Written by Mark Bergin, senior producer for WRAL’s multiplatform content.
There are a total of 43 college football bowl games scheduled from December 11th to January 9th, each offering a unique reason to tune in.
The WRAL Sports team provides analysis on the matchups, mascots, and must-see events to assist with planning your viewing.
Beginning with the end, we will discuss the national championship game and College Football Playoffs, and then move backwards.
This is a comprehensive guide that provides many reasons to skip out on other holiday obligations and instead relax on the couch during bowl season, which is known as the most delightful time of the year.
Monday, Jan. 8, 2024
The College Football Playoff National Championship will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
Is it possible for Michigan to have an undefeated record for the first time since 1997 despite a cheating scandal?
Is it possible for Alabama to secure their seventh national championship with Nick Saban at the helm?
Is it possible for Texas to regain national recognition?
Is it possible for Washington to win a CFP game on their second try?
On January 1st, 2024, there will be a College Football Playoff.
The Rose Bowl matchup will feature No. 4 ranked Alabama against No. 1 ranked Michigan, with the game being televised at 5 p.m. on ESPN. The venue for the game is the Rose Bowl located in Pasadena, California.
Those who claim that the CFP committee made the correct decision by selecting one-loss Alabama and one-loss Texas for the playoffs over undefeated Florida State can consider the margin of victory in this game.
Alabama is considered an underdog by 1.5 points in their matchup against Michigan. If Jordan Travis and Tate Rodemaker were not starting for Florida State, how much would Michigan have been favored by?
Please note that Florida State is expected to lose by 13.5 points against Georgia in the Orange Bowl.
Take note of the response from the Michigan players upon discovering they would be facing Alabama.
Michigan, with a record of 13 wins and 0 losses, has emerged victorious against Ohio State for three consecutive years. This will be their third consecutive appearance in the CFP. The question remains: can Jim Harbaugh, the coach of the Wolverines, finally lead his team to the ultimate victory? There are also speculations that he may leave Michigan for the NFL after the season due to a sign-stealing controversy.
Could Nick Saban guide his team to yet another national title? Saban boasts a record of seven national championships as a head coach, including six with Alabama (12-1 record).
Imagine the amazing narrative that would unfold if Jalen Milroe, the team’s quarterback, were to lead them to a championship after being benched earlier in the season.
The Sugar Bowl will feature a match-up between the third-ranked Texas and the second-ranked Washington at 8:45 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and will take place at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.
This match is a repeat of the Alamo Bowl from last season, in which Washington emerged victorious with a score of 27-20 against Texas. Both starting quarterbacks, Quinn Ewers and Michael Penix Jr., will be returning for their respective teams.
Penix has a high chance of being chosen as a finalist for the Heisman trophy.
Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillian, both Washington receivers, have returned for the current season. The Huskies have maintained an undefeated record since October 2022. Their offense is considered one of the most formidable in the nation.
This year is the second occasion that Washington (13-0) has qualified for the CFP.
In 2017, Texas (12-1) became the Big 12 champions for the first time since their reentry into the conference title game.
Additional bowl games on New Year’s Day were also featured.
The Cheez-It Citrus Bowl will feature a matchup between the 17th ranked Iowa team and the 21st ranked Tennessee team. The game will be televised on ABC and take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando at 1 p.m.
Iowa (10-3) has a strong defense compared to other teams, but their offense is not as impressive. During the Big Ten championship game against Michigan, Iowa’s defense sacked J.J. McCarthy, who was named Big Ten quarterback of the year, four times. They also held Blake Corum, the conference’s running back of the year, to 52 yards on 16 carries.
Iowa limited Michigan to only 213 yards and was the first team to prevent them from scoring more than 14 points in the first half this season.
Despite their efforts, the Hawkeyes were defeated by the Wolverines with a final score of 26-0.
Iowa’s average game score is 16.6 points, placing them at 127th out of 130 FBS teams.
The Tennessee football team, led by third-year coach Josh Heupel, employs a distinct playing style. They have a scoring average of 31.5 points per game.
Tennessee did not meet expectations despite winning 11 games in the previous season.
It is uncertain which Vols players will participate and which may choose to focus on preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft. Some notable NFL prospects on the team include quarterback Joe Milton, defensive end Tyler Baron, and running back Jaylen Wright.
The VRBO Fiesta Bowl will feature a match-up between No. 23 Liberty and No. 8 Oregon, airing at 1 p.m. on ESPN from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
This will be the inaugural match-up between Oregon (11-2) and Liberty (13-0).
Dan Lanning, the coach of Oregon, revealed on Sunday that their quarterback Bo Nix informed the team of his plans to participate in the bowl game. Nix is anticipated to be selected as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
The top rushing offense in the country (averaging 302.9 yards per game) belongs to Liberty, with running back Quinton Cooley (1,322 yards) and quarterback Kaidon Salter (1,064 yards) leading the way.
The Wisconsin Badgers will face off against the No. 18 LSU Tigers in the Reliaquest Bowl. The game will take place at noon and will be televised on ESPN2. The venue for the game is the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
It is unknown if LSU’s quarterback, Jayden Daniels, with 3,812 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns, and wide receiver Malik Nabers, with 86 receptions, 1,546 receiving yards, and 14 touchdowns, will participate in the upcoming bowl game.
According to popular opinion, Daniels is the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.
Nabers is only 22 yards shy of surpassing LSU’s record for receiving yards. The current record holder is LSU legend Josh Reed, with a total of 3,001 yards.
LSU (9-3) holds the title of having the highest-scoring offense in the country, averaging 46.4 points per game. They also have the top spot in total offense with 547.8 yards per game.
In his first season as coach, Luke Fickell led Wisconsin (7-5) to an average of 22.8 points per game, the lowest for the program since 2004.
It is uncertain if Braelon Allen, the running back for the Badgers, will be able to participate. He has rushed for a total of 984 yards and scored 12 touchdowns.
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023
The Toledo and Wyoming football teams will face off in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl at 4:30 p.m., airing on the CW Network. The game will take place at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.
This year, the CW network will broadcast the game featuring commentary from Dave Portnoy, Dan “Big Cat” Katz, and Jake Marsh of Barstool. Adam “Rone” Ferrone and Caleb Pressley will serve as sideline reporters.
The Wyoming football team (8-4) is led by quarterback Andrew Peasley, who has recorded 1,823 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He is also a strong runner, gaining 403 yards and scoring seven touchdowns on the ground.
Toledo had a record of 11 wins and 2 losses, with their only defeat being in their first game against Illinois. They then went on to win 11 games in a row before ultimately losing to Miami (Ohio) in the MAC championship.
Peny Boone, the running back, has accumulated 1,359 yards by rushing, which ranks 11th in the nation. He has also scored 15 touchdowns.
Sixth-ranked Georgia will face fifth-ranked Florida State in the Orange Bowl, which will be broadcasted on ESPN and held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida at 4 p.m.
Both of these universities have valid justifications for being selected for the College Football Playoff. If Georgia had been chosen, the conversation would revolve around whether Kirby Smart could guide his team to a third consecutive victory.
It is highly likely that both schools will have players who choose to skip their remaining college eligibility in order to focus on preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Seminoles of Florida State (13-0) have a strong defense, as they never allowed their opponents to score more than 30 points in any game throughout the season.
Prior to learning they were not selected for the College Football Playoff, Florida State’s defensive end Jared Verse, who has recorded nine sacks, and safety Jammie Robinson expressed their intention to participate in the team’s upcoming bowl game. It remains to be seen if they will follow through with their choices.
It could be argued that Georgia (12-1) would be the favored team in a face-to-face match against any team that qualified for the CFP.
Monitor Brock Bowers, a talented tight end, in case he chooses to participate rather than abstain. Bowers is expected to be selected in the first or second round of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Auburn will face off against Maryland in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC and held at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Maryland team (7-5) began the season with a five-game winning streak, but then suffered four consecutive losses. However, they recovered by winning two out of their last three games, one of which was a tightly contested match against Michigan.
Taulia Tagovailoa, the quarterback for Maryland and brother of Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins, holds the record for most passing yards in the Big Ten with a total of 11,256 yards in his career.
Reworded: This season, the younger Tagovailoa has passed for 3,377 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. In a statement after Maryland’s final regular-season game, Tagovailoa confirmed that he intends to participate in the upcoming bowl game.
The Auburn Tigers, with a record of 6-6, experienced a rollercoaster of a season with new head coach Hugh Freeze at the helm. In their game against rival Alabama, they could have emerged victorious if they had not allowed a touchdown pass on a 4th down with 31 yards to go in the Iron Bowl.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will feature a matchup between No. 11 ranked Ole Miss and No. 10 ranked Penn State. The game will take place at noon and can be watched on ESPN. The venue for the game is Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Both schools lost twice to top-tier programs.
The University of Mississippi (10-2) was defeated by both Georgia and Alabama. At the same time, Pennsylvania State University (10-2) suffered losses against both Michigan and Ohio State.
Lane Kiffin, the head coach of Ole Miss, is renowned for his elusive character and prolific offensive tactics.
The Rebels’ offensive forces are headed by Jaxson Dart, the quarterback with 2,985 yards passing and 20 touchdowns, and Quinshon Judkins, the running back with 1,052 yards rushing and a total of 16 touchdowns.
Penn State is ranked first in the country for total defense, with an average of only 223.3 yards allowed per game.
The quarterback for the offense is Drew Allar, with impressive stats of 2,336 yards and 23 touchdowns and only one interception.
Both Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton from Penn State have individually accumulated over 700 yards on the ground this season.
If Penn State emerges victorious in the Peach Bowl, it will make history as the first college football team to secure a win in all of the New Year’s Six games.
Penn State has chosen Andy Kotelnick, the offensive coordinator from Kansas, to be their new OC following the dismissal of Mike Yurcich by head coach James Franklin.
Yurcich played a key role in recruiting Allar, who is a highly sought-after five-star prospect, to join Penn State.
Friday, Dec. 29, 2023
The Cotton Bowl matchup will feature the ninth-ranked Missouri team facing off against the seventh-ranked Ohio State team at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and will take place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It would be surprising if Marvin Harrison Jr., a highly sought-after wide receiver, ends up playing for Ohio State since he is expected to be one of the top five picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Furthermore, on Monday, quarterback Kyle McCord revealed his decision to join the transfer portal. As a result, Ohio State (11-1) will probably rely on freshman quarterback Devin Brown to take over McCord’s role as the starter.
Missouri (10-2) possesses a talented receiver in sophomore Luther Burden III, who is expected to attract attention in the 2025 NFL Draft.
The Liberty Bowl features a matchup between Memphis and Iowa State at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and take place at the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.
The game is essentially being played at home for Memphis, who currently has a record of 9-3.
Joe Scates, a wide receiver, initially began his career at Iowa State but later transferred to Memphis after three seasons. He will now have the opportunity to play against his previous team.
Iowa State, with a record of 7-5, is guided by their quarterback Rocco Becht. Becht earned the title of Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year for his outstanding performance, throwing for 2,674 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions.
Monitor the performance of Abu Sama III, a first-year running back at Iowa State, who had an impressive game against Kansas State with 276 yards and three touchdowns. Sama has been averaging 8.5 yards per carry.
Sama’s rise has led to the announcements of transfer intentions from running backs Eli Sanders and Cartevious Norton.
This matchup is a repeat of the 2017 Liberty Bowl, where Iowa State secured a 21-20 victory over Memphis, earning Matt Campbell his first bowl win as head coach.
The 19th ranked Oregon State Beavers will face off against the 16th ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl. The game will take place at 2 p.m. and will be televised on CBS. The Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas will serve as the venue for this matchup.
Notre Dame’s head coach Marcus Freeman has stated that he anticipates Sam Hartman will participate in the team’s upcoming bowl game, despite Hartman not making a formal announcement.
This would be Hartman’s last game as a college player. After being at Wake Forest from 2018 to 2022, Hartman moved to Notre Dame.
Hartman holds the record for the most career passing yards in Division I with a total of 15,656.
The Notre Dame football team, with a record of 9 wins and 3 losses, was defeated by Ohio State, Louisville, and Clemson.
The Oregon State football team, with a record of 8-4, has DJ Uiagalelei as their quarterback. Uiagalelei, previously from Clemson University, has passed for 2,638 yards and made 21 touchdowns.
The Gator Bowl will feature a matchup between No. 22 Clemson and Kentucky at noon. The game will be televised on ESPN and will take place at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.
This match will offer a preview of the upcoming top players for both Clemson and Kentucky.
In the meantime, Clemson’s record of 8-4 was affected by the decision of multiple players to not participate, such as highly skilled defender Jeremiah Trotter Jr., cornerback Nate Wiggins, and defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro.
Kentucky (7-5) has lost running back Ray Davis, defensive back Jalen Geiger, and defensive back Andru Phillips.
Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023
The Alamo Bowl will feature a matchup between the 14th ranked Arizona team and the 12th ranked Oklahoma team at 9:15 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
There are several factors that may hinder Oklahoma (10-2) in this game.
Jeff Lebby, the offensive coordinator, has departed from the team to become the head coach at Mississippi State. He will not be coaching the Alamo Bowl.
Dillon Gabriel, the quarterback for Oklahoma, has declared his intention to enter the transfer portal. He has one remaining season of eligibility.
If Arizona (9-3) wins, they will reach 10 wins for only the fourth time in their school’s history.
The Pop-Tarts Bowl features a matchup between No. 18 NC State and No. 25 Kansas State, starting at 5:45 p.m. and airing on ESPN. The game will take place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
If they win, NC State (9-3) may reach 10 or more wins for just the second time ever. The only other time they achieved double-digit wins was in 2002, under Chuck Amato, when they went 11-3.
NC State has emerged victorious in six out of its last seven matches, under the guidance of head coach Dave Doeren.
The Wolfpack’s offense has bounced back and improved over the course of their five consecutive victories to end the regular season. Utilizing the skills of ACC freshman of the year KC Concepcion and the comeback of Virginia transfer quarterback Brendan Armstrong, NC State has been able to score an average of 28.8 points per game during their winning streak.
The defense for NC State is commanded by Payton Wilson, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a standout linebacker.
The football team of Kansas State University, with a record of 8 wins and 4 losses, was defeated by Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Iowa State in away games and at home. The Wildcats had close losses of three points each against Missouri and Texas.
The Fenway Bowl will feature a match between SMU, ranked 24th, and Boston College. The game will take place at 11 a.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN. The venue for the game is Fenway Park in Boston.
This match is essentially a home game for Boston College (6-6) as the campus is located only a 15-minute drive from Fenway Park.
The Eagles began the season with a record of 1-3, followed by five consecutive wins, but ultimately ended the regular season with three consecutive losses.
Next year, the Eagles will be joined by SMU (11-2) in the ACC. SMU just won the American Athletic Conference championship against Tulane.
It is probable that Boston College will face SMU’s backup quarterback Kevin Jennings, as their starter Preston Stone (who has thrown 28 touchdowns and 6 interceptions) suffered a broken left fibula in the last game of the regular season against Navy.
Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023
The Texas A&M team will be facing off against No. 20 Oklahoma State in the Texas Bowl at 9 p.m., which will be broadcast on ESPN. The game will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston.
The upcoming Texas Bowl could potentially be dubbed “The Battle of the Mikes.” Newly appointed Texas A&M coach Mike Elko will face off against Oklahoma State’s head coach Mike Gundy.
Elko, a former coach at Duke and defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, replaces Jimbo Fisher.
Texas A&M University, with a record of 7 wins and 5 losses, is compensating Coach Fisher with a buyout of $77.6 million. Elko will have a challenging task ahead.
The Aggies will not have defensive end Walter Nolen, who has entered the transfer portal. Nolen was ranked as the second best recruit in the 2022 class and is highly regarded as the top transfer option by some.
Max Johnson, Texas A&M’s quarterback for eight games in the regular season, threw for 1,452 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. Johnson announced in November that he is transferring to the University of North Carolina. The Aggies’ backup quarterback, Jaylen Henderson, started three games in the regular season, and it seems like he will be the starter.
Furthermore, the Aggies will be missing their leading receiver, Ainias Smith, who recorded 795 yards and 53 receptions during this season. This is due to a finger fracture he sustained during the final game of the regular season against LSU.
The Oklahoma State football team, with a record of 9 wins and 4 losses, recently suffered a 49-21 defeat against Texas in the Big 12 championship game.
Ollie Gordon II (1,614 rushing yards) is the top rusher for the Cowboys.
In the 2019 Texas Bowl, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M competed against each other, with the Aggies emerging as the victors with a score of 24-21.
The Holiday Bowl will feature a match-up between No. 15 Louisville and USC, taking place at 8 p.m. and televised on FOX. The game will be held at Petco Park in San Diego, California.
According to head coach Lincoln Riley, Caleb Williams will not be participating in the bowl game.
In the 2024 NFL Draft, Williams, who won the 2022 Heisman Trophy, is anticipated to be selected as one of the top choices.
USC is likely to have Miller Moss as their starting quarterback in their upcoming game against Louisville due to Williams being unavailable.
During the 2023 season, USC (7-5) faced difficulties towards the end. The team suffered three consecutive losses and lost five out of their last six games.
In each of its five defeats this year, USC surrendered a minimum of 34 points and allowed over 40 points in three victories. This ultimately led to the dismissal of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and the hiring of D’Anton Lynn.
If Florida State had been chosen as a CFP team, Louisville would have automatically secured a spot in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Louisville had a poor offensive showing in the ACC Championship Game against Florida State, resulting in a 16-6 loss. This was their lowest-scoring game since September 22, 2018, when they lost 27-3 to Virginia.
The average points per game for Louisville (10-3) is 30.9, placing them at 44th in the national rankings.
The leader of the Cardinals is Jack Plummer, their quarterback. Plummer has thrown for 3,063 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, completing 235 out of 370 passes. Jordan Jawhar, their running back, has amassed 1,128 rushing yards on 181 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.
This is the initial meeting between the two teams.
The Duke’s Mayo Bowl will feature a match-up between North Carolina and West Virginia. The game will kick off at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. It will take place at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The North Carolina football team, with a record of 8 wins and 4 losses, will finish their season at the same location as where it began. There is a possibility that their head coach, Mack Brown, could end up covered in mayonnaise.
After beginning the season with six consecutive wins, North Carolina suffered defeats in four of their last six games. One of their victories was in their first game of the season against South Carolina in Charlotte.
It would be surprising if Drake Maye, the star quarterback, chose to play, considering he is predicted to be among the top picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.
If Maye chooses to leave, fans of the Tar Heels may have the opportunity to see backup quarterback Conner Harrell play for an extended period of time. In 2024, Harrell is anticipated to vie for the starting quarterback role for the Tar Heels alongside transfer player Max Johnson.
Omarion Hampton is the top rusher for North Carolina, with 1,442 yards and 15 touchdowns.
An additional aspect to keep an eye on is the choice of participation from other North Carolina team members, such as standout wide receiver Tez Walker.
Walker has three options: he could decide not to participate in the game in order to avoid getting injured and focus on preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft, he could play in the bowl and then leave for the NFL, or he could come back to Chapel Hill for the 2024 season.
It is unlikely that Walker will be chosen in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft if he decides to enter.
The leader of West Virginia (8-4) is quarterback Garrett Greene, who has 2,178 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. He also has 708 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
The Virginia Tech vs. Tulane game will take place at 2 p.m. at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland and will be televised on ESPN.
The Virginia Tech football team, with a current record of 6 wins and 6 losses, has earned a spot in a bowl game after a disappointing 3-8 season last year.
The Hokies’ offensive production is averaging 386.3 yards per game. Ever since Kyron Drones assumed the role of starting quarterback in September, he has accumulated 1,993 passing yards and 15 touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions. Additionally, he has rushed for 642 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns.
Tulane (11-2) experienced two defeats during the current season, against Ole Miss and SMU.
Tulane’s offense is led by quarterback Michael Pratt who has thrown for 2,406 yards and 22 touchdowns to just five interceptions on the season.
Makhi Hughes, a first-year running back, has gained 1,290 yards and scored seven touchdowns on 243 carries.
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023
The Guaranteed Rate Bowl will feature a match-up between Kansas and UNLV at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and take place at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Kansas (8-4) is coming off its most successful season under third-year head coach Lance Leipold. It marks Kansas’ second straight bowl game.
The starting quarterback Jalon Daniels has been absent for a considerable amount of time this year due to a back injury. He has previously declared his intention to come back to Kansas for the 2024 season.
During the period when he was not present, substitute quarterback Jason Bean guided the Jayhawks to a record of 5 wins and 3 losses. In the span of eight games that he started, Bean has passed for 1,681 yards, scoring 12 touchdowns and only throwing 4 interceptions.
Bean is a picky runner, but he has speed. He has carried the ball 41 times for a total of 259 yards and has scored three touchdowns.
Devin Neal, the running back, has rushed for a total of 1,209 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in 183 attempts.
The leader of UNLV (9-4) is Barry Odom, who was previously the coach of Missouri and the defensive coordinator for Arkansas. Odom is currently in his first year as head coach of the team. UNLV was defeated by Boise State in the Mountain West championship game.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas will showcase their dynamic “Go-Go” offensive strategy, a combination of triple-option and spread plays coordinated by Brennan Marion. The team has an impressive average of 34.3 points per game, placing them 23rd in the nation.
In the previous season, Kansas was defeated by Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl after three overtime periods.
The First Responder Bowl will feature a match between Texas State and Rice at 5:30 p.m. It will be televised on ESPN and take place at George J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.
This match is expected to have a high attendance as Dallas is easily accessible for both sets of fans.
Although they joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 and 2014, Texas State is finally making their debut in a bowl game.
This will be Rice’s 14th bowl game, and the program’s second one in a row.
In their first game, Texas State defeated Baylor with a score of 42-31, marking their first victory against a Power 5 school.
The Quick Lane Bowl will feature a match between Bowling Green and Minnesota at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and held at Ford Field in Detroit.
Minnesota (5-7) ended the regular season on a four-game losing streak, but still managed to make it to a bowl game due to a lack of 81 six-win teams to fill the 82 bowl spots. Their Academic Progress Rate score was the highest among teams with five wins.
This will be the third occasion in nine years that Minnesota will travel to Detroit for a bowl game.
The Falcons from Bowling Green have emerged victorious in five out of their last six matches. They secured the third spot in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference.
The Gophers and Falcons have faced each other four times, with each team winning two games. In their most recent encounter in 2021 at Huntington Bank Stadium, Bowling Green pulled off an upset by defeating Minnesota 14-10, despite Minnesota being favored by 31 points.
Dec. 23, 2023
The Hawaii Bowl will feature a matchup between Coastal Carolina and San Jose State at 10:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and take place at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Coastal Carolina (7-5) and San Jose State (7-5) have the opportunity to play football in a tropical paradise during bowl season.
Grayson McCall, the current quarterback for Coastal Carolina, has revealed his intention to enter the transfer portal. Rumors have emerged that coaches from NC State have visited McCall at his residence, possibly due to their need for a new quarterback with Brennan Armstrong no longer eligible and M.J. Morris also transferring.
A reliable source reported that Grayson McCall, the Quarterback for Coastal Carolina, will be making an Official Visit to NC State this coming weekend. The Wolfpack’s coaching team had an in-home meeting with McCall last weekend.
In 2020, 2021, and 2022, McCall was named the Player of the Year in the Sun Belt. However, in the 2023 season, he was unable to play the last five games due to an injury.
Sam Pinckney, a wide receiver for Coastal Carolina, holds an impressive record of 904 receiving yards, seven touchdowns, and the NCAA record for catching a pass in 57 consecutive games.
Chevan Cordeiro, the quarterback for San Jose State, has recorded 2,558 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. Despite starting with a 1-5 record, the Spartans were able to turn things around and win their last six games, earning them a spot in a bowl game.
The Las Vegas Bowl will feature a match between Utah and Northwestern, airing at 7:30 p.m. on ABC and taking place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Utah (8-4) and Northwestern (7-5) will face each other in Las Vegas.
Nine players on the Utah team have sustained injuries that will end their season.
Under the leadership of head coach Kyle Whittingham, the Utes have achieved bowl eligibility for the 17th time. In their history, Utah has a record of 17 wins and 8 losses in bowl games, with Whittingham boasting a personal record of 11 wins and 5 losses.
In 2022, Northwestern only achieved one victory. In July, the university terminated coach Pat Fitzgerald following a hazing controversy.
Northwestern has experienced an unexpected campaign with their new head coach, David Braun. The team ended up in second place in the Big Ten West, and as a result, Braun was awarded the title of Big Ten Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats’ defense is ranked at No. 50, as they allow an average of 23.8 points per game.
Northwestern is on a three-game winning streak after defeating Wisconsin, Purdue, and Illinois in their final games of the season.
The South Alabama vs. Eastern Michigan matchup will take place at 7 p.m. in Hancock Whitney Stadium, located in Mobile, Alabama. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Eastern Michigan is no stranger to playing in its home stadium for postseason games, despite South Alabama (6-6) being the opponent.
The Eastern Michigan Eagles, with a record of 6-6, will be participating in a bowl game in Mobile for the second time in three years. In 2021, they played in the LendingTree Bowl (now known as the Mobile-based bowl) against Liberty.
Eastern Michigan hopes to achieve back-to-back victories in bowl games, a feat that has not been accomplished in the school’s history. This will be their sixth bowl appearance under the leadership of head coach Chris Creighton, who has been with the team for 10 years.
South Alabama’s football team, the Jaguars, is currently ranked 45th in the nation for their scoring offense, averaging 30.9 points per game. Their defense ranks 37th, allowing an average of 21.9 points per game. The team is led by quarterback Carter Bradley, who has thrown for 2,660 yards and 19 touchdowns in 11 games. Running back La’Damian Webb has also had a strong season with 1,007 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Georgia State and Utah State football teams will face off in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and held at Albertson Stadium in Boise, Idaho.
The sport played in this particular bowl game takes place on a field of blue grass, and the victorious team usually pours french fries on their head coach.
Utah State University has participated in 11 bowl games over the past 13 years with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses.
Georgia State, who has a record of 6 wins and 6 losses, is currently participating in their sixth bowl game within the past 11 seasons as an FBS team. The Panthers made the switch to the FBS level back in 2013.
The Armed Forces Bowl will feature a matchup between James Madison and Air Force at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC and take place at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
James Madison University’s football team, with a record of 11 wins and 1 loss, is making their debut in the bowl game. Damian Wroblewski will take on the role of interim head coach for the game, as Curt Cignetti has accepted a job at Indiana.
Jordan McCloud, quarterback for James Madison, has thrown for 3,400 yards and 32 touchdowns. In contrast, Jalen Green, a defensive lineman, had 15.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 50 overall stops before a knee injury ended his season in November.
James Madison and the Air Force have different approaches to their playing style. The Dukes excel in their ability to stop the run, boasting the best rushing defense in the country with an average of only 61.5 yards allowed per game. On the other hand, Air Force is known for their strong rushing offense, ranking second in FBS with an average of 275.8 yards per game.
The Falcons are also 10th in terms of rushing defense, only allowing an average of 96.3 yards per game.
The Camellia Bowl will feature a matchup between Arkansas State and Northern Illinois, taking place at noon and airing on ESPN. The game will be held at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama.
Both teams have a record of 6-6 entering the game.
Jaylen Rayno, the quarterback for Arkansas State, received the title of Sun Belt’s top freshman. He has thrown for 2,293 yards, scored 15 touchdowns, and has six interceptions, as well as five rushing touchdowns.
In the final stretch of the season, Northern Illinois emerged victorious in five out of their last seven games. Their running back, Antario Brown, was recognized as first-team All-MAC for his impressive stats of 1,164 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, and an average of 6.2 yards per carry.
The 76th Birmingham Bowl will feature a matchup between Duke and Troy. It will be televised on ABC and take place at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.
Duke’s win-loss record is currently at 7-5. Their head coach, Mike Elko, will not be present, and their quarterback, Riley Leonard, has announced his departure from the school.
Could Grayson Loftis, a freshman, maintain his position as starting quarterback or will Henry Belin IV have a chance to join in? Is Belin’s injury still affecting his upper body and limiting him?
Nina King, the athletics director at Duke, announced that Trooper Taylor, the associate head coach and running backs coach, will serve as the temporary coach while the university looks for a replacement for Elko.
What effect will Elko’s exit have on Duke? We will begin to receive insights during Duke’s last game of the season.
Although winning a bowl game is enjoyable, Duke’s top priority for the future is swiftly finding a suitable replacement for Elko.
Jon Sumrall, in his second year as head coach, led Troy (11-2) to consecutive victories in the Sun Belt championships. In the current season, Troy emerged victorious against Appalachian State in the conference championship match.
Friday, Dec. 22, 2023
The Gasparilla Bowl will feature a matchup between Georgia Tech and UCF, airing at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN. The game will take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The city of Orlando, home to the University of Central Florida’s campus, is approximately a 90-minute car ride from Tampa.
Central Florida’s record was 6-6. They were victorious in the first three games, but then suffered five consecutive losses. However, they managed to win three out of their last four games. Remarkably, the Knights have qualified for a bowl game for eight consecutive seasons.
In all 12 years as a head coach, Gus Malzahn of UCF has led his teams to qualify for postseason bowl games.
Georgia Tech has qualified for its 46th bowl game in program history, marking its return to a bowl game after a two-year absence since 2018.
Georgia Tech has a 3-2 record against UCF, but the Golden Knights have emerged victorious in the most recent two matches in 2020 and 2022.
Tech’s offense is led by redshirt-sophomore quarterback Haynes King (2,755 passing yards, 648 rushing yards, 26 touchdown passes, nine touchdown runs), who is one of only two players in the nation with at least 2,700 passing yards, 600 rushing yards, 25 touchdown passes and five touchdown runs this season, joining LSU’s Jayden Daniels.
Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023
The Boca Raton Bowl will feature a match-up between South Florida and Syracuse, with the game scheduled for 8 p.m. and broadcasted on ESPN. The venue for the game will be FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida.
In his inaugural year as head coach, Alex Golesh guided USF (6-6) to their first bowl game appearance since 2018. This will be the 11th time USF has participated in a bowl game.
Syracuse University’s football team, with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses, is currently undergoing a period of change following the dismissal of their head coach, Dino Babers. In the upcoming bowl game, interim coach Nunzio Campanile will lead the team. The university has announced the hiring of Fran Brown as their new head coach.
This year’s bowl trip will be the Orange’s 28th appearance in a bowl game.
Syracuse will participate in a bowl game for two consecutive seasons, a feat not achieved since 2012-13.
Syracuse ended their regular season with a 35-31 win against Wake Forest. LeQuint Allen Jr. had an impressive performance, recording 145 rushing yards and reaching a total of 1,062 yards for the season. This marks the third year in a row that a Syracuse player has achieved over 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023
The UTSA vs. Marshall matchup in the Frisco Bowl will take place at 9 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. The game will be held at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Jeff Traylor, the head coach of UTSA, shared his wish to participate in a bowl game in Texas, which has now been granted.
Unfortunately, UTSA (8-4) has not been successful in bowl games, with a record of 0-4. This includes defeats in the last three years under Traylor.
This marks Marshall’s seventh consecutive appearance in the postseason, with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses.
The team had a fluctuating season, beginning with four consecutive victories and then losing the following five games.
Marshall lost four coaches, including offensive coordinator Clint Trickett, who departed from the team.
Monday, Dec. 18, 2023
The Famous Toastery Bowl will feature a matchup between Western Kentucky and Old Dominion at 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and will take place at Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte.
The match is scheduled to take place at Jerry Richardson Stadium, located on the campus of UNC Charlotte.
This is Western Kentucky’s (7-5) 10th bowl game appearance in the past 12 seasons.
The Old Dominion team, with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses, won their last two games of the regular season, making them eligible to participate in a bowl game.
Jason Henderson, a linebacker for Old Dominion, has the most tackles in the nation with a total of 170. As a result, he received first-team recognition for the All-Sun Belt team. Wayne Matthews III, another linebacker for the team, has 121 tackles and was chosen for the third team.
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023
The Independence Bowl game will feature a matchup between California and Texas Tech. It will be televised at 9:15 p.m. on ESPN and take place at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.
In 2024, California (6-6) will join the ACC. The Golden Bears ended their regular season with a 33-7 victory against UCLA.
This game showcases two of the best rushers in the nation, with Texas Tech’s Tahj Brooks averaging 120.2 yards per game (ranked fifth) and Cal’s Jaydn Ott averaging 114.5 yards per game (ranked seventh).
Brooks may choose to not play in the game in order to focus on preparing for the 2024 NFL Draft. Nevertheless, Texas Tech’s head coach, Joey McGuire, is confident that Brooks will be able to play in the upcoming game.
Myles Price and Jerand Bradley, who were both starting receivers for Texas Tech, will not be playing in the upcoming bowl game as they have entered the transfer portal. Bradley was the leading receiver for the team in 2022.
The LA Bowl will feature a matchup between UCLA and Boise State at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC and take place at SoFI Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Despite having a record of 7-5, UCLA will not be traveling for bowl season and will instead have the opportunity to compete in a bowl game at home.
UCLA will have a shorter commute to SoFi Stadium for the LA Bowl against Boise State compared to the distance they travel for their home games at the Rose Bowl.
Chip Kelly is the leader of UCLA. There have been requests for him to be removed from his position.
UCLA recently experienced the departure of highly-rated freshman quarterback Dante Moore, who entered the transfer portal. In addition, defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn has accepted the same position at rival school USC. Head coach Kelly also announced the departure of quarterbacks coach Ryan Gunderson, who will now serve as the offensive coordinator at Oregon State and will not be involved in UCLA’s bowl game preparations.
Boise State (8-5) officially named Spencer Danielson as their permanent coach, removing his interim status. This decision was made after Danielson successfully led the team to win the Mountain West Conference championship. Under his guidance, the team ended the season with four consecutive victories.
In November, Boise State terminated Andy Avalos from his position after he achieved a record of 22 wins and 14 losses.
The New Mexico Bowl will feature a matchup between New Mexico State and Fresno State at 5:45 p.m. at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The game will be televised on ESPN.
New Mexico State (10-4) pulled off a significant upset against Auburn, with a final score of 31-10, on November 18th. Thanks in part to this victory, the Aggies concluded the regular season with a remarkable eight-game winning streak. Unfortunately, they were defeated by Liberty in the Conference USA championship game.
Diego Pavia, the team’s quarterback, has recorded over 3,700 yards and 28 touchdowns this season as their leader.
Fresno State (8-4) enters the bowl game with a streak of three consecutive losses.
The Cure Bowl will feature a match-up between Appalachian State and Miami (Ohio) at 3:30 p.m. It will be televised on ABC and take place at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando, Florida.
The Mountaineers of Appalachian State (8-5) ended their regular season on a high note, winning five consecutive games. However, they were defeated by Troy in the Sun Belt championship game.
Under the guidance of Chuck Martin, the RedHawks began their season with a defeat of 38-3 against the Miami Hurricanes. They achieved a record of 7-1 in conference games, with their only loss being against Toledo (21-17). Throughout the regular season, Miami (Ohio) secured a 31-24 victory in overtime against new Big 12 member Cincinnati. In the MAC championship game, Miami bounced back to win 23-14 against Toledo.
The Miami team with a record of 11 wins and 2 losses has achieved five consecutive victories.
The Jacksonville State and Louisiana teams will face off in the New Orleans Bowl at 2:15 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN and will take place at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.
Deion Sanders has departed for Colorado, however Jacksonville State (8-3) will be participating in their first FBS level bowl game. The team is guided by former coaches from West Virginia and Michigan, Rich Rodriguez.
Chris Hardie of Jacksonville State University’s defense has recorded 16.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
The Louisiana team, with a record of 6 wins and 6 losses, defeated Louisiana-Monroe in their last game of the regular season, making them eligible to participate in a bowl game.
Kelvin Almendares, the kicker for Louisiana-Lafayette, has a high success rate. He has only missed one field goal out of 14 attempts and has made 46 out of 47 PATs.
The Myrtle Beach Bowl will feature a matchup between Georgia Southern and Ohio, airing at 11 a.m. on ESPN and taking place at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina.
Clay Helton, former coach of USC, is now coaching at Georgia Southern (6-6). The university is participating in its second consecutive bowl game.
The stadium is the designated location for Coastal Carolina’s home games.
In their most recent three matches, Ohio (9-3) emerged victorious.