2017-18 Bowl Predictions


Bowl season is here, with the first game kicking off on Saturday, December 16 at noon.  Below our my predictions for all 38 games (picking both the opening spread and final score predictions), as well as the college football playoff.

Saturday, December 16
  • Celebration Bowl, 12 p.m on ABC: Grambling (11-1) vs. North Carolina A&T -9.5 (11-0):
    • 9.5 is a fairly big spread, but I'll take Grambling to cover and win outright, handing NC A&T their first loss of the season.  Grambling wins 38-31
  • New Orleans Bowl, 1 p.m. on ESPN: Troy (10-2) -5.5 vs. North Texas (9-4):
    • North Texas won the Conference USA West division this season and I think they win this one outright.  North Texas wins 45-38
  • Cure Bowl, 2:30 p.m. on CBSSN: Georgia State (6-5) vs. Western Kentucky (6-6) -5:
    • Georgia State hasn't looked great against decent teams this season.  Not saying Western Kentucky is decent, but I think they will win and cover.  WKU wins 27-17
  • Las Vegas Bowl, 3:30 p.m. on ABC: Boise State (10-3) vs. Oregon (7-5) -7.5:
    • Boise State comes into this one as an underdog, but its hard to pick against the Broncos in a bowl game.  Boise St wins outright 49-38
  • New Mexico Bowl, 4:30 p.m. on ESPN: Marshall (7-5) vs. Colorado State (7-5) -5.5:
    • Marshall came in to this season expecting to improve on their 2016 record of 3-9.  They did that winning 7 games, but never really looked that great doing it.  Colorado State didn't look much better this season although they did manage to score 23 points against Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  This on almost seems like a toss-up.  I think Marshall covers but CSU will win the game.  CSU wins 41-38
  • Camellia Bowl, 8 p.m. on ESPN: Arkansas State (7-4) -3.5 vs. Middle Tennessee (6-6):
    • Something tells me this will be the first blowout of the bowl season.  Maybe because its the first bowl of the year with the day all to itself. It always seems like when there is nothing else to watch, the only game on isn't even worth watching.  Arkansas State wins 56-17
Tuesday, December 19
  • Boca Raton Bowl, 7 p.m. on ESPN: FAU (10-3) vs. Akron (7-6) -22.5:
    • As evident by the point spread, i think is the most uneven match-up of the entire bowl season.  I think this makes it back to back games with a blowout.  I also think FAU will put up the most points of any team this bowl season.  FAU wins 70-21
Wednesday, December 20
  • Frisco Bowl, 8 p.m. on ESPN: SMU (7-5) -5 vs. Louisiana Tech (6-6):
    • Both teams seem to play fairly this year, and always seemed to be in most games despite both teams having 5 and 6 losses respectively.  I think this one will remain close most of the game, but SMU will pull away late.  SMU wins 31-17
Thursday, December 21
  • Gasparilla Bowl, 8 p.m. on ESPN: FIU (8-4) vs. Temple (6-6) -7:
    • FIU has been on the wrong side of a few blowouts this season and the same can be said about Temple as well.  I think Temple scores a late touchdown in this one to come out on top, but I don't think they cover the spread.  Temple wins 34-28
Friday, December 22
  • Bahamas Bowl, 12:30 p.m. on ESPN: Ohio (8-4) -7.5 vs. UAB (8-4):
    • I'll take Ohio to win and cover the spread. Ohio wins 35-24
  • Potato Bowl, 4 p.m. on ESPN: CMU (8-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5) -1:
    • With the spread being 1 point, this game is basically a pick-em.  In this one give me CMU with a late field goal.  CMU wins 31-30
Saturday, December 23
  • Birmingham Bowl, 12 p.m. on ESPN: USF (9-2) -2.5 vs. Texas Tech (6-6):
    • Despite a combined 8 losses between the teams, I think this one has the makings of a shootout.  I think USF comes out on top in this high scoring battle.  USF wins 66-56
  • Armed Forces Bowl, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN: Army (8-3?) vs. San Diego State (10-2):
    • This game doesn't yet have a spread as Army still has one game left to play in the regular season.  That being said, regardless of the outcome of Army's regular season game, I like SDSU to win this one.  SDSU wins 35-24
  • Dollar General Bowl, 7 p.m. on ESPN: Appalachian State (8-4) vs. Toledo (11-2) -8:
    • This seems like a good match-up, but I think Toledo will pull away late in the game to win and cover.  Toledo wins 37-17
Sunday, December 24
  • Hawaii Bowl, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN: Fresno State (9-4) vs. Houston (7-4) -2:
    • On paper, Houston is the favorite albeit only by 2 points, but I think this game ins't that close.   And I think the team coming out on top is the underdog.  Fresno State wins 35-20
Tuesday, December 26
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl, 1:30 p.m on ESPN: Utah (6-6) -4.5 vs. West Virginia (7-5):
    • Utah has some close losses against ranked opponents and could very easily by 9-3.  West Virginia has a couple close losses as well, and could also very easily be 9-3.  However, both teams seem to be right where they should be.  Both teams looked easily beatable at times this season so this match-up actually seems like a good one.  If West Virginia can get going early offensively I'm not sure Utah can stop them.  Utah can put up some points too, however, and I think they win and cover.  Utah wins 38-31
  • Quick Lane Bowl, 5:15 p.m. on ESPN: Duke (6-6) -2.5 vs. NIU (8-4):
    • NIU has the better record, but I'm not sure if they are the better team.  I think this will be a close one, but I think Duke gets the win.  Duke wins 42-31
  • Cactus Bowl, 9 p.m. on ESPN: Kansas State (7-5) -3 vs. UCLA (6-6):
    • I think Kansas State is a really good 7-5 team, but that seems expected of a Bill Snyder coached team.  UCLA has a projected top 2 or 3 QB in the 2018 Draft, but I'm not even sure how they won 6 games.  I think Kansas State wins this one easily.  Kansas State wins 37-14
Wednesday, December 27
  • Independence Bowl, 1:30 p.m. on ESPN: Florida State (6-6) -14 vs. Southern Miss (8-4):
    • I'm not sure what to make of this game.  Sure it's Florida State, but is it the same FSU that won a national championship a few years ago?  I don't think it is and that shows with their 6-6 record.  Even with that .500 record, they are favored by 14 points over Southern Miss.   Southern Miss ended the season averaging 45.6 points over their last three games.  FSU, on the other hand, finished their last three averaging 52.3.  I expect this to be a high scoring game, and I like Southern Miss with the big upset.  Southern Miss wins 49-42.
  • Pinstripe Bowl, 5:15 p.m. on ESPN: Boston College (7-5) vs. Iowa (7-5) -3:
    • Should be a good match-up, but I like Iowa to cover fairly easily.  Iowa wins and covers 27-17.
  • Foster Farms Bowl, 8:30 p.m. on FOX: Arizona (7-5) -4.5 vs. Purdue (6-6):
    • Arizona finished the season averaging 41.8 points per game.  Purdue hasn't faced an offense like this all season, and still finished 6-6.  I think this one will be close for maybe 5 minutes, then it turns in to a blowout.  Arizona wins and covers very easily 56-24.
  • Texas Bowl, 9 p.m. on ESPN: Texas (6-6) vs. Missouri (7-5) -1:
    • Texas, while 6-6, looked much better than their record indicates.  They lost a lot of close games, and in some wins they easily handled some decent teams.  Missouri on the other hand, has blown out some good teams, but was also blown out themselves by good teams.  I know Texas, if they win, will only finish 7-6 but I think this could be a springboard game to get Texas back to where they used to be.  Texas wins 28-20.
Thursday, December 28
  • Military Bowl, 1:30 p.m. on ESPN: Virginia (6-6) vs. Navy (6-6):
    • This game seems like it could go one of two ways, a close win by Navy or a blowout by Virginia.  I think Navy wins 31-27.
  • Camping World Bowl, 5:15p.m. on ESPN: Oklahoma State (9-3) -6.5 vs. Virginia Tech (9-3):
    • Oklahoma state has an explosive offense and I don't think Virginia Tech can keep up.  OK State wins and covers 49-31.
  • Holiday Bowl, 9 p.m. on FS1: Michigan State (9-3) vs. Washington State (9-3) -4.5:
    • At one point in the season, Washington State looked like a playoff contender after starting off 6-0, then they got obliterated by Cal 37-3.  They gave up 58 to Arizona in a losing effort and then finished the season getting blown out by Washington 41-14.  All three of Michigan states losses have come against ranked opponents, one of them a blowout to OSU.  Washington State is favored but I think MSU is the better team.  Sparty wins 31-21.
  • Alamo Bowl, 9 p.m. on ESPN: Stanford (9-4) vs. TCU (10-3) -2:
    • Stanford had some quality wins this season against Notre Dame and USC and also only lost their 4 games by an average margin of 6.75 points.  TCU is another explosive offense, however, I think when they play a decent defense they can be stopped.  I think this one will turn out to be a really exciting game.  On a last second field goal, TCU wins 41-38.
Friday, December 29
  • Belk Bowl, 1 p.m. on ESPN: Wake Forest (7-5) -2.5 vs. Texas A&M (7-5):
    • This seems like it has the makings of a good game, but I think A&M will pull away late.  Give me the Aggies 31-20.
  • Sun Bowl, 3 p.m. on CBS: Arizona State (7-5) vs. NC State (8-4) -5:
    • NC State is favored by 5, however, NC State has quite a bit longer of a trip from North Carolina to El Paso, TX.  Arizona State on the other hand, has a relatively short trip.   I don't think distance will make a difference however, as NC State has looked like the better team in my opinion.  I think NC State wins and covers 34-24.
  • Music City Bowl, 4:30 p.m. on ESPN: Kentucky (7-5) vs. Northwestern (9-3) -8.5:
    • Northwestern comes in to this one a fairly heavy favorite and rightfully so as Kentucky struggled to end the season while Northwestern finished winning 6 straight.  That being said, I think this will be closer than expected.  Northwestern wins 30-23 but just misses covering.
  • Arizona Bowl, 5:30 p.m. on CBSSN: New Mexico State (6-6) vs. Utah State (6-6) -3:
    • Not much to like about this one unless you are a fan of other team.  I do think it will be a good game, however.  I'm just not sure how many people will watch.  Utah State wins 34-30.
  • Cotton Bowl, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN: Ohio State (11-2) -7 vs. USC (11-2):
    • I think both of these teams are very good, but at the same time I think they are both overrated.  In OSU's two losses, they did not look good at all.  USC also did not look good in their loss to Notre Dame, falling to the Irish 49-14.  Both teams come in 11-2, and both teams come in having been blown out once this season.  The spread is 7 but I think this is much closer and this is a tough one to pick.  I'm going upset here though.  USC wins 27-20.
Saturday, December 30
  • TaxSlayer Bowl, 12 p.m. on ESPN: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Louisville (8-4) -6:
    • Mississippi State has been a tale of two teams this season.  At times they have looked really good beating some quality opponents, but at other times they have looked really bad getting blown out, albeit against very good teams.  Louisville is a team that I haven't really figured out.  They finished 8-4, but it seems like they lost to teams they should have beaten, especially with a former Heisman trophy winner at quarterback.  I think Lamar Jackson goes out on top and leads the Cardinals to a victory.  Louisville wins and covers 34-27. 
  • Liberty Bowl, 12:30 p.m. on ABC: Memphis (10-2) -3 vs. Iowa State (7-5):
    • On paper this games doesn't look close, and when its all said and done I don't think it will be close.  I do think Iowa State is a pretty good team, but I don't think they have any chance of keeping up with Memphis.  Memphis wins and covers easily 56-34.
  • Fiesta Bowl, 4 p.m. on ESPN: Penn State (10-2) -3 vs. Washington (10-2):
    • Penn state was in the playoff hunt most of the season, but after losing two in a row to OSU and Michigan state late in the season, they were all but out of it.  Washington was kind of in the same boat until they lost to ASU and Stanford late in the season.  I think these are two playoff caliber teams and I think this will be a very exciting game.  In a surprise shootout, Washington wins 63-56.
  • Orange Bowl, 8 p.m. on ESPN: Miami (10-2) vs. Wisconsin (12-1) -6.5:
    • The U was back, and then they weren't.  Losing to 4-7 Pitt and getting blown out by Clemson in the ACC Championship.  Despite the late season collapse I do think Miami will be back in the picture again next year.  If Wisconsin didn't lose to OSU in the Big10 Championship, they would probably be in the playoff intead of Alabama.  That being said, they did lose and were left out.  I think Wisconsin is very good, but I think Miami will pull off the minor upset.  Miami wins 27-20.
Monday, January 1
  • Outback Bowl, 12 p.m. on ESPN2: Michigan (8-4) -8.5 vs. South Carolina (8-4):
    • Michigan has looked good at times, and Michigan has looked bad at times.  Something tells me the bad Michigan will show up for this game.  Even with that, their opponent South Carolina seems like a team to me that was lucky to win 8 games.  Even with a bad performance I think Michigan wins 31-17.
  • Peach Bowl, 12:30 p.m. on ESPN: Auburn (10-3) -10 vs. UCF (12-0):
    • I'm one of those people that thinks an undefeated team should get a shot regardless of conference.  Even if I wasn't should a 12-0 team ever be an double digit underdog?  This spread makes no sense to me.  I think UCF surprises everyone and wins this one going away.  UCF wins 41-21.
  • Citrus Bowl, 1 p.m. on ABC: Notre Dame (9-3) vs. LSU (9-3) -2.5:
    • Neither one of these teams seem all that impressive to me.  I do think this will be a really great game though.  Give me Notre Dame 31-27.
  • Rose Bowl Playoff semifinal, 5 p.m. on ESPN: Oklahoma (12-1) -1 vs. Georgia (12-1):
    • Now on to the games everyone has been waiting for.  The first semifinal game of the evening.  The Baker Mayfield led Sooners are the early favorite, but by a narrow one point margin.  This should be a tremendous match-up.  And I think this game could go either way, depending on which ever team makes the fewest mistakes.  When its all said and done, I think the Sooners come out on top.  Oklahoma wins 37-30.
  • Sugar Bowl Playoff semifinal, 8:45 p.m. on ESPN: Clemson (12-1) vs. Alabama (11-1) -2:
    • The other half of the semifinal figures to be just as good, if not better.  We all know Alabama is Alabama.  They are always in these games and usually come out on top.  And Clemson is the defending National Champion having beat this Crimson Tide team just last year for the title.  This almost feels like a toss-up, but I think Nick Saban will have his team more than ready for this game.  I think Alabama wins 37-31.
Monday, January 8
  • Playoff National Championship, 8 p.m. on ESPN: Oklahoma vs Alabama:
    • Both teams have prestige, both teams have championships.  One team has somewhat struggled in bowl games recently going 6-8 over the last 14.  While the other has been the most dominant team for nearly a decade, winning 4 championships in the last 9 seasons.  Alabama, of course, being the dominant team.  That being said I think OU will circle the wagons and get their first National Championship win in 17 years.  Oklahoma wins 34-27.