College Football Bowl Picks 2017: Schedule and Predictions for Upcoming ActionDecember 20, 2017
The college football bowl season is entertaining but often difficult to predict.
While you can use analytics, the eye test or whichever metric you want to judge teams, the reality is there is a lot of uncertainty heading into the postseason. Full conferences that are considered strong could be weaker than expected and vice versa.
Additionally, the different mentalities for each team often plays a major role in deciding the outcome.
This is a recipe for a lot of upsets throughout the next few weeks. Here are full predictions for the bowl season and a breakdown of some of the biggest potential upsets on the schedule.
Schedule and Predictions
Wednesday, Dec. 20
Frisco Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): SMU vs. Louisiana Tech; 41-28 SMU
Thursday, Dec. 21
Gasparilla Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Temple vs. FIU; 31-27 FIU
Friday, Dec. 22
Bahamas Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): UAB vs. Ohio; 28-27 UAB
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Central Michigan vs. Wyoming; 24-21 CMU
Saturday, Dec. 23
Birmingham Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN): USF vs. Texas Tech; 38-20 USF
Armed Forces Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN): San Diego State vs. Army; 21-17 SDSU
Dollar General Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN): Appalachian State vs. Toledo; 35-24 Toledo
Sunday, Dec. 24
Hawaii Bowl (8:30 p.m., ESPN): Fresno State vs. Houston; 20-17 Fresno
Tuesday, Dec. 26
Heart of Dallas Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Utah vs. West Virginia; 30-23 WVU
Quick Lane Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Duke vs. NIU; 24-17 Duke
Cactus Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Kansas State vs. UCLA; 35-31 UCLA
Wednesday, Dec. 27
Independence Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Florida State vs. Southern Miss; 28-20 FSU
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Boston College vs. Iowa; 21-16 Iowa
Foster Farms Bowl (8:30 p.m., Fox): Arizona vs. Purdue; 31-17 Zona
Texas Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Texas vs. Missouri; 27-20 Texas
Thursday, Dec. 28
Military Bowl (1:30 p.m., ESPN): Virginia vs. Navy; 28-24 Navy
Camping World Bowl (5:15 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma State vs. Virginia Tech; 34-21 OSU
Alamo Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN): Stanford vs. TCU; 21-20 STAN
Holiday Bowl (9 p.m., FS1): Michigan State vs. Washington State; 28-27 MSU
Friday, Dec. 29
Belk Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest; 35-21 Wake
Sun Bowl (3 p.m., CBS): Arizona State vs. NC State; 34-24 NCSU
Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m., ESPN): Kentucky vs. Northwestern; 27-21 NW
Arizona Bowl (5:30 p.m., CBS Sports): New Mexico State vs. Utah State; 30-20 USU
Cotton Bowl Classic (8:30 p.m., ESPN): Ohio State vs. USC; 28-21 OSU
Saturday, Dec. 30
TaxSlayer Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State vs. Louisville; 38-28 LOU
Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m., ABC): Iowa State vs. Memphis; 31-27 MEM
Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Penn State vs. Washington; 30-21 PSU
Orange Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Wisconsin vs. Miami; 20-10 Miami
Monday, Jan. 1
Outback Bowl (12 p.m., ESPN2): Michigan vs. South Carolina; 16-13 MICH
Peach Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): Auburn vs. UCF; 35-14 AUB
Citrus Bowl (1 p.m., ABC): Notre Dame vs. LSU; 27-17 ND
Rose Bowl (5 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma vs. Georgia; 38-28 OKLA
Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m., ESPN): Clemson vs. Alabama; 24-21 BAMA
Monday, Jan. 8
College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m., ESPN); 30-21, OKLA
Upsets to Watch
Miami (+6.5) over Wisconsin
Wisconsin has had one of the best defenses in college football this season, ranking third with just 13.2 points allowed per game. However, the schedule played a pretty big role in the team's success.
The Badgers only beat one team, Northwestern, that finished the year in the CFP Top 25.
Against the best competition it saw all year, Wisconsin allowed 27 points to Ohio State, which ran wild with 238 yards on the ground in the Big Ten championship.
Miami certainly has question marks after scoring only 17 points in its final two games of the year, but it showed more against quality opponents. Even with an embarrassing Clemson loss on the resume, the team still ranks tied for second in the nation in turnover margin. This could go a long way against Alex Hornibrook and the inconsistent Wisconsin offense.
Effectively playing a home game at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami should be able to use its defense to win a low-scoring battle against a tough opponent.
West Virginia (+7) over Utah
It's hard to bet against Kyle Whittingham and Utah in bowl games. The head coach has a 10-1 bowl record in his career, winning each of the last four years.
"We are very aware of their history, especially in bowl games," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said of Utah, per Dirk Facer of the Deseret News. "So it's going to be a challenge for us."
The problem is the Utes don't have the same type of team they have had in past years. They finished the year 6-6 with losses in six of the last eight games. There were tough breaks and good wins in this stretch, but the defense isn't as good as we have come to expect.
This could make things difficult against West Virginia, which has one of the top passing attacks in the country at 324.8 yards per game. Will Grier can spread the ball around all over the field, with David Sills V, Gary Jennings and Ka'Raun White all putting together impressive seasons.
Utah doesn't have enough players in the secondary capable of sticking with this aerial attack.
Even without Justin Crawford, who will sit out the game to prepare for the draft, West Virginia has enough offensive talent to win this game.
Florida International (+7) over Temple
Although Florida International will be without top receiver Thomas Owens, quarterback Alex McGough could actually benefit from spreading the ball around more to the rest of his targets.
The Panthers scored 104 points in the final two games of the year with Owens on the sideline, with the team utilizing a wide variety of weapons offensively.
This could be too much for Temple to handle, a team that ranked 97th in the country in points scored per game. Whether Logan Marchi or Frank Nutile were under center, turnovers were a problem and the offense remained stagnant.
FIU hasn't been great defensively this year, but Butch Davis has gone a good job of getting his team prepared in his first season with the program and his player should be ready to shut down the Owls offense.
Adding in the fact Florida International should have a lot of local fans at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, this game is ripe for an upset.