2017-18 NobodySports Bowl Mania Spectacular Extravaganza

FRIENDS! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, I’m not talking about the fact that a jolly man in a red sweater and hat (Nope, not Bret Bielema. Although, we all know he has an abundance of time now. #Karma). I’m talking about the one time of year, where large groups of college students are invited to warm and luxurious places like Boise, ID and Montgomery, AL to perform in front of thousands upon thousands of people. Yup, boys and girls, it’s officially time to dust off those shoes and sharpen those pencils. It’s bowl season. And with this being the first bowl season of the NobodySports era, we’re going to go big this year and bring you a breakdown of all 39 bowls that will be taking place over the course of the next four weeks. Welcome to the 2017-18 NobodySports Bowl Mania Spectacular Extravaganza.

(At this point you have a very important decision to make. You can either consume this entire article as it is written. Which you should. Because it’s awesome. Otherwise, we have provided links to specific weeks throughout the bowl season. You decide.)

Week 1 (December 16-21), Week 2 (December 22-29), Week 3 (December 30-January 8)

All times ET. All betting lines are courtesy of the SportsAction app available in the App Store and Google Play.

Saturday, December 16

Troy (-6.5) vs North Texas (December 16th, 1pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Mercedez-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

The Troy Trojans, or as they’re more commonly known this year, the team who took down the LSU Tigers. Ask any member of “Geaux Tiger” nation and they’ll be pulling for the Mean Green. (By the way, how sweet of a nickname is the Mean Green). For the Mean Green Machine to perform at peak levels, Senior running back Jeffery Wilson will have to be healthy and carry the load. This has all the makings to be a great start to bowl season, with two seasons that, as a whole, flew under the radar this year.

Prediction: Troy wins 28-20

Western Kentucky vs Georgia State (+6.5) (2:30pm, CBSSN)

Autonation Cure Bowl – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Our first match up of barely legal, I mean barely eligible teams this bowl season. After struggling to open the season, the Panthers of Georgia State have managed to bounce back and right the ship. Don’t be confused when you tune in and see a Manning in a blue and white uniform, that is just Senior quarterback Conner Manning (no relation). Expect this game to be a shoot-out and be a surprisingly exciting game between two teams who many people probably forgot actually play Division 1 college football.

Prediction: Georgia State wins 48-42

25 Boise State (+7.5) vs Oregon (3:30pm, ABC/WatchESPN)

Las Vegas Bowl – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

Justin Herbert. Here’s a name the nation should be on the lookout over the next two years. Pair Herbert with newly named head coach Mario Crisotbal and the Ducks could very well be on their way back to prominence in college football.  Herbert only played 7 games this season, missing a portion of the season with a broken collarbone, but finished the last two games of the season leading the Ducks to victories over Pac-12 rivals Arizona (48-28) and Oregon State (69-10). Boise State will be able to keep this close, but without the services of sophomore running back Alexander Mattison, they will be unable to close this out when it matters.

Prediction: Oregon wins 38-34

Marshall vs Colorado State (-5.5) (4:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM

This is a matchup of two very loyal fanbases. Every fan I’ve met from these two schools has stuck with these two teams through thick and thin. And these two fan bases are very excited to be playing  This will be a match up of two quality quarterbacks in Marshall’s Chase Litton and Colorado State’s Nick Stevens. Colorado State’s offense has the ability to take over games, and expect this to be the case in this one.

Prediction: Colorado State wins 38-17

Middle Tennessee vs Arkansas State (-3.5) (8:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

RayCom Media Camellia Bowl- Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL

Why this game is closing out the first day of Bowl Season is beyond me. In what I am officially deeming the “Purple Bowl”, this matchup between the Blue Raiders and the Red Wolves (get it now, the “Purple” Bowl. If I have to explain the joke, it’s not funny) has all of the makings to be forgettable. Let’s face it, when you are building a bowl season and have 74 slots to fill, every so often you’re going to have some duds along the way. Middle Tennessee got the short end of the stick in this one having to face Junior quarterback Justice Hansen (dude, could you have a sweeter name). And my hype for Hansen will carry justice (ba-dum-tiss), as his numbers don’t lie. (3,630 yds, 34 TDs). Fun fact, the Cramton Bowl has a capacity of 21,000.

Prediction: Arkansas State wins 49-28

Western Kentucky vs Georgia State (+6.5) (2:30pm, CBSSN)

Autonation Cure Bowl – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Our first match up of barely legal, I mean barely eligible teams this bowl season. After struggling to open the season, the Panthers of Georgia State have managed to bounce back and right the ship. Don’t be confused when you tune in and see a Manning in a blue and white uniform, that is just Senior quarterback Conner Manning (no relation). Expect this game to be a shoot-out and be a surprisingly exciting game between two teams who many people probably forgot actually play Division 1 college football.

Prediction: Georgia State wins 48-42

Tuesday, December 19th

Akron vs Florida Atlantic (-22.5) (7pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl – FAU Football Stadium, Boca Raton, FL

Ridiculously named bowl = check. Home game for one of the teams = check. Lane Kiffin coaching the “home” team = check. Flying Lane Kiffin’s by 90.

Prediction: Florida Atlantic wins 56-17

Wednesday, December 20th

Louisiana Tech vs SMU (-7) (8:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

DXL Frisco Bowl – Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX

When you put one of the highest scoring offenses in a bowl game, you may as well put that game on a Wednesday night. SMU’s offense is averaging 40.2/ppg this season and is led by their Sophomore quarterback Ben Hicks who put together quite the season (3,442 yds, 32 TDs). Don’t expect this one to as close as Vegas is projecting.

Prediction: SMU wins 42-24

Thursday, December 21st

Temple (-7) vs Florida International (8:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl – Tropicana Field, Saint Petersburg, FL (It’s literally Tampa)

It was really a tale of two seasons for the Temple Owls this year. Under sophomore QB Logan Marchi, the Owls limped their way to a 3-4 start. Enter junior Frank Nutile. With Nutile at the helm (1,004 yds, 11 TDs) the Owls finished the season looking like a completely different team, with the lone exception of the UCF game, but anyone facing UCF this year felt that same fate. Expect the Owls to finish this season strong.

Prediction: Temple wins 34-24

Friday, December 22nd

UAB (+7.5) vs Ohio (Noon, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Bahamas Bowl – Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau IN THE FREAKING BAHAMAS

A year ago, UAB didn’t even have a football program. What’s the best end your first season back in NCAA football? Why, of course it’s to get an invite to the Bahamas Bowl in the beautiful Carribean. Unfortunately, also making the same trip is the potent Ohio Bobcat offense. But this could very well be a game based purely on emotion and not actual performance on the field. Pair the emotion with a game time temperature that could easily hover around 80 degrees. And what comes along with 80 degree heat? Blazes. Or Blazers in this scenario. That and their mascot is a GOD DAMN DRAGON!

Prediction: UAB wins 31-30

Central Michigan vs Wyoming (Even) (4pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Albertsons Stadium, Boise ID

Remember when Josh Allen was supposed to be one of the premier quarterbacks in college football this season. Well, clearly that was not the case as Allen struggled to impress this season (1,658 yards, 13 TDs, 6 INTs). Well, this game is very well going to come down to weather or not Allen takes the field. If he does, take Wyoming. If he doesn’t, well, watch the tape from the San Jose State game.

Prediction: Wyoming wins 17-14

Saturday, December 23rd

Texas Tech (+2.5) vs USF (Noon, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Birmingham Bowl – Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

One word. Two syllables. FIREWORKS. We’re putting Nic Shimonek and Quinton Flowers on the same field and letting them throw a football around. This one is going to be so much fun to watch. But expect Quinton Flowers to do what he does best, and that is absolutely take over a game.

Prediction: USF wins 44-42

Appalachian State vs Toledo (-7.5) (7pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Dollar General Bowl – Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL

Toledo was able to run roughshot through the MAC this season and were one of the more exciting MACtion packed teams to grace our televisions during the week. A year ago, these two met in the Camellia Bowl where Appalachian State overcame a team that was supposed to beat them a year ago. I don’t think that will be the case this year as the Rockets offense is rocket powered this season, averaging over 500 yards/game.

Prediction: Toledo wins 52-38

Sunday, December 24th

Fresno State (+2.5) vs Houston (8:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Hawai’i Bowl – Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI

If you like defense, well then look no further then the Hawai’i Bowl. Both teams are allowing an average of less then 25 points. Both teams have struggled on the offensive side of the ball. Defense wins championships or something like that.

Prediction: Houston wins 14-13

Tuesday, December 26th

Utah (-7) vs West Virginia (1:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl – Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX

This game has all of the makings to be one of the most even games on the slate. If Will Grier was playing, this would be a completely different game. Without Grier, the West Virginia offense is going to look very different then the one that got them to this point. I think that this is oing to come down to which team has been doing the same thing the longest, and in that case, it’s going to be Tyler Huntley and the Utah Utes.

Prediction: Utah wins 35-24

Duke vs Northern Illinois (+5) (5:15pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Quick Lane Bowl – Ford Field, Detroit, MI

Never will I ever support anything Duke. ‘Tis the season to hate the Blue Devils.

Prediction: Northern Illinois wins 35-24 (or hopefully by 1,000 and Grayson Allen gets ran over by a bus)

Kansas State vs UCLA (+2) (9pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Cactus Bowl – Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

Another instance in which a quarterback who had all the makings to be a headline maker. Well, I think very well this could be Chosen Rosen’s swan song and expect him to go out with gun’s blazin’.

Prediction: UCLA wins 38-34

Wednesday, December 27th

Southern Mississippi (+15.5) vs Florida State (1:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl – Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

There is a small group of people who may try and end my life if I pick against the ‘Noles.

Prediction: Florida State wins 38-24

Iowa (-3) vs Boston College (5:15pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

New Era Pin Stripe Bowl – Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

What can I say about the Hawkeyes season. It was a truly a rollercoaster season, filled with the highest of highs (beating Ohio State and essentially removing them from the CFP) and the lowest of lows, dropping two of their last three including a loss to the Purdue Boilermakers at home. Expect Nathan Stanley to lead the Hawkeyes offense, while the Iowa defense will do what they’ve done for the most part of the season and shut down Boston College.

Prediction: Iowa wins 17-7

Arizona (+3.5) vs Purdue (8:30pm, FOX)

Foster Farms Bowl – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

As someone who watch a lot of Purdue football this season, the 6-6 record shouldn’t be considered when looking at the Boilermakers as a whole. Arizona brings their potent offense into this one, but expect the Boilermaker defense to remind everyone that they play in the Big 10, where defense is a thing unlike the Pac-12. Boilermakers all around.

Prediction: Purdue wins 17-14

Texas vs Missouri (-3) (9:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl – NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

The Horns will probably be playing in front of a very pro-Horn crowd in Houston. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will be enough if the Tigers come in on their game. Expect another big game out of Junior quarterback Drew Lock (3,695 yds, 43 TDs). The Horns defense won’t be able to stop Lock and the Tigers offensive attack.

Prediction: Mizzou wins 47-31

Thursday, December 28th

Virginia at Navy (1:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumann – Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Navy. At Home. In a bowl game.

Prediction: Navy wins 31-24

22 Virginia Tech vs 19 Oklahoma State (-4.5) (5:15pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Camping World Bowl – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

Mason Rudolph, in true old western Cowboy fashion will ride off into the sunset with all the beauty and grace of Mike Gundy’s mullet. Can’t bet against Rudolph in his last game as a college quarterback.

Prediction: 19 Oklahoma State wins 41-24

13 Stanford vs 15 TCU (-2.5) (9:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Valero Alamo Bowl – Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

Gary Patterson’s Horned Frog defense has been tested all season. Two losses to Heisman winner Baker Mayfield proved that Patterson’s defensive schemes can be diced up. Unfortunately, I don’t think Bryce Love is the dominant player that Mayfield is and won’t be enough to overcome a Horned Frog’s defense that has allowed 17.6 points/game.

Prediction: 15 TCU wins 35-31

18 Washington State vs 16 Michigan State (+3) (9:00pm, FS1)

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl – SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA

Finally, the city of San Diego will get a football game and it’s between two teams who won their fair share of big games this year. And to top it all off, this one should be incredibly entertaining. Expect Luke Falk and Brian Lewerke to put together two more outstanding performances. It goes without saying that this game will very much come down to which Wazzu defense shows up to San Diego. Remember that this once was the team that broke many Trojan hears back in late September with the upset heard round the country. The Spartans had a similar story when they took out Saquon Barkley and friends. Expect the Coogs defense to be too much.

Prediction: 18 Washington State wins 17-15

Friday, December 29th

Wake Forest (-3) vs Texas A&M (1:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Belk Bowl – Bank of American Stadium, Charlotte, NC

John Wolford and the Demon Deacons get a second crack at Jimbo Fisher after losing a heartbreaker to the ‘Noles earlier this season. It’ll be interesting to see how the Aggies transition to the Fisher era and how quickly this team will take shape. Unfortunately for Fisher and A&M, the Danny Manning and the Deacs will be able to put on a show in their backyard and give Fisher a nice reminder of what he’s leaving behind in the ACC.

Prediction: Wake Forest wins 21-17

24 NC State vs Arizona State (+6) (3:00pm, CBS)

Hyundai Sun Bowl – Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

This one’s easy. Don’t worry. Arizona State SUN Devils. The SUN Bowl. Expect new CEO Herm Edwards to lead SunDevil Corp to a profitable end to the fiscal year. (Low. Hanging. Fruit.)

Prediction: Arizona State wins 28-24

Kentucky vs 21 Northwestern (-7) (5:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

Nashville is going to have to have animal control on speed dial for this battle of the Wildcats. Unfortunately, this is more a battle between a full grown cat and a couple of kitties. Northwestern hasn’t lost since their battle with Penn State earlier this season and expect them to carry on this success to end the season. Northwestern Senior running back Justin Jackson will be far too much for a Kentucky rushing defense that has allowed 162.2 yards/game.

Prediction: 21 Northwestern wins 31-21

New Mexico State vs Utah State (+4) (5:30pm, CBSSN)

Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl – Arizona Stadium, Tuscon, AZ

I don’t know. Utah State held on longer than I thought they would in the Badgers season opener. This is all I’m basing this on. Side note: someone explain to me what the fuck an Aggie is.

Prediction: Utah State wins 24-17

8 USC (+7.5) vs 5 Ohio State (8:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic – AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

Let’s retitle this game the “We Coulda Been Something” Bowl. On one side, had USC and Sam Darnold not dropped the ball in West Bend, they could’ve made a stronger case for a CFP berth. On the other side, J.T. Barrett and the Buckeye’s could’ve made a stronger case to the committee had they not gotten embarrassed by the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Expect both of these quarterbacks to put on an absolute show as they make their cases to NFL teams as we head into combine season. The difference maker in this game will be the Ohio State backfield. The explosiveness of Dobbins, and Mike Weber will expose all of the Trojan holes in their barrier (BOOM, Condom joke).

Prediction: 5 Ohio State wins 35-31

Saturday, December 30th

Louisville (-6.5) vs 23 Mississippi State (Noon, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Taxslayer Bowl – Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL

Wow, wow, wow, wow. Wow. The two best dual threat QBs in college football (Lamar Jackson and Nick Fitzgerald) will face off in what should a fantastic way to start a day of college football. Both of these two will have very bright futures in the NFL, but expect them both to entertain immensely. I think the gap between one and two will be the difference maker and Lamar Jackson is head and shoulders ahead of Nick Fitzgerald and this will be evident as he will be able to dismantle one of the better defenses in the country.

Prediction: Louisville wins 28-20

Iowa State at 20 Memphis (-3.5) (12:30pm, ABC/WatchESPN)

Autozone Liberty Bowl – Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN

Memphis could’ve very well had a season for the record books had it not been for those “Frost”y Knights down in Orlando. Facing the UCF juggernaut twice this season, the Tigers took the Knights to the limit in the American Conference Championship game. Riley Ferguson is a quarterback that shouldn’t be overlooked and neither should this Memphis team. Expect Iowa State to bring their big game mentality that won them games against CFP participant-Oklahoma and Big 12 runner up, TCU. This game will be a strong test for Tiger Senior Ferguson.

Prediction: 20 Memphis wins 28-20

11 Washington vs 9 Penn State (-2) (4:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Playstation Fiesta Bowl – University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix, AZ

It’s awfully convenient that this game is sponsored by Playstation because these two running backs could very well put up video game like numbers. Husky Junior Myles Gaskin (1,282 yds, 19 TDs) and Nittany Lion Junior Saquon Barkley (1,134 yds, 16 TDs) will both face some of their toughest tests as they go up against two of the best rushing defenses in the country. The explosiveness that Barkley possesses along with the potential for the big play ability of Trace McSorley, may very well be the difference in this one.

Prediction: 9 Penn State wins 24-20

6 Wisconsin at 10 Miami (+6.5) (8:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Capital One Orange Bowl – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL

Ugh. This was supposed to be the season. But whatever. Time to focus on our future. Alex Hornibrook has shown flashes of brilliance all season. But in the same vein, he has shown glimpses of inexplicable inexperience. Jonathan Taylor is going to be a Heisman candidate come pre-season next season. Pay not mind to the fact that the Hurricanes are playing a home game. The Badger defense should have no problem shutting down Malik Rosier. Let’s finish strong.

Prediction: 6 Wisconsin wins 21-17

Monday, January 1st

Michigan (-7.5) vs South Carolina (Noon, ESPN2/WatchESPN)

Outback Bowl – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL

Harbaugh needs this one. And he probably gets it done. Of course, this is dependent on John O’Korn actually playing competent quarterback. Which we know isn’t his strong point. Michigan’s defense should be able to hold form and shut down the Gamecocks.

Prediction: Michigan wins 17-3

12 UCF (+8.5) vs 7 Auburn (12:30pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl – Mercedez-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

UCF. You had a helluva run this year. Yes, the departure of Scott Frost is painful. But such pain comes with the success of a Group of 5 conference team. This will be the absolute toughest test for the Knights this year. Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers are one of the best teams in the country. After handling their business in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers fell to eventual SEC Champion Georgia in the conference championship game. If UCF is able to keep their high powered offense running on all cylinders behind McKenzie Milton, the Knights have a shot. But this is, hands down, the toughest defense the Knights have faced all season. However this ends, the Knights had a season to remember and a strong foundation to build on the future.

Prediction: 7 Auburn wins 30-27 (I hope I’m wrong, I really do)

14 Notre Dame (+3) vs 17 LSU  (1:00pm, ABC/WatchESPN)

Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL

If Notre Dame shows up, they win. Simple as that.

Prediction: 14 Notre Dame wins 28-24

3 Georgia vs 2 Oklahoma (-2) (5:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (CFP Semifinal #1) – Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA

I had a mindset heading into this season to bet against Baker Mayfield in big games. In the three events of this happening this season, Baker handedly proved me wrong. What we learned from this is don’t bet against Baker Mayfield. Big game Baker is on the biggest stage of his career and expect Baker to light up the skies. It’s Baker Mayfield’s world and we are just watching him grab his junk insultingly at us. On the other side, Freshman Jake Fromm has has a ridiculous start to a potential storybook career at Georgia. Time and time again this season, Fromm has broken through any expectations that have been placed upon him. This one will boil down to who handles the pressure better. Advantage Mayfield.

Prediction: 2 Oklahoma wins 31-27

4 Alabama vs 1 Clemson (+2.5) (8:45pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

Allstate Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal #2) – Mercedez-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Okay, the arguments need to end. Alabama is in the playoff. No point in making any more bones about it. And in making it, we get a rematch of last year’s National Championship game. And this game has a very different air about it. Clemson has rolled all season long, with their lone slip-up against a very game Syracuse Orange squad. On the other side, Alabama has limped their way into the playoff after dropping the Iron Bowl to Auburn to close out the season. Unfortunately, the arguments of whether the Tide belonged in the playoff will continue as the Tigers will expose Alabama as Dabo Swinney, Kelly Bryant and the Tigers will roll over the tide on their way to another National Championship appearance.

Prediction: 1 Clemson wins 17-14

Monday, January 8th

2 Oklahoma vs 1 Clemson (8:00pm, ESPN/WatchESPN)

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T – Mercedez-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

Well now we’re living in an incredibly hypothetical world where this game may not even include these two teams. Well, if the cards fall this way, then don’t expect the Mayfield Magic to overcome the Swinney-Bryant connection.

Prediction: 1 Clemson wins 31-27

Well, if you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed. Congratulations. It’s been a helluva ride this season and thanks for coming along with me. I hope it was just as fun as it was for you as it was for me.


One thought on “2017-18 NobodySports Bowl Mania Spectacular Extravaganza

  1. This is a great read Shawn! I like to hear you have faith in my Temple Owls! I agree with you on the Clemson and Oklahoma Championship, but I gotta give the W there to my boy Baker ‘Nut Grab’ Mayfield!

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