It All Starts Today: Your College Football Bowl Guide: Week One
Bowl season is officially here with 41 games to be played in the next couple weeks. It kicks off in a big way with six games today. Here's a complete list of this week's games and where and when to see them.
Saturday, December 19
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Inaugural game; 11 a.m. on ABC)
Alcorn State (9-3) vs. North Carolina AT&T (9-2) in Atlanta, Georgia
View worthiness: North Carolina AT&T's Khris Gardin is two yards shy of breaking the FCS single-season record for punt return yards. He averages 60.5 punt return yards per game! If nothing else, watch this game for fourth down and punts.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (1 on ESPN) in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5)
Watch worthy: Arizona has been obliterated at middle linebacker, having lost five players at that position throughout the year. Their defense has allowed 35.7 points per game, but the Wildcats average nearly 37 points per game. New Mexico averages 29.3 points per game and allows 27 per game. Tune in for a score-a-thon.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (2:30 on ABC) in Las Vegas, Nevada
BYU (9-3) vs. Utah (9-3)
Noteworthy: BYU continues to look for their next head coach. A Utah defensive player called BYU a dirty team at the bowl's welcome reception on Thursday. Nothing like some bulletin board material to create bowl game intensity.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (4:30 on ESPN) in Montgomery, Alabama
Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2)
Noteworthy: Some call it the greatest upset of all time when Appalachian State beat Michigan in 2007. They're now an FBS program, playing in their first bowl game. Ohio suffered a mid-season slump, losing three in a row after a 5-1 start. They recovered to win their final three.
Cure Bowl (6 on CBS Sports Network) in Orlando, Florida
San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6)
Noteworthy: The records. Georgia State is playing in their first-ever bowl game, so there's that, at least. San Jose State is one of the schools with only five victories who are playing in a bowl game. See Minnesota, Nebraska, and San Jose State.
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (8 on ESPN) in New Orleans, Louisiana
Arkansas State (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
Watch worthy: Arkansas State is another school that scores points, lots of them. They average 41 per game good for 10th in the country. Louisiana State isn't far behind at almost 37 per game. The one has all the makings of a shootout.
Monday, December 21
Miami Beach Bowl (1:30 on ESPN) in Miami, Florida
USF (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (11-2)
Noteworthy: Western Kentucky got into a bowl brawl last season. USF coach Willie Taggart was formerly the head coach at Western Kentucky and some of the players he recruited haven't graduated yet. Let's hope there's no bad blood between the two.
Tuesday, December 22
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (2:30 on ESPN) in Boise, Idaho
Utah State (6-6) vs. Akron (7-5)
Noteworthy: Akron has their first winning season in a decade and coach Terry Bowden is taking a team to a bowl game for the first time in nearly two decades.
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl (6 on ESPN) in Boca Raton, Florida
Temple (10-3) vs. Toledo (9-2)
Watch worthy: Toledo is playing with a new head coach after the departure of Matt Campbell to Iowa State, one of the teams they defeated during the season. Temple's loss to Houston on December 5th likely kept them out of a high-profile bowl. These are two great teams that should make for a terrific bowl, IF Toledo can deal with the loss of their head coach and so many assistants who took off for Ames.
Wednesday, December 23
Poinsettia Bowl (3:30 on ESPN) in San Diego, California
Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5)
Noteworthy: An 8-4 season for the blue-field-playing Broncos is a disappointment. The 8-5 record of Northern Illinois fits into the same category.
GoDaddy Bowl (7 on ESPN) in Mobile, Alabama
Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)
Noteworthy: Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz just took the head job at Tulane while Bowling Green has won nine of their last 10.
Thursday, December 24
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (11 on ESPN) in Nassau, Bahamas
Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)
Noteworthy: Middle Tennessee State has won four straight to end the season, but don't be fooled by the 1-2 finish of Western Michigan. All of their final three games were against bowl teams.
Hawai'i Bowl (7 on ESPN) in Honolulu, Hawaii
San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)
Noteworthy: The Aztecs haven't given up more than 17 points in a game since their fourth game of the year. Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel missed practice this week due to a family matter. If he doesn't play, this won't be pretty.