Football

Bowl Season Preview Pt. 1

Today I will preview all of the bowl games that will happen from today to 12/19 (times are central time zone)

12/16/22 10:30 AM Bahamas Bowl: Miami OH (6-6) vs UAB (6-6, -11)

UAB has had a bit of down year after going 9-4 last year. This year they haven’t been as good but they haven’t been bad either. Their best player is RB DeWayne McBride Jr who isn’t playing in the bowl game. Their QB will be Dylan Hopkins who isn’t great but he’s serviceable. Their best WR is Trea Shropshire who’s a major Deep threat (4 of his 5 TDs are on deep throws and 437 of his 740 yards are on their throws). Their defense is better than their offense and lead by DT Fish McWilliams (who has one of the best names in the nation). They’re an ok team although not as good as they would’ve hoped based on last year

Miami OH is also 6-6 but it’s more expected from them as they went 7-6 in 2021 and 8-6 in 2019 so 6 loss years are basically expected from them. Status of star QB Brett Gabbert is unknown. Gabbert only played in 4 games this year. They will also be without one of their best players in LG Caleb Schafer as he is transferring. They’ll be lead by Aveon Smith who is the lowest graded passer in the nation according to PFF with a 39.9 PFF passing grade. He does add a threat as a rusher where he’s ran the ball 65 times for 578 yards and 6 TDs. He’s second in Yards after contact per attempt and forced Missed tackles among QBs. Their best player is Mac Hippenhammer who is as sure handed as they come. He has only one drop on 101 targets for a 1%(!) drop rate and is a great contested catch guy (12/16 on contested catches). Like UAB, Their defense is better than their offense and their defense is led by Matthew Salopek and Michael Dowell who are LB/S hybrids.

UAB is favored by 11 points in this game despite being without their star RB which makes sense with MOH being without two of their two best players. I think this will be a defensive contest. Miami is better at stopping the run and UAB is better at stopping the pass. UAB will prolly try to win through the air without McBride. I think this game will be closer than 11 points.

Score Prediction: UAB 17 Miami OH 10

12/16/22 2:00 PM Cure Bowl: 25 UTSA (11-2, 1) vs 24 Troy (11-2)The cure bowl should be one of the best bowl games and is between two of the best teams in the nation who would both be fully healthy. It should be a great way to kick off Bowl season as it’s only the 2nd game. UTSA is lead by 5th year senior Frank Harris as at QB who is one of the best QBs in the nation (his 88.2 PFF Passing grade is 10th in the nation). They also have a very good receiving corp lead by Zakhari Franklin and De’Corian Clark. Harris doesn’t put the ball in danger much and is great at putting the ball where his guys can catch which they do well. Harris is also a great runner and UTSA has a two headed monster in the backfield between Kevorian Barnes and Brenden Brady (who’s status is pending). They have one of the best offenses in the nation but the same can’t be said about their defense which isn’t great. They’re led by Edge Trey Moore and they’re a solid run stopping team but they can get beat over the top and their number 1 CB Corey Mayfield Jr has allowed 5 TDs this year in coverage

While UTSA is an explosive offense that can get into shootout, Troy is the exact opposite. UTSA was 12th in PPG and 62nd in Opponent PPG while Troy was 80th in PPG and 8th in opponent PPG. Troy allows just 17.5 PPG and no one has scored 35 or more points in a game against them (App state is the only team to score over 30 against them). Troy’s defense is led by LB Carlton Martial who is the all time NCAA leader in Tackles with 564(!) with 1 more game to go in his career. He’s been one of the best LBs in the Marion since his first year starting (2019). Troy also has CB Reddy Stewart who is one of the best ball hawks in the nation. He’s tied for 4th in the nation in Forced incompletions with 16. This Troy defense is a top 25 defense against the pass and run according to college football reference’s adjusted yards/attempt metric (which adjusts yards/attempt for opponent strength). Their offense isn’t very good compared to the defense. They’re lead by Gunnar Watson who imo isn’t all that good. I just don’t think he’s very good at making decisions and his lack of arm strength makes him pay for trying to thread as many needles as he does (He has more TWPs than he does BTTs). They have a solid rushing game behind 1,000 yard rusher Kimani Vidal (who’s 59 forced missed tackles is 20th in the nation despite him being tied for 26th in Carries) and DK Billingsley who is a good short yardage back with a bit of breakaway ability. Troy doesn’t have great receivers (Slot WR Tez Johnson might be their best WR and he’s nothing amazing) but their OL is pretty ok when it comes to pass pro. Overall they’re a team lead by their defense and their offense is good enough to not completely sell the defense thanks to their rushing attack.

UTSA is favored by 1 point which is fair (But a 56.5 O/U is too high). UTSA won’t be able to run the ball as well as they would like against Troy so I think they’ll be forced to rely on the passing game which they’ll be fine with since they have a 3 year starter at QB. They’ll try and challenge the Troy DBs in the air over challenge the front 7 on the ground. Troy will try and run it on UTSA which I think they’ll be able to do decently well. This should be a very tightly contested game without too much scoring with a great offense and bad defense going against a great defense and bad offense. I think this game can legitimately go either way but I think Troy is slightly better and more likely to win since they’re more consistent but I do think UTSA can give them some trouble.

Score prediction: Troy 28 UTSA 27

12/17/22 10:00 AM Fenway Bowl: Cincinnati (9-3) vs Louisville (7-5, -1)

This game is going to be an opt out off. Both teams have a lot of guys missing. Cincy will be without HC Luke Fickell, their Top 2 TEs, and their top 2 WRs. That’s a lot of talent to be without for an offense that was already struggling. They could be in some big trouble against Louisville. They’re starting QB is Ben Bryant who is no Desmond Ridder but also isn’t the worst QB we’ll see this bowl season. He likes to take shots and can execute them (29.2% BTT% on deep balls ranks 10th in the nation). He’ll be without most of his weapons but I think he’ll be alright. Cincinnati’s big strength is their defense tho and it’s led by Ivan Pace Jr. he won’t translate as well to the nfl as some of the other big prospects but Pace is one of the best defensive players (not just LBs) in the nation that can do pretty much everything. Cincinnati also has DT Dontay Corelone and DT Jowon Briggs who are High quality run stoppers.

Louisville also has a lot of opt outs. They’ll be without their HC Scott Satterfield, star QB Malik Cunningham, RB Tiyon Evans WR1 Tyler Hudson, and CB Kei’Trel Clark. They’re missing alot of guys so it’s hard to really know how they’ll play but they have a great defense led by Edge Yasir Wilson they only allow 20.2 ppg playing a tough ACC schedule.

This game will see a lot of backups playing and will be a defensive showcase since these are two defensive teams that have alot of offensive players opting out. I think Cincy has more talent remaining so I’ll take them in an ugly game

Score Prediction: Cincinnati 14 Louisville 7

12/17/22 1:30 PM Las Vegas Bowl: Florida (6-6) vs 14 Oregon State (9-3, -10)

Florida hasn’t been amazing this year and they are losing a lot of guys to opt outs (QB Anthony Richardson WR Justin Shorter OG O’Cyrus Torrence and LB Ventrell Miller) they still have some talent remaining but they’re without their best player in Torrence and their best WR in shorter, not to mention Their starting QB Anthony Richardson who’s one of the best runners in the league. Florida will likely rely on the running game a lot with Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson Jr. playing and they will have almost the entire defense healthy which is a big + but things could get ugly going against an OSU team that’s played great defense all year (21.4 ppg allowed)

Oregon State should be fully healthy and they are led by RB Damien Martinez and one of the best Offensive lines in the Nation. Their defense is led by S Jaydon Grant and Edge Andrew Chatfield Jr. they’ve been really good at stopping the pass and CB1 Rejzohn Wright has been great in man coverage this year allowing just 7 catches for 41 yards on 119 coverage snaps in man coverage this year (3rd least yards allowed among CBs with 100+ snaps in man this year)

I think Oregon state is the better team when healthy and Florida is without a lot of their best players which will make this really hard to win. I’d easily take OSU to cover.

Score prediction: Oregon State: 35 Florida 17

12/17/22 2:30 PM LA Bowl: Washington State (7-5) Vs Fresno State (9-4, -3.5)

Washington State is yet another team without a lot of starters in their bowl game. They’ll be missing WRs Donovan Ollie, De’Zhaun Stribling and Renard Bell as well as LBs Travion Brown Francisco Mauigoa and Daiyan Henley they’ll also be without both Of their Coordinators. They’ll still have their star QB Cameron Ward and their OL which is among the best in the Nation. He’ll likely be throwing to Robert Ferrell Leyton Smithson and Lincoln Victor. Their offense hasn’t been great this year and they’ll be missing legitimate contributions including their WR1 which could make things hard for them. Theyll be without 3 of their best defenders too which will be tough for them

Fresno State isn’t missing anyone other than CB Cale Sanders Jr. They have one of the nation’s best QBs in Jake Haener one of the best WRs in Jalen Cropper and and Nikko Remigio who’s one of the best Slot’s. They aren’t a great rushing team but they give Jordan Mims a lot of red zone touches which has allowed him to get 16(!) TDs in 13 games. Fresno’s defense is also pretty solid led by edge David Pearles and CB Morice Norris. The lost of Sanders isn’t really that big for them and shouldn’t change much as he’s not even their number 1 CB.

I think Fresno is a better team that matches up well with Wazzu and Wazzu is without 6 Starters and both OCs so I’ll comfortably take Frenso.

Score Prediction: Fresno State: 35 Washington State 21

12/17/22 4:45 PM Lending Tree Bowl: Rice (5-7) vs Southern Miss (6-6, -6.5)

This is a bowl game between two pretty bad teams for bowl game standards so there aren’t any opt outs but Rice is having some Injury concerns and it’s unknown if star WR Luke McCaffrey or if either of the 2 QBs (Wiley Green and TJ McMahon) Will play so they’ll be down a bit offensively, but otherwise both teams are healthy. Rice already has a mediocre offense so not having McCaffrey or a QB with a lot of experience and without them they’ll be in a lot of trouble and they have an awful defense that lets up 34 points per game (120/131 in the nation).

USM has been rocking with Trey Lowe III at QB recently and he’s been their best QB (they’ve been trying between 4 different guys in the last 2 years and they’re bringing in one of the best HS QBs in Alabama next year so they don’t have A GUY yet). They also have one of the best running backs in the nation in Frank Gore Jr. who just had his first 1000 yard season as a super sophomore. Their offense hasn’t been very good but rice has arguably the worst running defense in the nation so I expect a field day for Gore.

I’m not sure if I would call either of these teams bowl game caliber but USM is better than rice by a good margin Imo and I don’t expect this game to be very good

Score prediction: Southern Miss 35 Rice 14

12/17/22 6:30 PM New Mexico Bowl: SMU (7-5, -4) vs BYU (7-5)

SMU will only be missing Rashee Rice so they’ll still have star QB Tanner Mordecai who’s had an amazing year this season. SMU has a great offensive line and will give Mordecai plenty of time to throw even if he won’t have his best player in Rice. SMU has a decent rushing Attack and their WRs can create separation at a decent rate so SMU’s high scoring offense should still be firing off well and while they have a bottom 10 defense in the nation BYU will be missing a lot of players so they could still play good enough to solidly a win

I don’t even wanna talk about BYU with how many players they have missing just know they’re down 4 starters including QB Jarren Hall, their best player + the backup QB. I expect this to be a very high scoring game with both teams having bad defense and BYU being down 2 LBs

Score Prediction: SMU 45 BYU 28

12/17/22 8:30 PM Frisco Bowl: North Texas (7-6) vs Boise State (9-4, -10.5)

Both team are full strength but North Texas fired their Head Coach and Boise’s WR1, Stefan Cobbs is out. To be honest North Texas isn’t really that good despite being 7-6 (got blown out in the C-USA Championship Game). They have a good offense lead by Austin Aune but he’s very turnover prone despite having a good OL that keeps him clean almost all of the time. Their defense is atrocious. Their 31.5 PPG allowed is good for 110th in the nation and they’ve allowed 40+ points in 5 of their 13 games.

Boise on the other hand is a really solid team although their QB isn’t great. They have a good supporting cast and a very good defense around him which has made them good enough to be a top 10 GO5 school again this year like they almost always are.

Score prediction: Boise State 31 North Texas 21

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