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College Football Bowl Season Buffet, Week 1: Boise State Vs. Utah In Las Vegas Bowl Is Must-Eat

The buffet is set up a little differently this time of year. We'll do a weekly Buffet during the college football bowl season looking at the upcoming games for that week. Week one of the college football bowl season requires certain "calibrations" to how the games are rated. Otherwise, we might get stuck with six "No Thanks, Plate's Full" games. So, each of the bowls below has been rated in comparison to the other games this week only, to find the most tasty and most unappealing games of the bunch.

With that, let's find out what looks tasty and what might be worth pushing to the side of your plate in this week's college football buffet. (All times are Eastern.)

GIVE ME A HEAPING HELPING

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, Utah vs. Boise State (Dec. 22, 8 p.m., ESPN) - Boise and Utah's losses are the Las Vegas Bowl's gain as this one features two of the must successful programs of the last five years. Despite great seasons from both teams, one that saw the Broncos in the top three in the nation for most of it, this is where they've landed. No one would blame the Broncs for throwing in the towel with this disappointing bowl placement but winning this game is still critical for the program. The Utes during bowl season have turned into The Undertaker during Wrestlemania, having won every bowl game they've played in since 1996.

 

I'LL HAVE A SCOOP OF THAT, PLEASE

uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State (Dec. 18, 5:30 p.m., ESPN) - The Blue Turf of Boise State will play host to the 10-3 Huskies and the 8-4 Bulldogs. NIU got themselves a new coach just in time and he seems to be doing a good job of retaining the former staff. Expect to see both teams put on a running display, courtesy of Northern Illinois' Chad Spann and the Bulldogs' Robbie Rouse.

 

I'LL TASTE IT FIRST...

Beef O' Brady's Bowl, Southern Mississippi vs. Louisville (Dec. 21, 8 p.m., ESPN) - Lousiville isn't supposed to be here. Picked to finish dead last by everyone in the preseason, co-Big East Coach of the Year Charlie Strong made a sudden impact with the Cardinals. Their reward...Beef. The Cardinals have played musical QB chairs all season but Justin Burke will be their guy for this one. Southern Miss linebacker Martez Smith, one of three players shot outside a nightclub in Hattiesburg in mid-November, will join the team at the bowl game, which will be a rematch from last season's 25-23 Louisville win.

 

I'LL KEEP THAT IN MIND FOR THE NEXT TRIP

New Mexico Bowl, BYU vs. UTEP (Dec. 18, 2 p.m., ESPN) - Winning the New Mexico bowl isn't all it's cracked up to be. No team that has ever won the game has ever had a winning season again. The former WAC mates are going in completely different directions. UTEP started the season at 5-1 before limping to a 1-5 finish while BYU is surging after starting the season 1-4. Young college football fans might not remember this but there was a time when BYU, not TCU or Utah or Boise State, dominated Mountain Time Zone football. Alas...

 

I DON'T KNOW...SMELLS KINDA FUNNY...

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Navy vs. San Diego State (Dec. 23, 8 p.m., ESPN) - The Poinsettia Bowl doesn't like guesswork. They locked in Navy (assuming the Mids were bowl-eligible) to this game before the season even began. Navy held up their end of the bargain and they'll be facing the hometown team, San Diego State. It's San Diego State's first bowl since 1998.

 

NO THANKS, PLATE'S FULL

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Ohio vs. Troy (Dec. 18, 9 p.m. ESPN) - When folk talk about the glut of bowl games that no one really seems to care about, this is probably the game they're thinking of. The Ohio Bobcats (8-4) will take on the Troy Trojans (7-5) in what's like the least interesting match-up of the bowl season. Ohio is looking for its first bowl win in school history (0-4) while Troy is old hat at this, their third New Orleans Bowl. Expect to see the Bobcats air it out but don't expect Troy's 94th-ranked offense to do much of anything.