College Football Bowl Picks 2017-18: Predictions for Every Postseason Game

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2017

LEXINGTON, KY - NOVEMBER 25:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals throws a  pass against the Kentucky Wildcats during the game at Commonwealth Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The two-week wait to start bowl season that has felt like an eternity ends on Saturday with a five-game slate which starts early in the afternoon.

Although Saturday's group of contests might not be the best, they still mark the start of an exciting period of college football that should give us plenty to talk about during the holiday season.

There are stars playing their final games, programs looking to impress incoming head coaches, records to be achieved and so much more over the next few weeks. 


December 16

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (1 p.m. ET)

Troy vs. North Texas


Prediction: Troy 24, North Texas 17


AutoNation Cure Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET )

Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State

TV: CBS Sports Network

Prediction: Western Kentucky 24, Georgia State 19


Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon


Prediction: Boise State 49, Oregon 41


Gildan New Mexico Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET)

Marshall vs. Colorado State 


Prediction: Colorado State 37, Marshall 21 


Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State 


Prediction: Middle Tennessee 31, Arkansas State 24


December 19

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m. ET)

Akron vs. Florida Atlantic 


Prediction: Florida Atlantic 45, Akron 10


December 20

DXL Frisco Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Louisiana Tech vs. SMU 


Prediction: SMU 31, Louisiana Tech 24


December 21

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Temple vs. Florida International 


Prediction: Temple 24, Florida International 20


December 22

Bahamas Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

UAB vs. Ohio


Prediction: UAB 41, Ohio 31


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

Central Michigan vs. Wyoming


Prediction: Wyoming 34, Central Michigan 31


December 23

Birmingham Bowl (12 p.m. ET)

Texas Tech vs. South Florida 


Prediction: South Florida 55, Texas Tech 49


Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

San Diego State vs. Army


Prediction: San Diego State 31, Army 17


Dollar General Bowl (7 p.m. ET)

Appalachian State vs. Toledo 


Prediction: Toledo 27, Appalachian State 20


December 24

Hawaii Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET)

Fresno State vs. Houston 


Prediction: Houston 41, Fresno State 37


December 26

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl (1:30 p.m. ET)

West Virginia vs. Utah 


Prediction: Utah 38, West Virginia 24


Quick Lane Bowl (5:15 p.m. ET)

Duke vs. Northern Illinois


Prediction: Northern Illinois 31, Duke 24


Cactus Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

Kansas State vs. UCLA 


Prediction: UCLA 45, Kansas State 40


December 27

Walk On's Independence Bowl (1:30 p.m. ET)

Southern Miss vs. Florida State 


Prediction: Florida State 31, Southern Miss 27


New Era Pinstripe Bowl (5:15 p.m. ET)

Boston College vs. Iowa 


Prediction: Iowa 17, Boston College 13


Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET)

Arizona vs. Purdue 

TV: Fox

Prediction: Purdue 40, Arizona 31


Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

Texas vs. Missouri 

TV: ESPN          

Prediction: Missouri 37, Texas 31       


December 28

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (1:30 p.m. ET)

Virginia vs. Navy


Prediction: Navy 27, Virginia 24


Camping World Bowl (5:15 p.m. ET)

No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State 


Prediction: Oklahoma State 31, Virginia Tech 24


Valero Alamo Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

No. 13 Stanford vs. No. 15 TCU 


Prediction: Stanford 24, TCU 21


San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

No. 18 Washington State vs. No. 16 Michigan State

TV: Fox                  

Prediction: Michigan State 26, Washington State 23


December 29

Belk Bowl (1 p.m. ET)

Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M


Prediction: Wake Forest 35, Texas A&M 28


Hyundai Sun Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State


Prediction: NC State 28, Arizona State 27


Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET)

No. 21 Northwestern vs. Kentucky


Prediction: Northwestern 37, Kentucky 24


Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET)

Utah State vs. New Mexico State

TV: CBS Sports Network

Prediction: Utah State 20, New Mexico State 17


Goodyear Cotton Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET)

No. 5 Ohio State  vs. No. 8 USC

TV: ESPN                

Prediction: Ohio State 27, USC 21


December 30

TaxSlayer Bowl (Noon ET)

No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Louisville 


Prediction: Louisville 41, Mississippi State 26


AutoZone Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

No. 20 Memphis vs. Iowa State


Prediction: Memphis 21, Iowa State 17


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington


Prediction: Penn State 31, Washington 17


Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

No. 6 Wisconsin  vs. No. 10 Miami (FL)

TV: ESPN          

Prediction: Wisconsin 21, Miami (FL) 14   


January 1, 2018

Outback Bowl (Noon ET)

Michigan vs. South Carolina


Prediction: Michigan 27, South Carolina 19


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF


Prediction: Auburn 34, UCF 31


Citrus Bowl presented by Overton's (1 p.m. ET)

No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU 


Prediction: LSU 31, Notre Dame 27


Rose Bowl (National Semifinal, 5 p.m. ET)

No. 2 Oklahoma  vs. No. 3 Georgia


Prediction: Oklahoma 17, Georgia 14


Sugar Bowl (National Semifinal, 8:45 p.m. ET)

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama

TV: ESPN               

Prediction: Clemson 31, Alabama 20


January 8, 2018

National Championship Game (8 p.m. ET)



Las Vegas Bowl is the Best of Opening Slate

If you do a quick glance over Saturday's five bowl games, only one stands out in terms of programs in the national spotlight. 

Boise State and Oregon may not be in their prime as they were a few years ago, but they'll still give us a must-watch matchup in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The Broncos have weapons in all facets of their offense in quarterback Brett Rypien, who has thrown for 2,515 yards, running back Alexander Mattison, who has 1,074 rushing yards and leading receiver Cedrick Wilson, who recorded 1,290 receiving yards in the regular season. 

Denis Poroy/Associated Press

Boise State has also been on a tear as it has one loss since the start of October. The Broncos avenged their November 25 loss to Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship.

Oregon has a few dynamic playmakers itself in the form of quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Royce Freeman. 

Herbert hasn't received a ton of attention due to the other star quarterbacks in the Pac-12, but he could end up being a player in the 2018 Heisman Trophy race if he finds success under new head coach Mario Cristobal.

Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

Freeman, who has 1,475 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns to his name, has picked up 100 yards on the ground in each of his last six games dating back to Stanford on October 14. 


Florida State Trying to Impress New Head Coach

One of the most curious games of bowl season will be the Independence Bowl, where Florida State faces off against Southern Miss. 

The Seminoles had a brutal season and needed a December 2 win over Louisiana-Monroe to just become bowl-eligible and earn the trip to Shreveport, Louisiana. 

The Florida State players could take their bowl game two ways. They could either use it as motivation to impress new head coach Willie Taggart, or they could lay an egg and make a loss to Southern Miss a fitting end to the disappointing season.

One has to believe star freshmen such as James Blackman and Cam Akers will come ready to play with Taggart watching intently. 

Ben McKeown/Associated Press

Blackman, who replaced the injured Deondre Francois, came three yards short of 2,000 in the passing game, while Akers totaled 930 yards on the ground with seven touchdowns. 

Stopping Southern Miss' offense might be a tough task for the Florida State defense, as the Golden Eagles have scored 137 points in their last three games. 


Lamar Jackson Looking to Cement Legacy 

Lamar Jackson could be playing his final college football game on December 30 against Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

The 2016 Heisman winner and 2017 third-place finisher for college football's most prestigious award could declare for the NFL Draft after this game, which means he might have one more chance to cement his legacy as one of the best quarterbacks in the sport in recent memory. 

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 18:  Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Louisville junior has put up triple digits in the passing and rushing yards columns in nine of his 12 games, and there's a good chance he does it for the 10th time against the Bulldogs, who are in a state of transition. 

Mississippi State possesses a daunting defense, one that almost helped upset Alabama at home, but the Bulldogs' coaching staff is in a transition period with Dan Mullen now at Florida and Joe Moorhead ready to take the reigns.

In addition to the coaching situation, the Bulldogs will be without quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who was injured on Thanksgiving against Ole Miss. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

All statistics obtained from ESPN.com


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