Massive failures by Northern Illinois and Bowling Green put a serious dent in my comeback hopes, as Jon and I both went 3-2 in our last series of games. So Jon's overall lead still sits at a comfortable six games and I probably need a Christmas miracle. Here's hoping.
|11:00 AM, Thursday, Dec 24, 2015
POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL
Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
|Middle Tennessee State
7-5, 6-2 CUSA
7-5, 6-2 MAC
LT: More Mid-Major games? When will it end? Well, Western Michigan beat Toledo and two of its losses came to Ohio State and Michigan State. Broncos cover.
JM: Yeah, MTSU is, once again, a nice little team but not a particularly good one. Western Michigan is actually good, but not great. Broncos cover.
|7:00 PM, Thursday, Dec 24, 2015
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu HI
|-1.5||(rv) San Diego State
10-3, 8-0 MWC
LT: Cincinnati can put up a lot of points. But the Bearcats never really showed the ability to play defense, which is going to be a problem against San Diego State. The Aztecs flew into Hawaii with a nine-game win streak, and really, the fact that they're underdogs in this game is kind of absurd. Maybe the oddsmakers aren't aware Cincinnati isn't in a power conference anymore? I have no idea. SDSU covers.
JM: Was Cincinnati ever in a power conference? Yeah, I went there. I can find no fault in Luke's assessment here. Cincinnati just wasn't impressive at all this year, while San Diego State put any doubts I had about them to rest in the Mountain West championship game. Aztecs cover.
|10:00 AM, Saturday, Dec 26, 2015
SAINT PETERSBURG BOWL
Tropicana Field, Saint Petersburg FL
9-3, 6-2 CUSA
6-6, 4-4 AAC
LT: UConn is not a good football team. The Huskies are here on the strength of a stunning 20-17 upset vs. Houston that still doesn't make any sense. But they're ranked 89th in S&P and they lost to Mizzou. So far, teams that lost to Mizzou are 0-2 in bowl season and they will finish 0-3. Marshall may have lost two of its last three, but this is still a solid team. Thundering Herd cover.
JM: I think you're still bitter. Connecticut only gave up over 30 points once all season, which in this day and age is pretty impressive. Their problem, of course, is that they can't score even if they're the only guy in a bar full of drunk and desperate women. Marshall's not going to put up 50 or anything. But they'll put up enough to win, and by more than four. Herd covers.
|1:00 PM, Saturday, Dec 26, 2015
HYUNDAI SUN BOWL
Sun Bowl, El Paso TX
8-4, 5-3 ACC
|+2.5||(rv) Washington State
8-4, 6-3 P12
LT: Finally, some major conference teams. Unfortunately, one of them is from the Pac-12, so it's really hard to tell how good they are. But the first place to start with an opponent of Washington State is pass defense. Miami was average in the ACC, and I think with a month to prepare, Mike Leach will be able to put together an effective attack. The Hurricanes' offense isn't good enough to keep up. Cougars cover.
JM: You know, you can't catch up with me if you keep agreeing with me before I even weigh in. It's like you're daring me to pick against you just to prove my manhood or something. What you didn't mention is that Washington State finally remembered this season that it is, in fact, legal to advance the ball downfield without throwing it. That, more than anything, has probably led to their resurgence. And they're going to cover.
|1:00 PM, Saturday, Dec 26, 2015
ZAXBY'S HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
Cotton Bowl, Dallas TX
9-4, 7-1 CUSA
6-6, 6-6, 4-5 P12
LT: These are the kinds of games I'd like to see more. The solid mid-major team takes on the mediocre power conference team, giving us an idea of just how good the mid-majors really are. Washington had the best defense in the Pac-12 by a fairly wide margin, according to the stats, and Southern Miss had arguably the best defense in CUSA. Combine that with nearly a month off and you've got the recipe for a very low-scoring game, one that will be decided by less than 8.5 points. I'm not sure who wins, but that spread looks way too large. USM covers.
JM: You know, I don't dislike Washington or anything, but they just fill me with a sense of ennui. Perhaps even despair. They are the very definition of mediocrity. You mention the month of preparation, and I think that will actually benefit Southern Miss, as they're still getting used to the Monken offense. Golden Eagles cover, probably even win.
Next: Jon takes the wheel as we tour the rest of the Saturday games and Monday's offerings.