Week 2 of Bowl Season is Among Us! Here are my selections for the weekday games:
Boca Raton Bowl
UAB over Northern Illinois | 12/18, 7:00pm ESPN
A matchup between two conference champions goes down in Florida as the C-USA Champion UAB takes on the MAC Champion Northern Illinois. After striking back at Mid Tennessee in the championship game after losing to them a week prior, UAB set up another bowl trip since coming back from having their football program shutdown. This team has been led by a stout defense all season but will be facing a Northern Illinois team that is rolling off their three unanswered scores to shock Buffalo a few weeks ago. The Huskies looked as if they in reverse the last few games of the season, losing back-to-back to Miami (OH) and Western Michigan as quarterback Marcus Childers couldn’t find his rhythm; but a four touchdown night in Detroit came at the right time. QB play has not been the best for either of these teams down the stretch, but I’ll give the edge to a gritty UAB team.
Ohio over San Diego State | 12/19, 8:00pm ESPN
The Aztecs had everything rolling early this season, with wins over Arizona State and Boise State, but dropping three straight now has led this team to a tough spot against an offensive powerhouse in Ohio. The Bobcats, led by the trio of Rouke, Ouellette, and White (all of which could find themselves with a spot in the NFL someday), average over 470 yards of offense and more than 40 points per game. This is an offense unlike those that San Diego State has faced thus far, and with their recent skid, this trip to Texas doesn’t bode well for the Aztecs.
Marshall over USF | 12/20, 8:00pm ESPN
Moving out of the dome and to the pirate ship, USF gets to stay home for their bowl game. USF won the first edition of this bowl game, then known as the magicJack Bowl, while Marshall has won two prior games, back in 2011 and 2015. Both come in off of what-could-have-been seasons, with USF dropping their last 5 after starting 7-0 and Marshall failing to improve upon their eight win season last year in what looked to be a possible C-USA Championship year. With the bulls offense sputtering and their defense giving up over 400 yards per game, I will look to the Thundering Herd to grab the advantage in Tampa Bay.
Toledo over FIU | 12/21, 12:30pm ESPN
Heading out of the country for this bowl, the Bahamas Bowl sees two great offenses facing off. FIU and QB James Morgan have been lighting up the board as of late while Toledo has been doing a few touchdowns better with their offense. Both teams can easily score 40 on each other. Toledo should be able to control the tempo here and put on a show, ending their two year bowl game losing streak.
Idaho Potato Bowl
Western Michigan over BYU | 12/21, 4:00pm ESPN
We end up on the blue turf of Boise State for this bowl game out west. Western Michigan was on a skid throughout much of the end of the season losing QB Jon Wassink for the season with a broken collarbone, but beat Northern Illinois in the season finale to move to 7-5; meanwhile BYU started the year strong at 3-1 with a win over then 6th ranked Wisconsin, but since then they have struggled, losing 7-6 to Northern Illinois, dropping the game right here against Boise State, and last out a crushing one score loss at Utah. Freshman quarterback Kaleb Eleby will be the key for Western Michigan as they face a stingy rush defense in the Cougars. If he can play smart and not turn the ball over, the Broncos will come out alive.