What to look for this week in the Bowl games.


19-Dec New Mexico Bowl Albuquerque, NM ESPN 4:30 Fresno State 8-4 vs. Wyoming 6-6

Fresno brings in their outstanding running game but are a little disappointed to be playing so early. They are a heavy favorite against a surprisingly good Wyoming team. FS RB Mathews led the nation in rushing. FS is also hot going 7-1 down the stretch. Their running game will be too much for the Cowboy D.

Wyoming is happy to be anywhere and has been a turn around story authored by 1st year coach Dave Christensen. The Cowboys have not been to a bowl in 5 years.

19-Dec St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, FL ESPN 8:00 Central Florida 8-4 vs. Rutgers 8-4

CFU is back in a bowl after missing out last season. It is a team on the rise with the 4th best D against the run in the nation. Coach George O’Leary has the team moving in the right direction but will miss senior QB Hodges. This team is different with him handling the snap.

Rutgers has been a victim of its own success. After missing a bowl game from 1979-2004, coach Schiano has turned the program into a legitimate power making a statement by winning 4 straight bowl games. But the fans want him to take the team to the next level which he has not been able to do. Fr. QB Savage has been inconsistent but has talent and will get better with more experience.

Rutgers will not be able to run the ball and will suffer turnovers throwing it. CF should win the game.

20-Dec New Orleans Bowl New Orleans, LA ESPN 8:30 Southern Miss 7-5 vs. Middle Tennessee 9-3

MT had their best record since become FBS in 99 and their first bowl game since 06. After a 3-3 start against a schedule that included the opener against Clemson, MT came on strong in the Sun Belt conference ripping off 6 straight. The O revolves around QB Dasher who leads the team in passing and rushing. Souther Miss will have to stop him to hold the O down. MT has a outstanding D which will challenge SM.

SM lost its top QB but Young took over and the team got back to winning. He has a passer rating of 147 with 13 TDs and only 1 pick. Sr. RB Fletcher is hampered with an injury but is close to his 4th 1000 yard season. If he is able to go the Golden Eagles should win.

22-Dec Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas, NV ESPN 8:00 Oregon State 8-4 vs. BYU 10-2

This should be one of the best games on the list. It will highlight 2 of the best QBs in College ball in BYU QB Hall (PR of 160.9 with 30 TDs) and OS QB Canfield (pr of 148.3 with 21TDs). BYU brings in a great O and has lost only to Florida St. and TCU.

Beaver RBs both named Rodgers have each averaged 5.4 per attempt. Jacquizz Rodgers is a tiny dynamo and ripped up the Pac-10 Ds. He ran for 1377 yards and 20 TDs. The question will be can they stop the balanced O of the Beavers? Probably not. OS wins.

23-Dec Poinsettia Bowl San Diego, CA ESPN 8:00 Utah 9-3 vs. California 8-4

Which Cal team will show up? No team has been more up and down than California. Cal was as high as 6th in the early polling but got drubbed by Oregon 42-3. They did well after a loss to USC but then ended the year with a loss to Washington. QB Riley has had a good season with a pr of 131. But the key is the running game and turnovers. When they run the ball effectively, they are hard to stop. But when they turn the ball over, they become easy prey. Star RB Best is out with an injury. They will have to depend on Shane Vereen who averaged 5.1 per carry. They may well not be thrilled to be in a December bowl game.

Utah pulled off their best win last year against a disappointed Bama team in the Sugar last year. But they come in with 2 losses in their last 3 games. They do have the longest Bowl winning streak at 9. The Utes have QB Cain (pr 139) and RB Wide (5.7 yards per attempt and 12 TDs). The Utes will extend their bowl game winning streak and beat the Bears.

24-Dec Hawaii Bowl Honolulu, HI ESPN 8:00 Nevada 8-4 vs. SMU 7-5

Nevada depends on QB Kaepernick for a lot of their O. When teams were able to stop him running, Nevada lost. Nevada has 3 backs with 1000+ yards rushing. RB Taua has 1345 yards, Kawpernick with 1160 and RB Lippincott has 1034. As a result, they are the top rushing team in the FBS. They are also the top scoring O averaging 40.6 per game. Their D is the problem.

SMU has come back from the only Div. 1 death penalty (1987) ever given by the NCAA. O guru June Jones is in his second year at SMU and has the program heading up. SMU doesn’t do anything great but does a lot well. They are balanced on both sides of the ball and ex-Hawaii coach Jones knows how to get a team ready for 1 game.

Nevada is a heavy favorite but this could be a tough game for them. Nevada should win.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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