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College Football Bowl Games Preview, TV Schedule — December 20-26

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Directional schools. Corporate sponsors you’ve never heard of. Teams with .500 records playing in the postseason. But you’re still glued to the TV.

Must be the first week of bowl season.

Here’s your rundown of the upcoming week of bowl games (all times Eastern):

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)

December 20, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Three years in a row the Ragin’ Cajuns have won this bowl to finish the season at 9-4. Both teams can run the ball (both averaging better than 215 yards per game) while struggling to stop their opponents (both giving up more than 27.9 points), so the bowl season could start off with a shootout.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Utah State (9-4) vs. Texas-El Paso (7-5)

December 20, 2:20 p.m. (ESPN)

The Aggies have lost three quarterbacks this season and UTEP ranks 120th nationally in passing, so expect this to be a run-heavy game. The Miners have not won a bowl game since 1967.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

No. 22 Utah (8-4) vs. Colorado State (10-2)

December 20, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

This could be one of the more entertaining pre-Christmas games this year. Utah knocked off UCLA and USC this season. Colorado State, meanwhile, jumped from 3-9 a year ago to 10-2 this season, a turnaround that get coach Jim McElwain a big raise as the new head man at Florida. However, the Rams have lost their last 15 games against ranked opponents.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Air Force (9-3)

December 20, 5:45 p.m. (ESPN)

Western Michigan has never won a bowl game (0-5 all-time), so surely Broncos fans have been dreaming of the day they can fill the trophy case with potatoes.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

South Alabama (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (7-6)

December 20, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN)

Hey Camellia, you’re not fooling anyone. You’re pretty and everything, but we all know you’re just a cheap rose wannabe.

Miami Beach Bowl

BYU (8-4) vs. Memphis (9-3)

December 22, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

While south Florida in December sounds nice, football games in baseball stadiums are just never a good idea. Be careful running a fly route into that far end zone—that last step is a doozy.

Boca Raton Bowl

Marshall (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2)

December 23, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

Although it’s a bowl game you’ve never heard of, this is the only one of the non-“New Year’s Six” bowl games to feature two conference champions. If you want fireworks, this could be a fun one—Marshall ranks second nationally in total offense while NIU ranks 14th in rushing and has averaged nearly 35 points per game during it’s current six-game winning streak.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Navy (7-5) vs. San Diego State (7-5)

December 23, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

With a big naval base nearby and lots of former sailors in the area, this game is huge for the San Diego area. But with a 9:30 kickoff, a small regional school and a service academy, probably not so much for the rest of us.

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Central Michigan (7-5) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5)

December 24, 12 p.m. (ESPN)

So who else, when you learned there was a bowl game in the Bahamas, tried to convince your significant other that you had always been a lifelong fan of one of these programs and that you needed to spend Christmas in the Caribbean to support your team? We can’t be the only ones.

Hawaii Bowl

Fresno State (6-7) vs. Rice (7-5)

December 24, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Texas State goes 7-5 and doesn’t get a bowl invite. Alabama-Birmingham goes 6-6 and their football program gets disbanded. Fresno State finishes under .500 and wins a trip to Hawaii.

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Illinois (6-6) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-5)

December 26, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Going to the old Cotton Bowl stadium during the middle of the Texas State Fair to watch Oklahoma and Texas is one of the great traditions in all of college football. Going in late December to see Illinois (106th in scoring) and Louisiana Tech (lost to Northwestern State and Old Dominion)? Not so much.

Quick Lane Bowl

Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina (6-6)

December 26, 4:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

I was really hoping Quick Lane was a chain of bowling alleys and the halftime festivities would have a Big Lebowski theme. That would definitely be more entertaining than watching the Tarheel defense, which has given up almost 500 yards per game this year (118th nationally).

Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl

North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Central Florida (9-3)

December 26, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

This should be one of the more intriguing matchups next week. Central Florida’s defense has been dominant in the run game, ranking fifth nationally in rush defense and holding its last two opponents to 19 total rushing yards. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, run a very balanced offense. They’ll need to have success on the ground to set up the pass in this one.

You view the entire bowl and playoff schedule right here

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