NCAA College Football: Bowl Season Preview – Part 3

🏈 @joshratt spotlights @NIU_Football’s game with @BallStateFB as yet another in a big month for the reigning champs.

➕ 𝙥𝙡𝙪𝙨 which teams have been flying the @MACSports flag so far this season?

#MACtion | #TheHardWay | #WeFly
https://thegeniusplaybook.com/state-of-the-mac-as-conference-play-starts-in-full/

🌪️ Marc Cucurella has made the most overlapping runs of any #CFC player so far this season. He’s combined with Sterling (7), Mount (6) and Havertz (6) regularly in his attacking runs.

🤕 He misses the game against #CPFC with illness. A boost for Palace?

#CRYCHE

𝙒𝙝𝙤 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙝𝙪𝙧𝙩 @SpursOfficial?

These five players are the #Gunners most successful dribblers:

🔺 Saka: 32 (20 take-ons)
🔺 Martinelli: 24 (12 take-ons)
🔺 Jesus: 12 (9 take-ons)
🔺 Ødegaard: 7 (2 take-ons)
🔺 Zinchenko: 7 (8 take-ons)

#ARSTOT | #AFC

🔴⚪️

League leaders #AFC face undefeated #Spurs in 3rd, in a North London Derby that will be a stern test for both of these teams.

A 𝙝𝙪𝙜𝙚 game to restart the @premierleague. Here’s how they match-up. ⬇️

#NorthLondonDerby | #ARSTOT

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Tuesday, Dec. 28
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl
Houston vs. Auburn
Noon EST

Auburn’s best game this year came in the Iron Bowl, the annual matchup against Alabama. It took a 97-yard drive and overtime for Alabama to knock off the Tigers. Outside of that game, Auburn has largely underperformed. 4-year starter Bo Nix at quarterback has announced his desire to enter the transfer portal and won’t play in this game. Houston was in the American Conference final and lost a tough game to playoff bound Cincinnati.

Auburn will always have a tough defense, and if they play inspired football, will be able to shut down this Houston offense. Houston has had a good year and will want to prove to doubters that they are more than just a conference runner-up and deserve to be in the top-25. Houston’s 37.3 points per game ranks 14th in the country and can pose significant challenges to defenses who aren’t prepared.

AUBURN, ALABAMA – NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Bo Nix #10 of the Auburn Tigers looks to throw a pass during their game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Air Force vs. Louisville

3:15 p.m. EST

Air Force is the second of three Division I Service Academies to make a Bowl Game this year. The Falcons run a style of the triple option offense, just like the other two schools. Louisville had slightly higher hopes entering the year, but won’t be too disappointed if able to end the year with a Bowl win.

If you like running the ball, this game should be one to watch. The triple option is sure to produce a lot of run plays and Lousiville quarterback Malik Cunningham is a true dual-threat quarterback. He has thrown for 2,734 yards and rushed for 968 with 37 total touchdowns. If the Falcons defense can contain him, the score may be close enough for the Falcons to win. This may also be a high scoring game with neither defense able to figure the other out.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – OCTOBER 23: Malik Cunningham #3 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown against the Boston College Eagles at Cardinal Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
AutoZone Liberty Bowl 
Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech
6:45 p.m. EST

This game is worth the watch for more than just the play on the field. Current Head Coach of the Mississippi Bulldogs Mike Leach is the former coach of Texas Tech and where he made his name known. Mike Leach is one of the smartest offensive minds in the game and developed a potent “Air Raid” offense. Outside of football, Leach is famous for his non-sequiturs and tangents during press conferences (worth the Google).

Leach has no warm feeling towards Texas Tech after they fired him for cause, which he disputes. Texas Tech has moved through several coaches since Leach’s departure but continue to run a version of the Air Raid. This game is bound to be a high scoring affair and should lead to some meme-worthy quotes from the Bulldogs coach.

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS – NOVEMBER 6: Head Coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs on the sidelines during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Razorbacks defeated the Bulldogs 31-28. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl 
UCLA vs. NC State
8 p.m. EST

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly has not performed up to his expectation after leaving the NFL and his success at the University of Oregon. However, he has the Bruins bowl-eligible again and a win here would go a long way for his recruiting possibilities. NC State had a chance to run the table in the ACC and win the title, but slipped up late in the season.

There is talent on both sides of the ball here, but NC State has one of the best offensive lineman in the country. Offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu is expected by some to be the first offensive lineman selected in next year’s NFL draft. The sophomore is 6’4” and 320 pounds that can move with some of the fastest rushers in NCAA. Tune in to watch someone play who you can expect to see next year on Sundays.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 23: Ikem Ekwonu #79 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack in action against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Guaranteed Rate Bowl 
West Virginia vs. Minnesota
10:15 p.m. EST

West Virginia played well at times, but ultimately fell short of expectations in the Big-12 Conference. The University of Minnesota has had impressive runs under head coach P.J. Fleck, but wasn’t as competitive as they would have liked this season.

This game will have some players who will hear their name called during the NFL draft next year and will be worth watching. However, it may be easier said than done to watch this game. Noting the date and time of this game, it airs at 10:15 EST on a Tuesday. The beauty of Bowl Season is constant football, but even the most dedicated of fans may have a hard time watching this game so late. If you can manage, I would expect some wild plays and a wild ending in this game… nothing good happens after midnight.

MORGANTOWN, WV – NOVEMBER 20: West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown on the sideline during the fourth quarter of the college football game between the Texas Longhorns and the West Virginia Mountaineers on November 20, 2021, at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Wednesday, Dec. 29
Wasabi Fenway Bowl 
SMU vs. Virginia
11 a.m. EST

SMU has benefitted from the Transfer Portal more than other teams. Specifically, they have found success in Texas High School quarterbacks leaving the state as top recruits but soon deciding to return closer to home and focus on playing time. That is the case this season with the Mustangs star quarterback Tanner Mordecai. Mordecai transferred from the University of Oklahoma and led the team to eight wins while passing for 3,628 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Virginia has had a tough final stretch of the season and after winning four games in a row, they lost their final four games. Facing an offensive powerhouse in SMU, Virginia may struggle to slow down Mordecai and his passing attack. Virginia ranks 103rd in points allowed and averages 466 yards of total offense against them.

CINCINNATI, OHIO – NOVEMBER 20: Tanner Mordecai #8 of the SMU Mustangs throws a pass in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
New Era Pinstripe Bowl 
Maryland vs. Virginia Tech
2:15 p.m. EST

Maryland and Virginia Tech are two programs that expect to compete and look to finish the season on a high note. Virginia Tech ended their regular season with a win against in-state rival Virginia in the Commonwealth Game. Maryland started 4-0 before losing to tough Big Ten competition.

For NFL fans, they may recognize the name of Maryland’s starting quarterback: Tualia Tagovailoa. That’s right, he is the younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback and Alabama alum Tua Tagovailoa. The younger brother has shown flashes of brilliance and may develop into a superstar. This bowl game will go a long way towards that development.

PISCATAWAY, NJ – NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Michael Locksley of the Maryland Terrapins talks with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa #3 during the third quarter of a football game at SHI Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Maryland defeated Rutgers 40-16. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Cheez-It Bowl 
Clemson vs. Iowa State
5:45 p.m. EST

If you told Iowa State they were playing Clemson in a bowl game at the end of the year, they would think they made the playoffs; and certainly had those expectations. Both teams had the coaching and player talent to be at the top of their conference and potentially push for the playoffs. However, injuries and lack of playmakers kept both teams back.

Iowa State had star running back Breece Hall return for his senior year, but most won’t expect him to play in the bowl game. He is NFL bound and may decide to rest and prepare for the combine and draft. Clemson lost defensive coordinator Brent Venables to Oklahoma along with Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliott to Virginia. Head Coach Dabo Sweeney is in reload not rebuild mode, so winning this Bowl game and performing well will go a long way in helping him stay competitive in the ACC for years to come.

AMES, IA – NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Brock Purdy #15 of the Iowa State Cyclones and running back Jirehl Brock #21 of the Iowa State Cyclones celebrate after Jirehl Brock scored a touchdown in the first half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on November 26, 2021 in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones won 48-14 over the TCU Horned Frogs. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
Valero Alamo Bowl 
Oregon vs. Oklahoma
9:15 p.m. EST

While this game is technically called the Valero Alamo Bowl, it should be called the interim Head Coach Bowl. Both Oregon and Oklahoma have replaced their head coaches and will be coached by interim play callers. Oklahoma is bringing back Bob Stoops to lead the Sooners in their bowl game…for old times’ sake.

Oregon has their chance for the college football playoffs before getting blown out twice by PAC-12 rival Utah. Oklahoma had similar hopes and had their chance before losing to Oklahoma State and missing out on the Big-12 championship game. The Sooners have found their long-term star quarterback in Caleb Williams. His playmaking ability with his arms and legs will lead to exciting plays and set him up for a Heisman push heading into next year.

STILLWATER, OK – NOVEMBER 27: Quarterback Caleb Williams #13 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the fourth quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys won ‘Bedlam’ 37-33. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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🏈 @joshratt spotlights @NIU_Football’s game with @BallStateFB as yet another in a big month for the reigning champs.

➕ 𝙥𝙡𝙪𝙨 which teams have been flying the @MACSports flag so far this season?

#MACtion | #TheHardWay | #WeFly
https://thegeniusplaybook.com/state-of-the-mac-as-conference-play-starts-in-full/

🌪️ Marc Cucurella has made the most overlapping runs of any #CFC player so far this season. He’s combined with Sterling (7), Mount (6) and Havertz (6) regularly in his attacking runs.

🤕 He misses the game against #CPFC with illness. A boost for Palace?

#CRYCHE

𝙒𝙝𝙤 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙝𝙪𝙧𝙩 @SpursOfficial?

These five players are the #Gunners most successful dribblers:

🔺 Saka: 32 (20 take-ons)
🔺 Martinelli: 24 (12 take-ons)
🔺 Jesus: 12 (9 take-ons)
🔺 Ødegaard: 7 (2 take-ons)
🔺 Zinchenko: 7 (8 take-ons)

#ARSTOT | #AFC

🔴⚪️

League leaders #AFC face undefeated #Spurs in 3rd, in a North London Derby that will be a stern test for both of these teams.

A 𝙝𝙪𝙜𝙚 game to restart the @premierleague. Here’s how they match-up. ⬇️

#NorthLondonDerby | #ARSTOT

Load More