More than ever, I am excited for this year’s college football bowl season. I love non-conference matchups and since 2020 deprived us of those, this year’s bowl schedule should offer a fresh slate of fun matchups – some first time games, some for first time in a long time.
As I have done the last couple of years, I take a look at some fun tidbits with each game, including bowl history and series history and offer some opinions and predictions on various games.
Frisco Bowl Cancelled
Due to COVID issues with SMU, the Frisco Bowl, scheduled for Saturday 12/19, has been cancelled.
Bummer, because this was an exciting matchup given that SMU and UTSA had never faced each other before and would be playing in Texas.
UTSA is expected to play in the First Responders Bowl now, which is just their second bowl appearance in school history.
For SMU, this is the end of a disappointing run. Sonny Dykes first game with SMU came in the 2017 Frisco Bowl, where the Mustangs lost 51-10 to Louisiana Tech.
In 2019, they went 10-3, winning 10 games for the first time in over 30 years. Over the last two seasons, they are a combined 17-6, with nothing to show for it. Last year ended with a thud, losing in the Boca Raton Bowl to FAU and this year will end due to COVID. Mustangs haven’t won a bowl game since 2012
Myrtle Beach Bowl – Appalachian State vs North Texas
Monday December 21 @ 2:30 in Conway, South Carolina
Bowl history: In all 5 years they have been eligible, App State has not only played in a bowl game, but they have won it (5-0 overall).
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Tulane vs Nevada
Tuesday December 22 @ 3:30 in Boise, Idaho
Bowl history: Tulane is appearing in a bowl game for the third straight season under head coach Willie Fritz (2-0).
Nevada lost the 2019 Potato Bowl to Ohio.
Series history: Tulane won 34-17 at home in 1992.
Boca Raton Bowl – UCF vs BYU
Tuesday December 22 @ 7pm in Boca, Florida
Series history: Each team won a home game. BYU won 24-17 in Provo in 2011 and UCF won 31-24 in Orlando in 2004.
Opinion: I am extremely excited for this game, but equally frustrated. UCF finished 6-3, and while it wasn’t a strong year for them, they are still good enough (at least offensively) to hang with many P5 top 25 teams. It’s excited that they still face a top 25 BYU team, but I’d rather see both schools play P5 opponents, rather than each other.
BYU spent time in the top 10 and are still ranked in CFP poll but cost themselves a NY6 bowl by playing and losing to Coastal Carolina. UCF’s offense is much better than Coastal Carolina, so we’ll see if BYU defense is up for the challenge.
New Orleans Bowl – Georgia Southern vs Louisiana Tech
Wednesday December 23 @ 3:30 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Series history: First time matchup
Montgomery Bowl – Memphis vs Florida Atlantic
Wednesday December 23 @ 7pm in Montgomery, Alabama
Series history: FAU beat Memphis 44-27 in the 2007 New Orleans Bowl (their only meeting)
Ryan Silverfield got the job as Memphis head coach as an indirect result of FAU coach Willie Taggart being an awful head coach at Florida St. Taggart was fired at FSU in 2019, which prompted them to poach Mike Norvell from Memphis, allowing the school to promote Silverfield.
Opinion: From Cotton Bowl vs Penn State on December 30th to pre-Christmas Bowl vs C-USA team. Quite the fall for Memphis.
New Mexico Bowl – Houston vs Hawaii
Thursday December 24 @ 3:30 ET in Frisco, Texas
Bowl history: This will be Hawaii’s 14th bowl game in school history and the 3rd one played on the mainlands (the other 11 played in Hawaii Bowl). They are 1-1 in such games, winning the Holiday Bowl in San Diego in 1992 and losing the Sugar Bowl to Georgia in 2008.
Series history: Hawaii beat Houston 54-48 in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl. Both teams combined for 1,158 yards. Hawaii QB Timmy Chang threw for 475 yards and 5 touchdowns. Houston QB Kevin Kolb threw for 332 yards and 2 TDs plus 2 INTs.
Opinion: This bowl is confusing because Hawaii almost always plays in the Hawaii Bowl and the Hawaii Bowl is always played on Christmas Eve. They have also only met once – in the Hawaii Bowl! However, these teams are meeting in the New Mexico Bowl, which is not actually being played in NEw Mexico (due to COVID concerns).
LendingTree Bowl – Georgia State vs Western Kentucky
Saturday December 26 @ 3:30 in Mobile, Alabama
Series history: Georgia State won the 2017 Cure Bowl against WKU, 27-17. In 2013, WKU won the first meeting, on the road, 44-28.