My parents subscribed to the “if you don’t have a nice thing to say, then don’t say anything at all” theory. So while 2018’s bowl slate isn’t all that exciting I decided to find some fun in this not-awesome postseason slate. Here is one nice thing about every bowl matchup.
New Mexico: North Texas vs. Utah State
With Graham Harrell coordinating the offense and Mason Fine at QB, the Mean Green should put up plenty of points.
Cure Bowl: Tulane vs. UL Lafayette
If you want a non-Playoff bowl where the teams involved definitely care, the second all-Louisiana bowl in NCAA history should have at least a bit of animus.
Las Vegas: Fresno State vs. Arizona State
We’re guaranteed to get a good pre-bowl presser quote from Herm Edwards, and you shoulda watched this Fresno team this season so just cheat and watch this game.
Camellia: Georgia Southern vs. EMU
Georgia Southern plays option football again, and that’s always fun.
New Orleans: Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State
Blue Raiders QB Brent Stockstill (yup, the head coach’s son) actually is in the race to lead the nation in completion percentage among players who will play 12 or more games, and if you’re the kind of person who cares about completion percentage leaderboards, which you really should be, because they’re great, then this might be the game for you.
Cheribundi Tart Boca Raton: UAB vs. Northern Illinois
Frisco: San Diego State vs. Ohio
Both teams are consistently good.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall vs. USF
There’s a non-zero chance that, because the game has moved from Tropicana Field to Raymond James Stadium, you might see this thing ...
... on the Buccaneers’ pirate ship:
Bahamas: FIU vs. Toledo
FIU running back Anthony Jones and offensive lineman Mershawn Miller were both shot in a drive-by in September, and both have returned to play in games this season, with Jones as a key contributor to the rushing attack.
Potato: Western Michigan vs. BYU
Cougars QB Zach Wilson took over for Tanner Mangum (who’s still at BYU, yeah) and has become a really fun dual threat.
Birmingham: Memphis vs. Wake Forest
Two words: Darrell Henderson (if he doesn’t skip the game).
Armed Forces: Houston vs. Army
We won’t be able to see what Ed Oliver could do to singlehandedly wreck the option, but that means we get to see the option working seamlessly.
Dollar General: Buffalo vs. Troy
Watch this with family and sound really smart when you point out Buffalo’s Lance Leipold and Troy’s Neal Brown are some of the must-know coaching names in the Group of 5.
Hawaii: Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii
Speaking of coaches you should know, UH’s Nick Rolovich has a delightful Twitter account, which you can scroll during the game for added entertainment.
First Responder: Boston College vs. Boise State
Boise State QB Brett Rypien’s gonna be an under-the-radar draft guy.
Quick Lane: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech
Independence: Temple vs. Duke
Geoff Collins won’t be coaching him, but you better keep your eyes peeled for Temple safety Delvon Randall, who makes acrobatic picks ...
... and is generally good fun.
Cheez-It: Cal vs. TCU
Cal has the best defense in the country you might not know about.
Pinstripe: Miami vs. Wisconsin
It features a strong Wisconsin rushing attack against a strong Miami defense, and you can think of that instead of that these teams were in the Orange Bowl 12 months ago.
Texas: Baylor vs. Vanderbilt
Get yourself acquainted with Vandy running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn and his 7 yards per carry.
Music City: Purdue vs. Auburn
Jeff Brohm’s still coaching Purdue, and Gus Malzahn’s still coaching Auburn, and you can debate which of those is more surprising in its own way.
Camping World: West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Syracuse defensive end Alton Robinson is worth the price of admission and offers an incredible redemption story.
Alamo: Iowa State vs. Washington State
The Cyclones weathered the offensive assault of the Big 12 all season, and now they get Mike Leach’s Wazzu.
Peach: Florida vs. Michigan
I lied earlier, because I can’t find anything nice to say about this game.
Belk: South Carolina vs. Virginia
If you like Jake Bentley’s game, you’ll like watching him go up against a UVA secondary that includes Juan Thornhill, a guy who has at least as many interceptions as all but six players.
Arizona: Arkansas State vs. Nevada
The Wolf Pack have played in five one-score games, and S&P+ projects a 1.5-point margin in this one.
Military: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Luke Fickell has pulled off one of the best coaching jobs of this season for 10-2 UC.
Sun: Stanford vs. Pitt
Allow yourself to relive the greatest bowl game in college football history:
In the lowest-scoring major bowl game in a half-century, No. 24 Oregon State shut down No. 18 Pittsburgh 3-0 in the Brut Sun Bowl on Justin Kahut’s 44-yard field goal late in the first half.
The defensive struggle included 20 punts and nine sacks. Pitt kicker Connor Lee tried a 58-yard field goal in the closing minutes but the ball, helped by a steady wind, dropped just short of the crossbar.
Redbox: Michigan State vs. Oregon
Oregon QB Justin Herbert is going up against an elite defense.
Liberty: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
The over/under is currently 74, only behind the Alabama-Oklahoma Orange Bowl (81).
Holiday: Northwestern vs. Utah
It’s at 7 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve, so it won’t get too much in the way of your festivities.
Gator: NC State vs. Texas A&M
The Aggies have quietly been one of the most solid reams in the country this season, and if they win this game by a lot, they’ll be a prime candidate for a bowl bump in the 2019 preseason news cycle.
Outback: Mississippi State vs. Iowa
This will be Iowa’s sixth Outback Bowl berth since the 2003 season hahaha.
Citrus: Penn State vs. Kentucky
It’s your last chance to watch Trace McSorley play college football.
Fiesta: LSU vs. UCF
Rose: Ohio State vs. Washington
It’s Urban Meyer’s last game, for now.
Sugar: Georgia vs. Texas
Sometimes bowl matchups are just excuses to geek out over two historic programs going at it.
Cotton: Clemson vs. Notre Dame
The Irish beat a cakewalk of a schedule that included five meh ACC teams, so the football gods gave ‘em the only good ACC team in a Playoff game.
Orange: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
The Tide have vowed revenge for Kyler Murray beating Tua Tagovailoa for the Heisman.