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Ashway: Your guide to college football's bowl season
Denton Ashway
DENTON ASHWAY

‘Tis the season for bowl games! Here’s your compendium ranking every game on the interest meter:

42. Hawaii; Memphis vs. Hawaii: Hawaii alone among 84 bowl teams has a losing record. Make sure the egg nog’s strong!

41. Potato; Kent vs. Wyoming: Kent snapped 974 plays, 4thmost in the nation. Wyoming snapped 776, ranking 111th.

40. Camellia; Georgia State vs. Ball St: Panthers have won 6 of 7. Cardinals are one of many 6-6 MAC teams.

39. Frisco Classic; North Texas vs. Miami (Ohio): This game was created so every non-losing team gets a participation medal. That includes all 6-6 MAC teams like Miami.

38. Bahamas; Middle Tennessee St. vs. Toledo: Sad that this game kicks off at noon on Friday, as it usually provides loads of excitement. MTSU (6-6) wins – or loses – by an average of 3 touchdowns per game.

37: Myrtle Beach; Old Dominion vs. Tulsa: ODU won its last five to finish 6-6. Tulsa won its last three to finish. Altogether now, 6-6.

36. Military; Boston College vs. East Carolina: Coach Mike Houston led the Pirates to their first winning season since 2014. BC finished 6-6. Sigh.

35. New Mexico; UTEP vs. Fresno St: From 2016 to 2020, the Miners went 9-47. Fresno’s coach, and qb, bolted for Washington.

34. Lending Tree; Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty: Don’t miss Liberty QB Malik Willis. Eastern Michigan hasn’t won a bowl game since 1987.

33. Pinstripe; Maryland vs. Virginia Tech: Another exciting matchup of 6-6 teams. The Hokies beat Virginia to get here. The Terps beat Rutgers!

32. Armed Forces; Army vs. Missouri: Army’s option attack tests Mizzou’s porous run defense, which ranked 125th in the nation.

31. Texas; LSU vs. Kansas State: Bowl season ends with K-State’s diminutive running back Deuce Vaughn. Ed Orgeron chose beachcombing over this.

30. Quick Lane; Western Michigan vs. Nevada: Defenses beware: Nevada averaged 37 points per game; Western averaged 41.5 over its last six.

29. Arizona; Central Michigan vs. Boise State: Boise’s 7-5 record was its worst since 2016. The Chippewas also finished 7-5, by winning their last four, all against bowl teams. Well, MAC bowl teams.

28. First Responder; Louisville vs. Air Force: Air Force led the nation in rushing. QB Malik Cunningham led Louisville to a, wait for it, 6-6 record.

27. Duke’s Mayo; North Carolina vs. South Carolina: Just what we need; another battle of 6-6 teams.

26. Guaranteed Rate; West Virginia vs. Minnesota: Oh, the intrigue! Minnesota hired WVA analyst Kirk Ciarroca as its new OC. Too bad he wasn’t around when the Gophers lost to Bowling Green. The Mountaineers? 6-6. Sigh.

25. New Orleans; Louisiana vs. Marshall: A rousing night-cap to this Saturday’s action features the Cajun’s high-octane offense against the Herd’s stout defense.

24. Fenway; SMU vs. Virginia: At last! A Bowl game played in front of the Green Monstah! SMU has a new coach. Virginia’s old coach exits.

23. Gasparilla; UCF vs. Florida: My, how they’ve fallen. The Gators probably didn’t even know this bowl existed. With a win, the Knights might declare themselves state champions.

22. Cure; Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina: The Huskies were winless a year ago and won the MAC this year. Chanticleers were disappointed to finish 10-2.

21. Sun; Washington State vs. Miami [Florida]: Be sure to tune in to see what the El Paso weather’s doing.

20. Boca Raton; Western Kentucky vs. Appalachian State: The Hilltoppers score 43 points per game; the Mountaineers allow 19.3.

19. LA; Utah State vs. Oregon St: Great to see Aggie coach Blake Anderson have success after leaving Arkansas State and the memories of losing his wife, Wendy, to breast cancer.

18. Independence; UAB vs BYU: UAB held UGA to 56 points.

17. Liberty; Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech: A Mike Leach team always provides sublime entertainment. Did we mention that Tech is 6-6?

16. Birmingham; Auburn vs. Houston: Auburn didn’t like playing here when the foe was Alabama. Wonder if they’ll have any backs left by kickoff? And didn’t they finish 6-6?

15. Citrus; Iowa vs. Kentucky: Iowa’s offense, soporific at best, will be without RB Tyler Goodson, who inexplicably declared for the NFL draft.

14. Las Vegas; Wisconsin vs. Arizona State: A pair of 8-4 teams that managed to fly under the radar all season. Enjoy Badger’s RB Braelon Allen against the Sun Devils linebacking crew.

13. Frisco; UTSA vs. San Diego State: The Road Runners’ offense will have plenty of room to operate. Aztecs punter Matt Araiza averages 51.37 yards per punt.

12. Music City; Tennessee vs. Purdue: This trip’s just a golf ball’s throw from Knoxville for the Vols. Can the Boilers slow them down?

11. Holiday; UCLA vs. NC State: Can’t get enough of these ACC/Pac-12 matchups!

10. Outback; Penn State vs. Arkansas: A pair of teams that faded badly from top-eight rankings kick off the new year.

9. Alamo; Oregon vs. Oklahoma: A pair of teams jilted by their ex-coaches meet with similar incentives.

8. Cheez-It; Clemson vs. Iowa State: Dabo Swinney’s longest season ends without a playoff berth or either coordinator.

7. Gator; Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M: Cinderella Wake against The Team that Beat Bama.

6. Fiesta; Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame: Cowboys might have missed the playoff by a foot. Irish missed it by Cincinnati.

5. Sugar; Baylor vs. Ole Miss: Never miss a chance to see Lane Kiffin’s offense in action. Second Sugar in three years for the Bears.

4. Peach; Pittsburgh vs. Michigan State: Spartans coach Mel Tucker returns to Georgia a rich man.

3. Rose: Utah vs. Ohio State: Utes bashed Oregon twice. Oregon beat the Bucks.

2. Cotton; Alabama vs. Cincinnati: Can David slay Goliath?

1. Orange; Michigan vs. Georgia: Ahhh, the dream game of the bowl season.