Bowl season is finally here, after four long months of regular season football. It has been a crazy up and down season for many teams and like usual we have had upsets left and right. Now it is time to finish off this long grueling season with joy for some and heartbreak for others as teams are going bowling. On tap for this week are some conference champions, conference runners ups and a few top 25 teams in action.
Don’t miss out on our preview of our College Football Picks for the five best games of this week’s schedule!
Tuesday, December 21st
UTSA vs #24 San Diego State – 7:30pm ET
Both teams had amazing seasons this year as they finished with a total W-L record of 23-3 between both of them. UTSA finished the year at 12-1 and as Conference USA Champions, while San Diego State went 11-2 and were runners up in the Mountain West. Now, these two will meet in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl.
This is one of the bowl season’s underrated matchups, as Conference USA Champion UTSA Roadrunners faceoff against Mountain West runner-up, the San Diego St. Aztecs. UTSA had a sole loss this year to the North Texas Mean Green, but otherwise, their offense put up big points against their opponents, including 49 against the high-scoring Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the Conference USA Championship. The Roadrunners are pretty blanched on offense as quarterback Frank Harris tossed 25 touchdowns, and ran for over 500 yards. Running back Sincere McCormick ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the San Diego Aztecs offense doesn’t have any statistical performances that necessarily jump off the paper. They’ve won gritty games throughout the year and that’s been in large part to some key players on their defense. Lineman Cameron Thomas is a beast upfront as he recorded 10.5 sacks on the season. In the secondary, Patrick McMorris led the team in tackles and interceptions. Those two will patrol this UTSA offense throughout the game with hopes of ending their 2021 season on a high note after getting blown out by Utah State a couple of weeks back. This one will be a must-watch on Tuesday night. I think I’ll go with UTSA as +118 is too good to pass up for a team that was ranked for a few weeks and winners of the Conference USA.
Michael’s College Football Pick: UTSA (+118)
Outside of the New Year’s Six games, this bowl game may very well be the best one of the entire slate as two great group of 5 teams take center stage to play in the Frisco Bowl. Both teams come in off of amazing regular seasons where they put together a combined record of 23-3. Both teams all played in their respective conference championship games, but only one of them picked up the victory. UTSA comes into this game with a record of 12-1 on the season. They started out the year 11-0 but were blown out by North Texas in the regular-season finale. They rebounded quickly however as the very next week they would beat Western Kentucky in a shootout to win the Conference USA Championship game. Now they will be looking to finish the year off with a win in this one.
Watch us in prime time on national TV in the @FriscoBowlGame
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) December 21, 2021
San Diego State comes into this game with a record of 11-2 after their loss in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game to Utah State. They put together a great year despite the two upsets losses over the course of the season. They will be looking to finish strong and remain in the top 25 with a season-ending victory in this game. As for the result of this game, it is very hard to pick a winner, which is why I’m going with the over in this one.
Tony’s College Football Pick: Over-48.5 (-114)
This year’s Frisco Bowl is one that’s going to slip under the radar for many people, but has the potential to be a great game. It features two of the best Group of 5 schools that we saw all year long, and with them on the same field it’s sure to bring fireworks. UTSA nearly made it all the way through the regular season undefeated, before slipping up late, but still managed to win the C-USA conference title.
San Diego State comes in at 11-2, but got destroyed in the Mountain West title game by Utah State. This was surprising, as the Aztecs came into that one as pretty big favorites and simply forgot to show up. I like this SDSU defense, but the offense comes in with a lot of questions, and I’m not sure that I trust them to get things turned around after the showing in the conference title game, even against a Roadrunner defense that has some issues. In the end, this game is almost certain to be tight, so go ahead and give me the Roadrunners by a nose. Meep Meep, indeed.
Noah’s College Football Pick: UTSA (+118)
Wednesday, December 22nd
Missouri vs Army – 8pm ET
Missouri enters this game at 6-6, finishing the regular season at .500. While Army comes in at 8-4 and will be looking to bounce back from their shocking loss to the Naval Academy a couple weeks ago. Now these two teams will finish the season against each other in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
The Army Golden Knights are one of the nation’s dominant run teams, as they had ten players with 100 or more rush yards on the season. They were high scoring throughout the year averaging over 33 points per game, but were stifled in “America’s Game” against Navy, as they lost 17-13, to a team that plays a very similar style of offense. We’ll see how they respond to that shocking loss as they match up against the SEC’s Missouri Tigers on Wednesday.
Missouri snuck into the bowl season this year, finishing the season 6-6. They were bullied by their toughest opponents, and even though Army is a powerful offense, the Tigers have to feel good after seeing them struggle against a two-win Navy team at the end of the season. Missouri’s got an entertaining run game themselves, as they’re led in the backfield by Tyler Badie. Badie had over 1,600 yards, 14 touchdowns, and averaged 6 yards per carry as he was one of the SEC’s best running backs. This one should be a thrill to watch for those who love a good ol’ ground game. 56.5 might be a big total, but I think these teams have the talent to take it over.
Michael’s College Football Pick: Over 56.5 (-110)
Missouri comes into this game with a record of 6-6 after playing a meat grinder schedule in the SEC. They finished the season winning two of their last three with victories over South Carolina and Florida before falling to Arkansas in the season finale. Now they will come up against a very physical and a very hard-nosed Army team that loves to run the football. It will not be an easy task for the Missouri Tigers but they are very capable of winning this game and finishing the season off above the .500 mark at 7-6, heading into next season.
Army has put together a very good season even with the upset loss to the Navy in the regular-season finale. They finished the year with a record of 8-4, and find themselves in a great spot heading into next season. They finished the season winning four of their last six games and gave a very good Wake Forest team all they could handle in a shootout loss. As for the result of this game I have them picking up the win over Missouri to finish the year out with nine wins.
Tony’s College Football Pick: Army (-225)
I want all the points in this one. I can’t tell you who’s winning this game, but I can tell you they’re going to have to hit 50 to do it. These are two absolutely atrocious defenses, and two pretty good offenses. Missouri has given up too many yards and points to count this season, despite managing a 6-6 year in the SEC, and Army lost an absurd game to Wake Forest earlier this year by a final score of 70-56. How do you score 56 and lose my two TDs?!
Even with Army running the traditional military academy offense of running 50 times a game with 5-10 passes spread throughout, I think there are serious doubts about the under having a chance. I’m not sure we’re getting 126 total in this one, but I could easily see 95-100, which is way more than the over, so don’t worry about a spread or Moneyline, and get paid off the over hitting with ease.
Noah’s College Football Pick: Over 56.5 (-110)
Thursday, December 23rd
UCF vs Florida – 7pm ET
These two in-state schools from the “Sunshine State” will meet in this one. As the UCF Knights bring their 8-4 record up against the Florida Gators and their 6-6 record. It’ll be a game for state bragging rights in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl.
This Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla bowl game features the 6-6 University of Florida Gators and 8-4 UCF Knights in a showdown of Florida’s finest. Florida started the season 3-1, with their lone loss being a nail-biter against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Based on those games they looked ready to compete in the always-tough SEC, but they ended 6-6 and fired head coach Dan Mullen after the disappointing year. Now, before the start of the Billy Napier era in Gainesville, the Florida Gators hope to finish off 2021 with a big win.
Meanwhile, the Gus Malzahn-led UCF Knights are a pretty balanced team across the board. On defense, they have a tackling monster in linebacker Tatum Bethune who recorded over 100 tackles on the year. He’ll be sniffing out this Florida offense all game, as this UCF team is always up for an out-of-conference challenge. It also helps that UCF is led by Malzahn who coached at Auburn for many years. He’s used to the Gators’ ways, and with Florida’s coaching being in transition I’ll give the advantage to UCF.
Michael’s College Football Pick: UCF (+205)
This game has all the potential to be one of the best of the week as these two Florida schools go head to head in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl. The University of Central Florida comes into this game with a record of 8-4 on the year. They won five of their last seven games on the year and the two losses of that stretch was to a playoff team in the Cincinnati Bearcats. and the Southern Methodist University Mustangs. They will be looking to close the season out with a big win in this game.
— Florida Gators Football (@GatorsFB) December 20, 2021
The Florida Gators come into this game with a record of 6-6 on the year. They finished out the year by winning two of their final three games including a win over rival Florida State in the season finale. With a win in the Gasparilla Bowl, they can finish over .500 to end the season and carry a little bit of momentum into next season. However and for the result of this game, I have Central Florida picking up the victory over the Gators.
Tony’s College Football Pick: UCF (+205)
There’s simply too much uncertainty surrounding this Florida team for me to feel confident about them showing up in this game. Firing Dan Mullen mid season, while it may have been the right move, has seemed to have had a negative impact on the Gators, as they’ve simply fallen apart towards the end of the year. I do like the Billy Napier hire, but I’m not sure that he’s been around long enough to make a real impact in this particular game.
UCF on the other hand, comes in at 8-4 under new coach Gus Malzahn, and they’ve done so in a balanced manner. It wasn’t necessary the year that they were expecting, but I think you have to like the direction that this Golden Knights team looks like they may be heading in. In the end, I think the balance, and just overall stable nature of the program right now pays off in this one, and UCF wins a tight one over their in-state rival.
Noah’s College Football Pick: UCF (+205)
Thursday, December 24th
Memphis vs Hawaii – 8pm ET
The Memphis Tigers finished the season at 6-6. While the Hawaii Warriors finished the year at 6-7 on the year. Memphis will be looking to finish with a winning record, while Hawaii will look to get back to .500, while playing what is basically a home game. As these two teams will meet each other in the EasyPost Hawaii Bowl.
The Hawaii Warriors are a rare breed that finished the season with a losing record and still will participate in a bowl game. The Warriors had some frustrating losses this season, but also had a couple of decent wins, including a 27-24 win over Fresno State. Hawaii’s star is on their defense in linebacker Darius Muasau, who had 108 tackles, 7 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles. He’ll lead a hungry defense that is looking to finish the season at .500.
As for the Memphis Tigers, they finished 6-6, but didn’t really have any impressive wins. They were walked over by every decent team they played this year, except for their win over Mississippi State early in the season. They’ll depend heavily on their passing game which is led by Seth Henigan who threw 25 touchdowns and over 3,300 yards. This one should end up being quite close, but I think based on strength of schedule, Memphis prevails.
Michael’s College Football Pick: Memphis -9 (-110)
Both of these teams had pretty average seasons in 2021. Now they will meet on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl. Both teams finished the season with six wins on the year, Hawaii finished at 6-7 due to their 13th game. Now they will both be looking for a victory to close out the season, and in Memphis’ case, enjoy some time on the beach in one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world. A win in this game for Memphis would break a streak of two losses in their last three games and would give them some momentum to carry into next season.
Meanwhile for the Hawaii Warriors a win in this game will get them back to the .500 mark on the season as they would finish with a record of seven wins and seven losses on the year. This game is virtually a home game for them as well so they should have most of the crowd on their side in this one. However, despite that fact, I still have the Memphis Tigers picking up the victory in this game. As I look for both teams to have much improved 2022 seasons.
Tony’s College Football Pick:Memphis (-320)
Memphis tries to avoid falling below .500 on the year as they take on Hawaii in what equates to a road bowl game for the Tigers, as they’re traveling to the islands for the Christmas holiday. This Memphis team had the chance to end the year at 8-4 or 9-3, but collapsed late in multiple games that they had double-digit leads in the second half. The fact that they managed to reach bowl eligibility with these collapses is actually somewhat impressive, and now they take on a shaky Hawaii team.
Hawaii comes in at 6-7, and is simply trying to fight their way back to .500. They get a Memphis defense that has shown promise this year, and the Warriors are a bit questionable on the offensive side of the ball. This Hawaii defense has actually shown flashes of being decent however, and with two offenses that have been somewhat turnover prone, I like the under in this one. The number isn’t high, but I just think this is a game that could see more mistakes than normal, which limits the number of scoring chances, giving the under a real shot.
Noah’s College Football Pick: Under 55.5 (-110)
Saturday, December 25th
Georgia State vs Ball State – 2:30pm ET
This bowl game is certainly not one that will make you feel like a kid on Christmas morning as it is rather underwhelming. But nonetheless Georgia State will meet Ball State on Christmas Day. Georgia State finished the year 7-5, while Ball State went 6-6. Now these teams will play in the TaxAct Camellia Bowl to finish their seasons.
Georgia State started the year with a bit of an uneven season, but they were able to finish strong, winning their last three and securing a bowl game berth. They’re one of the NCAAs top rushing teams thanks to their two-headed monster of Tucker Gregg and Jamyest Williams. They’ll face off against a Ball State team that’s looking to finish the season with a winning record.
At 6-6, the Ball State Cardinals may not jump out with their team defensive stats. But they did a brilliant job at limiting one of the nation’s best running teams in Army to only 16 points. On defense they’re led by two 100 tackle players in Jaylin Thomas and Bryce Cosby. Still, as a unit they’re inconsistent, giving up almost 27 points a game. They’ll hope to stifle a Georgia State team that’s got a lot of talent on the ground. I’ll pick Ball State for the minor upset in this one.
Michael’s College Football Pick: Ball State (+176)
This game is the lone Christmas day bowl game of the 2021 season and it is likely to be the most underwhelming ballgame of the entire week. The Mid American conference has struggled this far in bowl season and I don’t look for it to get any better than this game featuring Ball State. As they will meet a very decent Georgia state team in the Tax Act Camellia Bowl. The Ball State Cardinals come into this game after finishing the season right at the .500 mark with a record of 6-6. They finished the regular season with a victory over Buffalo which was huge for their momentum going into this game.
We’re Bowling! 🎳
— Ball State Football (@BallStateFB) December 5, 2021
The Georgia State Panthers finished the regular season with a record of 7-5 this year. They finished the year on a three game winning streak and picked up victories in six of their final seven games on the season. Now they will be looking to extend both of those streaks with a victory in the ball game here against the Cardinals. As for the result of this game I expect that to happen as I have the Georgia State Panthers picking up the win in this game to end the year.
Tony’s College Football Pick: Georgia State (-220)
There should be a prop bet surrounding the over/under of number of viewers this game gets, seeing as its two extremely underwhelming teams going head-to-head on Christmas Day, because I’d take the under regardless. This game gives us two mid-majors, both with average records at best, and neither having a real unique quality to them. The most unique and arguably best unit on the field in this one is the Georgia State rushing attack, and going against a Ball State team that finished at 6-6 in the MAC, I think they have the chance to strive, even though it’s important to point out that this Panther rushing attack has put up these numbers on iffy competition all year long, so you’re a bit uncertain as to how good it actually is.
The good news for GSU is that the Cardinals of Ball State fit squarely into the mediocre category, so this could prove to be good for the Panther offense. As for the result, bowl games can sometimes give unexpected results, but I’ll lean Georgia State to be able to score enough to push them past their Group of 5 counterparts in this edition of the Camellia Bowl.
Noah’s College Football Pick: Georgia State -4.5 (-110)
*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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