College Football

Bowl Game Rankings n’ Picks

2016 national championship

It’s that time of year. So much football. So many empty seats. So many decent to high ratings. It’s the insanity known as postseason college football…BOWL SEASON! And despite the fact it feels like there are 17864 bowl games this year, there are only 40 plus the national championship. It is time to rate these bowl games. This will be done in chronological order. The rating system will be out of 6 like last year (but no Vernes…sorry). And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go!

New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. New Mexico – The bowl season starts again with the New Mexico Bowl (no I am not counting the Celebration Bowl since it’s not an FBS game). This should be a good one to start things out as more often than not this bowl game is an exciting one. Pick: New Mexico. Rating: 2 cacti out of 6.

Las Vegas Bowl: BYU vs. Utah – The Holy War is on again! An amazing set of circumstances got these two schools together for a bowl game. In Sin City no less. Going to be damn exciting for sure. Watch it be a blowout just to disappoint us all. Pick: Utah. Rating: 5 Vegas hookers out of 6.

Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Ohio – The former FCS powers get to play in their first bowl game with a chance to complete an 11-win season. Cue Conference USA call-up rumours. Ho-hum Frank Solich brings the Bobcats to another bowl game. Pick: Appalachian State. Rating: 2 Camellias out of 6 (what’s a Camellia?).

Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs. San Jose State – A brand-new bowl played in Orlando. I think they have nine now. Also, the first bowl game to be played on CBS Sports Network. This is also one of three bowls that has a 5-7 team involved. Georgia State and their fans will be excited but very few others will be as well. Pick: Georgia State. Rating: 1 cure for insomnia out of 6.

New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech – Another New Orleans Bowl, another team from Louisiana participating. At least the organizers for this one realize this isn’t the Sugar Bowl so you need some kind of hook to get the fans. And with some home cookin’ every year, they have done just that. Pick: Arkansas State. Rating: 2 bowls of gumbo out of 6.

Miami Beach Bowl: USF vs. Western Kentucky – Remember last year’s Miami Beach Bowl? It was awesome. It went to overtime. A high-scoring affair. And a massive brawl afterwards. If this game was in a primetime spot I am sure many would buy tickets just to potentially see one of those three things. Too bad it’s in an afternoon slot before Christmas. Who the hell figured that was a good idea? Pick: Western Kentucky. Rating: 3 black eyes out of 6.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron vs. Utah State – You know. I love college football. I really do. But this is going to be a tough sell, even for me. Another afternoon game just before Christmas when I kind of have to work. Yes I will put it on my PVR but it will be one of the few games I can guarantee I won’t watch most of. Pick: Utah State. Rating: 1 horrible timeslot out of 6.

Boca Raton Bowl: Temple vs. Toledo – You know you’re not in a Power Five conference when this happens to you. You have a successful season. Many are talking potential New Year’s Six bowl for your program. Even College Gameday came to your game. So what’s your reward? A trip to Boca before Christmas. Ugh. Luckily we have two very good teams so it should be a good game. Pick: Temple. Rating: 4 better conference invites out of 6.

Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State vs. Northern Illinois – From about 2006 until this past season, this would have been an amazing match to see. Not saying this won’t be, but both programs are on slightly down years compared to their usual conference domination. Just glad San Diego State isn’t there. Not that it brings a ton of fans anyway. Pick: Boise State. Rating: 3 wilting poinsettias out of 6.

GoDaddy Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern – Georgia Southern is another former FCS power getting their first bowl game opportunity. And they go up against a team that lost their offense-on-speed head coach Dino Babers to Syracuse which he may end up regretting. Option versus up-tempo should be fun to watch at least. Also, their timeslot is slightly better than their normal primetime after the last NFL Wild-Card game spot. Pick: Georgia Southern. Rating: 2 new websites out of 6.

Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan – Last year’s Bahamas Bowl was ridiculous. Central Michigan’s almost-comeback and last-second touchdown was epic. Unfortunately the game was on at noon on Christmas Eve. Same thing this season. How stupid is that? Bowls should ALWAYS be on at times where at least a decent part of the country can see them. Pick: Western Michigan. Rating: 1 tropical storm out of 6.

Hawaii Bowl: Cincinnati vs. San Diego State – This seems like a treat for the schools involved. I have never been to Hawaii but it looks like a beautiful place. Too bad the seats are mostly empty for this game and the teams involved are usually just OK. I guess this year we get the Mountain West champs there but this still feels meh. Pick: San Diego State. Rating: 3 hula dancers out of 6.

St. Petersburg Bowl: UConn vs. Marshall – A bit of an odd starting time (11 in the morning). I know UConn is looking forward to this. Bob Diaco has brought them back from being bottom-feeders to a bowl team. And no Bob, you don’t have to create a trophy for this game. They have one for you if you win. Pick: Marshall. Rating: 1 shitty stadium out of 6.

Sun Bowl: Miami vs. Washington State – So let’s see the logic of this entire bowl experience. First off, you have two teams that have to travel a ton of miles to get to this bowl game. Then, this game is on CBS, the home of the SEC Game of the Week, with no SEC team involved. This game needs to change into Big XII vs. SEC West immediately! Pick: Miami. Rating: 4 runs for the border out of 6.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Washington – One of the great turnaround stories in college football this season is that of Southern Miss. What an amazing job Todd Monken has done down in Hattiesburg. Washington has been mired in mediocrity for years now. If Chris Petersen doesn’t show some big progress next season, he could be without a job. Pick: Southern Miss. Rating: 2 ignored bowl games out of 6.

Pinstripe Bowl: Duke vs. Indiana – So where are they putting the basketball court? Hahahaha. But seriously this should actually be a pretty good team. Duke has been good now under David Cutcliffe and Indiana FINALLY made it to a bowl game after years of experts saying they should sneak in to bowl season. Pick: Duke. Rating: 3 New YAWKUZ out of 6.

Independence Bowl: Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech – If this wasn’t Frank Beamer’s final game this would be so far down the list it may not have even qualified for the list. Another case of something great happening in a game that very few will watch (until the last minute of the fourth quarter). Pick: Virginia Tech. Rating: 2 big send-offs out of 6.

Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska vs. UCLA – Seeing the Huskers, at 5-7, getting the opportunity to play in a decent bowl against a pretty good Pac-12 team in UCLA makes me a bit sick. I hate to say it but it is surely time to stop adding bowls (and consider taking bowls away). I hope the Bruins mop the floor with them just to prove a point. Pick: UCLA. Rating: Hopefully 4 cans of whoop-ass out of 6.

Military Bowl: Navy vs. Pittsburgh – Seems fitting that Navy gets to play in the Military Bowl. I mean they don’t get to travel but they are almost certain to get a full house for this one. Plus, Pitt is a good team so this should be a good game to watch. Pick: Navy. Rating: 4 salutes out of 6.

Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota – Mount Pleasant isn’t too too far from Detroit. And yet they still won’t be able to fill half of cavernous Ford Field for this one. Pick: Minnesota. Rating: 1 brake check out of 6.

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. California – Another bowl that totally makes sense for one of the participants. Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl? Slam dunk I’d say. Also, Sonny Dykes just signed a big extension so this is where he can start earning his new bigger paycheque. Pick: California. Rating: 3 flyovers out of 6.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Baylor vs. North Carolina – Many are saying this is the biggest bowl game outside of the New Year’s Six. It could very well be true as the over/under might be triple digits for this one. Just remember last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl though. Just because a matchup is uber-hyped doesn’t mean the game will end up being a good one. Pick: North Carolina. Rating: 5 copies of Madden ’16 out of 6.

Arizona Bowl: Colorado State vs. Nevada – If this doesn’t force a change in the bowl structure, nothing will. It’s nice for Mountain West commish Craig Thompson to be pissed off about this but he’s part of the problem as he wanted more bowl games for his conference’s teams. Well now you got what you wished for, dumbass. Pick: Who cares (actually I am picking Nevada). Rating: 1 minute of viewing out of 6.

Texas Bowl: LSU vs. Texas Tech – If Leonard Fournette doesn’t run for at least 200 years on this defense then he must be either injured or not caring. This should be a romp for the Tigers but that’s the thing about teams that rarely face each other: anything can happen. Pick: LSU. Rating: 5 cowboy hats out of 6.

Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis – It would be quite the season if Memphis could defeat two teams from the SEC West this season. If the Big XII ever expands I am sure Memphis is quickly becoming their number one choice. Pick: Memphis. Rating: 3 swings of a hammer to knock down Legion Field out of 6.

Belk Bowl: Mississippi State vs. NC State – Hmmm…there just doesn’t seem to be any hype for this game to be honest. I feel no reason to watch it. I will watch it because it’s college football but I won’t like myself afterward for doing so. Pick: Mississippi State. Rating: 3 guesses as to what Belk is out of 6.

Music City Bowl: Louisville vs. Texas A&M – Another bowl between an SEC team and an ACC team that just doesn’t draw much interest. I do think Bobby Petrino should ride onto the field on a motorcycle for shits n’ giggles. Pick: Louisville. Rating: 4 mentions of Elvis out of 6.

Holiday Bowl: USC vs. Wisconsin – Finally we are getting to some really good bowl games. I’m kind of glad they didn’t stick Northwestern out here and gave USC a good opponent for this one. This will go a long way towards figuring out the preseason rankings for next season since both teams usually get a lot of hype. Pick: USC. Rating: 5 viewings of the 30 for 30 film Trojan War out of 6.

Peach Bowl: Florida State vs. Houston – Many are already bemoaning this as the worst of the New Year’s Six bowls (I disagree…that would be the Sugar) but it should still be an awesome matchup and will show good the Cougs really are. Pick: Florida State (but it will be close). Rating: 6 juicy peaches out of 6.

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Oklahoma – Even though the games are on New Year’s Eve, they will still get a shit-ton of eyeballs. This is game number one and should be a dandy. Oklahoma comes in the much hotter team but Clemson has shown they know how to win. A nailbiter for sure. Pick: Clemson. Rating: 6 juicy oranges out of 6.

Cotton Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan State – The second of the semi-final games pits the evil SEC overlords against the upstart Big Ten champs. I thought Ohio State wouldn’t keep it close last year and look what happened. I think this will be another close affair but I don’t think Sparty has what it takes to beat Evil Saban and the Crimson Tide empire. Pick: Alabama. Rating: 6 bales of cotton (I guess?) out of 6.

Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Tennessee – Northwestern on New Year’s Day. Tennessee on New Year’s Day. If any of you thought this would occur, stop lying. No one figured these two teams would both be in a New Year’s Day bowl. After Butch Jones’ new contract (which is fair value in the SEC) he has received a bit of hate so I think most will pick Northwestern. I am too but not for that reason. Pick: Northwestern. Rating: 5 filet mignons out of 6.

Citrus Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan – Two teams that came very close to winning their conferences. Well in Florida’s case somewhat close. In Michigan’s case, one of the worst things to ever happen on the last play of a football game cost them possibly a New Year’s Six bowl game. Anyway, two new head coaches ending their first seasons with a New Year’s Day bowl isn’t that bad a present. Pick: Michigan. Rating: 5 trips to Disneyworld out of 6.

Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State – The Fiesta has gone back to their odd traditional time of 1:00 Eastern (which is 11:00 in the morning local time). It will also absolutely dominate the early ratings (sorry Citrus and Outback Bowls). This is arguably the best game not in the College Football Playoff. I kind of wish Don Criqui was calling this game. Pick: Ohio State. Rating: 6 burning suns out of 6.

Rose Bowl: Iowa vs. Stanford – A nice consolation prize for both these teams. Stanford is making a habit of going to the Rose Bowl but this doesn’t happen very often for the Hawkeyes. The stout Iowa defense against Christian McCaffrey is an intriguing clash. Pick: Stanford. Rating: 6 Granddaddies of them all out of 6.

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss – The worst New Year’s Six bowl is still one of the best of the bunch. And you will watch it since what the hell else is on New Year’s Day evening? Pick: Oklahoma State. Rating: 5 packages of Splenda out of 6.

TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia vs. Penn State – Can they just call it the Gator Bowl again? TaxSlayer Bowl. What a stupid name. The Kirby Smart era starts at UGA but not quite yet since he is still with Bama so it’s kind of a limbo game here for the Dawgs. Penn State did well yet still finished a distant fourth in the Big Ten East division. It’s in SEC territory so I will go with the SEC pick as a tiebreaker here. Pick: Georgia. Rating: 4 tax cheats out of 6.

Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Kansas State – Lucky for this game it is on a Saturday since I am sure not too many people would watch. Being a Razorbacks fan has to be so frustrating. You don’t know which team you will be getting from week to week. If they ever got consistently good it would be scary. Papa Snyder is in 104th bowl (unofficially). Pick: Arkansas. Rating: 4 trips to the old folks home out of 6.

Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. TCU – This should be a fantastic game. Two great coaches. Two very good programs. And Oregon has rebounded from a pretty bad first half of the season. TCU was able to beat their rivals at Baylor to finish their season so both teams coming in pretty hot. Picking based on Alamo Bowl experience (as in last year). Pick: Oregon. Rating: 6 things other than the Spurs happening in San Antonio out of 6.

Cactus Bowl: Arizona State vs. West Virginia – At this point, many fans may have tapped out due to the sheer amount of football that had been watched. I say stick it out since this is the last game before the national championship so you will get a nine-day rest. Pick: Arizona State. Rating: 2 even sharper cacti out of 6.

Tomorrow I will be posting the bowl game schedule so you can plan out how many hours you will have to create a firm buttprint in your couch. Friday there will be the NFL schedule. Friday night starts college football for people that have the specialty pack and then Saturday begins the bowl madness so strap yourself in or something like that.

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