It’s that time again. The eggnog will be flowing, the Christmas classics are on TV and you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time around family who’s presence you may or may not enjoy. But there’s one thing that can save you: the abundance of college football on TV.
Here’s our holiday guide to college football bowl season. Our categories for each game are “Lol this will be awful,” “Meh. Sure,” “Watch this,” and “Definitely watch. Ignore everything around you.”
Saturday December 17
2 PM – New Mexico Bowl. New Mexico – UTSA ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
Los Lobos welcome the UTSA Roadrunners to their home stadium. New Mexico also has two 1,000-yard rushers in Teriyon Gipson and Tyrone Owens. ESPN calls the pair “the best 1-2 punch most of the country probably hasn’t heard about.” It’s UTSA’s first ever bowl appearance.
3:30 PM – Las Vegas Bowl. Houston – San Diego State ABC, WatchESPN: Watch this.
There were only three teams that beat Heisman-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson this year, and Houston was one of them. The Cougars are led by overachiever Greg Ward Jr., once a Heisman candidate himself. Houston will either crush San Diego State or play like a team who’s totally mailed it in after a disappointing finish.
5:30 PM – Camellia Bowl – App State – Toledo, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
App State is always fun to watch. They rose up from FCS to FBS in 2015 and almost beat Tennessee in the first game of the college football season. Toledo’s senior rusher Kareem Hunt finishes his career with 4825 yards and 42 TDs.
5:30 PM – Cure Bowl – Arkansas State – UCF, CBSSN: Lol this will be awful.
What is a Cure Bowl? Legitimate question.
9:00 PM – New Orleans Bowl – Southern Miss – UL-Lafayette, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
The best part about this game is wishing you could have been partying on Bourbon Street the night before in ‘Nawlins. We can all dream. UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns have a sweet name, but they barely eeked into bowl-eligibility this year. Southern Miss running back Ito Smith racked up 1,321 yards and 15 TDs for the Golden Eagles this year.
Monday December 19
2:30 PM – Miami Beach Bowl – CMU – Tulsa, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
It’s 2:30 PM on the Monday before Christmas. If you have it off you might as well watch. CMU quarterback Cooper Rush may get a look in the NFL in the future. Tulsa rusher James Flanders ran for a monstrous 1,529 yards and 17 TDs this year.
Tuesday December 20
7:00 PM – Boca Raton Bowl – Memphis – WKU, ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
These are two teams that are both fairly motivated to win this game. Memphis’ Anthony Miller is a straight baller (84 catches for 1,283 yards and 11 TDs). But the Hilltoppers’ receiver Taywan Taylor (1,586 yards, 16 TDs) is even more of a baller. Alabama coach Nick Saban called him as good as any receiver Alabama faced this season.
Wednesday December 21
9:00 PM – Poinsettia Bowl – BYU – Wyoming ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
This should be an entertaining game. BYU lost four of five games decided by three points or fewer. Wyoming is just hard to play against. They knocked off No. 13 Boise State in November. Rusher Brian Hill ran for 21 TDs.
Thursday December 22
7:00 PM – Idaho Potato Bowl – Colorado State – Idaho ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
Idaho gets a home bowl game. The Vandals enter just their third bowl game ever. In 2018 they’ll move down to the FCS, so motivation should be high. Colorado State has freak linebacker Kevin Davis on defense.
Friday December 23
1:00 PM – Bahamas Bowl – EMU – Old Dominion ESPN, WatchESPN: Lol this will be awful.
The Bahamas Bowl in beautiful Nassau is Old Dominion’s first ever bowl game. Not a bad way to start. From 2009-10, ODU was not eligible for the FCS playoffs, and from 2013-14, the Monarchs were not eligible for a bowl because of NCAA transitioning rules.
4:30 PM – Armed Forces Bowl – Louisiana Tech – #25 Navy, ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Navy beat then-No. 6 Houston and rival Notre Dame this year. Quarterback Will Worth passed and ran for over 1,000 yards this year. La Tech receiver Carlos Henderson is a legit threat with 17 TDs this year.
8:00 PM – Dollar General Bowl – Ohio – Troy ESPN, WatchESPN: Lol this will be awful.
This year Troy broke into the AP Top 25 for the first time in school history, the first Sun Belt team to be ranked. Ohio is always a contender in the weak MAC conference.
Saturday December 24
8:00 PM – Hawaii Bowl – MTSU – Hawaii, ESPN, WatchESPN: Lol this will be awful.
Hawaii was brutal this year, but the Hawaii Bowl is always good fun on Christmas eve. Linebacker Jahlani Tavai led Hawaii with 118 tackles, including seven sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.
Monday December 26
11 AM – St. Petersburg Bowl – Miss. State – Miami (Ohio) ESPN, WatchESPN: Lol this will be awful.
Miami became the first team in college football history to finish a regular season 6-6 after losing its first six games. Mississippi State’s coach looks like Cousin Eddy from Christmas Vacation.
2:30 PM – Quick Lane Bowl – Boston College – Maryland ESPN, WatchESPN: Lol this will be awful.
It’s so cold in the D (at Ford Field). The Terps lost 59-3 loss to the Wolverines and then a 62-3 loss to the Buckeyes. Boston College lost to the top four teams in the ACC by a combined score of 202-24.
5:00 PM – Independence Bowl – NC State – Vanderbilt, ESPN2, WatchESPN: Meh, sure.
How NC State let a win against goliath Clemson slip away is still shocking. It could have been totally different for the Wolfpack. Vandy upset then-No. 17 Tennessee at home this year.
Tuesday December 27
12:00 PM – Heart of Dallas Bowl – Army – North Texas ESPN, WatchESPN: Lol this will be awful.
Army has been to only one bowl in the last 20 years. North Texas won just five games this year. Losing records shouldn’t be in bowl games.
3:30 PM – Military Bowl – #24 Temple – Wake Forest ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh, sure.
Temple’s senior QB Phillip Walker became the first Temple player to reach the 10,000-yard mark for his career. Wake Forest went 2-6 down the stretch to finish with a lacklustre 7-6 record.
7:00 PM – Holiday Bowl – Minnesota – Wash. State ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Minnesota breakout rusher Rodney Smith hit the 1,000 yard mark and scored 16 times. Washington State receiver Gabe Marks finishes his career with the Pac-12 receptions record (312) and will likely get a look in the NFL.
10:15 PM – Cactus Bowl – Baylor – Boise State, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols is a bad man. He led the FBS with 23 rushing TDs this year. Baylor is a total mess after the whole Art Briles-sexual assault scandal stuff. They’ll probably lose, then their coaching staff is outta there.
Wednesday December 28
2 PM – Pinstripe Bowl – #23 Pitt – Northwestern ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
Pitt running back and cancer survivor James Conner is going to the NFL, but not before what should be a huge performance in the Pinstripe Bowl. Northwestern is boring, but senior receiver Austin Carr (1,196 yards, 12 TDs) is fun to watch.
5:30 PM – Russell Athletic Bowl – Miami – #16 West Virginia ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Miami’s Brad Kaaya can turn it on or get booed by Miami home fans. You get the whole package. And since its in Orlando the Canes fans will come. West Virginia won 10 games for the first time in five years of Big 12 play.
8:30 PM – Foster Farms Bowl – Indiana – #19 Utah, Fox, Fox Sports Go: Watch this.
Utah was at times magnificent and other times lacklustre this year. They suffered deflating season-ending losses to Oregon and Colorado but beat USC. Rusher Joe Williams racked up 1,110 yards over five games.
9:00 PM – Texas Bowl – Kansas State – Texas A&M, ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight plays with a mighty exciting offense around him. Obvious NFL draft pick Myles Garrett plays his last game for the Aggies. Legendary ‘cats coach Bill Snyder will make sure his boys are ready.
Thursday December 29
2:00 PM – Birmingham Bowl – South Carolina – USF, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
It’s a new era for USF after the program hired Charlie Strong, Texas’ old coach. Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers is one of the greatest players in school history. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp is always a threat to blow a gasket on the sidelines. His team is young and they’ll be good in a few years.
5:30 PM – Belk Bowl – Arkansas – #22 Virginia Tech, ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen is fun to watch. He finished second in the SEC in passing yards (3,152) and touchdown passes (23). Meanwhile Hokies signal-caller Jerod Evans threw for 3,309 yards and 27 TDs this year.
9:00 PM – Alamo Bowl – #10 Colorado – #12 OK State ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
The Colorado Buffaloes will be mighty fired up after getting smashed in the Pac-12 championship two weeks ago. They haven’t played in a bowl game since 2007. Oklahoma State pigskin-launcher Mason Rudolph quietly ranked among the top quarterbacks nationally over the final two months of the season.
Friday December 30
12:00 PM – Liberty Bowl – Georgia – TCU, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
Both teams were kind of sucky this year. Georgia backs Nick Chubb (988 rushing yards, 8 TDs) and Sony Michel (753 yards, 3 TDs) can both turn on the jets. This game could predict how far Kenny Hill will fall since being a highly-touted freshman at Texas A&M.
2:00 PM – Sun Bowl – North Carolina – #18 Stanford, CBS, CBSSports.com: Watch this.
UNC beat Florida State this year for a huge win. Running back Elijah Hood was tremendous all season. Stanford came into the season with high hopes, disappointed, then they won five straight to finish the season.
3:30 PM – Music City Bowl – Nebraska – #21 Tennessee, ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Tennessee beat Florida for the first time in a decade this year, then lost to Vanderbilt. Enough said. Nebraska’s success will revolve around how Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr plays.
5:30 PM – Arizona Bowl – Air Force – South Alabama, CampusInsiders.com: Lol this will be awful.
Current CFL quarterback Brandon “Air Canada” Bridge played for South Alabama. The Jaguars will look to force a crash landing for an Air Force team that fell victim to a heartbreaking three-week stretch in October. It was then that they suffered their only three losses of the season.
8:00 PM – Orange Bowl – #11 FSU – #6 Michigan, ESPN, WatchESPN: Definitely watch this and ignore everything around you.
Michigan narrowly lost a spot in the College Football Playoff. If Wilton Speight is healthy this team’s offense is one of the best in the entire country. Diddo for Florida State with freshman quarterback Deondre Francois. Francois will be a Heisman candidate one day.
Saturday December 31
11:00 AM – Citrus Bowl – #13 Louisville – #20 LSU ABC, WatchESPN: Definitely watch this and ignore everything around you.
Louisville’s Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson takes on a highly motivated LSU squad that surged in the late season under new coach Ed Orgeron.
11:00 AM – TaxSlayer Bowl – Georgia Tech – Kentucky, ESPN, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
3:00 PM – Peach Bowl: CFP Semi – #1 Alabama – #4 Washington, ESPN, WatchESPN: Definitely watch this and ignore everything around you.
Undefeated Alabama takes on upstarts Washington, led by a fierce defense and a quality leader in quarterback Jake Browning. Give this one to Alabama’s impenetrable defense and freak quarterback Jalen Hurts.
7:00 PM – Fiesta Bowl: CFP Semi – #2 Clemson – #3 Ohio State, ESPN, WatchESPN: Definitely watch this and ignore everything around you.
Undoubtedly the game everyone will be watching. Clemson, a finalist in last year’s championship, squares off against Ohio State, the champions from two years ago.
Monday January 2
1:00 PM – Outback Bowl – Florida – Iowa ABC, WatchESPN: Meh. Sure.
Florida upset No. 16 LSU in Baton Rouge on a goal-line stop as time expired, but lost to Tennessee and Arkansas. Iowa upset Michigan but lost to North Dakota State. College football is weird.
1:00 PM – Cotton Bowl – #15 WMU – #8 Wisconsin ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Western Michigan never lost a game this year. Wisconsin’s fierce defense is led by JJ Watt’s little brother, T.J.
5:00 PM – Rose Bowl – #5 Penn State – #9 USC ESPN, WatchESPN: Definitely watch this and ignore everything around you.
USC is the new good team in college football with freshman quarterback Sam Darnold. Penn State beat Ohio State and then won the Big Ten championship, but couldn’t make the top four. Both teams are very motivated to win this.
8:30 PM – Sugar Bowl – #14 Auburn – #7 Oklahoma, ESPN, WatchESPN: Watch this.
Oklahoma’s offense scores at will, but the Sooners play a “defense-optional” type of defense. Auburn’s defense is better but their offense is much less effective.
Monday January 9
8:00 PM – National Championship – Definitely watch this and ignore everything around you.
The winners of the two CFP semis faceoff for the culmination of college football. We predict Alabama vs. Clemson, with Alabama taking it all.
(Photo: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)