A bit of everything for everyone for college football fans

The Associated Press

With your appetite wet from the bowl season starting Friday and Saturday over a handful of games, here is a list of the upcoming meat of the schedule starting on Monday, Dec. 20, and going all the way to New Year’s Day.

Monday, Dec. 20

Myrtle Beach Bowl, Conway, South Carolina

Old Dominion vs. Tulsa

Why watch? The game kicks at 2:30 p.m., but it’s always happy hour somewhere. Actually, isn’t it always happy hour in Myrtle Beach?

Pick: Tulsa 28, Old Dominion 14

Tuesday, Dec. 21

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise, Idaho

Kent State vs. Wyoming

Why watch? Last year, the winning coach of the Potato Bowl had French fries dumped on him instead of the traditional Gatorade bath. This year, maybe mashed potatoes?

Pick: Wyoming 34, Kent State 28

Frisco (Texas) Bowl

No. 24 UTSA vs. San Diego State

Why watch? Only the playoff games have two teams that combined for more victories than the Roadrunners (12-1) and Aztecs (11-2). Plus, punt god Matt Araiza of San Diego State.

Pick: San Diego St. 23, UTSA 21

Wednesday, Dec. 22

Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, Texas

Army vs. Missouri

Why watch? Find out what happens when Army’s triple-option matches up against the Southeastern Conference’s worst run defense.

Pick: Army 28, Missouri 21

Thursday, Dec. 23

Frisco Football Classic

Miami (Ohio) vs. North Texas

Why watch? Last season, bowls were getting canceled left and right. This game was added to the lineup a few weeks before it will be played. It’s the Anti-2020 Bowl and deserving of your respect.

Pick: North Texas 34, Miami 24

Gasparilla Bowl, Tampa, Florida

UCF vs. Florida

Why watch? Don’t think this is how UCF was hoping to get its first crack since 2009 at the Gators, who limp in with an interim coach and .500 record. Still, the winner will hold it over the loser as if it was a playoff game.

Pick: Florida 31, UCF 23

Friday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu

Memphis vs. Hawaii

Why watch? How many times do you need to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” really?

Pick: Memphis 21, Hawaii 17

Saturday, Dec. 25

Camellia Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama

Ball State vs. Georgia State

Why watch? How many times do you need to watch “A Christmas Story,” really?

Pick: Georgia St. 24, Ball St. 16

Monday, Dec. 27

Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit

Nevada vs. Western Michigan

Why watch? Two winning football teams playing at Ford Field, the home of the Lions. That doesn’t happen often.

Pick: Nevada 27, Western Michigan 21

Military Bowl, Annapolis, Maryland

Boston College vs. East Carolina

Why watch? Get a jump on your 2023 NFL draft QB class with a look at Phil Jurkovec of BC.

Pick: Boston College 26, ECU 24

Tuesday, Dec. 28

Birmingham (Ala.) Bowl

No. 21 Houston vs. Auburn

Why watch? Transitive property playoff preview: Auburn lost to Alabama in overtime. Houston was routed by Cincinnati in the AAC title game. How do the Cougars and Tigers match up? Will it reveal anything about how the Cotton Bowl will play out? Probably not, but somebody on social media is bound to suggest it does.

Pick: Auburn 26, Houston 20

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, Dallas

Air Force vs. Louisville

Why watch? Last chance to see the triple-option until next season.

Pick: Air Force 31, Louisville 28

Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tennessee.

Mississippi State vs. Texas Tech

Why watch? According to Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, Texas Tech still owes him money from when he was fired more than a decade ago ago. How funny would it be if Tech delivered it at halftime, but in the form of one of those oversized golf tournament checks?

Pick: Miss. St. 35, Texas Tech 28

Holiday Bowl, San Diego

UCLA vs. North Carolina State

Why watch? If he plays — always an open-ended question with top NFL prospects in bowl games — North Carolina State All-American Ikem Ekwonu might be the best offensive lineman in the country.

Pick: N.C. State 35, UCLA 31

Guaranteed Rate Bowl, Phoenix

Minnesota vs. West Virginia

Why watch? The Gophers lost to Bowling Green this season, scoring 10 points. Not really a reason to watch, but three months later, still trying to figure out how that happened.

Pick: Minnesota 23, WVU 10

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Fenway Bowl, Boston

Virginia vs. SMU

Why watch? You miss baseball

Pick: Virginia 38, SMU 28

Pinstripe Bowl, New York

Virginia Tech vs. Maryland

Why watch? You really miss baseball.

Pick: Maryland 27, Va. Tech 17

Cheez-It Bowl, Orlando, Florida

No. 19 Clemson vs. Iowa State

Why watch? Two preseason top-10 teams expected better, but could both be motivated to end the season on a high note.

Pick: Clemson 24, Iowa State 21

Alamo Bowl, San Antonio

No. 14 Oklahoma vs. No. 15 Oregon

Why watch? Sooners QB Caleb Williams starts his 2022 Heisman Trophy campaign.

Pick: Oklahoma 31, Oregon 28

Thursday, Dec. 30

Duke’s Mayo Bowl, Charlotte, North Carolina

South Carolina vs. North Carolina

Why watch? No team in the country was more excited to go 6-6 than South Carolina in year one under coach Shane Beamer. No team in the country was more of disappointed to go 6-6 than North Carolina, which started the season ranked No. 10 under coach Mack Brown.

Pick: North Carolina 35, South Carolina 17

Music City Bowl, Nashville

Purdue vs. Tennessee

Why watch? Reminisce about the Bluebonnet Bowl, the postseason game once played in the old Houston Astrodome that was the setting for the only pervious matchup of the Boilermakers and Volunteers in 1979.

Pick: Tennessee 35, Purdue 24

Peach Bowl, Atlanta

No. 11 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Pittsburgh

Why watch? Two of the country’s most surprising double-digit win teams. Think of how cool this would be if it was a playoff game.

Pick: Pitt 31, Michigan State 23

Las Vegas Bowl

Wisconsin vs. Arizona State

Why watch? See the best 17-year-old in college football. Badgers RB Braelon Allen completed high school early and won’t turn 18 until January. The 238-pounder ran for 1,109 yards and 12 touchdowns despite hardly playing the first four games.

Pick: Wisconsin 28, Arizona St. 17

Friday, Dec. 31

Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Florida

No. 20 Wake Forest vs. No. 23 Texas A&M

Why watch? Classic good offense vs. good defense. Demon Deacons are fifth in the country, scoring 41 points per game. Aggies allow 16 per game, third best in the nation.

Pick: Texas A&M 34, Wake Forest 21

Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas

Washington State vs. Miami

Why watch? One of the many bowls canceled last season because of the pandemic, but this one was especially missed. Only the Rose is older and the Sun Bowl remains the only bowl televised by CBS. It feels like nostalgia.

Pick: Miami 31, Washington St. 23

Arizona Bowl, Tucson

Central Michigan vs. Boise State

Why watch: Maybe the best running back in the country you have never heard of is CMU’s Lew Nichols III, who leads the nation at 142.5 yards per game. MACtion fans are familiar with his work.

Pick: Boise St. 28, Central Michigan 16.

Saturday, Jan. 1

Outback Bowl, Tampa, Florida

No. 22 Arkansas vs. Penn State

Why watch? The Razorbacks and Nittany Lions have never played. How often do you get to see something that has never happened before?

Pick: Arkansas 23, Penn State 20

Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida

No. 17 Iowa vs. No. 25 Kentucky

Why watch? It’s like a science experiment on the randomness of turnovers. The Hawkeyes have 30 takeaways and lead the nation with a plus-14 turnover margin. The Wildcats have the second-worst margin in the country (minus 13), with 22 giveaways.

Pick: Kentucky 20, Iowa 16

Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Arizona

No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State

Why watch? Can the Fighting Irish snap their nine-game losing streak in what can be called major bowl games in coach Marcus Freeman’s coaching debut?

Pick: Notre Dame 27, Oklahoma St. 23

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Utah

Why watch? The late-blooming Utes are the type of team that could be dangerous in an expanded playoff. Then again, so are the Buckeyes.

Pick: Ohio State 38, Utah 27

Sugar Bowl, New Orleans

No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 8 Mississippi

Why watch? Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin’s offense vs. Baylor coach Dave Aranda’s defense. Interesting chess match.

Pick: Ole Miss 28, Baylor 23

Tuesday, Jan. 4

Texas Bowl, Houston

LSU vs. Kansas State

Why watch? New LSU coach Brian Kelly won’t be on the sideline, but is a good bet to be interviewed during the game. How’s that Southern accent coming along?

Pick: Kansas State 24, LSU 21

College Football Playoff

Dec. 31

Orange Bowl semifinal, Miami Gardens, Florida

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia

Why watch? Jim Harbaugh in a big game. Win or lose, think of the hot takes!

Pick: Georgia 31, Michigan 14

Cotton Bowl semifinal, Arlington, Texas

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati

Why watch? Can the Bearcats, the playoff’s first true Cinderella team, stay with the mighty Tide?

Pick: Alabama 35-17


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