Who’s playing in the 2018 Holiday Bowl?
Utah (9-4, 6-3 in Pac-12)
The Utes lost to Washington in an ugly Pac-12 title game, and they’d have probably had a chance to win late if not for an officiating error. They still ended the regular season ranked 14th in S&P+, with a solid offense, an even better defense, and even better special teams. (The Utes have distinguished themselves in recent years in both the kicking and punting games, and this year they returned both the Lou Groza winner, kicker Mitch Wishnowsky, and the Ray Guy winner, punter Matt Gay.) Running back Zack Moss is ultra-efficient, and linebacker Chase Hansen leads an aggressive defense.
Northwestern (8-5, 8-1 in Big Ten)
The Wildcats tore through the Big Ten West, which said more about the West than it did about the Wildcats. The computers say NU was the worst Power 5 division champion maybe ever, and in the end, it lost by three touchdowns to Ohio State in the conference title game. But there’s something to be said for getting there in the first place, and even in losing to OSU, the Cats showed some pluck. Their offense is lousy, but they do have a top-30 defense, according to S&P+, which plays opposing ground games especially well. Most Northwestern games are close and low-scoring. Expect the same here.
Where is the Holiday Bowl?
It’s at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. That’s the former home of the Chargers and Padres and the current home venue for San Diego State football. It also used to host the Poinsettia Bowl, another local game that went defunct after the 2016 season.
When is the Holiday Bowl, and how can I watch it?
Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1. It’s one of the few non-ESPN bowl games.