College football's most wonderful time of the year kicked off on Saturday with a full five-game slate, but there's plenty more action to see where that came from.
Sure, there's a case to be made there are too many bowl games. The influx of 5-7 teams, depending on their Academic Progress Rates to become bowl-eligible, might take some shine off of these games.
However, the best parts of bowl season still remain. We get a steady dose of college football throughout the holiday season and have the chance to see some of college football's best talent that we don't usually catch during the regular season.
For example, unless you're an avid fan of Louisiana Tech, you probably haven't seen former Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel since Louisville was picking him off in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
The signal-caller's career came full circle on Saturday with an exceptional 458-yard, three-touchdown performance, as he led Louisiana Tech to a 47-28 win over Arkansas State in that same stadium.
Driskel isn't the last player who will take advantage of a big stage to end his season, though. Here's a look at the schedule for all the remaining bowl games, plus a look at some players who should really shine in the matchups that are quickly approaching.
|2015-16 Bowl Schedule|
|Dec. 21||2:30 p.m.||Miami Beach Bowl||USF vs. Western Kentucky||Miami||ESPN|
|Dec. 22||3:30 p.m.||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Akron vs. Utah State||Boise||ESPN|
|Dec. 22||7 p.m.||Marmot Boca Raton Bowl||Temple vs. Toledo||Boca Raton||ESPN|
|Dec. 23||4:30 p.m.||San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl||Boise State vs. Northern Illinois||San Diego||ESPN|
|Dec. 23||8 p.m.||GoDaddyBowl||Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern||Mobile||ESPN|
|Dec. 24||Noon||Popeyes Bahamas Bowl||Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan||Nassau||ESPN|
|Dec. 24||8 p.m.||Hawai'i Bowl||Cincinnati vs. San Diego State||Honolulu||ESPN|
|Dec. 26||11 a.m.||St. Petersburg Bowl||UConn vs. Marshall||St. Petersburg||ESPN|
|Dec. 26||2 p.m.||Hyundai Sun Bowl||Miami vs. Washington State||El Paso||CBS|
|Dec. 26||2:20 p.m.||Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl||Washington vs. Southern Miss||Dallas||ESPN|
|Dec. 26||3:30 p.m.||New Era Pinstripe Bowl||Duke vs. Indiana||Bronx||ABC|
|Dec. 26||5:45 p.m.||Camping World Independence Bowl||Virginia Tech vs. Tulsa||Shreveport||ESPN|
|Dec. 26||9:15 p.m.||Foster Farms Bowl||Nebraska vs. UCLA||Santa Clara||ESPN|
|Dec. 28||2:30 p.m.||Military Bowl||Pitt vs. Navy||Annapolis||ESPN|
|Dec. 28||5 p.m.||Quick Lane Bowl||Central Michigan vs. Minnesota||Detroit||ESPN2|
|Dec. 29||2 p.m.||Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl||California vs. Air Force||Fort Worth||ESPN|
|Dec. 29||5:30 p.m.||Russell Athletic Bowl||North Carolina vs. Baylor||Orlando||ESPN|
|Dec. 29||7:30 p.m.||NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl||Nevada vs. Colorado State||Tucson||TBD|
|Dec. 29||9 p.m.||AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl||Texas Tech vs. LSU||Houston||ESPN|
|Dec. 30||Noon||Birmingham Bowl||Memphis vs. Auburn||Birmingham||ESPN|
|Dec. 30||3:30 p.m.||Belk Bowl||NC State vs. Mississippi State||Charlotte||ESPN|
|Dec. 30||7 p.m.||Music City Bowl||Louisville vs. Texas A&M||Nashville||ESPN|
|Dec. 30||10:30 p.m.||Holiday Bowl||Wisconsin vs. USC||San Diego||ESPN|
|Dec. 31||Noon||Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl||Houston vs. Florida State||Atlanta||ESPN|
|Dec. 31||8 p.m.||Cotton Bowl||Michigan State vs. Alabama||Arlington||ESPN|
|Dec. 31||4 p.m.||Orange Bowl||Oklahoma vs. Clemson||Miami||ESPN|
|Jan. 1||Noon||Outback Bowl||Northwestern vs. Tennessee||Tampa Bay||ESPN2|
|Jan. 1||1 p.m.||Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl||Michigan vs. Florida||Orlando||ABC|
|Jan. 1||1 p.m.||Fiesta Bowl||Notre Dame vs. Ohio State||Glendale||ESPN|
|Jan. 1||5 p.m.||Rose Bowl||Stanford vs. Iowa||Pasadena||ESPN|
|Jan. 1||8:30 p.m.||Allstate Sugar Bowl||Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss||New Orleans||ESPN|
|Jan. 2||Noon||TaxSlayer Bowl||Penn State vs. Georgia||Jacksonville||ESPN|
|Jan. 2||3:20 p.m.||AutoZone Liberty Bowl||Kansas State vs. Arkansas||Memphis||ESPN|
|Jan. 2||6:45 p.m.||Valero Alamo Bowl||TCU vs. Oregon||San Antonio||ESPN|
|Jan. 2||10:15 p.m.||Cactus Bowl||West Virginia vs. Arizona State||Phoenix||ESPN|
|Jan. 11||8:30 p.m.||College Football Playoff National Championship||Glendale||ESPN|
Players to Watch
Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
The Willie Taggart, er, Miami Beach Bowl presents an interesting matchup between South Florida and Western Kentucky, as the Bulls' head coach will face his old team.
While that's an interesting storyline, the attention should be on Hilltoppers quarterback Brandon Doughty. Few quarterbacks in the country can claim the kind of numbers the senior quarterback has put up this season.
As WKU Stats & Info noted, no quarterback has more 300-plus-yard games over the last two seasons:
What's more is that Doughty isn't just a system quarterback. He's currently No. 8 in Matt Miller's quarterback rankings for the 2016 NFL draft. CBS Sports' Dane Brugler broke down Doughty's strengths as a pro prospect for the Bowling Green Daily News:
His best strength is his comfort operating the offense. He shows timing and nuance to allow his routes to develop and quickly deliver like a point guard playing with tempo. Doughty delivers a pretty ball with proper downfield placement, relying on touch over velocity. Doughty has a great feel for the field, identifying hot routes pre-snap and recognizing where the defense is vulnerable.
Doughty doesn't have the easiest matchup in South Florida. The Bulls have been highly successful in defending the pass this season. They've only given up 300 yards passing in three games, but they also held those teams to four touchdowns and five interceptions.
Essentially, teams that have gone to the air enough times to throw for numbers have suffered consequences. South Florida will put Doughty's decision-making to the test, but he's shown that it's a test he can pass.
He has 45 touchdowns to just seven interceptions on the season and should add to those gaudy numbers.
Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan
Plenty have credited P.J. Fleck for what he's done at Western Michigan. Finding ways to turn 5'10", 177-pound receiver Daniel Braverman into one of the nation's most productive offensive weapons in the country has to be one reason for the praise.
The diminutive receiver was second nationally in catches (103), eighth in yards per game (105.8) and tied for eighth in receiving touchdowns (12).
According to Pro Football Focus College, no one has matched his production when lined up in the slot:
More importantly, Braverman has been a consistent presence for the Broncos offense in their biggest games of the season. Against Michigan State, the junior snagged 13 passes for 109 yards. Against Ohio State, he added 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Now he gets one more chance to add to his excellent numbers this season against Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders are just 93rd in passing yards allowed this season and have given up big numbers to opposing receivers before.
Western Kentucky's Taywan Taylor caught six passes for 120 yards and three touchdowns as Doughty carved up the Middle Tennessee defense to the tune of five touchdowns in a 58-28 blowout.
If you enjoy watching receivers go to work in the slot, Braverman is sure to deliver against a secondary that might not have an answer for him.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State
San Diego State head coach Rocky Long has known what makes his offense go all season. There's a reason that Donnel Pumphrey finished the season No. 5 in the nation in carries.
If Cincinnati's run defense is any indication, Long will once again be going to the Pumphrey well early and often. The Bearcats were 106th in rushing defense by yards per carry, giving up 5.02.
Pumphrey isn't just a product of his volume, either. The 5'9", 180-pound back has been extremely adept at making people miss this season, as Pro Football Focus noted (via Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune):
Running the ball will be key to the Aztecs game plan, as Cincinnati has an explosive offensive playmaker of its own in Gunner Kiel at quarterback (Kiel, however, will not travel to Hawaii). The Bearcats are at their best when they have the ball and can make plays in the passing game, so San Diego State would be well-advised to lean on the running game and play keep-away.
That should equate to plenty of opportunities for Pumphrey, and with great opportunities comes great production for the junior.
All statistics used courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted.