The Junkies’ annual bowl game pick tradition is back! Sadly, this year our beloved Fighting Irish were a joke and will not be participating in a bowl. You’ll just have to settle for our snarky attitude being applied to games we know less about than we would if ND were any good. I’m sure you are all very heartbroken. But the tradition lives on!
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/17, 2 pm, ESPN
New Mexico (8-4) vs UTSA (6-6)
Alright folks, let’s get this thing started with the first bowl game of the season, which I was really excited to get to preview because A-Rob usually goes first, but then I realized it was New Mexico vs Texas-San Antonio. Let me thank A-Rob for going second this year, he’s so selfless. He gets the opportunity to talk about the Houston Cougars and how they were highly ranked but then fell flat on their faces, then lost Tom Herman to Texas. What a juicy preview that could be. Thanks again A-Rob you are a class act.
Honestly, I don’t know what I can tell you about New Mexico versus San Antonio other than good for UTSA that they’re in a bowl, which is more than I can say for much bigger and better programs that should be in one but like throwing 40 times in hurricanes. So Lobo and Roadrunner fans, you should be doing cartwheels because who outside of yourselves thought you’d be here? Definitely not myself. The Roadrunners are enjoying their first bowl game in school history. Can they handle the bright lights of a Saturday afternoon bowl game in front of like 600 people? We shall see. For the Lobos it’s all about finishing strong after giving away games against in-state rival New Mexico State and Rutgers, who constantly gets embarrassed week in and week out. Personally I won’t be tuning in. Go ahead and hate but I have a nice little Saturday planned, Home Depot and maybe Bed Bath and Beyond…I don’t know, I don’t know if I’ll have enough time. Be honest, how many snaps did you watch this season of these two juggernauts?
Bizzle: UTSA A-Rob: New Mexico
Las Vegas Bowl
12/17, 3:30 pm, ABC
Houston (9-3) vs San Diego State (10-3)
It’s our first bowl game involving a team without a coach! Houston will be minus Tom Herman for this one after Herman leveraged an outstanding season into a Texas job offer. Wait. I’ve just been told that Herman got crushed by SMU and also lost to Navy and Memphis this year. Well, either way, he’s gone and Houston is in Vegas this year. The Aztecs quietly had a very good season this year, falling short in the Montain West title game. I like the cut of SDSU’s jib, plenty enough to return to my default strategy of picking against coachless teams in bowls.
Bizzle: San Diego State A-Rob: San Diego State
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
12/17, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Appalachian State (9-3) vs Toledo (9-3)
Appalachian State will always have a warm fuzzy place in my heart. Let’s set the scene: it’s 2007 and the Division I-AA (at the time) Mountaineers got paid a whole boatload of cash to to travel up north to Ann Arbor, Mich. to get destroyed by the number 5 team in all the land, the Michigan Wolverines. Well, led by the heroic play of quarterback Armanti Edwards they knocked off them Wolverines and forever gave us Irish that one bullet in our arsenal when it comes to debating who has the better program. WE DO PLAY, LET ALONE LOSE TO I-AA SCHOOLS….EVER! So sorry about your luck, Logan Woodside, but you have no shot in this bowl game whatsoever! That may be a stretch but why not go for it! Lock of the bowl season strictly because of a game that was played in 2007, why the hell not? It’s just what I do!
Bizzle: Appalachian State A-Rob: Appalachian State
AutoNation Cure Bowl
12/17, 5:30 pm, CBS Sports Network
UCF (6-6) vs Arkansas State (7-5)
I’m going to level with you. I didn’t see one single play from either one of these teams this season. Maybe their lack of name recognition is why they’re stuck in the bowl game that airs on the network nobody has. UCF has had a remarkable turnaround season, though, going from 0-12 to a bowl game in their first season under new coach Scott Frost. ASU, meanwhile, is best known as the school that had three coaches in three years, with Bryan Harsin and Gus Malzahn bouncing to Boise State and Auburn respectively after their one year in Jonesboro. I’m going with the Red Wolves in this one.
Bizzle: UCF A-Rob: Arkansas State
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
12/17, 9 pm, ESPN
Southern Miss (6-6) vs UL Lafayette (6-6)
This game has more sideline intrigue for me than on the field. Have you looked at UL Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth? He looks like a mean SOB, which he may not be, but all I’m saying is based on in-game photos he looks like he could have a Bobby Kmight moment at any time. In all seriousness, well done getting to a bowl game for UL-Lafayette, just squeaking into this spot. I strictly said that because I’d hate coach Hudspeth to kick my ass. If you are Southern Miss you have to win this game right? I mean, you were considered by many (myself included) to be a much better team with bigger bowl aspirations. Well, here you are with the clearly better team, so finish strong, expect a big day from 1,300 yard rusher Ito Smith. Seriously it’s tough to be biased knowing Hudspeth could kill me any second. So I guess you already know where this pick is leaning.
Bizzle: Southern Miss A-Rob: Southern Miss
Miami Beach Bowl
12/19, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Central Michigan (6-6) vs Tulsa (9-3)
I have a feeling that if Bizzle had drawn this bowl game to preview, his snippet would be all about how it was BS that Central Michigan beat Oklahoma State on that insane Hail Mary that should not have counted due to the ‘untimed down’ fiasco. I’m going to take the other tack. That was all Oklahoma State’s fault. There were four seconds left in the game when they intentionally threw the ball out of bounds on fourth down. Four! Just snap it to your quarterback and have him run around. Or send out the punter, deep snap it to him and have him run backwards. They’re not going to catch him. Don’t take the risk of someone misapplying a rule. Just run out the clock. Anyway, I thought that was an awesome moment for CMU and one of my favorites of this season. Just for it, I’m going to pick the Chippewas in this game.
Bizzle: Central Michigan A-Rob: Central Michigan
Boca Raton Bowl
12/20, 7 pm, ESPN
Memphis (8-4) vs Western Kentucky (10-3)
What’s not to love about a bowl game being played in what some people call the Beverly Hills of Florida? Memphis had a pretty decent season, staying in the division race longer than anyone had anticipated. Their culture continues to be on the uptick in terms of a winning culture. It would be huge to put a bowl win on the school’s resume and continue to prove that Memphis isn’t just a basketball school. Western Kentucky is back-to-back Conference USA champs and has become the no doubt standard of the conference. That does come with the pressures of not losing a low-level bowl game such as this one, so expect the Hilltoppers to be ready to put up A LOT of points as they normally do. The question will just be, can the Tigers keep pace? Probably not!
Bizzle: Western Kentucky A-Rob: Memphis
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
12/21, 9 pm, ESPN
BYU (8-4) vs Wyoming (8-5)
Random thought: When the Chargers move to LA, how much longer will Qualcomm Stadium last? I mean, it’s a dump as it is. I guess San Diego State uses it as its home field, but that can’t be worth the huge amount of money it probably costs to keep that thing going, right? And if it does go, does SDSU build an on-campus stadium? So many questions. Anyway, this was quite a year for Wyoming, divisional champions. Craig Bohl is a name to watch in coaching. BYU had a pretty nice year too. It’s always fun to see non-power programs on the upswing.
Bizzle: BYU A-Rob: Wyoming
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/22, 7 pm, ESPN
Idaho (8-4) vs Colorado State (7-5)
Idaho made the decision to leave Division I-A football and enter the Big Sky conference in 2018. A rarely seen move by a D-I program. I’m sure the fan base is saddened by the decision but there is no need to cry in your Stinkin’ Good Chili Sauce, as the Vandals are bowling for only the third time in school history. This is easy for the Vandals – win the game because you won’t have many opportunities to win a FBS bowl again. It’s still surprising you are even here.
Colorado State got to 7-5 with an absolute beatdown of what many considered the best team in the Mountain West, San Diego State. So the Famous Potato Bowl has future implications for the Rams as this team is young and looks to be hitting its stride. Extra practice time and a win here could set the table for 2017 and help the Rams enter the top of the standings in the Mountain West.
Bizzle: Colorado State A-Rob: Idaho
Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl
12/23, 1 pm, ESPN
Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs Old Dominion (9-3)
It’s everyone’s favorite bowl game back again. It’s amazing that this game has survived so long because so few people can afford to go to the Bahamas on short notice. Not that you wouldn’t want to. How can you beat the Bahamas during the holiday season? And this year, EMU and Old Dominion are the lucky programs that get to go. I don’t know squat about either of these teams. And why do you need to? It’s a football game in the Bahamas! Just relax, enjoy and be envious of those privileged to be there. By the way, EMU is in its first bowl game in forever – 1987, I think – so, this is an especially great time for them.
Bizzle: Old Dominion A-Rob: Old Dominion
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
12/23, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Louisiana Tech (8-5) vs (25) Navy (9-4)
There I was last Saturday afternoon prematurely writing this bowl preview, because as far as I was concerned Navy should have had no issues with Army. Sure Army was a bowl team, so the Midshipmen shouldn’t have been sleeping on them but when you own someone for 15 years it tends to happen. I was all excited for previewing the first ranked team of the bowl, season as Navy was 25th, but that is all but gone at this point. Damn it, A-Rob wins again. I guess if you are Navy you can blame Donald Trump for his “this isn’t necessarily the best football” comments for losingthe game. But that would be dumb because, love Trump or hate him, Trump is right, the only reason you tune into that game is because it’s all that’s on. If Army-Navy was up against OSU-Michigan or Bama-LSU you the college football fan would go with those matchups 10 times out of 10. End rant.
Bizzle: Louisiana Tech A-Rob: Louisiana Tech
Dollar General Bowl
12/23, 8 pm, ESPN
Ohio (8-5) vs Troy (9-3)
These are always my favorites. The bowl that has switched sponsor names and now the average fan probably has no freaking idea what game this is. (In case you too are lost, it’s the former GoDaddy/GMAC Bowl that’s played in Mobile, Alabama.) It doesn’t get much more low-rent than Dollar General sponsoring your bowl game. I kind of want there to be a Family Dollar Bowl created in response with the two companies battling to have the slightly less crappy matchup. In the meantime we get this game, which features two teams that played well against New Year’s 6 foes. Ohio lost by 6 to Western Michigan in the MAC title game, and Troy fell by the same margin at Clemson back in September. Based solely on that, I’m going with the Trojans.
Bizzle: Ohio A-Rob: Troy
12/24, 8 pm, ESPN
Hawaii (6-7) vs Middle Tennessee (8-4)
So you finished under .500 but still received a bowl bid, so you should be pumped, right? Well, you shouldn’t be because you don’t get to travel anywhere cool because you already live in one of the coolest places on earth (or so I’ve been told) Hawaii, which you probably are sick of because you are there all the time. Seriously, do people in Hawaii complain about it being beautiful all the time? Anyway, the only interesting stat I want to talk about is Hawaii traveling roughly 47,000 miles this season,
YIKES! So the Rainbow Warriors will probably be too relaxed for this game, which isn’t a good thing when you have a Middle Tennessee State team that is looking for their 9th win of the season and puts up about 40 points a game. The only shot Hawaii has is if I’Travius Mathers enjoys the sandy beaches and warm weather too much, not to mention Colt Brennan and June Jones ain’t walking through that door.
Bizzle: Middle Tennessee A-Rob: Middle Tennessee
St. Petersburg Bowl
12/26, 11 am, ESPN
Miami (OH) (6-6) vs Mississippi State (5-7)
It’s a 5-7 team! Yee-haw! Mississippi State’s reward for its high APR score is being first in line for a 5-7 bowl bid and getting to play at 11 am the day after Christmas. My guess is more people around the country will sleep through the hours during which this game will happen. after a long day of family gatherings, than will actually watch it. I’d love to be proven wrong. Miami is the first team in college football history to go from 0-6 to a bowl game, so that’s worth celebrating. But Mississippi State has been battle-tested all year, so Miami’s dream run is probably over now.
Bizzle: Miami (OH) A-Rob: Mississippi State
Quick Lane Bowl
12/26, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Maryland (6-6) vs Boston College (6-6)
Need more proof that the B1G conference is the best in the country? Well, Maryland made a bowl game!! Now the cool and unique jerseys make sense. When you are 3-9 and not bowl eligible, the uniforms just seem sad and look awful, but when you are bowling they are now cool and hip. Slight exaggeration, yeah, but can you blame me? They made this huge reveal and talked about a new direction for Maryland football to only fall flat on their faces in these snazzy new uniforms. That being said, Maryland looks to be making strides to make the next step in the conference. 6-6 with nice wins over Michigan State and a dismantling of Purdue (sorry Baldness), and a 7th win for D.J. Durkin’s team would be huge. This shouldn’t be much of a game considering four of Boston’s Colleges wins are against Buffalo, Wagner, UMass and UConn (which I’m pretty sure UConn’s women’s basketball team could beat). The Eagles had to squeak out a -point victory over Wake Forest just to get here. For BC it’s a nice little step to make it to Ford Field but Maryland is a little further along in their field, plus they have the better resume to suggest it’s their game to lose.
Bizzle: Maryland A-Rob: Boston College
Camping World Independence Bowl
12/26, 5 pm, ESPN2
NC State (6-6) vs Vanderbilt (6-6)
Vanderbilt! In a bowl! That’s awesome. So awesome that I’m going to pick them in the face of all the evidence that says I shouldn’t. And it’s only partially because I’m bitter at the stupid way ND lost to NC State this year in that ridiculous weather. Seriously, only partially. Derek Mason seems like a fine gentleman and he’s done a great job to go from the brink of being fired to getting the Commodores into a bowl.
Bizzle: Vanderbilt A-Rob: Vanderbilt
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
12/27, 12 pm, ESPN
Army (7-5) vs North Texas (5-7)
Well, well, well. The streak is dead as Army finally took down Navy after 15 years of losing to their military brothers. Arguably the biggest win in that timespan for the Black Knights. So even if this is only the 2nd time that Army has been bowling, expect a letdown as they are still riding high from the upset over Navy. So this bowl couldn’t be more perfect for the Mean Green of North Texas, considering that they beat this Army team once already and the Knights have already played the biggest game of their season. North Texas, how does it feel to know that winning this game doesn’t even get you to .500 on the season? Seriously you are the reason there are too many bowl games. Would anyone be offended if I said this wasn’t the necessarily best football we will be watching this bowl season? Feel free to comment below if you are.
Bizzle: North Texas A-Rob: Army
12/27, 3:30 pm, ESPN
(24) Temple (10-3) vs Wake Forest (6-6)
Poor Temple probably deserved better than to be shunted off to Annapolis after winning the American Conference. Under the old BCS system, Temple would be in a BCS game and would have been the sacrificial lamb to someone like Michigan. Instead they draw the Demon Deacons, who quietly had an impressive season. And they have the advantage of Temple losing their coach, as Matt Rhule was brought to Baylor. Aside: He was a guy I really liked as a potential Notre Dame hire – so much for that.
Bizzle: Temple A-Rob: Wake Forest
National Funding Holiday Bowl
12/27, 7 pm, ESPN
Minnesota (8-4) vs Washington State (8-4)
Low key love this matchup. Two programs on the uptick in their respective conferences. Minnesota held relatively steady going 8-4 but showed signs of being improved and headed in the right direction after Jerry Kill left. You’d have to believe that securing that 9th win would get the ball rolling heading into 2017. I had high expectations for the Cougars in 2016 and let’s be completely honest, they were pathetic the first two weeks of the season, headlined but a loss to in-state FCS foe Eastern Washington. Who knows, but maybe if you take care of that gimme game you may not be here playing a hungry Gophers team. I mean your rival Huskies didn’t lose to their FCS opponent and they get a national title shot. I guess I can give you credit for pulling off 8 straight wins after that and blowing out Stanford and Oregon by a score of 93-49, which is impressive no matter how those programs are doing. The Cougars are very capable of putting up some serious points and getting that 9th win they should already have.
10 players have been suspended for their part in an alleged sexual assault. Until this morning, the Minnesota players had decided to boycott all football related activities until the suspensions are lifted. I’m not here to say who’s right or wrong but the Gopher players are making a very bold statement in defending their teammates. I’m 100℅ for team solidarity and win as a team and lose as a team. I just hope these players are standing up for the right reasons. If these players are found to have committed the acts they are accused of, and I really hope that isn’t the case, then they deserve everything coming to them. On the other hand, that Kansas basketball player was suspended for an altercation with his girlfriend, only after a full police investigation, to find he acted in self-defense. I’m not saying what these players allegedly did is ok by any stretch. That said I do think we need to be careful on how quick jump to conclusions, we need to let the due process work itself out. There are people’s lives and reputations at stake on both ends. Ladies I don’t even want you to feel like you can’t come forward if an assault has occurred but it’s not right if you make up a story and destroy a person’s life. I don’t have all the facts of this particular case, I am clearly speaking in generalities on the subject as a whole. I know we here like to make jokes and have some fun but situations like this one are happening all across the country and they are no laughing matter.
Bizzle: Washington State A-Rob: Washington State
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
12/27, 10:15 pm, ESPN
Boise State (10-2) vs Baylor (6-6)
Does anyone just want the season to be done more than Baylor? They pulled a reverse-Miami (OH), going from 6-0 to 6-6. The season got undone before it ever started after it was revealed that the football team was basically a giant raping factory. As a result they gave Rhule a 7-year contract because they know they’re in some trouble in the short term. That short term includes this bowl game. Even though Boise State had a disappointing year by its standards, they’re plenty good enough to beat a coachless program that has been done with 2016 for weeks.
Bizzle: Boise State A-Rob: Boise State
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/28, 2 pm, ESPN
(23) Pittsburgh (8-4) vs Northwestern (6-6)
With all due respect for the Northwestern Wildcats and their fans, this preview isn’t about you at all. It’s about James Conner and his heroic return to the field after a battle with cancer. Conner did not only return after missing all but one game in 2015, but he had a major role. Over 1,000 yards and 16 touches per game is no easy feat after a battle with cancer. We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and the daily struggle it is to overcome it. Some days just getting out of bed is the hardest thing and Conner came back to play power conference football. Conner had 117 yards and a score against Penn State, and he put up 132 and a score against Clemson, both wins for his team over power conference champions. Impressive to say the least. I’m glad to see he’s entering the NFL draft and I hope someone drafts him. Talk about having a character guy in your locker room, and you know the work ethic is off the charts. I have a high interest level in this game to watch James Conner play for the Pitt Panthers one last time.
Bizzle: Pittsburgh A-Rob: Pittsburgh
Russell Athletic Bowl
12/28, 5:30 pm, ESPN
(16) West Virginia (10-2) vs Miami (8-4)
This might just be my favorite non-major bowl, for no other reason than for the first time I can recall, it has actual, hard stakes. Don’t ask me why, but a WR recruit named Michael Harley, who apparently was down to these two schools in his recruitment, has decided he will be attending the school that comes away with the win in this game. That’s just terrific. I love it. I would love to see this become a common thing. WVU had a really nice year, although their nascent playoff hopes were obliterated by Oklahoma late in the season. Miami saw improvements under Mark Richt, but they lost to Notre Dame, so I can’t take them seriously. Congrats on your new recruit, Dana Holgorsen.
Bizzle: Miami A-Rob: West Virginia
Foster Farms Bowl
12/28, 8:30 pm, FOX
Indiana (6-6) vs (19) Utah (8-4)
What happened to the Indiana Hoosiers? Last season they looked like a program on the rise, going 6-6 last season and being a missed or made field goal away from their first bowl win since 1991. Fast forward to today, and the Hoosiers are still 6-6 but now without their head coach Kevin Wilson. Wilson was surprisingly fired due to some off the field issues that had to do with player mistreatment. In this day and age there is zero tolerance for mistreatment of players. I wonder if they would have fired him if IU was a top 10 team. They will get the chance to end their streak against a Utah Utes team that had by their standards a down year. 8 wins at most schools is a great season, Indiana would kill for that. Well, this season was filled with ups and downs. Wins over USC and UCLA were huge but then losses to Cal, who was replacing #1 overall pick Jared Goff, and Oregon, who was a delusional hot mess this season and fired their head coach after a 4-8 campaign. They also lost to both Pac-12 title participants. This is not a must-win for Utah but it definitely is a game they shouldn’t lose. So sorry Hoosier fans, especially my boy Johnny D, but that winless streak should continue.
Bizzle: Utah A-Rob: Utah
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
12/28, 9 pm, ESPN
Texas A&M (8-4) vs Kansas State (8-4)
We don’t know how much longer Bill Snyder will be coaching at Kansas State, so I just have to give him all kinds of props. Other than Art Briles at Baylor (and we saw how that ended), I can’t remember an instance of one single coach, by himself, turning the entire culture of a program around. Most of us, myself included, are too young to remember, but Kansas State used to be an absolute disaster. Snyder somehow made them relevant. Hell, he damn near won a national title in 1998, and was in the running for one as recently as 2012 (wish it would’ve happened). A&M, meanwhile, continues to underachieve under Kevin Sumlin. I know which way I’m going.
Bizzle: Texas A&M A-Rob: Kansas State
12/29, 2 pm, ESPN
South Florida (10-2) vs South Carolina (6-6)
10 wins with a shot at 11 and your head coach is off to Oregon. Definitely not an ideal situation, but expected when you are a successful non-Power 5 school like the USF Bulls . I wish Taggart all the best in rebuilding a delusional Oregon Ducks program. The world is going green more and more every single day and college football has done its best to jump on the trend by recycling head coaches. Their latest recycle is former Texas HC Charlie Strong. All I can say is, what exactly has Strong done to deserve this job? He was piss poor at one of the top schools in the country. Isn’t that what makes America great though? You can just be complete garbage and still get another shot to make millions of dollars to only in all likelihood be awful at that job and make millions off a buyout. I call that the Charlie Weis plan. Sorry Gamecock fans, but as far as I’m concerned you haven’t been relevant since Spurrier left. That said, you should have a great shot to win this latest installment of the Birmingham Bowl. This is the perfect chance for Muschamp to get all those underclassmen more practice and game reps for 2017 in hope to regain some relevance in a tough SEC.
Bizzle: South Florida A-Rob: South Carolina
12/29, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Arkansas (7-5) vs (22) Virginia Tech (9-4)
One of my favorite snippets of last year’s mega-bowl preview was when Bizzle took shots at Bret Bielema when discussing Arkansas’ game. No need for that this year as his Razorbacks had a pretty solid season, although the entire SEC was low-key kind of garbage outside of Alabama. That said, Bielema’s team gave Bama a pretty decent fight in their game and went 8-3 otherwise. Nothing to sneeze at. Va Tech had a good year under Justin Fuente, too, but the Hokies didn’t play any of the good teams in the ACC until the league title game, so we don’t really know yet how good they are. I’m going to take a leap of Fuente faith here and pick the Hokies.
Bizzle: Virginia Tech A-Rob: Virginia Tech
Valero Alamo Bowl
12/29, 9 pm, ESPN
(12) Oklahoma State (9-3) vs (10) Colorado (10-3)
Should the officials have allowed Central Michigan that final play in week 2 that resulted in a loss? Absolutely not, but Mike Gundy, should you have allowed CMU to even be in that game in the first place? Absolutely not! It was at home, you are supposed to be the one of the top teams in the Big 12/10 (whatever), and they are a 6-6 school from the MAC whose best known player is Chris Kaman. You thought I’d say Antonio Brown? Well, I don’t appreciate the way he twerks on the field. It’s highly offensive. So bitch, moan and grow all the mullets you want, Gundy, but there’s a reason you aren’t in a New Year’s 6 bowl and your big brothers are, that and an 18-point whooping they put on you.
Colorado, let me be honest for a second, I had zero faith in you coming into this season. But it seems you proved me and everyone in the country wrong as you made it to your first Pac-12 title game. While your season was a great one by Buffaloes standards, it left much to be desired as Colorado couldn’t quite get that big win when given the chance, of which they had plenty. Michigan, USC, Washington, if you win any one of those games, and maybe two, this season becomes a whole different animal for Colorado. Well, you get one more chance against the Cowboys. I sure hope you can pull this one out because a pissed off Mike Gundy is awesome and it’s ten times better while he rocks a mullet!
Bizzle: Colorado A-Rob: Oklahoma State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
12/30, 12 pm, ESPN
Georgia (7-5) vs TCU (6-6)
It’s safe to say these two teams hoped for better from this season. Georgia ran off Mark Richt for only being a really good coach and not being Nick Saban or Urban Meyer, then proceeded to hire a guy whose only real qualification was working on the same side of the ball Saban was already really good at, without any head coaching experience. Bold move. TCU, meanwhile, was a trendy playoff pick prior to the season but never really got off the ground in that respect. So I guess it comes down to which disappointment you like more here.
Bizzle: TCU A-Rob: TCU
Hyundai Sun Bowl
12/30, 2 pm, CBS
(18) Stanford (9-3) vs North Carolina (8-4)
The only thing more fraudulent than North Carolina’s 8-4 is the African-American Studies program. They had some bad losses such as Duke and NC State. The Tar Heels also snuck out some close wins over FSU and Pitt. Ok, enough of that. Can anyone explain to me how UNC still hasn’t gotten any type of real punishment for that fraud? Anyway, I could go on for hours about college athletics and the fraud that goes on. Why is Mitch Trubisky being projected 4th overall in mock NFL drafts? Chicago, if you do that you deserve the darkness of the cellar you will occupy for the next 6-8 years. Why are we at a point where having a “top” QB in the draft is so important? Does anyone think Jared Goff is the next Montana (who was picked in the 3rd round) or Carson Wentz is headed towards Tom Brady’s career (Brady was a 6th-round choice). He’d be lucky just to have a wife as hot as Brady’s. Sure, it’s really early to tell on those two, but when you just watch them play, I don’t see superstar greatness. Why not take a guy like Christian McCaffrey early (not 4th overall) and build around guys with a chip on their shoulder who could be a game-changer in multiple phases? If the Heisman Trophy wasn’t so QB-biased, McCaffrey may have won it in 2015. I know David Shaw is probably sad to see him leave but happy for him to continue to play the game he loves. So not a lot of bowl analysis there but I’m sure by now you have caught on that’s not our style.
Bizzle: Stanford A-Rob: Stanford
Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl
12/30, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Nebraska (9-3) vs (21) Tennessee (8-4)
Another one of these games where both teams had higher hopes. Tennessee in particular was supposed to be special this year, but they were just another disappointment. Butch Jones is on his way to being the next coach fired for not being Saban in the SEC. Nebraska looked pretty good for a while, but Ohio State’s utter destruction of them later in the season seems to have sent them into a bit of a tailspin. Butch has to win this game to get his usual preseason top-10 ranking that he will immediately prove to be ridiculous, so I’ll go with him here.
Bizzle: Tennessee A-Rob: Tennessee
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
12/30, 5:30 pm, Check Local Listings
South Alabama (6-6) vs Air Force (9-3)
This has to be the worst-placed bowl in the worst-placed time slot on the worst day of all the bowl season in the history of bowl games. It’s literally sandwiched between Nebraska vs Tennessee and Michigan vs Florida State. Not to mention Stanford-North Carolina and TCU-Georgia play that day too. What purpose would you have to watch this game? Even Dallas Davis’ mom would have to already be free this day to watch the game. I can’t imagine she’s breaking plans for the Arizona Bowl. I guess the only plus for South Alabama is that they won in the final week to get to 6-6 and keep the total number of 5-7 teams down to two, Mississippi State and North Texas. I’ll probably out of irony wear the South Alabama Jaguars shirt I found at my local Goodwill. So let’s go Jaguars, get that first bowl win in school history and continue to be the best Jaguars team in college or the NFL.
@PDESPN tweeted us, “I got Air Force by 17 their offense rolls”. I know he’s kind of a big deal in South Bend, be jelly!!
Bizzle: South Alabama A-Rob: South Alabama
Capital One Orange Bowl
12/30, 8 pm, ESPN
(6) Michigan (10-2) vs (11) Florida State (9-3)
I’m so happy/relieved that Michigan was not in the playoff this year. This football season went badly enough for us Notre Dame fans – the thought of their hated foe up north getting a playoff spot was enough to make us go crazy, or even root for Alabama. The Wolverines still, though, earned a spot in the New Year’s 6, and they draw Florida State for the contest. I’m not sure what to do with the Seminoles, who had a pretty good year but lack any signature wins. The Ole Miss victory on Labor Day was supposed to be a big deal, but ultimately wasn’t. I’m going to default to my ‘pick what you don’t want to happen’ rule here.
Bizzle: Florida State A-Rob: Michigan
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
12/31, 11 am, ABC
(20) LSU (7-4) vs (13) Louisville (9-3)
Who’s in charge of scheduling the bowl games? What is the Heisman Trophy winner and a surefire Top 10 pick doing playing each other at 11 am on New Year’s Eve? I know that the playoff is at 3 that day but you couldn’t have this game on another night? It’s going to be a great day of college football but if you are a busy person like I am, which game are you most likely to skip? It’s this one, but if you do you will miss a chance to see the electric Lamar Jackson. If you haven’t seen him yet, I suggest you do. Ed Orgeron finally landed a head coaching job after interim-ing a few times. He had LSU playing their best ball of the season and went 5-2 to end the season. Louisville, on the other hand, shot out of the gate with a big win over Florida St and averaged 63.5 points per game in their first 4 games, and then it all started to slip. A close lose to Clemson who’s in the CFP, a struggle against Duke, and losses to Houston and in-state rival Kentucky leaves you scratching your head. Louisville either is really good and blows you out or struggles. They don’t really have a middle ground, and if Lamar is struggling they are struggling. He is practically the entire team. So it will be interesting to see which Cardinals team shows up at 11 am on New Year’s Eve. Let’s just hope Jackson isn’t out with Johnny Manziel the night before.
**Update** Leonard Fournette will be sitting out the Citrus Bowl, in an effort to protect his ability to provide for his family. I for one respect that, there is literally nothing he could do in this game to improve his draft stock. If anyone is upset with this decision please go and ask Jaylon Smith. If he could do it all over again, would he? He was a projected top 10 pick last season only to have his knee absolutely destroyed in the bowl game. I know that freak injuries happen all the time in football but if you don’t need to put yourself in the situation, why do it? Like I said above, it’s a practically meaningless bowl game being played at 11 am. Not one GM in the NFL is refusing to draft Leonard for sitting out the game, I can guarantee that.
Bizzle: Louisville A-Rob: LSU
12/31, 11 am, ESPN
Georgia Tech (8-4) vs Kentucky (7-5)
This game might set some kind of record for low viewership for a game on the same day as the major bowls. It’s opposite a much better game in the Citrus Bowl, and matches two nonentities without big fan bases. I can’t imagine there’s much interest anywhere in this game, even though Kentucky reaching a bowl game is sort of cool. Georgia Tech is back bowling as well after a train wreck season last year. I’m going to go with the upstart Wildcats against the triple option, though.
Bizzle: Kentucky A-Rob: Kentucky
1/2, 1 pm, ABC
(17) Florida (8-4) vs Iowa (8-4)
Might this game end up like 5-3 or something like that? Neither of these squads has done much of anything on offense most of the year, although both have had their moments defensively, with Florida’s goal line stand at LSU and Iowa knocking off Michigan. I expect this game to be utterly ugly to watch, and I have absolutely no idea who wins. Let’s throw a dart and see where I land.
Bizzle: Iowa A-Rob: Iowa
Goodyear Cotton Bowl
1/2, 1 pm, ESPN
(15) Western Michigan (13-0) vs (8) Wisconsin (10-3)
If you hook up at a certain school once upon a time, can you claim to be a die-hard fan? Does the bandwagon term get thrown out the window, because of the relations you had? I’d like to think that is the case. You know what, that is the case! New rule in the Junkies’ world – if you ever sleep with anyone on any campus you can claim to be a lifelong fan. I will not judge you or question your fandom, if you say you once upon a time made animal noises with the lady of your dreams who lived in the dorm across from you, guess what – you’re a fan. If that gentleman you have flirted with all semester finally gives you the go ahead, guess what – you are a fan. If you take the walk of shame wearing a shirt with that school’s name, you guessed it – you are a fan of that school! Now that I just made groundbreaking history in sports fandom, let’s go to the preview.
All I do know is because of that lucky lady I am rooting for the Western Michigan Broncos as if they are my own. They had the best season in school history and are undefeated heading into this New Year’s 6 bowl game against Wisconsin. The only person hotter than coach P.J. Fleck is our former goddess Kate Upton, but ever since she admitted publicly that she sleeps with her fiance Justin Verlander (I know, right?) we have soured on her a bit. But we still managed to mention her, per usual. Wisconsin, sure, you may on paper have the better team but I didn’t make sweet sweet love to a lady on your campus so it doesn’t matter to me that you made it to the Big Ten Title game or that you played Michigan and Ohio State tough – you lost all of them. The Badgers had a great year but it wasn’t as great as my time at Western Michigan University, so go Broncos beat Badgers!!
Bizzle: Western Michigan A-Rob: Wisconsin
1/2, 5 pm, ESPN
(9) USC (9-3) vs (5) Penn State (11-2)
Penn State, so you think you belong in the CFP, well just ask the committee made clear YOU DON’T. Name one team ahead of you that got blown out by 39 points? You can’t: OSU, Clemson, Washington and Bama’s 3 losses were by a combined 17 points total! Don’t get me wrong, you guys have had one hell of a season, but not top 4 worthy even with a Big Ten Title under your belt. Here’s another chance to prove the committee wrong, playing a USC team that was firing on all cylinders after a 1-3 start. They rattled off 8 straight wins to close out the regular season with wins over both teams who played in the Pac-12 title game, so it should be a competitive game with both teams having a lot to prove. It’s nice to see James Franklin has Penn State back to national relevance for something other than, you know, that whole scandal thing. USC should prove to be too much for State as they try and prove they are still the best in the Pac-12, and yes I mean the entire Pac-12. If they blowout Penn State and Washington gets absolutely slaughtered just wait till some quack like Mark May says USC would have fared better against Bama, even with a 52-6 loss against them week one. I know, college football is funny sometimes.
Bizzle: USC A-Rob: USC
Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/2, 8:30 pm, ESPN
(14) Auburn (8-4) vs (7) Oklahoma (10-2)
Auburn in a major bowl. For God’s sake. You’ve got to love when conference tie-ins result in undeserving teams reaching a major bowl game. Back in the day it was the Big East providing those teams, but who’d have ever thought it would be the SEC? Every team in the SEC but Alabama had four losses or more, which has to be unprecedented. I guess Auburn was the best of the crap bunch to play in this game. But Oklahoma is red-hot right now, and the Tigers don’t have nearly the offense to keep up. I think this one might be ugly.
Bizzle: Auburn A-Rob: Oklahoma
And now…the Junkies’ playoff picks!
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
12/31, 3 pm, ESPN
(4) Washington (12-1) vs (1) Alabama (13-0)
Remember back in the day, let’s say 2008, when the Pac-12 was the Pac-10. A player by the name of Jared Zabransky graced the cover of NCAA Football 08 (seriously, bring that series back). If you’re like me you took the worst program in all of the conferences because you knew you could control 12 teams back then and try to make them national powers. Well I always took Washington, a Tyrone Wilingham (yeah Irish fans remember that guy)-coached Huskies team that went 0-12 that season. Fast forward to 2016 and the Huskies are 12-1, being coached by Zabransky’s former head coach Chris Petersen and are two wins away from a national title. The EA cover athlete doesn’t exist. (Seriously that sucks – I hate that a Michigan player donned the cover of the final game). Well, unlike video games Washington won’t have enough cheat codes or EA Pennants to beat an Alabama that is just nasty good. Nick Saban’s squad is undefeated coming off an ass-whooping of Florida. They beat Florida so bad you know the NCAA 11 cover athlete (Tim Tebow) was probably cussing up a storm at his television in between his fielding ground ball sessions.
Seriously, what Nick Saban has done in his time at Alabama is nothing short of remarkable. He could lose all 22 starters and still challenge for a national title every single year! Nick Saban’s coaching career makes Bear Bryant’s coaching career look like Nick Saban’s NFL Coaching career. I’ve fought it long enough: Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of my life time or my kids’ lifetime; hell, probably their kids’ lifetime. So when I’m a crotchety old man talking to my grandkids and the ask me who the greatest coach I ever say I’ll say Nick Saban and Joe Maddon!! By the way, the Cubs won the World Series in case you forgot. Look Washington, I’m rooting for you to make this a game because New Year’s Eve won’t be so awesome if you get blown out by 43 points (in my best Jimmy Kimmel singing voice), but you are just another rung in the ladder that is Alabama and its historic run. It will never get the Alabama 30 for 30 treatment because their reign will never ever end. There are only 3 certainties in life: death, taxes and Nick Saban’s perfect hair. how does he do it? He looks better at almost 70 than I do at 30. This is the easiest bowl to predict in case you scrolled past all my nonsense. Washington, if you keep this close you should get at least a share of the National Title.
Bizzle: Alabama A-Rob: Alabama
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
12/31, 7 pm, ESPN
(3) Ohio State (11-1) vs (2) Clemson (12-1)
While we’re here, let’s pour one out for the actual New Year’s Six — the tripleheaders on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day concept. Personally, I loved it. Two days of wall-to-wall football featuring some of the best teams in the country plus whatever crap squad got shoehorned in due to a conference tie-in. Unfortunately, many people didn’t and got pissed that semifinal games took place during a work day. This was understandable, but I really wish the concept would have taken off because I thought it was really cool. Instead, this year, we have the weird Dec. 30 Orange Bowl followed by New Year’s Eve semifinals and Jan. 2 bowl games thanks to the NFL taking over New Year’s Day.
But down to business. I have little clue of what to make of this game. If the Ohio State that played Nebraska or the Clemson that played South Carolina shows up to this game, it’ll be a bloodbath. But unless that happens we’re probably looking at a close one. These teams have both been enigmas most of the season, with no one ever really knowing if they’re showing up to play any given week. JT Barrett vs. Deshaun Watson, Curtis Samuel vs. Wayne Gallman, the teams’ stud defensive lines each trying to take down the quarterback — this game is chock full of fun matchups. I expect it to come right down to the end and ultimately the Tigers will ring in the new year with a win.
Bizzle: Ohio State A-Rob: Clemson
National Championship Pick
1/9, 8:30 pm, ESPN
In true Junkies fashion, I’m going to disagree with A-Rob, just like the time he told me don’t mess with our window A/C unit it was fine right where it was. I went against him them and I will do so now, both instances with a few beers in me. You know what, A-Rob, even though I may have almost destroyed a perfectly fine A/C unit I didn’t destroy my reputation by taking Clemson to lose to Alabama in this game. I’m taking Ohio State to lose to Alabama in this title game. That’s right Buckeye fans, Bizzle is putting you up against the greatest college football program of all time. You have no chance, so save me the speech about “that’s what they said a couple years ago”. Stop living in the past Buckeye fans, we don’t ever talk about the past (ok maybe a couple times throughout this preview, but who’s counting). I could go through and list all the reasons you’ll eventually lose this game but I pretty much did that in the Washington/Bama preview, so I will save you the hassle of reading that twice, given the fact that if you have made it this far into the preview, you are probably wishing you were that A/C unit I knocked out our window. If you have made it this far you are amazing and a champ. I’m sure our wives just clicked on this to make us happy and we appreciate that. If they had read this then they would know that we are taking them on a cruise to the Bahamas but since they won’t see this I guess it’s cold zero degree weather and snow for the A-Rob and Bizzle households. Sorry for rambling, but this is the one year that this is a sure thing so much so that I’d put our kids on it. Again, if our wives read this they’d be pissed but since they won’t, screw it – I put my first and second born on Alabama winning the whole thing! Don’t believe the hype ESPN is trying to create by saying this is the strongest field in College Football Playoff history. It’s over, done, finished. The Crimson Tide are your 2016 National Champions and Bizzle has lost his damn mind. So if someone puts that they will bet their children on so and so winning a game and they don’t, is that a binding contract? Asking for a friend….
Bizzle said it all. There’s no stopping the runaway Bama freight train. I’ve said repeatedly on the Junkies Twitter account, which you should check out, that there’s really no point in trying to win a title as long as Nick Saban or Urban Meyer is in coaching. Seriously, since the 2006 season began, the only titles that have been won without Saban or Meyer’s fingerprints all over them were 2010 and 2013. To review, in 2010 Auburn had a guy who was almost certainly ineligible, and in 2013, Alabama’s only regular season loss was on that insane Kick Six. They would have gotten in a four-team playoff if there had been one, and who wants to bet they’d have won it? Bama is going to beat Clemson, probably pretty easily. I’m obviously rooting for Deshaun Watson and the Tigers in the title game rematch, but this Bama team is better than last year’s, and I don’t think Clemson is as good as they were a year ago. This one could get ugly.