Bowl Lions Bowl: Week 3 (Dec 29-Jan 2)

By Kevin Fay on December 29, 2016 at 1:19 pm
Rose Bowl
Kirby Lee, USA Today

I want to personally congratulate myself for being wrong about just about every game over the past week. It has been the year of the underdog during bowl season, let's hope that carries over to the new year. Here's the preview of the rest of the games on the bowl slate. Don't listen to anything I predict. 

december 29-30

definitely watch this still pretty good excuse to ignore your family maybe have another eggnog
    South Carolina vs. USF (12/29 2:00PM ESPN)  
  Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech (12/29 5:30 ESPN)    
Oklahoma State vs. Colorado (12/29 9:00 ESPN)      
    Georgia vs. TCU (12/30 12:00PM ESPN)  
  Stanford vs. North Carolina (12/30 2:00PM CBS)    
Nebraska vs. Tennessee (12/30 3:30 ESPN)      
      Air Force vs. South Alabama (12/30 5:30PM ASN)
Michigan vs. Florida State (12/30 ESPN 8:00PM)      
  • Birmingham Bowl: I am sure our friends in Birmingham miss their regular friends from western Pennsylvania, but there is always next year. This may shock you, but a Will Muschamp coached team struggled to score points this year. They can't really pass very well, their top rusher has 714 yards, and they really only have one receiving threat. They face off against one of the better Group of Five teams in the country in South Florida. The game is a fine warm up for the rest of the day, but South Florida should win comfortably.
  • Belk Bowl: The one thing that is fun about any Bert coached Arkansas team is that they are wonderfully unpredictable. They will get blown out by Auburn one week and then blow Florida out the next. It's a beautiful disaster. That is why I am not going to touch trying to predict the outcome of this game. Virginia Tech should win. They are also inconsistent. This should be a ton of fun. 
  • Alamo Bowl: This is one of the best matchups in all of bowl season. Both teams took a tough loss to end the season and look to bounce back with a bowl win. I like Colorado in this one because I like Sefo Liufau to bounce back and go out on a high note. Both teams have weapons all over the field. Expect a fair amount of points and an exciting finish.
  • Autozone Liberty Bowl: Two teams that under-performed as compared to expectations. Two quarterbacks who struggled to find people wearing their color jersey. Two highly touted running backs who couldn't find a ton of room to run this year. The good news is this game is at 11am and morning football is always good even when it's kind of bad. 
  • Hyundai Sun Bowl: Stanford's only real shot offensively to compete in this game decided he would rather focus on making millions of dollars (which is fine). North Carolina has been wonderfully average and unpredictable, beating Florida State and losing to Duke. Stanford has been inept offensively. Ryan Burns has less yards through the air than McCaffrey has on the over 500 yards. Stanford defines overrated. 
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Does anyone else feel like this game is two of the exact same teams from different conferences? Both of them were perceived to be better than they actually were for a fair amount of the season and both teams have exciting, yet turnover prone quarterbacks that lead the way. Unfortunately for Nebraska, it doesn't seem like Tommy Armstrong will play, as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury he suffered against Iowa. Tennessee limped into the post season as the former Champions of Life and will look forward to putting a disappointing 2016 behind them. 
  • Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: I have a ton of respect for The Troops, but spend your time watching the Music City bowl. Also I have no idea what ASN is or where to find it on my TV. Air Force is having one of their best years ever, including wins over Army and Navy. South Alabama beat Mississippi State this year, but as we all saw the other day, Mississippi State isn't the Mississippi State we are used to seeing the past few years.
  • Capital One Orange Bowl: Man, this game is going to be fun. Two traditional powers will battle it out in what will should be one of the best games of the weekend. Florida State will likely benefit the most from the extra bowl practice, as they were one of the youngest teams in the nation. Dalvin Cook vs. the Michigan defense will be a really fun matchup to watch. Florida State finished the year with a lot of momentum and Michigan lost two of it's final three games. It'll be interesting to see if any of that matters.

december 31-January 2

Definitely watch this still pretty good excuse to ignore your family maybe have another eggnog
LSU vs. Louisville (12/31 11:00AM ABC)      
  Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky (12/31 11:00AM ESPN)    
Washington vs. Alabama (12/31 3:00PM ESPN Family of Networks)      
Ohio State vs. Clemson (12/31 7:00PM ESPN Family of Networks)      
  Florida vs. Iowa (1/2 1:00PM ABC)    
Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin (1/2 1:00PM ESPN)      
Penn State vs. USC (1/2 5:00PM ESPN)      
Auburn vs. Oklahoma (1/2 8:00PM ESPN)      
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Hopefully fans can still appreciate that Derrius Guice is really, really good. He may not be the once in a generation talent, but at least he can stay healthy. I will be very interested in following Fournette's NFL career and seeing what he can do at full health. Lamar Jackson wasn't the same at the end of the season as he was in September, but he was still far and away the most electrifying player on whatever field he stepped on. It will be fun to see what he can do against one of the best defenses in the country. 
  • Taxslayer Bowl: Georgia Tech unsurprisingly had three players with over 500 rushing yards this year. They somehow continue to run the triple option with moderate success in a major conference in the year of our lord 2016. Kentucky somehow forced five Lamar Jackson turnovers in an upset to end the season on a high note. It won't be nearly as entertaining as the Citrus Bowl, but it's something to watch during the commercials. 
  • Peach Bowl: Every team has a blueprint on how to beat them except for Alabama. They can run the ball, they can throw the ball, and on the off chance you make it to the quarterback, he can run too. Oh, and the defense? All they do is outscore most offenses they face by forcing back breaking turnovers that turn in to touchdowns. Washington is a very talented team. They have excellent wide receivers, a very patient runner in Miles Gaskins, an excellent young quarterback, and a stout defense. Nick Saban may well be right, they probably are the most complete team Alabama will face this year. It still probably won't matter. Nick Saban just doesn't lose these types of games. This may be the best team ever fielded in college football. A loss would be a massive upset. 
  • Fiesta Bowl: I have been trying to figure this game out for a solid few weeks now. I think Ohio State's offense is what is holding them back from being truly great, but the extra practice should help a young team out quite a bit. Clemson's defense is somehow fairly average when they should be great. Deshaun Watson has been a bit turnover prone this year, and that could end up being the difference with Malik Hooker lining up across from him.
  • Outback Bowl: I have no idea whether Iowa is actually good or not. They have shown they can hang with the top teams in the country by beating Michigan and hanging in against Wisconsin, but they also lost to North Dakota State. Florida is the same as they have been since Meyer left, great defensively and terrible on offense. This game will likely be low scoring and terribly boring, but it's one of the last college football games of the year, so let's all go through this pain together. 
  • Cotton Bowl: Western Michigan aims to end a perfect season against a Wisconsin squad that surprised a lot of people this year. Penn State gave the Broncos a blueprint in the second half of the Big Ten Championship game, and Corey Davis is the type of receiver you can't shut down for a whole game. With the underdog mentality, Western Michigan should pull out all of the stops. It should be an entertaining warmup to the Rose Bowl. 
  • Rose Bowl: There will continue to be plenty of coverage of the Rose Bowl right here. However, a key matchup will be Penn State's receivers against USC's corners, and whether Penn State's defensive line can get pressure on Sam Darnold.
  • Sugar Bowl: To end bowl season we get a game that figures to be a bit of a shootout. Auburn can run the ball on anyone, and Oklahoma has shown they can score at will down the stretch. Baker Mayfield against Auburn's defensive line will be fun to watch. If Oklahoma wants to win, they will likely have to come up with a couple of stops late. This should be a fun ending to what has already been a fun bowl season.