College Football Bowl Schedule on Sling: Our Bowl (Games) Runneth Over

Kiss your loved ones goodbye and tell them you’ll be back in mid-January, because between now and when the NCAA Football Championship has been decided, there will have been 40 college bowl games. In the first week of bowl season alone we’ve 13 games, so get some sleep, you’r gonna wanna be fresh for this.

Friday, December 20

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, 2pm ET on ESPN
Buffalo Bulls (7-5) vs. Charlotte 49ers (7-5)
Is there anything more prestigious than a bowl game that pits the winners of the two weakest conferences in the nation? To be fair, the Bahamas Bowl was the first college bowl played outside the United State, making its debut on January 1, 1937 in Havana, Cuba. With that in mind, we’re taking the Niners, cuz Castro would of course support the workers. – Scott Ross

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, 7:30pm ET on ESPN2
Utah State Aggies (7-5) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes (6-6)
This venerated bowl dates all the way back to 2017, and game has never been decided by less than 27 points, so a blowout is sure to come. The Aggies come from a tougher conference and have a better point differential, but Kent State played two top-10 teams and the Kent State incident was on my birthday, so we’re taking the Golden Flashes. – SR

Saturday, December 21

New Mexico Bowl, 2pm ET on ESPN
Central Michigan Chippewas (8-5) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (9-3)
The 14th annual match-up features two first-timers and there’s no way the Chippewas are gonna win this thing. SDSU play in a tougher conference, have a better record and point differential and actually beat UCLA (OK, the Bruins stink this year, but c’mon…). Go Aztecs! – SR

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl, 3:30pm ET on ABC
SMU Mustangs (10-2) vs. Florida Atlantic Owls (10-3)
In all seriousness, this one is easy, as the Mustangs beat then #25 TCU and lost to then #24 Memphis by just 6 points and were actually nationally ranked for six weeks straight, a run that ended only after their November 23 loss to Navy. Take the Mustangs. – SR

Celebration Bowl, Noon ET on ABC/ESPN3
Alcorn State Braves (9-3) vs. North Carolina A&T Aggies (8-3)
This is more than a bowl game, this is the HBCU National Championship Game, and it’s the third time these two teams have vied for the title since its inception in 2015, with NCA&T winning both of the previous games. You wanna be the man? You gotta beat the man, so until the Braves get it done, we’re taking the Aggies. – SR

Camellia Bowl, 5:30pm ET on ESPN
Florida International Panthers (6-6) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-5)
The Panthers have former NFL coach Butch Davis at the helm and played one of the weakest schedules in the country and they still couldn’t put together a winning season. The Red Wolves at least tried, opening their season against SMU and taking a beating from Georgia. Take State. – SR

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl, 7:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN3
#18 Boise State Broncos (12-1) vs Washington Huskies (7-5)
This is year’s Broncos team is Exhibit A for why the BSU program never gets any real respect: they don’t play anybody good. Yeah, they’re 12-1, but they lost to a ho-hum BYU team. The Huskies played USC, Oregon, and Utah — Mush! (It’s a dogsledding joke, it’s funnier if you don’t have to explain it). – SR

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, 9pm ET on ESPN
#20 Appalachian State Mountaineers (12-1) vs UAB Blazers (9-4)
The Mountaineers come in looking to defend their R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl title of last season, and are eyeing their fifth bowl game victory in as many years, during which time they’ve gone 53-12. If you knew that Appalachian State has become a mid-major juggernaut, you should probably go outside or maybe spend more time with your family, but not before you watch them knock the snot out of UAB. – SR

Monday, December 23

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, 2:30pm ET on ESPN
UCF Knights (9-3) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4)
Gotta love a bowl game named after a (mythical?) pirate whose legend is an excuse for Floridians to dress like pirates and parade through the streets. In honor of make-believe people, we’ll take UCF, which was the alma mater of Scott Porter, who played make-believe QB Jason Street of Friday Night Lights fame. Also, UCF is pretty clearly the better team. – SR

Tuesday, December 24

SoFi Hawaii Bowl, 8pm ET on ESPN
Hawaii Warriors (9-5) vs. BYU Cougars (7-5)
BYU beat Boise State 28-25, Boise State beat Hawaii 59-37, so by the transitive property of beating, BYU will crush Hawaii. – SR

Thursday, December 26

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, 4pm ET on ESPN
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-3) vs. Miami Hurricanes (6-6)
It’s a tired old joke, but we’ve avoided it for 11 bowl games now and, frankly, we’re due: who’s gonna win in a fight, a bulldog or a hurricane? Take the U. – SR

Quick Lane Bowl, 8pm ET on ESPN
Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5) vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-6)
In 1976, wide receiver Kelvin Kirk of the University of Dayton was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 487th and final pick in the draft and was subsequently the first man to be dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant.” In that spirit, let us raise a glass to the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Mr. Irrelevant of the 2019-20 bowl class, as they are the last team I picked in Sling’s “Which Bowl Games Are You Gonna Write Up?” draft. That said, Pitt’s gonna win this thing running away. – SR

Friday, December 27

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, Noon ET on ESPN
North Carolina Tarheels (6-6) vs. Temple Owls (8-4)
The Tarheels have done a nice job under Larry Fedora of slowly transforming into a two-sport school. Still, Temple is the pick here; this is the Owl’s fifth straight appearance in a Bowl. – Mark Schiff

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 3:20pm ET on ESPN
Michigan State Spartans (6-6) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-4)
The Pinstripe Bowl should be a fun one, and not just because it will be played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Spartans had a down season, thanks in part to a tough Big 10 schedule, but head coach Mark Dantonio is ready to bounce back. The Spartans are battle-tested, but we’re picking the Demon Deacons here; the team has 3 straight bowl wins in 3 straight close games. – MS

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, 6:45pm ET on ESPN
Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-4) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (7-5)
OSU coach Mike Gundy is trying to get his team fired up by calling the Aggies “the best 7-5 team in the history of the NCAA.” Las Vegas apparently agrees with him; Texas A&M opened as a 4.5 favorite over the Cowboys. All of this disrespect should motivate OSU running back Chuba Hubbard, who lead the nation in rushing yards this season (1,936). Despite playing just 90 miles from home in Houston, the Aggies will get upset in the Texas Bowl. – MS

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, 8pm ET on FS1
#22 USC Trojans (8-4) vs. #16 Iowa Hawkeyes (9-3)
The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl has one of the more ungainly names of this bowl season, but the matchup itself should be one of the best. After a disappointing season, USC coach Clay Helton is officially embattled but a win over the Hawkeyes and their smothering defense would go a long way toward shoring up his job security. Unfortunately, that won’t happen; look for Iowa to win a close one. – MS

Cheez-It Bowl, 10:15pm ET on ESPN
Air Force Falcons (10-2) vs. Washington State Cougars (6-6)
The high-flying Falcons quietly had an exceptional season, emerging as the best team in Colorado (in fact, two of their wins were against Colorado and Colorado State). Washington State is better than their record suggests and their coach Mike Leach always seems to have tricks up his sleeve, but Air Force has lived up to the latter part of their name this year. Falcons get the cheddar at the Cheez-It Bowl. – MS

Saturday, December 28

Camping World Bowl, Noon ET on ABC/ ESPN3
#15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (7-5)
Kick off your Saturday with this battle of teams fighting for respect. Notre Dame’s only losses this year came against two tough opponents in #5 Georgia and #14 Michigan, and they’ve finally found an offense in their current 5-game winning streak. They’re favored by 3.5, but the Cyclones have been a tough out for top-ranked teams this year. Iowa State fans are passionate, they travel well, and are thrilled to be playing a team like Notre Dame. Hot take, Cyclones win a thriller in Orlando, 31-24. – Joseph K. Berman

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Noon ET on ESPN
#10 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) vs. #17 Memphis Tigers (12-1)
This year’s Cotton Bowl is a classic David vs Goliath matchup, with a blue-blood member of College Football’s royal family, Penn State, taking on the upstart Tigers of Memphis. The Nittany Lions are 7-point favorites heading into the matchup despite losing 2 of their last 4 games and Memphis riding a 7-game win streak. If Memphis hadn’t just lost Head Coach Mike Norvell to Florida State, we’d be calling for an upset — but they did and we aren’t. Memphis: 27 | Penn State: 34. – JKB

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, CFP Playoff Semifinal, 4:00pm ET on ESPN
#4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) vs. #1 LSU Tigers (13-0)
Last year, Kyler Murray and the Sooners were in the same position in the CF Playoff playing against the number one team in the country in the Crimson Tide. Besides the opponent, the difference this year is that the Sooners don’t have the Heisman Trophy winner. That honor this year belongs to the Tigers QB Joe Burrow, who will be the Cincinnati Bengals first-overall pick in the 2020 draft. His completion percentage against AP Top 25 opponents is 78.6 percent, with a 48-6 TD to INT ratio. LSU has defeated five top-ten teams this year; expect it to be at least six come bowl season.

That doesn’t mean the Sooners will get rolled like last year. Jalen Hurts is one of the greatest college football players of all time with a 38-3 record in stints with Oklahoma and Alabama. This will be a high scoring affair between these two high profile transfer quarterbacks. – Ben Macaluso

Playstation Fiesta Bowl – CFP Playoff Semifinal, 8:00pm ET on ESPN
#3 Clemson Tigers (13-0) vs. #2 Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0)
The last time Clemson and Ohio State met in the Playoff at the end of 2016, the Tigers were the higher seed and absolutely demolished the Buckeyes 31-0. That will not remotely resemble this year’s game. Even though the Tigers are the defending champs, their schedule this year hasn’t been nearly as impressive as the rest of the semi-finals.

This Ohio State team is arguably more dominant than the year they won the first CF Playoff National Championship in the 2014 season. The reason is their defensive end Chase Young, who was a Heisman Finalist and somehow better than the Bosa brothers, the Buckeye alums who went top five in their respective drafts. Young will go number two right after Burrow. This Ohio State team is unstoppable. Even when they struggled in the first half of the BIG 10 Championship, they adapted better than any team has this season and ran away with the game. Even if they get behind again, they have too many playmakers on both sides of the ball to lose. -BM

Monday, December 30

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, 12:30pm ET pm ESPN
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (8-4) vs. Western Michigan Broncos (7-5)
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers square off against the Western Michigan Broncos in this battle of directional schools. The Broncos bring a red-hot offense that is ranked 2nd in the MAC while the Hilltoppers have the second best defense in Conference USA. The WKU will rebound from 9 losses last year to 9 wins this year in a thriller down in Jerry World. WKU – 27 | WMU – 24 – JKB

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, 4pm ET on ESPN
Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6) vs. Louisville Cardinals (7-5)
Louisville first-year Head Coach Scott Satterfield has done a great job rebuilding a program that all but fell apart last year under Bobby Petrino. The Bulldogs have fought their way to a 6-6 record on the back of a strong power running game. The Cardinal’s 115th ranked rushing defense is going to have a hard time stopping State from rushing between the tackles – or anywhere else for that matter. Music City’s got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell! Mississippi St – 24 | Louisville – 20 – JKB

Redbox Bowl, 4pm ET on Fox
California Bears (7-5) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-6)
Illinois shocked the College Football world with their upset win over Wisconsin earlier this year. They also got blown out by a 3-9 Northwestern squad to close out the regular season. Neither team is dominant on either side of the ball, but Cal’s defense and hometown crowd give them the edge in Santa Clara. California – 24 | Illinois – 17 – JKB

Capital One Orange Bowl, 8pm ET on ESPN
#9 Florida Gators (10-2) vs. #24 Virginia Cavaliers (9-4)
Things are heating up down in Miami as Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators take on Bronco Mendenhall and the Virginia Cavaliers in their first ever Orange Bowl. We like what Coach Mendenhall has going in Charlottesville, but protecting the quarterback has been an issue this year. Look for things to get ugly as the ferocious Gator defense feasts on a Cavaliers offensive line that ranks 116th in sacks allowed. UF-38 | UVA – 16 – JKB

Tuesday, December 31

Belk Bowl, 12pm ET on ESPN
Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. Kentucky Wildcats (7-5)
This will be the 20th meeting between these two, and you’d think with the Wildcats leading 11-6-2 in this series that this was a basketball matchup. The Hokies have historically been a better team and they come into this matchup the same. The Wildcats are coming off one of their best seasons in franchise history, ranking as high as No.11 and beating Penn State in the 2018 Citrus Bowl. After losing All-American linebacker and now Jacksonville Jaguar standout Josh Allen, they’ve struggled on defense, although they’ve finished the season strong on three consecutive wins. Look for the Hokies to pull closer in the series with their much more formidable offense being the difference. –BM

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, 3:45pm ET on ESPN
#23 Navy Midshipmen (10-2) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (8-4)
Against the Army Black Knights, the Navy Midshipmen quickly made sure that the nation’s oldest college football rivalry wouldn’t be anywhere near competitive, as they won handily, 31-7, in their 120th meeting. Navy comes in as the lone ranked team in this matchup but the Wildcats may be the better team. They are the only team in the country that has defeated one of the College Football Playoff teams, in Oklahoma. The Wildcats last two loses were all within seven points and they also beat a ranked #23 Iowa State handedly. Look for them to do the same against this #23 team. – BM

Valero Alamo Bowl, 7:30pm ET on ESPN
#11 Utah Utes (11-2) vs. Texas Longhorns (7-5)
This is disappointing how we got here. Texas and their native son QB Sam Ehlinger declared Texas was back after a convincing win in the Sugar Bowl last season against a far superior Georgia team. In retrospect, that game looks to be one where the Bulldogs felt snubbed after missing the CF Playoff and overlooked a solid Texas team. The Longhorns would soon play a No.6 LSU to start the season and only lose by a touchdown and they would do the same against the same No. 6 Oklahoma. But after those games, the loses started to pile up; first to a bad TCU team, then in a close game against Rrked Iowa State and finally against an overachieving Baylor (who three years ago looked like they wouldn’t have a football team and now were an OT away from winning the BIG12 Championship.)

As for Utah, they looked to be far and away the best team in the PAC12. That is, until they lost to first-round QB draft prospect Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks. Their only other loss was to USC early in the regular season by a touchdown. Utah inexplicably got blown out on both sides of the ball in a game that likely would have put them in the playoff, had they won. Utah is still the favorite here, but Texas will look to get some redemption in a disappointing season (if last year was any indication, they perform well as the overlooked underdog). – BM

Wednesday, January 1

Outback Bowl, 1:00pm ET on ESPN
#18 Minnesota Gophers (10-2) vs. #11 Auburn Tigers (9-3)
Welcome to the first game of the new decade! At first glance, this looks like a forgettable matchup: Minnesota has been mediocre forever and they might be overlooked by Auburn, who beat Alabama and Oregon, making them the automatic favorite. But just like Georgia last year, this Tigers team may be the one that’s caught sleeping.

In a stacked BIG10 conference, Minnesota’s offense put in work, scoring nearly more than 30 until November 16, in a dreary Iowa City game against the stingy Hawkeyes defense. Their key upset was against a then-No. 4 ranked Penn State. Tigers are favored but if you want to win anything decent by putting that Christmas money from Grandma to work, bet on the Gophers to surprise Auburn to start the New Year. – BM

VRBO Citrus Bowl, 1:00pm on ESPN3
#14 Michigan Wolverines (9-3) vs. #13 Alabama Crimson Tide
It’s so easy to bet on Alabama. Somehow it is even easier to bet on them this year. Sure, their transcendent, once-in-a-generation QB is down for this game and is likely to be drafted with a top-5 pick next year. But this is also the first time in the CF Playoff era that they haven’t made the semifinals. They lost to No.2 LSU and No.15 Auburn by a combined eight points. They scored more than 40 in both of those games with their backup QB. Look for ‘Bama to come out with vengeance against a Wolverines team that hasn’t won a bowl game since the first year Jim Harbaugh took over in 2015. – BM

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual, 5:00pm ET on ESPN
#6 Oregon (11-2) vs. #8 Wisconsin Badgers (10-3)
This may be the strongest game on New Year’s Day. But these two teams got to the Rose Bowl very differently. Just by looking at the box score, the Wisconsin Badgers looked like they got blown out in their championship game against Ohio State. Meanwhile, the Ducks looked like the team everybody thought they were entering the season and blew out the Utes in the PAC12 Championship game.

But the Badgers were dominating the Buckeyes in the first half and look like the better team coming into this Rose Bowl. Only by a hair though: This looks to be the most evenly matched game of the day, with the Badgers’ stout D going against the Ducks’ exceptional passing game. Give the edge to the Badgers, with Jonathan Taylor — the 2018 and 2019 Doak Walker Award winner as the top running back in college football — the difference-maker. –BM

Allstate Sugar Bowl, 8:45pm ET on ESPN
#5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2) vs. #7 Baylor Bears (11-2)
I feel like we’ve heard this story before: Georgia is snubbed by the CF Playoff voting committee, then are matched up against a team from Texas that lost the Big 12 Championship to Oklahoma. If that doesn’t sound familiar, the Bulldogs got caught flat-footed in the same scenario last season.

Don’t expect that to continue this time around. Baylor is far ahead of its schedule (in 2017, the Bears won a single game). Matt Rhule has his team back on track mainly on the offensive side of the ball and has steered clear from scandal. The Bears starting QB Charlie Brewer left in the first half of the BIG 12 title game due to concussion protocol and is still not cleared to play. Gerry Bohanon is available but he struggled taking over for Brewer. Jacob Zeno, the third string QB and true-freshman, looked more than capable leading the Bears to a near upset in overtime against the Sooners. The Bears are going to be good for a long time to come. But the Bulldogs are simply a better team and won’t come unprepared again in back-to-back seasons. – BM

Thursday, January 2

Ticketsmarter Birmingham Bowl, 3:00pm ET on ESPN
Boston College Eagles (6-6) vs. #21 Cincinnati Bearcats (10-3)
Cincinnati remained ranked for most of the year after an early-season drubbing by Ohio State (to be fair, everyone has been drubbed by Ohio State this year). Cincinnati’s more glaring losses this season are back-to-back against the same team. The ranked Memphis Tigers beat them two week in a row, both in close matchups and both in Memphis (the latter being the American Championship game).

The Tigers head coach, Mike Norvell, was rewarded with a promotion as the HC for Florida State. Boston College squeaked into Bowl Eligibility sitting at .500 and have lost to some subpar teams including Kansas, Louisville and they-got-a-new-head-coach-for-a-reason Florida State. Cincinnati should be in a higher-tier bowl. Expect them to win handedly. – BM

Taxslayer Gator Bowl, 7:00pm ET on ESPN
Indiana Hoosiers (8-4) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (7-5)
The last time Hoosiers football team won eight games was in 1993. This is the best football Bloomington has seen in a generation and they are doing it behind a potent offense, beating instate rival Purdue in a double-overtime 40+ point shoot-out. Tennessee is no where near their glory days but they are steadily improving under second year head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Two seasons ago, Pruitt was the Volunteers’ second choice but finished only behind Georgia and Florida in SEC East Division play. On paper they are the inferior team to Indiana but the Volunteers are also in a superior conference. This will be a close matchup but the Volunteers finished the season on a five game win streak and conference play will give them the edge here against the Hoosiers, who haven’t won a bowl game since 1991. – BM

Friday, January 3

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, 3:30pm ET on ESPN
Ohio Bobcats (6-6) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5)
Usually the Potato Bowl is much earlier in the bowl season but thankfully we will have more games past New Year’s this year to tide us over before the National Championship game. And don’t sleep on these matchups either. Frank Solich took the reins as Ohio head coach in 2005 after a long storied career at Nebraska. The two programs couldn’t be a bigger contrast in prestige at the time but ever since, Solich has become the Mid-American Conference’s all-time win leader and has led the school to 11 winning seasons (from 1969 – 2000), Ohio only had two winning seasons. Before Solich, the Bobcats went to two bowls, one in 1962 and 1968. Since 2006, they’ve been to 11.

The Bobcats are only at .500, but four of their losses have been by just a field goal. The Nevada Wolf Pack isn’t much better record-wise but they play in the superior Mountain West Conference. With his experience coaching at 75 years old and coming off back-to-back bowls wins for the first time in program history, give Solich and the Bobcats the edge. – BM

Saturday, January 4

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, 11:30am ET on ESPN
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (7-5) vs. Tulane Green Wave (6-6)
Southern Miss has come a long way since 2012. The year before, their coach Larry Fedora went to coach the UNC Tar Heels after he led the Golden Eagles to a 12-2 ranked season. A year where they didn’t win a game. They’ve only missed bowl eligibility once since 2015-19 and should be a heavy favorite against a .500 Tulane Green Wave team scooting into bowl season after dropping 5 of their last six games to finish the season. – BM

LendingTree Bowl, 7:30pm ET on ESPN
Louisiana Rajun’ Cajuns (10-3) vs. Miami (OH) Redhawks (8-5)
This is the only bowl game of the week and the last before the natty. The Ragin’ Cajuns are flat out good but lost the Sun Belt championship game against No. 21 Appalachian State by just a touchdown. It wasn’t the first time the Cajuns lost to Appalachian State either. The RedHawks did win the MAC Championship game though, and won six out of the last seven. This will be close and potentially hold you over for the nearly two-week football-less doldrums. But let’s pick the Rajun’ Cajuns simply because they have a better name. – BM

CF Playoff National Championship – Monday, January 13 on ESPN
Stay tuned for or Staff picks on who will win the National Championship for what seems like the first time in a generation where no one can pick the Crimson Tide. Happy Holidays and enjoy the most spectacular time of the year. Bowl Season on Sling TV!

Stats courtesy SRCFB