The holiday season brings calorically dense foods, awkward family gatherings and you guessed it: BOWL SEASON. This particular bowl season features an interesting slate of games, that has me, personally, both excited and intrigued. Below I detailed my five favorite non-playoff matchups and why I’ll be watching.
1.) Las Vegas Bowl – BYU vs. Utah (Dec. 19)
THERE MIGHT BE A FIGHT. Yes, a fight. Not an in the moment “I’m mad because we’re losing this bowl game fight”, but a “this is a 100 year old rivalry nicknamed the HOLY WAR and ‘BYU is a dirty team’” fight. If you missed it, Utah DT Seni Fauonuku spoke at the Las Vegas Bowl banquet and called BYU a dirty team. He started his rant with the phrase, “I don’t dance, I throw hands.” If that doesn’t make you want to watch a bowl game, I’m not sure what does.
To compliment the possibility of a fight, there will be a few good players playing in this game. My player to watch: BYU QB Tanner Mangum. Mangum has thrown for over 3,000 this season and is bound to air it out in the Las Vegas Bowl. I also expect BYU to play hard for Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall, who will be coaching his final game for BYU after deciding to bolt for UVA. Kudos to the Las Vegas Bowl for setting up a game nicknamed ‘The Holy War’ in Sin City. What a time to be alive.
2.) Sugar Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss (Jan. 1)
Despite the bizarre stories coming out of Oxford involving superstar DL Robert Nkemdiche, his alleged use of synthetic marijuana and his apparent injuries stemming from his jumping out of a hotel window, I like this matchup. This game pairs Oklahoma State, a team that was once believed (however short lived) to be the best team in the Big12 and Ole Miss, a team that might’ve made the SEC Title game if it weren’t for a miraculous fourth-down conversion by Arkansas in what resulted in an upset victory for the Razorbacks.
In truth, I’m always interested to watch a Hugh Freeze coached team. Last year they got absolutely boat-raced by a scary good TCU team during bowl season, and while I don’t think this OSU team is as good as that TCU team was, I’m curious to see if they show up. I’m also curious to see how all that soon-to-be NFL talent from Ole Miss plays in their final game for the Rebels.
3.) Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Houston vs. Florida State (Dec. 31)
This particular game pits a traditional power against a non-power 5 standout. Both teams are exciting to watch, Houston with their high-powered offense and “H-Town Takeover” swagger, and Florida State, with their All-World running back, Dalvin Cook. Dalvin Cook. Enough said.
Tom Hermann quickly spurned a few of the more lucrative jobs in college football after the regular season in favor of staying at Houston. While I believe he’s just waiting for Charlie Strong’s demise at Texas, nevertheless, he’s still at Houston. I’m excited to watch his team take on an underrated Seminole team. Dalvin Cook is going to run for a lot of yards and this will be a fun game to watch.
4.) Fiesta Bowl – Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (Jan. 1)
This matchup of traditional powers will pit two very good football teams, with two of the most insufferable fan bases in the country, against each other. I can see and hear it now. The dotting of the “I” by the O-H-I-O State band, coupled with the almost nauseating Notre Dame fight song. Aside from that, it has the potential to be a barnburner.
Despite both teams playing relatively weak schedules throughout the year (Ohio State more than Notre Dame), both teams have shown glimpses of greatness. Ohio State is loaded with talent and has the potential to put up a ton of points. Notre Dame overcame perhaps the most injury-plagued season in recent memory from any school, and still managed to lose only two games. I expect Notre Dame to get a steady diet of Ezekiel Elliott, perhaps close to thirty carries, as he takes his last snaps as a Buckeye.
It’ll also be fun to watch Urban Meyer and Brian Kelly on opposite sidelines. Meyer provided us all with a great .gif of him sad-eating pizza just a few years ago and Kelly is always teetering on the edge of an apocalyptic-like blowup during games. This game has the making for a ton of fireworks with NFL talent all over the field.
5.) AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl – LSU vs. Texas Tech (Dec. 29)
Leonard Fournette is just 259 yards away from capping a 2,000-yard season. 2,000 YARDS!!! I absolutely think he gets that this game. Texas Tech has yet again another dreadful defense (sorry Kliff) and gives up 271.8 yards per game on the ground. Fournette might run for a bazillion yards this game, which is reason alone to watch.
Aside from Fournette trucking everything that moves — we get a front row seat to watch Les Miles in his first game back from “The Coaching Dead”, or something like that. The Mad Hatter could coach this game in a robe and the LSU administration couldn’t do anything about it. I actually want to see that! Can you imagine Les Miles, adorning a robe and cigar on the sideline of the Texas Bowl?
But in all seriousness, this game will be worth it just to watch Fournette. Aside from Fournette, Texas Tech’s air raid offense is always fun to watch and Kliff is sure to pull out all the stops to try and get a postseason victory. Fournette will run for a ridiculous amount of yards and it’ll be a good watch.