Bowl Game Predictions : 2015-16
All the presents have been busted open, leaving wrapping paper all over the floor. The toys are driving us crazy, the food is being cooked, and the family is ready for a nap. Christmas is over and now it is time to really enjoy some college football.
The 2015-16 NCAA College Football bowl season began a week ago with the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. North Carolina A&T beat Alcorn State 41-34 in a very exciting match-up. Overall, we have enjoyed 13 bowl games but that is not even halfway home. The remaining 28 games lead up to the biggest of them all, the College Football Playoff Championship on January 11th. We’re going to dedicate an entire feature to the CFB Playoffs later this week, so today we give our thoughts on the other remaining bowls, which have some amazing names.
St. Petersburg Bowl
When: December 26th, 11:00am ET, ESPN
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Who: UConn (6-6) vs. Marshall (9-3)
Predictions: Not since the 2011 Fiesta Bowl has UConn been recognized as a good team. They improved to 6-6 this season under first year head coach Bob Diaco from 2-10 last season. They even managed to beat Houston in the AAC Championship game. This isn’t going to be a barn-burner but it will have a lot of big time defensive plays to make it worth watching.
Final Score: UConn 24, Marshall 20
Hyundai Sun Bowl
When: December 26th, 2:00pm ET, CBS
Where: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Who: Miami (FL) (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4)
Predictions: Washington State QB Luke Falk leads the NCAA in completions (418), passing yards (4,266), and yards per game (387.8 ypg). Miami’s QB, Brad Kaaya, is not far behind with 3,019 passing yards (2nd in ACC). This is going to be an amazingly fun game to watch. There should be a lot of scoring.
Final Score: Miami 45, Washington State 34
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
When: December 26th, 2:20pm ET, ESPN
Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX
Who: Washington (6-6) vs. Southern Miss (9-4)
Predictions: After just three seasons, Todd Monken has turned the Golden Eagles into a 9-win team with the chance at reaching the coveted 10 win season within reach. Southern Miss needs this win more than Washington so expect this one to be all USM.
Final Score: Southern Miss 38, Washington 23
New ERA Pinstripe Bowl
When: December 26th, 3:30pm ET, ABC
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Who: Duke (7-5) vs. Indiana (6-6)
Predictions: Thanks to Miami’s amazing last second 8 lateral kickoff return for a TD against Duke, the Blue Devils have lost four of the last five. It could be time for a bounce back to give them a reason to smile again.
Final Score: Duke 27, Indiana 20
Camping World Independence Bowl
When: December 26th, 5:45pm ET, ESPN
Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Who: Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Tulsa (6-6)
Predictions: Philip Montgomery left Baylor as their offensive coordinator to become the Head Coach of Tulsa and is looking for a finish above .500. Unfortunately for him, Frank Beamer is retiring making this his last game as Head Coach.
Final Score: Virginia Tech 31, Tulsa 13
Foster Farms Bowl
When: December 26th, 9:15pm ET, ESPN
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Who: Nebraska (5-7) vs. UCLA (8-4)
Predictions: How did Nebraska get into a bowl game with a 5-7 record? UCLA should feel like they are being punished and come out firing offensively. This one could be over before the half.
Final Score: UCLA 45, Nebraska 10
When: December 28th, 2:30pm ET, ESPN
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Who: Pittsburgh (8-4) vs. Navy (10-2)
Predictions: Finally, we get a match-up made in Heaven when Pittsburgh’s amazing run defense faces off against Navy’s triple-option running attack.
Final Score: Navy 30, Pittsburgh 23
Quick Lane Bowl
When: December 28th, 5:00pm ET, ESPN2
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Who: Minnesota (5-7) vs. Central Michigan (7-5)
Predictions: OK, so who is allowing these 5-7 teams into bowl games? Are we now rewarding mediocrity? Minnesota lost 7 games and shouldn’t be in a bowl game. Central Michigan should take it and run with it.
Final Score: Central Michigan 42, Minnesota 28
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
When: December 29th, 2:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Who: California (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-5)
Predictions: Jared Goff is going to be playing on Sundays, maybe even next year, so his final appearance for California should be a great one.
Final Score: California 38, Air Force 17
Russell Athletic Bowl
When: December 29th, 5:30pm ET, ESPN
Where: Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL
Who: North Carolina (11-2) vs. Baylor (9-3)
Predictions: The spread offense is a fun style of offense to watch so being able to see UNC and Baylor go head-to-head is going to be a constant TD fest.
Final Score: Baylor 52, UNC 49
NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl
When: December 29th, 7:30pm ET, ASN
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Who: Colorado State (7-5) vs. Nevada (6-6)
Predictions: Bowl games are meaningless when it comes down to it because there is no more football to be played. Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins is only 114 receiving yards away from the CSU record so expect plenty of balls thrown to him.
Final Score: Colorado State 36, Nevada 24
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
When: December 29th, 9:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Who: Texas Tech (7-5) vs. LSU (8-3)
Predictions: Les Miles was rumored to be fired but then something else happened, after LSU beat Texas A&M in their final game of the season, the team carried him off and the crowd cheered like the ending of Rudy.
Final Score: LSU 31, Texas Tech 13
When: December 30th, 12:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Who: Auburn (6-6) vs. Memphis (9-3)
Predictions: Is Paxton Lynch going to make a case for being the first QB drafted in the 2016 NFL draft? If so, this is his chance.
Final Score: Memphis 34, Auburn 31
When: December 30th, 3:30pm ET, ESPN
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Who: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. NC State (7-5)
Predictions: Dak Prescott is better than Mississippi State’s record. He will have to play his best game ever to beat the NC State defense in the Belk Bowl.
Final Score: Mississippi State 27, NC State 17
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
When: December 30th, 7:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Who: Texas A&M (8-4) vs. Louisville (7-5)
Predictions: The season started off so bright for Texas A&M but then it fell completely off the rails and they lost four of their final seven games. Louisville is in the same boat and is just looking for something to be happy about before next season.
Final Score: Louisville 27, Texas A&M 24
National Funding Holiday Bowl
When: December 30th, 10:30pm ET, ESPN
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Who: Wisconsin (9-3) vs. USC (8-5)
Predictions: Pete Carroll left USC and they have been searching for a head coach that can get them back to the ranks of the elite. A win over Wisconsin is going to be start for Clay Helton, their new head coach.
Final Score: USC 30, Wisconsin 20
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
When: December 31st, 12:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Who: Houston (12-1) vs. Florida State (10-2)
Predictions: The Seminoles still have Dalvin Cook and a better team than Houston. It’s going to show when they easily go on to a victory in the Peach Bowl.
Final Score: Florida State 35, Houston 17
When: January 1st, 12:00pm ET, ESPN2
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Who: Northwestern (10-2) vs. Tennessee (8-4)
Predictions: Northwestern’s defense is going to hold off Tennessee’s offense or it might be a very long day of football in Tampa.
Final Score: Northwestern 17, Tennessee 13
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
When: January 1st, 1:00pm ET, ABC
Where: Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL
Who: Michigan (9-3) vs. Florida (10-3)
Predictions: Speaking of defense, is there a better bowl game match-up when it comes to defense than Michigan and Florida?
Final Score: Florida 24, Michigan 23
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
When: January 1st, 1:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Who: Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Ohio State (11-1)
Predictions: The Buckeyes lost at the wrong time in the season, which is part of the problem and Urban Meyer’s motivation for destroying the injury plagued Fighting Irish.
Final Score: Ohio State 42, Notre Dame 23
Rose Bowl Game
When: January 1st, 5:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Who: Iowa (12-1) vs. Stanford (11-2)
Predictions: Iowa came within one goal line stand of the CFB Playoffs but Stanford has Christian McCaffrey, an exciting all-purpose player that broke Barry Sanders total yards record this past season.
Final Score: Stanford 28, Iowa 20
Allstate Sugar Bowl
When: January 1st, 8:30pm ET, ESPN
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Who: Ole Miss (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2)
Predictions: Offensively, this should be high scoring. But the match-ups are all over the place and things could get ugly forcing both teams to run the ball.
Final Score: Ole Miss 49, Oklahoma State 42
When: January 2nd, 12:00pm ET, ESPN
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Who: Penn State (7-5) vs. Georgia (9-3)
Predictions: Without Mark Richt, this is going to be a sad day for Georgia fans that wish he was still around. The players might not even be ready to play a game of this magnitude while their head coach heads for greener pastures.
Final Score: Penn State 23, Georgia 10
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
When: January 2nd, 3:20pm ET, ESPN
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
Who: Kansas State (6-6) vs. Arkansas (7-5)
Predictions: Arkansas had a bad start to the 2015 season, this is their chance to round out a great finish.
Final Score: Arkansas 27, Kansas State 23
Valero Alamo Bowl
When: January 2nd, 6:45pm ET, ESPN
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Who: TCU (10-2) vs. Oregon (9-3)
Predictions: All bets are off and we just hope both teams decide not to play defense.
Final Score: Oregon 63, TCU 56
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
When: January 2nd, 10:15pm ET, ESPN
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
Who: West Virginia (7-5) vs. Arizona State (6-6)
Predictions: What just happened? How is this game being played after the new year?
Final Score: Arizona State 23, West Virginia 20