until he tore his ACL while Penn State has one of the best QB’s in the nation in Christian Hackenburg, if they can keep him upright. Georgia will be able to produce a pass rush and get to Hackenburg and winning the game behind the legs of Sony Mitchell the next great Bulldog rusher.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kansas St. v. Arkansas
This bowl will be interesting because Arkansas beat some “great SEC teams” while Kansas State had a lot of their conference rivals right there and lost in the last minutes. I still think Arkansas is a slightly better team, only because they have quality talent at all the playmaking spots.
Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon v. TCU
See UNC-Baylor. These teams are just as high powered as both UNC and Baylor. With Adams Oregon has looked like a machine and he wants to improve his draft stock. TCU has Boykin and other playmakers as well. TCU has enough on defense to shut down the Ducks and win in a high scoring shootout.
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: West Virginia v. Arizona St.
Finally the last regular bowl before the National Championship. West Virginia like every other B1G team has a high flying offense, theirs is just not as consistent. Arizona State has the offense to keep them in any game they play. Neither of these teams have a great defense and that what this game will come down to. I think these are two good coaches also. Todd Graham and the ASU Sun Devils end their season with a win.
All College Football Playoff games will be discussed more in depth in a future post.
A quick little thought about bowl season in college football: 41 bowls is too many we are letting in teams with sub-.500 records and that should not be rewarding for those teams. In a future post I will share my thought on how to change the bowl system as well as why there are too many bowls so be on the look out for that. Also every Sunday night I will be recording the Ryno Sports Podcast and uploading it to my YouTube. Check it out every monday morning on YouTube. On this weeks podcast I will talk about the Pete Rose decision, why you should never count out the Seahawks, which division is the worst in the NFL and why the Warriors lost to the Bucks.