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Bowl Games 2018-19: TV Schedule and Predictions for Most Anticipated Matchups

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01:  Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (R) reacts after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 35-28 in the 2018 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

College football's never-a-dull-moment bowl season is upon us with the first postseason tilts slated for Dec. 15.

As per usual, the docket is loaded with intriguing matchups and no shortage of stars.

After running through the entire TV schedule, we'll dissect and predict the most anticipated matchups outside of the College Football Playoff.

                    

Saturday, Dec. 15

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl

North Carolina A&T vs. Alcorn State

12 p.m. ET on ABC

               

New Mexico Bowl

North Texas vs. Utah State

2 p.m. ET on ESPN

                 

AutoNation Cure Bowl

Tulane vs. Louisiana

2:30 p.m. ET on CBSSN

                    

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl

Fresno State vs. Arizona State

3:30 p.m. ET on ABC

                   

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan

5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State

9 p.m. ET on ESPN

                       

Tuesday, Dec. 18

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

UAB vs. Northern Illinois

7 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

Wednesday, Dec. 19

DXL Frisco Bowl

San Diego State vs. Ohio

8 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

Thursday, Dec. 20

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl

Marshall vs. South Florida

8 p.m. ET on ESPN

                  

Friday, Dec. 21

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

FIU vs. Toledo

12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Western Michigan vs. BYU

4 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Saturday, Dec. 22

Jared Birmingham Bowl

Memphis vs. Wake Forest

12 p.m. ET on ESPN

                      

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Houston vs. Army

3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                 

Dollar General Bowl

Buffalo vs. Troy

7 p.m. ET on ESPN

                  

SoFi Hawaii Bowl

Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii

10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                

Wednesday, Dec. 26

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Boston College vs. Boise State

1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Quick Lane Bowl

Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech

5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

                        

Cheez-It Bowl

California vs. TCU

9 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

Thursday, Dec. 27

Walk-On's Independence Bowl

Temple vs. Duke

1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Miami vs. Wisconsin

5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

Baylor vs. Vanderbilt

9 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Friday, Dec. 28

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Purdue vs. Auburn

1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Camping World Bowl

West Virginia vs. Syracuse

5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Valero Alamo Bowl

Iowa State vs. Washington State

9 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Saturday, Dec. 29

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

No. 10 Florida vs. No. 7 Michigan

12 p.m. ET on ESPN

                   

Belk Bowl

South Carolina vs. Virginia

12 p.m. ET on ABC

                 

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Arkansas State vs. Nevada

1:15 p.m. ET on CBSSN

                     

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (Playoff Semifinal)

No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame

4 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Capital One Orange Bowl (Playoff Semifinal)

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

8 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Monday, Dec. 31

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

12 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

2 p.m. ET on CBS

                      

Redbox Bowl

Michigan State vs. Oregon

3 p.m. ET on Fox

                

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Missouri vs. Oklahoma State

3:45 p.m. ET on ESPN

                 

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Northwestern vs. Utah

7 p.m. ET on FS1

                   

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

NC State vs. Texas A&M

7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

Tuesday, Jan. 1

Outback Bowl

Mississippi State vs. Iowa

12 p.m. ET on ESPN2

                 

VRBO Citrus Bowl

Kentucky vs. Penn State

1 p.m. ET on ABC

                     

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

No. 11 LSU vs. No. 8 UCF

1 p.m. ET on ESPN

                   

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual

No. 9 Washington vs. No. 6 Ohio State

5 p.m. ET on ESPN

                

Allstate Sugar Bowl

No. 15 Texas vs. No. 5 Georgia

8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN

                     

Monday, Jan. 7

National Championship Game

8 p.m. ET on ESPN

                    

Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. Georgia

John Amis/Associated Press

Mindset will be critical in this collision of name-brand programs.

While a Sugar Bowl invite is nothing to scoff at, both clubs are enduring disappointments. The Bulldogs nearly knocked off Alabama and nearly made the playoff, but they fell just short in both. The Longhorns, meanwhile, had a Big 12 title in their sights but were denied by their Red River rivals from the Sooner State.

If either side struggles to get up for this game, the other will blow past it.

But if they're both ready and focused, this should be a fun matchup of two physical forces. The Bulldogs boast a pair of home-run hitters in the backfield with D'Andre Swift (6.7 yards per carry) and Elijah Holyfield (6.5). The Longhorns counter with dual-threat quarterback Sam Ehlinger (25 passing touchdowns, 13 rushing scores) and his lanky receivers Lil'Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson (16 combined touchdowns).

Provided Georgia can refocus after having its championship hopes dashed, it should win this game with relative ease. The Bulldogs are the more talented team, and they boast the running backs and offensive linemen to overpower an average Longhorns defense.

Prediction: Georgia 41, Texas 24

                       

Rose Bowl: Washington vs. Ohio State

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Pac-12 champion meets Big Ten champion in the Rose Bowl; that's poetic stuff, folks. It's made this matchup a can't-miss clash since it was first announced, and that label has only grown more appropriate with Urban Meyer's retirement plan.

The game keeps getting better when tightening the lens to a football-only perspective.

Giving Washington's defense a month to prepare against this explosive Ohio State offense? Yes, please. The Huskies are fifth in scoring defense (15.5 points per game). The Buckeyes, powered by FBS passing leader Dwayne Haskins, are eighth in scoring offense (43.5). Watching the chess match between these units should be fascinating.

The same could be said for the inverse, although for different reasons. Ohio State has an inconsistent defense (55th in scoring). Washington is about as erratic offensively as bowl teams get (83rd in scoring), especially if clubs can contain running back Myles Gaskin. Senior quarterback Jake Browning has authored some prolific play before, but it hasn't happened this season (16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions).

This will be strength vs. strength, weakness vs. weakness. But offense typically trumps all else in modern football, and the Buckeyes boast one of the best. Haskins and Co. will eventually find a high enough gear that the Huskies can't match.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Washington 27

                      

Peach Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 17:  Feleipe Franks #13 of the Florida Gators drops back to pass during the first half of their game against the Idaho Vandals at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Haller
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

These football programs are familiar with one another, having squared off in the 105 Citrus Bowl and 2017 season-opener (both Wolverines wins). But Michigan may have a hard time recognizing Florida under first-year head coach Dan Mullen.

These aren't the offensively inept Gators of recent seasons past.

In one season, Florida has jumped from 109th to 32nd in scoring, averaging an additional 12.4 points per game. Quarterback Feleipe Franks has looked like a different player as a sophomore, more than doubling his touchdowns (from nine to 23) while trimming his interceptions (from eight to six). The ground game, led by juniors Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett, has added more than 50 yards to its per-game output.

But are the Gators good enough to challenge this Wolverines' defense? That depends on which Michigan team shows up.

This unit looked as dominant as any for long stretches of the season, for instance surrendering just 27 total points to Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State in consecutive contests.

But the Wolverines also got burned badly by the Buckeyes in the Big 10 championship, allowing 62 points and 567 yards of offense. They're also moving forward without former top recruit Rashan Gary, who's getting a head start on his NFL draft preparation.

This matchup feels tighter than it has been, which admittedly isn't saying much when Michigan won the past two tilts by an average of 25 points. The margin won't be that wide this time around, but the outcome will remain the same.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Florida 20  

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