2019 Bowl Preview

We have made it through the 2019 regular season. We have found out “Who’s In” and who’s out. In my opinion, the committee got it right with LSU as the one-seed and Ohio State as two. I am very excited to see how the Playoff shakes out. But we also have 37 other bowl games to watch. It’s a bit of a disappointing slate looking at the games. There are a few really interesting ones, but all of the coaching changes and players sitting out who knows which teams will really be up mentally for their bowl game. It is still fun to try and guess.

How I fared in the regular season:
58-26 (that is 69%! A 7% increase from last season)
8-2 in Conference Championships (but only 4-6 in my preseason picks)

*All times Eastern

CFP National Championship (January 13): :
Superdome, New Orleans: 1LSU vs 3Clemson; It all comes down to this. Tigers versus Tigers. The Battle for Death Valley. B-Y-O-G versus G-E-A-U-X. Burrow versus Lawrence. This really should be a great game. Both teams come into this game undefeated and with plenty of reasons that they will win. LSU’s offense is playing out of their minds. Heisman winning QB Joe Burrow was responsible for EIGHT touchdowns in their semifinal against Oklahoma. The LSU defense has stepped up to the plate over their last few games, but Trevor Lawrence will be the best QB they have faced. Clemson’s offense is also great, and they have one of the best defenses in the country. The chess match between LSU’s passing game coordinator, Joe Brady, and Clemson’s defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, will probably determine the winner of this game. LSU gets a huge advantage in this game: it is being played in the Superdome in New Orleans. This is a virtual home game for the Purple and Gold. I think Clemson puts up a great fight, but LSU gets it done. I am picking LSU. 8:00pm on ESPN

CFP Semifinals (December 28):
Peach Bowl: 4Oklahoma vs 1LSU; LSU has been the best team in the country pretty much all season. Their defense was suspect a few times this year, but they have cleaned it up over the last two games and held Texas A&M to 7 points and Georgia to 10 points. Oklahoma has been iffy this year. They have done enough to win most of their games, but that is about it. When it comes to the CFP and especially LSU, “just good enough” is not going to cut it. I think LSU will win this game comfortably. I am picking LSU. 4:00pm on ESPN

Fiesta Bowl: 3Clemson vs 2Ohio State; I have a tough time deciding who to pick in this game. I think Ohio State might be the most complete team in college football, but Clemson hasn’t really had a chance to showcase their skill. Their toughest opponent this season was Texas A&M way back in week two. The Tigers, or at least head coach Dabo Swinny, have a huge chip on their shoulder. They feel disrespected by the media for dropping them to third in the polls without losing a game. This one should be one of the better games of the season, and I just can’t bring myself to pick Ohio State. I am picking Clemson. 8:00pm on ESPN

December 20:
Bahamas Bowl: Buffalo vs Charlotte; These two 7-5 teams will kick off the bowl season in the Bahamas. This will be Charlotte’s first ever bowl appearance so I’m not sure they will be able to overcome that excitement as well as the excitement of getting to spend time in the Bahamas. Both teams have looked good down the stretch, but I think the Bulls have the edge. I am picking Buffalo. 2:00pm on ESPN

Frisco Bowl: Utah State vs Kent State; Utah State underperformed this season, but I still think they are a pretty good team. Kent State finished 6-6, but won their final three games to get to a bowl. Honestly, I just don’t see Utah State losing to Kent State. I think the Aggies have a lot to prove in this game and they will get it done. I am picking Utah State. 7:30pm on ESPN2

December 21;
New Mexico Bowl: Central Michiagn vs San Diego State; This is an interesting game to pick. CMU wins their games by scoring a lot of points whereas SDSU’s defense wins their games. The Aztecs give up less than 13 points a game and that is an amazing number. A close and low scoring game favors the Aztecs and that is why I am picking them. I am picking San Diego State. 2:00pm on ESPN

Cure Bowl: Liberty vs Georgia Southern; This game has the potential to be a shootout. Both of these teams have given up a lot of points this season but also have the ability to score a lot. GASO has proven themselves a bit more with their season ending upset win over Appalachian State, and that is why I am picking them in this game. This one could be really fun to watch. I am picking Georgia Southern. 2:30pm on CBSSN

Boca Raton Bowl: SMU vs Florida Atlantic; What a matchup in Boca Raton. Both of these teams won 10 games this season and they both did it by scoring a lot of points. The biggest issue in this game is the loss of Lane Kiffin at FAU. So even though the Owls get to play at home, I think SMU will come out on top. I don’t expect there to be much defense in this game. I am picking SMU. 3:30pm on ABC

Camellia Bowl: FIU vs Arkansas State; I don’t really expect this one to be much of a game. Arkansas State is the better team and they have been on a tear to end the season. I don’t think FIU will be able to score enough points to win this game. I am picking Arkansas State. 5:30pm on ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl: 19Boise State vs Washington; Las Vegas always gets a great game and this year is no different. Washington is better than their 7-5 record and this game has a little bit of extra meaning to it. This will be Chris Petersen’s final game coaching for the Huskies. He got his start at Boise State and I think his players will really be ready for this one to send him out with a win over his former team. I think this one will be close and hard fought. This might also be the last football game played in Sam Boyd Stadium since the Raiders are coming to town next season. I am picking Washington. 7:30pm on ABC

New Orleans Bowl: 20Appalachian State vs UAB; This was a game I was really looking forward to until Missouri hired App State’s coach. I still think this will be a good game, but it just feels like UAB now has the advantage. The Blazers are huge underdogs in this game, but I think they have something to prove after they got a beat down from FAU in their conference championship game. I think this one will be close and UAB will sneak out a win. I am picking UAB. 9:00pm on ESPN

December 23:
Gasparilla Bowl: UCF vs Marshall; UCF has a bit of a down season this year. They lost three games and ended the season unranked. They were able to do that without their star QB and he will be back next year. Marshall had a bit of an up and down season but still finished 8-4. I just think the talent on the UCF roster will be too much for Marshall to handle. I am picking UCF. 2:30pm on ESPN

December 24:
Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii vs BYU; What a season Hawaii had this year! They finished 9-5 and played in the MW Championship game. They will host BYU in the Hawaii bowl and I think they will make it to 10 wins. BYU has been a strange team this season and it has been very hard to pick games that involve them. I don’t see Hawaii letting this game go, especially at home. I am picking Hawaii. 8:00pm on ESPN

December 26:
Independence Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs Miami; Miami has been bad this season and is coming off two losses to FIU and Duke. Louisiana Tech has been a strong team but stumbled late against Marshall and UAB. This game will come down to the mindset of Miami. They could want to end the season by proving they are better than people think or they might just want this season to be over. I am picking Louisiana Tech. 4:00pm on ESPN

Quick Lane Bowl: Pittsburgh vs Eastern Michigan; I didn’t see too much of either of these teams this season. Pittsburgh seems to be the better team and has played the stronger competition. EMU has scored a lot of points this year but has a decent defense. A close game favors Pitt, and I don’t see EMU blowing out the Panthers. I am picking Pittsburgh. 8:00pm on ESPN

December 27:
Military Bowl: North Carolina vs Temple; North Carolina has been up and down this season. Mack Brown’s return has been a decent one and his contract got extended through 2024. Temple has been a strong team this year when their defense plays well. I expect this to be a back and forth game and that the more experienced team, Temple, will win. I am picking Temple. 12:00pm on ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl: Michigan State vs Wake Forest; This is one of the least exciting games of the bowl season in my opinion. Any game featuring Michigan State becomes close to unwatchable. They struggle against good offenses and they don’t have much of an offense. I think Wake is the better team and they will be able to score plenty of points to win this game. I am picking Wake Forest. 3:20pm on ESPN

Texas Bowl: 25Oklahoma State vs Texas A&M; Oklahoma State has been a bit strange this season. They are a good team, but I just haven’t been impressed while watching them. Texas A&M has 5 losses, but all 5 come to teams currently ranked in the top 13, and two of them are playing in the CFP. I think they are a better team than the one that lost to LSU to end the season. I think they will come out strong in this game and show people what kind of team they really are. This is also a great bowl environment and should be a fun game. I am picking Texas A&M. 6:45pm on ESPN

Holiday Bowl: 22USC vs 16Iowa; This is the first bowl of the season that features two ranked teams. USC has come on strong late in the season to end up ranked. Iowa is just a hard team to play because they force you to play their game. I just don’t think USC with can get through the Iowa defense and come out with a win. That being said, if USC gets ahead early and force Iowa to play catch-up, they could win by a lot. This should be an interesting game. I am picking Iowa. 8:00pm on FS1

Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force vs Washington State; Washington State hasn’t been good this season. It is hard to tell why they are so inconsistent, but they are. Air Force hasn’t lost since losing to Nay way back on October 5th. Air Force is the better team. That is really all the analysis I have for this game. I am picking Air Force. 10:15pm on ESPN

December 28:
Camping World Bowl: 15Notre Dame vs Iowa State; Iowa State had another up and down season. Notre Dame only lost two games this season, but they didn’t play all that well. I have more faith in Ian Book and Notre Dame than I do in Brock Purdy and Iowa State but I hope I’m wrong). I am picking Notre Dame. 12:00pm on ABC

Cotton Bowl: 17Memphis vs 10Penn State; This has the potential to be a very interesting game. Memphis has really kicked some butt this season, enough that their coach, Mike Norvell, was hired by Florida State. Penn State only lost to Minnesota and Ohio State this season, but they had a few issues on defense that could leave them open to allowing points in this game. Memphis tends to give up a lot of points to good teams, and Penn State is a really good team. I think this one will be closer than most people expect. I am picking Penn State. 12:00pm on ESPN

December 30:
First Responder Bowl: WKU vs Western Michigan; This game comes down to Western Kentucky’s defense. Western Michigan has not won a game this season when scoring less than 30 points and the Hilltopper defense has only given up 30 points three times. WKU did a number on my Razorbacks and they looked really strong this season. I don’t see them losing in this game. I am picking WKU. 12:30pm on ESPN

Music City Bowl: Mississippi State vs Louisville; This is more of a gut pick than a thought-out pick. Mississippi State hasn’t been great this season, but they have a really strong running back in Kylin Hill. Louisville is probably the better team in this game, but I just have a feeling that the Bulldogs are going to pull out all the stops with Tommy Stevens at QB for this game. It is also possible that Louisville completely blows Miss State out of the water. It is pretty sucky that Tennessee didn’t end up in this bowl. Before these two teams were officially announced, there was talk that Tennessee was all but officially going to play in this game so many Vol fans bought tickets that will now go unused. I am picking Mississippi State. 4:00pm on ESPN

Redbox Bowl: California vs Illinois; California started the season 4-0 with big wins at Washington and at Ole Miss but then lost four games in a row and fie of their final eight. Their offense has struggled but their defense has done ok. Illinois was a little up and down this year. They finished off the regular season with two losses (one to Iowa, the other to a not so great Northwestern team). This is a difficult game to pick, but I think Illinois is a little bit of a better team. I am picking Illinois. 4:00pm on FOX

Orange Bowl: 9Florida vs 24Virginia; Virginia had a great season. They were able to win their division but then went on to get clobbered by Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Florida has had a stellar season and their only losses came to LSU and Georgia. I don’t expect this game to be very close. Florida should pull away early. I am picking Florida. 8:00pm on ESPN

December 31:
Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Kentucky; Kentucky has been so impressive with their WR turned QB Lynn Bowden Jr. He likes to run the ball and run it some more and no one can stop him. They have been scoring a lot of points with him in the backfield and I don’t think that trend will stop in this game. VT has a pretty good defense, but the Wildcats are riding high and I don’t think it would be smart to pick against them in this game. I am picking Kentucky. 12:00pm on CBS

Sun Bowl: Florida State vs Arizona State; To put it nicely, Florida State was bad this season. Arizona State hasn’t been great, but Herm Edwards knows what he’s doing. The Sun Devils are coming off back to back wins over Oregon and Arizona and would love to continue the momentum of those big wins all the way into the offseason. I really think they will be the more motivated team in this game and that is why they will get the win. I am picking Arizona State. 2:00pm on CBS

Liberty Bowl: 23Navy vs Kansas State; Kansas State had a very good season under their new head coach, Chris Klieman. Many thought that there would be a dip after losing long-time head coach Bill Snyder, but there was not. The Wildcats ended the season with wins over Texas Tech and Iowa State. Nay has been one of the better teams in the country this season. Their only losses came to Memphis and Notre Dame. The Midshipmen score a ton of points and also have a defense to back them up. I just don’t think Kansas State will be good enough to win this game. I am picking Nay. 3:45pm on ESPN

Arizona Bowl: Wyoming vs Georgia State; Although these teams have the same record, I think Wyoming is the better team by a lot. Georgia State did start the season off winning a stunner against Tennessee, but their defense has been a bit of an issue. Wyoming has a very strong defense and they will need that to take down the Panthers. I think this will be a relatively close game. I am picking Wyoming. 4:30pm on CBSSN

Alamo Bowl: 11Utah vs Texas; Texas seemed to be back this season. But their defense was just nonexistent, and toward the end of the season, their offense disappeared as well. The Utes only lost two games this season, one early on to USC in a bad defensive performance and then they lost to Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship Game. Utah is the better team, but both of these teams had higher hopes than the Alamo Bowl this season so mentality will play a huge part in this game. I am picking Utah. 7:30pm on ESPN

January 1:
Citrus Bowl: 14Michigan vs 13Alabama; This might be one of the more interesting games of the bowl season. I don’t think many people would disagree if I said Alabama was the better team in this game. That being said, I’m not sure if they mentally want to be in this game. Their two losses mean a failed season to most Alabama fans and probably to the team as well. Michigan started the season off not being able to play offense but they were able to put everything together in the final third of the season. I am picking the Tide because they are better on both sides of the ball, but this game might be very close. I am picking Alabama. 1:00pm on ABC

Outback Bowl: 18Minnesota vs 12Auburn; Minnesota had a historic season. They won their first nine games of the season before dropping two of their last three to Iowa and Wisconsin. Auburn opened the season with an exciting win against Oregon and they were good this season. They gave LSU their toughest test of the season and were able to beat Alabama. I think they will finish off their season with another good win. This one should be a pretty close game. I am picking Auburn. 1:00pm on ESPN

Rose Bowl: 6Oregon vs 8Wisconsin; Of the group of bowl games designated the “New Year’s Six” this is the first of only two that actually take place on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. This is a really interesting game. Oregon’s offense was as good as expected, but after losing to Auburn they seemed to be on the outside looking in. They were poised to make a playoff run before a late stumble to Arizona State knocked them out. They did win the Pac 12 by upsetting Utah. While the Rose Bowl is not a consolation prize, it must be hard to know how close the Ducks were to making it to the playoff. Wisconsin underperformed this season. Though the team is very good, and two of their three losses came to Ohio State, they also lost a bad game to Illinois. These are two very good teams and this should be a very close game, I think the difference maker will be RB Jonathan Taylor for Wisconsin. He should have been in NYC for the Heisman ceremony. I am picking Wisconsin. 5:00pm on ESPN

Sugar Bowl: 5Georgia vs 7Baylor; These are two more teams who were possibly just one win away from making the playoff. Baylor might have the most surprising team of the season. They started off 9-0 before losing to Oklahoma. Their only other loss on the season came again to OU in the Big 12 Championship Game. Georgia underperformed this season. They started off strong then had a weird loss to South Carolina. They didn’t lose again until the SEC Championship game when they got beat up by LSU. Jake Fromm is one of the better QBs in the country when he is playing well. Georgia does have a lot of players out due to injury and that is something to watch. Either way, I think UGA is the better team and they will get this win. There is a potential for a ton of points in this one. I am picking Georgia. 8:45pm on ESPN

January 2:
Birmingham Bowl: Boston College vs 21Cincinnati; Cincinnati only loss three games this season and two of them came to Memphis in their last two games. Their other loss came early on to Ohio State. This Cincinnati team should be in a better bowl game. They should not have to play a 6-6 team in the Birmingham Bowl. Boston College had to win their final game against Pitt to become bowl eligible. The Eagles were competitive in a lot of their losses, but I don’t think they are good enough to beat Cincinnati. I am picking Cincinnati. 3:00pm on ESPN

Gator Bowl: Tennessee vs Indiana; Tennessee started out the season bad. They made Arkansas fans like me at least a little happy that we weren’t that bad. But unlike Arkansas, Tennessee was able to turn it around. The Vols won their final five games. They are on a roll and it is hard not to be excited for them. Indiana was on a roll after losing to Michigan State. After that loss, they rattled off four straight wins but then dropped two in a row to Penn State and Michigan before surviving against Purdue to finish off the regular season. I think this game will be competitive, but I can’t pick against the Vols right now. I’m still annoyed they didn’t get to play in the Music City Bowl. This might be a more “prestigious” bowl game, but think of how much money the Music City Bowl and the Uniersity of Tennessee missed out on. I am picking Tennessee. 7:00pm on ESPN

January 3:
Potato Bowl: Ohio vs Nevada; This was a hard game for me to pick. Both are decent teams that were up and down this season. Besides UNL (woo!), Nevada lost to four pretty good teams. Four of Ohio’s losses came by 3 or less points, which is pretty impressive. Ohio might have the better team and they definitely have the better QB, but something about this game being in Idaho makes me want to pick Nevada. The Wolf Pack needs this to be a close one for them to win. Ohio has the ability to get off to a hot start and leave Reno in the dust. I am picking Nevada. 3:30pm on ESPN

Armed Forces Bowl: Southern Miss vs Tulane; I didn’t see these teams play much this season. Southern Miss has been a top tier CUSA team over the last few years and they seem to have another good offense. Tulane also puts up big numbers when they are playing teams with less-than-great defenses. I expect tons of points to be scored in this game and I’m going to take Southern Miss in a shootout. I am picking Southern Miss. 11:30am on ESPN

Januray 6:
Lending Tree Bowl: Louisiana vs Miami(OH); Here are two more teams I don’t know a ton about. Miami((OH) won the MAC this season so they must be pretty good. ULL lost a close one to Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship. ULL has a better offense and I think having a 1000+yard rusher is going to be the difference. I think this one will be close for a while, but ULL will pull away in the end to get this victory. I am picking Louisiana. 7:30pm on ESPN

Posted in 2019 Season, Football

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AP Top 25

1. Clemson (1-0,1-0)
2. Alabama (0-0)
3. Oklahoma (1-0,0-0)
4. Georgia (0-0)
5. Florida (0-0)
6. LSU (0-0)
7. Notre Dame (1-0,1-0) (ACC this year)
8. Auburn (0-0)
10. Texas A&M (0-0)
9. Texas (0-0,0-0)
11. Oklahoma State (0-0,0-0)
12. North Carolina (1-0,1-0)
13. Cincinnati (0-0,0-0)
14. UCF (0-0,0-0)
15. Tennessee (0-0)
*16. Memphis (1-0,0-0)
*17. Miami (1-0,0-0)
*18. Louisville (1-0,0-0)
*19. Louisiana (1-0)
*20. Virginia Tech (0-0,0-0)
*21. BYU (1-0)
*22. Army (2-0)
*23. Kentucky (0-0)
*24. Appalachian State (1-0,0-0)
*25. Pittsburgh (1-0,0-0)

Dropped Out: 23Iowa State (0-1,0-0)

*New Team

**Big 10 and Pac-12 dropped from rankings for Sept 19 poll. Expect the Big 10 back in rankings in two weeks (return to play Oct 24)

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