First College Football Bowl Games This Weekend

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Army and Navy closed the regular season this past Saturday, with the post season officially kicking off this Saturday as three games are on the schedule. Four more games will be played before Christmas Day, but there will still be 28 bowl games remaining when you open your presents.

It didn’t used to be this way – in the earlier days of college football only the top tier teams made it to a handful of bowls. And, the gap between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the bowl season spanned several weeks, usually a full month or more.

Money is what drives college football, but the bowls’ lock on post season action appears to be growing stronger. Having 35 games for 70 teams to participate in post season play is too tempting for college presidents. Scaling those numbers down to 16 playoff teams gunning for an authentic national championship is the alternative, but that thinking doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Let’s take a look at the seven games scheduled between Saturday and Christmas. Yep, I’ve dropped the sponsoring labels wherever possible:

New Mexico Bowl – BYU and UTEP battle in Albuquerque in a bowl underscoring how bad this bowl system has gotten. Pitting a pair of 6-6 teams, viewers will see the rewards of mediocrity and what that translates into on the gridiron.

Humanitarian Bowl – Northern Illinois and Fresno State travel to Boise for this tilt which actually may be fun to watch. This will be a real dogfight as the Huskies, with one of the best rushing offenses, takes on the Bulldogs. FSU lost to Nevada by just one point and knocked off Illinois to end their regular season on Dec. 3 and won’t be a pushover.

New Orleans Bowl – When teams from the Mac and Sun Belt conferences play, not many people pay attention. When these teams are also rans such as Ohio and Troy, the interest diminishes further. Then again, it’ll be the only college football game played on Saturday night.

St. Petersburg Bowl – On Tuesday, Southern Miss takes on Louisville in another game pitting a pair of also rans. If you can only watch one game during the week leading up to Christmas, this isn’t the one.

Las Vegas Bowl – Surprise! There will actually be a great game to watch before Christmas. And that game will take place on December 22 in Las Vegas as #19 Utah battles with #10 Boise State. Both teams can put up the points, but I have to go with BSU in this one.

Poinsettia Bowl – On December 23, Navy and San Diego State do battle in a game I believe could prove to be more exciting than the Las Vegas Bowl. Neither team is ranked, but both teams have played well all season.

Hawaii Bowl – Wouldn’t you love to go to Hawaii to take in a bowl game? For the Hawaii Warriors, this Christmas Eve contest is a home game for them as they entertain Tulsa. Both teams have high powered offenses and it could take a minimum of 40 points in regulation play to get a winner. Then again, if the Golden Hurricanes are suffering from jet lag, then this game will be a hula rout.

Just six games will be played on New Year’s Day, the traditional bowl game battle day. No games are scheduled on Christmas, but there will be 15 games from Dec. 26 to New Year’s Eve. We’ll mention those games in our write up next week.

See Also — Bowl Games Offer Something For Everyone

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