The Junkies, or if you prefer, Dads on Sports (follow us at @DadsOnSports) are back for the fourth year in a row to preview every single bowl matchup we’ve got. It’s our grandest (and really, only) tradition. Last year, A-Rob housed Bizzle in the bowl picks, which A-Rob brings up only because he doesn’t get to brag about much of anything in regards to sports predictions. Can he do it again? Only one way to find out…
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
12/16, 1 pm, ESPN
North Texas vs Troy
Our first bowl game isn’t usually a great one, and man oh man is that ever true here. I literally have never heard of a player in this game, not a one. I do know that Troy has a pretty good team. They waltzed through the Sun Belt Conference and more importantly they beat LSU; you might remember LSU as the best team Alabama defeated in 2017, not that that stopped them from reaching the playoff.
Bizzle: Troy A-Rob: Troy
AutoNation Cure Bowl
12/16, 2:30 pm, CBS Sports Network
Western Kentucky vs Georgia State
I’ve got to be honest and up-front here. I wish I could leave this bowl off the list the way Mike Sanford left Auburn off his top 25 coaches ballot. You had the nerve to say it was an oversight leaving the Tigers off? I don’t believe that for a second. I’m not sure why you have so much hate for Auburn is it because you only put up 7 points against a crap Illinois team? Could it be your no-show against Vanderbilt? It couldn’t be more clear that you have something against Power 5 schools seeing as to how you can’t seem to beat any, the two you played combined for 7 wins and you still lost to them. Thank God the bowl you are playing in is against another Group of 5 team because you probably would just vote to not play the game if it was against a Power 5 School.
Georgia State, don’t think for one second you are off the hook. You flat-out don’t deserve to be here. You lost to FCS Tennessee State and had the game against Memphis not been canceled, we all know you would have gotten embrassed. You lack any win by more than 10 points, and nope I am not counting Charlotte, but you can if you’d like.
If it was up to me I’d place a rule in that said if you lose to a FCS school you shouldn’t be allowed in a bowl game. So, Panthers, you’d be at home if it was up to me but since Shawn Elliott didn’t leave Auburn off his ballot (or so I think) the Panthers will win their first bowl game in school history.
Bizzle: Georgia State A-Rob: Western Kentucky
Las Vegas Bowl
12/16, 3:30 pm, ABC
Oregon vs (25) Boise State
It’s our first “We Don’t Have a Coach” game! As much as I’ve grown tired of Oregon’s success over the past decade or so, I did feel bad for them for losing Willie Taggart after just one season. He appeared to have things going the right way until QB Justin Herbert busted his collarbone — and looked to be back down that track once Herbert came back. How could anyone have known that the Florida State job would come open? Can’t blame Taggart for taking it but it’s a bad break for the Ducks. Boise State isn’t the destroyer of lower-conference worlds they used to be these days but they’ve had a fine season, and they’re plenty good enough to justify my continued strategy of picking against coachless teams.
Bizzle: Boise State A-Rob: Boise State
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/16, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Colorado State vs Marshall
Fun fact about the Colorado State Rams: They put up the second-highest point total (23) in a loss to Alabama this year. Only Mississippi State, putting up 24, beat out the Rams. Hell it’s the third-highest total if I include Auburn’s 26 in their upset over Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Yeah I’m 2-2 in mentioning Auburn in my previews, come at me bro.
So where am I going with this? Well, it could be argued that the Rams were one of Alabama’s toughest opponents this season…..wait. If that’s true how in the hell did Bama get into the playoffs? Bama, in theory, struggled with the Rams’ high-octane offense. The Tide had an easy time with the likes of Tennessee, LSU and Florida State. How insane is that?
Sorry Marshall but Chad Pennington and Matthew McConaughey ain’t walking through that door. If you don’t lose your last two games against UTSA and Southern Miss you might not be running into one of Alabama’s toughest opponents which helped put them into the playoff. Yeah, I said it: If it wasn’t for Colorado State the Crimson Tide wouldn’t be in the playoff.
Bizzle: Colorado State A-Rob: Colorado State
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
12/16, 8 pm, ESPN
Middle Tennessee vs Arkansas State
I clicked on the Camellia Bowl website because I thought I remembered last year’s game being really good here (and it was, App State beat Toledo by 3). What I found was a picture of Rosa Parks. Outside of the fact that they take place in the same city, there is absolutely nothing that Rosa and her bravery has to do with a low-level bowl game between teams no one knows anything about, but I appreciate the hustle, Camellia Bowl. As for the matchup, Arkansas State seems to do well in these games so I’ll pick them.
Bizzle: Arkansas State A-Rob: Arkansas State
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
12/19, 7 pm, ESPN
Florida Atlantic vs Akron
I’m not going to do what everyone thinks I’m going to do and bash Lane Kiffin. I’m going to do the opposite. Sure, his tenure didn’t start off so hot. He signed troubled QB and Last Chance U star De’Andre Johnson. Then decided it would be a great idea to make this train wreck of a video. Well, then, of course, was the 1-3 start.
So how does my boy Kiffin respond to all that? By winning 9 straight to go undefeated in conference play and capture the Owls’ first C-USA title. The Owls went 3-9 last season with whatever his name was at head coach. If you can tell me who it is, you are a better man than I am, because I flat-out didn’t care one bit about Owls football before Big Daddy Lane and probably won’t care after he leaves unless they hire Johnny Manziel or something. Not only is Lane rolling in his first year at FAU his also been doing a lot of trolling too. Basically calling out Tennessee for not hiring him back after he set that program ablaze in one season. Then telling the world he bets Nick Saban misses him after the Tide fall to Auburn, but yet still make the playoffs.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t think Lane Kiffin is a national treasure, well, we can’t be friends. This guy is great for the sport and unless he does something completely off-the-wall wrong, I hope he never leaves the college football game. As for the Boca Raton Bowl, he knows damn well it’s in his best interest to win the game and give the Owls an 11-win season for the 1st time since 2003, back when good ole Lane was coaching at USC as the wide receivers coach while more than likely doing beer bongs and shots with his boy Sark.
Well, Zips fans, what are you going to do when the Lane Train is coming down the track? It will probably look something like the scene in Major League II when Jack Parkman flattened Rube Baker’s bitch ass. Change your name to the Akron LeBrons already because that’s all anyone thinks about when they hear the word Akron is King James, and just like the King’s hairline, there is no chance you will ever be prominent. Nice win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff you jackwagons, enjoy Florida.
Bizzle: Florida Atlantic A-Rob: Akron
DXL Frisco Bowl
12/20, 8 pm, ESPN
Louisiana Tech vs SMU
If you’re looking at this page wondering what the hell a Frisco Bowl is, that’s what I’m here for. The Frisco Bowl was moved from Marlins Park, where it was previously known as the Miami Beach Bowl (a game that will now only ever be remembered because Memphis and BYU had it go DOWN there once). It’s called the Frisco Bowl because it takes place in Frisco, TX, which I believe also hosts the FCS championship game. Why they decided to bring on a bowl on top of that I don’t know, but here we are. SMU lost coach Chad Morris to Arkansas, which means you know which way I have to go.
Bizzle: SMU A-Rob: Louisiana Tech
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
12/21, 8 pm, ESPN
Temple vs Florida International
Guys, this bowl is officially called the “Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl”. What in the hell is that? Of course I had to look into this, and its a lawnmower, a goddamn lawnmower. This is the Lawnmower Bowl, folks.
How in the hell can you sponsor a bowl game in which the field it will be played on isn’t actual grass, so your stupid $3,500 Bad Boy Magnum MZ Zero Turn Mower can’t actually mow? I’m sure if I thought long enough about it, there is something about how sponsor can just sponsor anything and everything to make the NCAA money, but Baker Mayfield can’t make money off signed pictures of himself grabbing his junk against Kansas en route to the Heisman Trophy.
I’ll just go with this: Being a lawnmower company who sponsors a bowl game which is played on a field that isn’t made of real grass is like Temple getting blown out by Notre Dame but beating Navy, which almost beat Notre Dame, or FIU hiring Isiah Thomas as their basketball coach, knowing he’s a team-killer in every aspect of basketball except being a player. It doesn’t make any sense.
What does make sense is FIU finished 2nd in C-USA behind Lane Kiffin which is like finishing first if FAU wasn’t in the conference, which makes about as much sense as a lawnmower company sponsoring a game that is played on its archenemy, fake grass. Temple, congratulations on 3 straight bowl games with 3 different coaches; while that’s super impressive to me, I did watch you look like ass against Notre Dame and that’s enough for me to take FIU in this one. That said, next year, if Bad Boy Mowers wants to sponsor a damn bowl have it make sense. Cut some awesome designs in the field like they do at baseball games or something. I mean, how am I supposed to pull the trigger on the ZT Elite Mower, starting at a cool $4,499 if it’s not cutting the field in which your game is played on? I mean, Bad Boy Mowers, I have my credit card ready to make this sweet purchase but I’m questioning your commitment level with this sponsorship.
Lucky for you, there is no Thursday Night Football that week and I’m intrigued by your Maverick Mower, which I can only assume is what the ladies call Dirk Nowitzki, if you catch my drift. So I’m all in on this bowl game.
Bizzle: FIU A-Rob: FIU
12/22, 12:30 pm, ESPN
UAB vs Ohio
This is the official bowl game of Dads on Sports. It never matters who is playing or who is favored or who wins because two teams get a free trip to the freaking Bahamas. There’s nothing better. Adding to the happiness this year is the UAB Blazers, who DID NOT EXIST A YEAR AGO! How in the world has a big-name program not grabbed coach Bill Clark yet? First he went 6-6 in 2014 even though everyone knew the program was being shuttered, and now he’s taken them to a bowl after not playing for two seasons! A ridiculous accomplishment. Cheers to you, Bill, and cheers to the Blazer fans. Hope you can make the trip south.
Bizzle: UAB A-Rob: UAB
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/22, 4 pm, ESPN
Wyoming vs Central Michigan
Dear Josh Allen,
Hi, you don’t know me, but if you are reading this, well that’s awesome, that means we are huge in Wyoming. Anyway, if you are reading this I have one question for you and I’m going to steal it from Marshall Eriksen, “What the Bleep are you doing dude?” (This is from the Lily Kicks Korean Elvis in the Nards episode.)
I’m seeing stories floating around that you are not 100% due to a shoulder injury, but are hoping to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Not the Orange Bowl, not even the Foster Farms Bowl, or at least the Michael Imus Bowl. (More on that later.) Why are you risking further injury to play in this game? As of this plea being written you are the #3 QB off the board according to SI and ESPN. So what do you gain by playing this game? Sure, you won’t look like a dick to your teammates but they aren’t in line to make the money, you are. To put on the Wyoming uniform one last time? Well, luckily for you the Browns have a similar style brown uniform you can wear. Really think long and hard about the decision you are about to make, cashing in potential 1st round money for the chance to hoist a Potato Bowl. Hasn’t Wyoming’s nutritionist told you that carbs are bad? So stay home and prepare for the biggest day of your life.
Bizzle: Central Michigan A-Rob: Central Michigan
12/23, 12 pm, ESPN
Texas Tech vs South Florida
Why does the state of Alabama need three bowls in the period of 72 hours? I have no idea. But with the game in Montgomery, this one and the one in Mobile, it has them. This is actually a pretty fun matchup. You’ve got USF, who played one of the season’s most fun games at UCF and sadly fell just short, facing off with Texas Tech, who made the smart decision to keep Kliff Kingsbury as coach after a 6-6 season. (Kudos for knowing who you are. You’re Texas Tech. You aren’t going to compete for Big 12 titles regularly. Don’t overthink this.) We should see a lot of offense in this game. My money’s on Tech cutting it loose with the knowledge their coach will be back and coming up with the victory.
Bizzle: Texas Tech A-Rob: Texas Tech
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
12/23, 3:30 pm, ESPN
San Diego State vs Army
Anyone else think Rocky Long is is just butthurt that Jimbo Fisher got mother effin’ paid? 75 million dollars over 10 year is absurd, but did you have to jump on your high horse about it? Isn’t there some type of code among coaches that you don’t talk about other coaches’ salaries? If Texas A&M called and offered you 75 million dollars, you would have jumped ship in a heartbeat and Jeff Horton would be coaching the Armed Forces bowl. I understand that at 67, you probably aren’t on the top of many top programs’ head coaching lists but let’s say for one second you were and you decided to make the comments you made. You flat-out just hindered your negotiations. School X just heard you say Jimbo Fisher’s new contract is absurd so why are you asking for so much? So what purpose does it serve? Better yet, were does Long draw the line at too much? His salary this year was $826,000 while Army’s head coach is going to make $932,000, so does Jeff Monken make too much?
What I see is a team who had high expectations to be in a New Year’s 6 bowl but couldn’t close out the deal and a coach who’s on the tail end of his career butthurt that he never got 75 million dollars to coach a mid-tier SEC team. So with all that, and the whole “if I picked against Army I’d somehow be disrespecting the military and America” thing, I’m taking the higher paid coach and his crew to put it on the Aztecs, and even though you aren’t winning this bowl game, you still have Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Strasburg. In comparison, all the Army alumni have done is fight for your freedoms……oh wait, that’s awesome, and we couldn’t be more thankful for all their services. Without them I wouldn’t be able to write this preview every year.
Bizzle: Army A-Rob: San Diego State
Dollar General Bowl
12/23, 7 pm, ESPN
Appalachian State vs Toledo
Like the previous game being played in Alabama, this matchup should be pretty entertaining. It’s a rematch of the aforementioned Camellia Bowl last season, so I guess if these two fan bases really want to explore all corners of the state of Alabama, they have a chance to here. Toledo was easily the class of the MAC this season led by QB Logan Woodside, and App State has consistently been a very good team since moving up from FCS. I expect this game to come down to the end like last year, but with the Rockets on top this time. #MACtion!
Bizzle: Appalachian State A-Rob: Toledo
12/24, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Houston vs Fresno State
Ah yes, the Hawaii Bowl, which is probably one of my top bowls to watch. Admittedly, I’m usually a few adult beverages in to try to power through a subpar game, but at least there are points being scored. Only one time in the bowl’s history has the winning team failed to score 30 points. So if you decide, while hanging out with family members you may or not be able to stand, to turn this contest into a drinking game, the rules are simple:
Every turnover, take a drink. Every score, take a shot.
Every time they show a picture of Hawaii, down a beer bong of whiskey because you are trying to forget the fact that 19-year-old kids get to spend Christmas in Hawaii and you are stuck hanging out at home listening to your 3rd cousin talk about how his new Vape Shop is going to take off. No, Grandma, I haven’t met a nice girl yet, I’ll settle down when I’m good and ready. *Here’s a beautiful view from The Bulldogs’ hotel* @#$?!@#& Grandma grab the beer bong. “Honey, I think you’ve had enough.” Listen, lady, you don’t tell me, I ain’t no quitter. I committed to playing this damn game just let me be.
Well, this ends the 1st Quarter of action, Fresno St. 27, Houston 24, and now a view from today’s pregame luau. Grandma, I’ll fight you and these cops! I ain’t no tired.
Bizzle: Houston A-Rob: Fresno State
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
12/26, 1:30 pm, ESPN
West Virginia vs Utah
Do teams actually want to play the day after Christmas? I sure wouldn’t. I’ll be damned if I’m getting up early to play a football game after opening up my presents and gorging on ham and mashed potatoes at the family holiday gathering. I really don’t know much of anything about Utah. They seemed pretty bad whenever I watched them but they stubbornly continue to make bowl games even when they’re not good. So pretty impressive work by coach Kyle Whittingham, I guess? I’ll roll with the Grier/Sills combo in this one.
Bizzle: Utah A-Rob: West Virginia
Quick Lane Bowl
12/26, 5:15 pm, ESPN
Northern Illinois vs Duke
If you are a Blue Devil fan, this Quick Lane bowl means one thing and one thing only: YOU GET TO STOP PRETENDING YOU CARE ABOUT THE FOOTBALL TEAM AND FOCUS SOLELY ON THE BASKETBALL TEAM. Which is funny, they just lost to Boston College, who went 2-16 in ACC play last season. Take that, Grayson Allen, you crybaby. Just like Grayson Allen, you’d be tripping if you tried to convince me that most of you reading this, and probably even Coach K himself, have any idea who Daniel Jones is. Well that’s what I’m here for. Jones was a Pre-Season 4th team All-ACC selection at QB for Duke.
Let’s break that down for a second. Jones was a 4th team selection which means he has zero shot of ever cracking an NFL roster and will be calling Duke games on a fill-in basis every other home game on the radio (when the normal guy is sick) for the sister station of the normal brodacast team. And believe me, he has a face for radio. If this was the basketball team being 4th team anything means you are a surefire lottery pick in the next year’s draft.
As for NIU, does anyone care that you finished 2nd in the MAC West? I’m going to assume no, based on the lack of NIU talk this past season but then again I was too distracted by all the Saquon Barkley is better than Josh Adams talk, which is outrageous. Josh Adams is BAE!! The only time NIU mattered this season is when you streamrolled Ball State which made my boy Nick cry himself to sleep, which we thank you for, because that guy deserves nothing but heartache and sadness, and I mean that in the nicest, sweetest way possible. Nick is an alright guy but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.
Bizzle: NIU A-Rob: Duke
12/26, 9 pm, ESPN
UCLA vs Kansas State
Think Josh Rosen thought this is where his hot takes would land him? To think we spent a lot of the summer talking about Rosen and his anti-Trump takes and his anti-NCAA takes and the hype surrounding where he’d be picked in next year’s draft. It looked like it was all coming up Rosen after his insane comeback against Texas A&M, but it didn’t turn into much, though it was enough to land him in Phoenix for Christmas. What do you think the chances are of him staying to play for Chip Kelly next year when Kelly’s system is basically opposite of everything Rosen does well as a QB? I figured as much.
Bizzle: UCLA A-Rob: Kansas State
Walk On’s Independence Bowl
12/27, 1:30 pm, ESPN
Florida State vs Southern Miss
I’m so excited to be able to preview the 1st College Football Playoff game. What a great season for Florida State en route to a playoff berth….what’s that, A-Rob? It’s not 2015? This isn’t a playoff game?
Well, I’m an asshole then. It feels like just yesterday that Jameis Winston was leading FSU to the big dance, even if he was screaming obscene things in the lunch room. Ask any Florida State fan and they will tell you, hands down, they miss those days and would do anything to have them back. Fast forward to today and Jimbo Fisher is gone, and Willie Taggart bailed on Oregon to come be the coach at FSU for not even a third of the cost Fisher is now making. Every preseason publication said this was FSU’s year with all the player losses that Clemson suffered, but yet they are dancing and FSU is rescheduling meaningless games to just become bowl-eligible. Isn’t college football great? Raise your hand if you think for 1 second a 10-1 or 11-0 Florida State team plays that game against UL-Monroe if there was a playoff game on the line? I’m assuming everyone not rocking garnet and gold has their hand down.
On the bright side, Florida State fans, some things haven’t changed. Jameis Winston is still a piece of trash who gets accused of misconduct and eats his fingers when they are shaped like W’s before getting eliminated from playoff contention.
Bizzle: Southern Miss A-Rob: Southern Miss
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/27, 5:15 pm, ESPN
Boston College vs Iowa
Sometimes I wonder if teams actually want to get picked to play in this game. On the one hand you’re going to NYC, which is a cool enough place, and Yankee Stadium is fun and all. Then again, you’re going to freeze your nards off and play in a meaningless game that just rubs in that you didn’t have the season you wanted to have. Both the squads playing here had crowning achievement routs of blue-blood teams this year, and Iowa’s actually kept their victim (Ohio State) out of the playoff. Congrats on the impressive scalps, guys, but I’ll roll with the team that started slow and finished strong behind a stud freshman running back.
Bizzle: Boston College A-Rob: Boston College
Foster Farms Bowl
12/27, 8:30 pm, FOX
Arizona vs Purdue
I don’t care what anyone says, this isn’t a prestigious bowl by any stretch. You may have seen a few of our #ImusHotTake tweets. The only thing hotter than an Imus hot take is the locker room at Ross-Ade Stadium. Are you guys that bad that you have to resort to cutting off the A/C in the visiting team’s lockeroom? I like Jeff Brohm a lot as your head coach, but don’t expect him to stay at a school that isn’t even top 4 in the state behind: Notre Dame, Indiana, Indiana State, Ben Davis High School, then we can start talking about Purdue. Once Brian Kelly gets canned at Notre Dame I’d put my money down on Brohm being on Notre Dame’s wish list. How’s that for a Hot Take, Imus!!!
Bizzle: Arizona A-Rob: Arizona
Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl
12/27, 9 pm, ESPN
Texas vs Missouri
Home field advantage for Texas! This isn’t really where Tom Herman wanted to end up in his first season in Austin, but the Longhorns do appear to be on the right track. His team nearly knocked off both USC and Oklahoma, and often that’s the first sign and up-and-coming coach has his team going where it wants — those close losses to teams they have no business beating. Once Herman gets his guys in there, I’d be wary of the Horns. I certainly would be in this game because I think Missouri is just flaming garbage.
Bizzle: Texas A-Rob: Texas
12/28, 1:30 pm, ESPN
Virginia vs Navy
I got to be honest here fam, I’m struggling to find a passionate angle to take in this game, I mean, it’s a Thursday game that kicks off at 1:30 pm, yeah I don’t know about you, but I won’t be home hanging out on the 28th of December. That’s no holiday, it’s a normal day of the year for us normal folk. Are you seriously telling me that Russillo needs that day off? For what. so he can go get blackout drunk and do something stupid? That’s all most of these bowl games are, is holiday filler so dudes like Stephen A. Smith can take a day off from hating everything. Actually, I bet ESPN makes him take days off just so they can recover from his nonsense and the constant headaches he provides. I’m pretty sure Max Kellerman is a robot because no normal person could listen to Stephen A. Smith yell at them all day without wanting to wring his neck.
So what am I to do? I have to preview something, it’s in my contract, but I can’t bash Navy because Lord knows the backlash I’d receive. Navy in fact does have a decent team this year that almost upset Notre Dame, and I was there in person during the monsoon, at least the first half (the half ND didn’t score in), so thanks for that Navy. I could trash Virginia but the entire ACC does that year in and year out for me so it’s almost too easy. Seriously, the basketball team laughs at your inability to score points; they are generally one of the lowest scoring teams in the nation. How you beat Boise State still to this day blows my mind.
Bizzle: Navy A-Rob: Virginia
BEAT THAT HAIR, I DARE YOU!!
Camping World Bowl
12/28, 5:15 pm, ESPN
(22) Virginia Tech vs (19) Oklahoma State
Our first ranked-on-ranked matchup comes a little later than usual this year (or maybe it just seems like it). Maybe I’m overrating Oklahoma State but they just terrify me. Had Ohio State made the playoff, Notre Dame would’ve been lined up for this game (don’t ask, it’s a complicated Citrus Bowl tie-in thing) and I would’ve put 8 million confidence points on the Cowboys. That offense is a handful for anybody, just ask Oklahoma. They have no defense, but I don’t think the Hokies are quite the team that can take advantage of that minor problem.
Bizzle: Oklahoma State A-Rob: Oklahoma State
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
12/28, 9 pm, FS1
(18) Washington State vs (16) Michigan State
Mike Leach is a national treasure, and needs to be treated as such. Mark Dantonio is the best coach in the state of Michigan by far and is criminally underrated nationally. So no doubt in my mind, these coaches will have their teams ready for the ranked matchup. On ESPN the coaches’ poll has MSU 19th and Washington State ranked 21st. Hmm, why does the number 21 stand out? Ehat deeper meaning does it have? I did some research and came up with the answer. Back in 1987-88 a gentleman by the name of LaVar Ball suited up for the Cougars’ basketball team and averaged a robust 2.1 ppg. What he has done since has been mind-blowing, and up until his recent decision to ship his kids overseas to play pro ball, I’ve been a supporter of the cause. I’m not one to tell anyone how to raise their children, and I hope it works for them, but you are seting a terrible example by saying it’s ok to steal and not accept the punishment. “I’ll just pull my kid out of school.”
That dude is changing the game, for better or worse, he’s changing it, and we will look back one day and realize he got a lot of it right, but in this case the former Cougar is dead wrong. So back to 2017, and why would I talk about LaVar Ball in a college football preview? Well 1) clearly you haven’t caught on to what we do and 2) could you imagine being a fly on the wall while Ball and Leach have a conversation? That would be 200 times better than anything I could write about MSU’s YAC vs the DBs for WSU. If you don’t believe that conversation would be next-level good here’s a video of Leach’s best quotes of his career. You’re welcome.
Bizzle: Washington State A-Rob: Washington State
Man did the Big East Miss out on TCU hoops.
Valero Alamo Bowl
12/28, 9 pm, ESPN
(13) Stanford vs (15) TCU
There’s always one bowl that’s the clear best matchup outside of the New Year’s 6, and often it’s this one. No different this year as two really good teams will meet up. Stanford continues to operate at its absolute ceiling as a program (it’s incredibly impressive that this 9-4 campaign marks a down year for them). TCU would probably have ended up in a New Year’s 6 game themselves if they just had managed to compete at all with Oklahoma either of the 2 times they played. I don’t have a clue what to make of this matchup, but the Cardinal seem to have found a QB again in KJ Costello (if the ND game is any indication), so we’ll go with them.
Bizzle: TCU A-Rob: Stanford
Miss you Johnny Football!
12/29, 1 pm, ESPN
Texas A&M vs Wake Forest
If you are a Wake Forest fan, just know this preview isn’t for you. Not because I’m going to bash your team, but simply because you aren’t the story here. Spoiler alert, I’m picking you Wake, so you can feel free to move along. For you Aggies fans wondering, what the hell?!?! Well, here you go. Get your heads out of your asses down in College Station. You aren’t Bama, you aren’t Auburn, hell, you aren’t even the most important school in your own state. Why do you feel the need to set the bar so insanely high? Is it because that one time, you had that one guy who threw up money signs, partied so hard he made Charlie Sheen look tame, and won a Heisman Trophy? So you had a good run with Johnny Football. He masked a lot of your problems to begin with. Since the Manziel era went semi-ok you think you should be a playoff team every year?It unfortunately doesn’t work like that.
Ask Notre Dame, who has had far and away more success as a program than most other schools in the FBS. When you go 7-5, what’s the play? Let’s throw 75 million dollars at Jimbo Fisher and hope he can save the program. Should have gone 6-6 and saved you some money. Jimbo is a great coach, but what does it say about him that at the 1st sign of trouble in Tallahassee, he bolted for the huge payday? What exactly is he going to tell recruits when A&M is 2-2 a month in, and that’s only because you schedule some schools that OKC Thunder fans think are softer than Kevin Durant? This partnership is going to end badly. Jimbo Fisher already coached at a school with high expectations, but at least they were reasonable expectations. A&M’s are just flat-out unrealistic.
Bizzle: Wake Forest A-Rob: Wake Forest
Hyundai Sun Bowl
12/29, 3 pm, CBS
Arizona State vs (24) NC State
I have nothing to add to this game except to marvel at the work of Arizona State QB Blake Barnett. OK, fine, he doesn’t play ever and his team is middling at best, but he locked down one of the most beautiful women on the planet, pro surfer Maddie Peterson. (Click this link and try to be cool.) Like, not just locked down in the sense that they’re dating, but they got frickin’ married in the off-season and she’s having a baby boy in a couple of months. (Speaking of, you’ll want to scroll down a bit at that link unless you’re into pregos like a guy I used to work with, which if that’s the case, knock yourself out, pal.) You have to appreciate the hustle by Barnett. That being said, I think his team is going to get creamed here as NC State is quite good and was two really close games against Clemson and Wake away from probably playing in the Orange Bowl.
Bizzle: Arizona State A-Rob: NC State
These clowns have nothing on Bizzle and A-Rob.
Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl
12/29, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Kentucky vs (21) Northwestern
Acting like I care even remotely about this game is like Mike Greenberg acting like he cares at all about Mike Golic. Another great example is, it’s like John Calipari actually caring about the student-athlete.
This game is the epitome of two medicore schools who will never, and I mean never ever ever ever, win their respective conferences. I’m glad they get to battle it out in the “I Couldn’t Care Less” Bowl, or as UK and Northwestern fans call it, the Music City Bowl. The game to see who is the best Wildcat in the land would be better played on the hardwood and not at 4:30 on a Friday….I got kids, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Bizzle: Kentucky A-Rob: Northwestern
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
12/29, 5:30 pm, CBS Sports Network
New Mexico State vs Utah State
This bowl game finally got an actual television partner (although it’s one not many people have) and just in time, too, because New Mexico State is one of the coolest stories of this season. They’re getting kicked out of their conference after this game and are going independent, which means this was probably their last chance to make a bowl, and they did it. This is their first bowl since 19-effing-60! It’s impossible to believe in this age of everyone goes to a bowl that NMSU hadn’t done it in that long, but they hadn’t, and now they get to play in one. With this game being reasonably close to Las Cruces, I expect this one to be a virtual home game for the Aggies in maroon…though it won’t be enough.
Bizzle: Utah State A-Rob: Utah State
Goodyear Cotton Bowl
12/29, 8:30 pm, ESPN
(8) USC vs (5) Ohio State
This is practically a NFL Draft nut’s wet dream. Both schools are loaded with guys who will be playing on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and the occasional Saturdays. Wow, I’m surprised they don’t just have an NFL game every night. I mean, if the other sports can play nightly why not the NFL. I’m kidding, that would suck for fantasy purposes and nothing else. What I would never kid about is drafting Sam Darnold #1 overall, especially if you are the Cleveland Browns. Just don’t do it. The Browns have a track record of taking good players and turning them in to crap. I’m not even saying Darnold is a good player. I personally don’t want to draft a guy as my savior to the franchise that looks like he struggles with simple math equations. Seriously though, I just can’t see how taking Darnold 1st overall ends well, especially in Cleveland. Darnold threw 0 TDs against Western Michigan and UCLA. The Rosen One outplayed Darnold but the only difference is Rosen had a hot garbage team around him. Bear with me, USC fans, but if the roles were switched and Rosen was a Trojan you would be a playoff team and not have gotten destroyed by Notre Dame. If Darnold was a Bruin, he’d be a 5th-round pick that the Patriots would flip for a second-rounder in 4 years.
As for you, Ohio State, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS. Should conference champs automatically make it, or is it only when you are champs, because eff Penn State right? Should we not count bad losses because you got billyjacked by an Iowa team who wasn’t ranked but then was magically ranked the next week? Is Wisconsin overrated or not? The whole season, people didn’t believe the Badgers were for real. OSU fans, prior to the B1G championship game, thought they weren’t. Then something crazy happened. You got within striking distance of a playoff spot, so now Wisconsin is a quality win. It doesn’t work like that – either they are good or not. Well, Wisconsin was a top ten team all season. Yeah, and if OSU played a similar schedule and was undefeated, they would not have to wait for teams to lose to make it into the top 4. It’s all because of who you are, and the fact that Urban Meyer left when Tebow bounced because he could see what Florida turned into. Can you Buckeyes fans please figure out what gets you into the playoffs? All I know is you have a 12th-year senior at QB. Seriously, JT Barrett has to be 37 right?
Bizzle: Ohio State A-Rob: USC
12/30, 12 pm, ESPN
Louisville vs (23) Mississippi State
Hello Heisman! This could be the last game Lamar Jackson plays as a collegian if he decides to go pro. If it is, pour one out for one of the most ridiculous athletes we’ve ever seen in college football. It’s also the first game in a long time Mississippi State will play without coach Dan Mullen, who decided to jump ship inside the same conference and go to Florida. The move is understandable for Mullen, who has history with the Gators, but you have to think future MSU teams will be motivated to play Florida. Even though the SEC is dumb and has cross-division teams going half-decades without playing each other, as luck would have it the two teams will match up next year in Starkville on Sept. 29. That should be interesting.
Bizzle: Louisville A-Rob: Louisville
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
12/30, 12:30 pm, ABC
(20) Memphis vs Iowa State
Thanks, first and foremost, to both schools for making this season interesting and not just being doormats like in years past. Iowa State took out Oklahoma and did it without having to watch Mayfield grab his nuts. Then Memphis took undefeated UCF to the edge in the AAC title game, only to come up short. But at least in that moment you had all eyes on you, and almost took down a team whose coach was signing with another school at halftime.
So where do we go from here? The best school in Tennessee, without question, vs the 2nd best school in Iowa. Well, seeing as how this is a home game for Memphis, and the Tigers don’t lose at home, plus they have already beaten a mediocre Power 5 school in UCLA, I’ll roll with the Tigers. Not to mention, someone has to win games in the State of Tennessee because Lord knows the Vols can’t do it. It’s a bit surprising that Mike Norvell was never mentioned in Tennessee’s coaching search. I feel like 800 people were mentioned but not the best coach in Tennessee? I guess haters gonna hate and Vols gonna Vol.
Bizzle: Memphis A-Rob: Iowa State
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
12/30, 4 pm, ESPN
(9) Penn State vs (11) Washington
Get the feeling this is the New Year’s 6 game that’s slipping through the cracks? The Cotton has the pseudo-Rose Bowl matchup between the Big 10 and Pac-12 champs. The Orange has “The U” playing at home. The Peach has unbeaten UCF. And then there’s this game, sort of just sitting there, probably because both teams played in big bowls last year and aren’t fresh anymore. My gut tells me because of that, this game will be nuts. And with Saquon Barkley on one side and Dante Pettis on the other, something insane will happen. I’ll predict that right now. Also, PSU wins. I still don’t know how Washington lost to Arizona State.
Bizzle: Washington A-Rob: Penn State
Capital One Orange Bowl
12/30, 8 pm, ESPN
(6) Wisconsin vs (10) Miami
So Miami is back, huh? Are we sure that Miami is actually back or are they more a product of their environment? Outside of Va Tech, the ACC Coastal division had no one else above .500. You played an FSU team that was clearly in shambles and whose coach was all but out the door. If you think for a second Jimbo Fisher to A&M wasn’t discussed until later, please. Sure, you guys waxed what turned out to be an overrated Irish team who must have forgotten to get of the plane that day. Then, all of a sudden is cool to be a Hurricane fan and talk about that damn turnover chain. Yes, I’ll admit, I do like it and talked about it too. But then you did nothing to back up that the U is back with swagger, instead you looked sloppy early against Virginia, wet your pants against Pitt and then got steamrolled by the Alabama of your conference. Are you on the right path? Absolutely, but don’t sit there and tell me The U is back. Wait till next season when some of those games are on the road. Better yet, The U won’t be back until their tight end is rapping about his 3rd leg. Is that the Beginning of the U Part 3? Maybe, but it wouldn’t be as good as the 1st two. Isn’t that how trilogies go?
As for Wisconsin, no one cared about you until you played Ohio State, and that was only because we all wanted to see if a 2-loss Buckeye team could squeeze into the playoffs, not because anyone outside of Wisconsin thought you actually would win. So I’ve decided I’m not going to care now. Play a tougher non-conference schedule and then maybe people won’t think you are a fraud. Same goes for you, Miami, play a tougher non-conference and I may actually think you are back and better than the Nevin Shapiro days. I’m still unsure how you avoided the death penalty, but I digress. I hope to see that chain a lot in this game and I hope like hell the Badgers bring a turnover chain of their own to spice this game up a bit. Oh, maybe Wisconsin brings over a Turnover Cheddar Cheese Wheel…you know what, never mind, Wisconsin, leave the swagger to The U.
Bizzle: Wisconsin A-Rob: Wisconsin
1/1, 12 pm, ESPN2
South Carolina vs Michigan
I hope you are ready for next season, Shea Patterson, because the rivalry is back, Notre Dame vs Michigan baby. I hope Harbaugh brings his big boy khakis because the Irish will be ready to take care of business in the Bend.
As far as this game is concerned, this is my preview:
Go Gamecocks, beat the Booger-Eating Fighting Khakis.
Bizzle: South Carolina A-Rob: South Carolina
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
1/1, 12:30 pm, ESPN
(12) UCF vs (7) Auburn
New Year’s Day in the afternoon is always a weird time in the playoff era just in terms of the TV arrangements. Here you have a big-time bowl matchup on ESPN while on ABC, where you’d normally want the better game, there’s…a worse game. Anyway, I’m actually excited for this one. Two big-time offenses are going to go at it here and I look forward to seeing which one can stop the other. My usual rule is pick against the team whose coach is gone. But apparently UCF is letting Scott Frost coach this game in honor of the work he did to turn the Knights from an 0-12 team to a 13-0 team in just two years. I like that move a lot. That, and the fact that I think the Tigers are disappointed to be back in Atlanta rather than playing in the Rose Bowl, where they could have played, leads me to think we could see yet another Group of 5 team take the victory here.
Bizzle: UCF A-Rob: UCF
1/1, 1 pm, ABC
(17) LSU vs (14) Notre Dame
Ugh. Bowl season was supposed to be a triumphant time for ND this year and looked like it would be entering November. Even if they had missed the playoff, they’d shown quite clearly that 4-8 was a fluke, that they were back on the scene, that maybe Brian Kelly could actually be the coach Irish fans desperately want him to be.
But he’s not. ND got obliterated by a Miami team that frankly I just don’t think is that good. They got handily beaten by a Stanford team that…again, just not that impressive. Their two ‘wins’ in the month saw them give up 37 points to Wake Forest and narrowly escape a mediocre Navy team. It looked like no different than any other time Kelly’s ND has gotten them to the precipice of something good; they slunk into a hole and turtled. So even though the Irish went 9-3, on paper a perfectly fine season, most Irish fans come into this matchup feeling very let down. It probably doesn’t help that this is the 3rd time in the last 11 years ND will face LSU in a bowl, which is a weird quirk.
I don’t think LSU is very good either, but I just don’t trust ND here or anywhere at this point. Of course, those are usually the times Kelly comes out of nowhere with a big-time performance to get ND a win you wouldn’t expect (see the bowl game against LSU 3 years ago), so who knows.
Bizzle: ND A-Rob: LSU
You’ve made it this far, fellow sports fans. Let’s preview the playoff.
1/1, 5 pm, ESPN
(3) Georgia vs (2) Oklahoma
Why, Baker Mayfield, why? How dare you. I mean, what in the hell where you thinking? You have some nerve grabbing your no-no region and yelling obscene things at the Kansas Jayhawks, you have to use better judgment when it comes to exercising poor sportsmanship.
Mayfield decided, what better place to blow a fuse than Memorial Stadium against a team that would need the last 7 years to get to 12 wins? Yeah Baker, you went all badass big tough guy against a team that is 12-72 the last 7 seasons. I mean, come on Mayfield, you are better than that. Sure, they started it and you finished it but you let a 1-11 team get the best of you. You could have saved it for a much better opponent, like let’s say Texas during the Red River Shootout. Now that’s where you do it. It would have been looked at more like competitive fire against a rival rather than being a cocky SOB. Hell, doing that against Baylor is even a better use of your blow-up because that cesspool of a university has shown that kind of stuff doesn’t bother them, not even a little bit.
I’ve said and done some things I’m not proud of on a competitive field, but at least I picked my damn spot and wasn’t trying to get at the Little Sisters of the Poor. I’ve seen a few draft boards that actually have you going #2 to the New York Giants. If little ole Kansas can get your goat, the New York media will eat you alive.
Sorry, Georgia fans, but this game isn’t about you. The Bulldogs had one hell of a season even though they had no business beating ND and are lucky Wimpbush was playing and not Wimbush. If you do, I’ll eat my words, but you won’t. All I can hope and pray is that you annoy Mayfield enough that he goes all Grayson Allen on the sidelines with a hint of Mayfield sprinkled in.
Bizzle: Oklahoma A-Rob: Oklahoma
Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/1, 8:45 pm, ESPN
(4) Alabama vs (1) Clemson
Well, here we are. The committee sent their message: Lack of losses trump a superior strength of schedule. Ohio State’s 55-24 loss at Iowa gave them the excuse they needed to send Alabama into the playoff without a single win over a top-15 team. No other squad had ever managed to pull that off. Was it Bama’s fault Florida State sucked? Of course not. But this committee isn’t supposed to care about intent. FSU sucked, so they should be treated as such. Even though I think we all agree Bama is a better team than Ohio State, that’s entirely subjective. The objective schedule facts say the Buckeyes should be in this spot.
All that being said, this should be a good game. Clemson has an incredible defense, but can QB Kelly Bryant summon his inner Deshaun Watson and come up with a victory over the Tide like Watson did? Advanced analytics notwithstanding, I’m just not seeing it from this Bama team. They haven’t beaten a legitimately good team all year (teams that lost to Troy don’t count), and I don’t think they will in this semifinal either. Tigers win.
Bizzle: Alabama A-Rob: Clemson
And, to cap it off: Our title game picks!
National Championship Pick
1/8, 8 pm, ESPN
What is more Alabama than them being in the title game after they didn’t deserve to be here? They played Colorado State, which I admit is tough, but it was pretty cake after that. What would be more Alabama than destroying Clemson in the semifinal, then meeting up with Heisman nut-grabber Baker Mayfield? What’s more Bama than they would probably be an underdog in that game, just so Vegas makes us think for a second that Oklahoma has a chance. This entire season has been one big troll job by the people who wrote the script. They keep saying this is the weakest Bama team in years, yet here they are once again with a shot at a national title based on nothing more than past success. I haven’t felt this trolled since they picked Kelly over Justin on American Idol Season 1.
So why do we do this to ourselves every year? Sit through countless weeks of previews, then 13 weeks of games, and then a million bowls, most of which mean absolutely nothing to anyone, just to have Alabama make the playoff? The committee needs to take a hard look in the mirror and just call this what it is. It’s the College Football Playoff sponsored by Alabama. That means they get a sponsors’ exemption like Joel Klatt’s crazy ass was talking about, so ultimately there are only 3 spots up for grabs, not 4. We do this because we are crazy, insane and somewhere deep inside our heart, wish our team was as successful as Alabama is, or at the very least got the benefit of the doubt the way Nick Saban does. This game is borderline unwatchable, because, well, it’s a foregone conclusion that Bama wins and Baker Mayfield isn’t going to do something crazy (well, he might). The only reason I’m watching is to hold out that sliver of hope that Oklahoma sneaks out a victory so I don’t have to Roll Damn Tide for the next 9 months leading up to the 2018 season.
Yet again, Bizzle and I differ on the title game. He has Bama/Oklahoma, I have Clemson/Oklahoma.
I really want it to be Clemson/Oklahoma, if only because I’m tired of having rooting interests in these championship matchups when my team isn’t involved. I just want to sit and watch a good game, and yet Super Bowls, title games, NBA Finals, etc. just keep rolling in and I have a clear team I want to see lose. If Clemson takes on Oklahoma, I’ll have two teams I enjoy watching, that deserve to be here, and that I have no problem with seeing hoist the trophy.
If it is Clemson/Oklahoma, I really don’t know who I think will win. Defense vs. offense would be the story, of course, as well as Nut-Grabber vs. The Heir Apparent. Clemson would have a gigantic home field advantage (the best reason to root for Georgia in the Rose Bowl is to witness the madhouse Atlanta would be if it were Georgia vs. another southern team in the title game). The Tigers have their fair share of weapons too, though. Travis Etienne is a house on fire. Deon Cain has speed to burn. And you might have heard that Hunter Renfrow tends to play ok in these title games. Sure, Oklahoma has a better offense. But Clemson can hang in. And their defense is just so damn good. So, with apologies to Heisman Ball-Grab, I’ll take Clemson to repeat as national champion.