Bowl Season’s here at last!
Here now your annual guide to all 39 games, from those generating casual interest to the most riveting contests on the schedule.
Don’t Look Now
39. Gasparilla. The hideous Tropicana Field venue hosts this tilt named for legendary pirate Jose Gaspar, who plundered Florida’s gulf coast 200 years ago. So now you know.
38. Cure. Georgia State’s Penny Hart led the state with 1,094 receiving yards. Western Kentucky’s Mike White was sacked 38 times!
37. Camellia. Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill bought $10,000 worth of tickets in an effort to entice the student body to venture down to Montgomery for this one.
36. Arizona. A pair of 6-6 teams both nicknamed Aggies square off, but New Mexico State makes its first bowl appearance since 1960.
35. Independence. Ahh, Shreveport in December! For this, FSU scheduled a make-up game. To avoid this, coach Jimbo Fisher fled to College Station.
34. Frisco. Sorry, it’s in Texas, not California. Sorry, SMU, making its first bowl appearance since 2012, will do so without coach Chad Morris, who’s bound for Arkansas.
33. Famous Idaho Potato. Wyoming and Central Michigan venture to sunny Boise for their bowl reward. Both teams feature exciting quarterbacks, but will the elements let them play?
32. New Mexico. Mike Bobo heads to Albuquerque in hopes of avoiding a third straight 7-6 record. He’ll bring stellar wide receiver Michael Gallup, which should help.
Worth a Look
31. Quick Lane. Northern Illinois tries not to extend coach Rod Carey’s four game bowl losing streak. Duke tries to win its second bowl game in 50 years.
30. Pinstripe. No, Giancarlo Stanton won’t be the main attraction. That would be Boston College running back A.J. Dillon, the ACC Freshman of the Year. And don’t forget that Iowa kept Ohio State out of the CFP.
29. Music City. Northwestern and Kentucky collide in a battle of Wildcats, but NW has won seven straight. Meanwhile, it’s already basketball season in Lexington.
28. Heart of Dallas. Fulfill your Boxing Day by watching Utah running back Zack Moss and West Virginia receiver David Sills V. By the way, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has won 10 of his past 11 bowl games.
27. Military. Virginia finished 1-5, with the win coming against Georgia Tech. Guess what offense Navy runs?
26. Bahamas. The bowl everyone would rather watch in person always delivers an exciting game. Two 8-4 teams, Ohio and UAB, should continue the tradition.
25. Sun. By contrast, it’s always fun to tune in to see what the weather’s doing in El Paso.
24. Belk. How will Wake Forest handle the long road trip to Charlotte? How will Texas A&M handle losing four of its last five?
23. Boca Raton. If you’ve ever been amused by the antics of Lane Kiffin and Terry Bowden, this one’s for you.
22. Cactus. 78-year-old K-State coach Bill Snyder may be ready to retire. Again. UCLA coach Jim Mora has already been retired.
Try to Watch
21. New Orleans. It’s the first one!
20. Hawaii. Nothing shouts Christmas Eve like Hawaii!
19. Armed Forces. San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny led the nation with 2,027 yards rushing. Army beat Navy. In the snow.
18. Dollar General. Appalachian State and Toledo bring their outstanding quarterbacks.
17. Las Vegas. Boise enjoys playing Pac-12 foes, but Oregon was 6-1 with quarterback Justin Herbert, who should play, and 1-4 without him.
16. Birmingham. Can you say shootout? South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers accounted for 31 TDs. Texas Tech plays in the Big XII.
15. Orange. Both teams lost their conference title games, perhaps sapping their interest in this game.
14. Outback. Sleep in on New Year’s Day. Michigan finished 101st in total offense, and South Carolina finished 108th. First one to 10 wins.
13. Foster Farms. Coach Jeff Brohm awakened slumbering Purdue, and Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate always provides thrills.
12. Holiday. This bowl usually delivers an exciting game, and this contrast between 9-3 teams Washington State and Michigan State won’t disappoint.
11. Texas. Texas plays in its own bowl game? Not really. But check out Missouri’s offense: over 45 points in each of six straight wins to end the season.
10. Taxslayer. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s the main attraction.
9. Liberty. Iowa State and Memphis played in some of the most exciting games of the season.
8. Camping World. Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State offense against Bud Foster’s Virginia Tech defense.
7. Citrus. It still seems odd that Notre Dame and LSU both wound up with 9-3 records.
6. Alamo. What will TCU coach Gary Patterson devise to slow down Stanford’s Heisman finalist, Bryce Love?
5. Fiesta. Penn State allowed 73 punt return yards all season. Washington’s Dante Pettis has nine career punt return touchdowns, including four this year.
4. Peach. Auburn better come back to Atlanta ready to play, because UCF can put points on the board in a hurry.
3. Cotton. Ohio State and Southern Cal battle to see which team is more upset about being left out of the Playoff.
2. Sugar. Clemson. Alabama. Again. The rubber game.
1. Rose. Oklahoma’s offense against Georgia’s defense. Georgia’s offense against Oklahoma’s defense. Great stuff.