College Football Bowl Picks 2019: Predictions for Most Underrated Games on Slate

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2019

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher watches his defense lineup against Mississippi State during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Sam Craft/Associated Press

For four teams, bowl season provides the opportunity to play in the College Football Playoff and potentially go on to battle for the national championship.

However, plenty of other teams will have a chance to end their seasons on a positive note with a bowl victory. For some teams, that's already happened, as the bowl schedule started this past Friday. Many of the top games are still to come, though.

Here's a look at the full bowl schedule, followed by predictions for three underrated bowl matchups.


2019-20 Bowl Schedule

Monday, Dec. 23

Gasparilla Bowl (2:30 p.m., ESPN): UCF vs. Marshall


Tuesday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Hawaii vs. BYU


Thursday, Dec. 26

Independence Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (Fla.)

Quick Lane Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): Pittsburgh vs. Eastern Michigan


Friday, Dec. 27

Military Bowl (noon, ESPN): North Carolina vs. Temple

Pinstripe Bowl (3:20 p.m., ESPN): Michigan State vs. Wake Forest

Texas Bowl (6:45 p.m., ESPN): No. 25 Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

Holiday Bowl (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1): No. 22 USC vs. No. 16 Iowa

Cheez-It Bowl (10:15 p.m., ESPN): Air Force vs. Washington State


Saturday, Dec. 28

Camping World Bowl (noon, ABC): No. 15 Notre Dame vs. Iowa State

Cotton Bowl (noon, ESPN): No. 17 Memphis vs. No. 10 Penn State

College Football Playoff semifinal: Peach Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 LSU

College Football Playoff semifinal: Fiesta Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 2 Ohio State


Monday, Dec. 30

First Responder Bowl (12:30 p.m., ESPN): Western Kentucky vs. Western Michigan

Music City Bowl (4 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State vs. Louisville

Redbox Bowl (4 p.m., Fox): California vs. Illinois

Orange Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN): No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia


Tuesday, Dec. 31

Belk Bowl (noon, ESPN): Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky

Sun Bowl (2 p.m., CBS): Florida State vs. Arizona State

Liberty Bowl (3:45 p.m., ESPN): No. 23 Navy vs. Kansas State

Arizona Bowl (4:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network): Wyoming vs. Georgia State

Alamo Bowl (7:30 p.m., ESPN): No. 11 Utah vs. Texas


Wednesday, Jan. 1

Citrus Bowl (1 p.m., ABC): No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 13 Alabama

Outback Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN): No. 18 Minnesota vs. No. 12 Auburn

Rose Bowl (5 p.m., ESPN): No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Wisconsin

Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m., ESPN): No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 7 Baylor


Thursday, Jan. 2

Birmingham Bowl (3 p.m., ESPN): No. 21 Cincinnati vs. Boston College

Gator Bowl (7 p.m., ESPN): Indiana vs. Tennessee


Friday, Jan. 3

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (3:30 p.m., ESPN): Ohio vs. Nevada


Saturday, Jan. 4

Armed Forces Bowl (11:30 a.m., ESPN): Southern Mississippi vs. Tulane


Monday, Jan. 6

LendingTree Bowl (7:30 p.m., ESPN): UL Lafayette vs. Miami (Ohio)


Monday, Jan. 13

College Football Playoff National Championship (8 p.m., ESPN): Winner of No. 1 LSU-No. 4 Oklahoma vs. Winner of No. 2 Ohio State-No. 3 Clemson

All Times ET. Predictions in bold.


Three Underrated Bowl Matchups

Texas Bowl: Texas A&M over Oklahoma State

Texas A&M is 7-5 this season, as it won all the games it was favored to win and lost to all the teams on its schedule that finished the year ranked. So, that record may not be a proper indication of how talented this team is.

The Aggies' five losses came against LSU, Clemson, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama, a handful of teams that are playing in top bowl games. LSU and Clemson make up half the Playoff field.

But Texas A&M could finally get a big win this season in the Texas Bowl over Oklahoma State, which won four of its last five games to finish the regular season at 8-4.

One factor working in the Aggies' favor? The location of this game. It will be like a home contest for them, as their campus is only about 90 minutes from NRG Stadium in Houston. Expect Texas A&M fans to travel well and give the Aggies the boost they need to take down the Cowboys in what could be a competitive game.


Liberty Bowl: Kansas State over Navy

Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

After an impressive 10-2 regular season, Navy will have a chance to prove itself further against Kansas State, a solid team from the Big 12.

Although the Midshipmen didn't have the toughest conference schedule playing in the AAC, they still notched a pair of quality victories over SMU and Houston, with their only losses coming against Memphis, the AAC champion, and Notre Dame. They have a dominant rushing attack that can be difficult to stop.

But Kansas State is the only team to have beaten Oklahoma, the Big 12 champion and a CFP participant, this season. The Wildcats are 8-4, closing the regular season with a pair of solid victories over Texas Tech and Iowa State.

Navy may have the better record, but Kansas State is the better, more well-balanced team. The Wildcats should limit the Midshipmen's rushing game and make some big plays to secure the bowl victory.


Outback Bowl: Minnesota over Auburn

Stacy Bengs/Associated Press

The SEC and the Big Ten have been the top two conferences in the country in recent seasons, so it should be exciting to watch a top team from each conference face off in this New Year's Day matchup.

There are a lot of exciting games on the first day of 2020, including the Rose Bowl (Oregon-Wisconsin), Sugar Bowl (Georgia-Baylor) and Citrus Bowl (Alabama-Michigan), but the Outback Bowl shouldn't be overlooked.

Both Auburn and Minnesota own quality wins. The Tigers beat Oregon and Alabama, while the Golden Gophers have a victory over Penn State. Combined, the two teams have only five losses this season.

This should be a bowl that comes down to the wire. But this will be the first postseason matchup for Tigers freshman quarterback Bo Nix, and Minnesota's defense, which is ranked 15th in the country, will be a tough opponent. Expect the Golden Gophers defense to lead them to victory.