Friday, December 11, 2015

2015 Bowl Preview Part 2: #21-30

Here is part 2 of my 2015 bowl preview, looking at bowls that I have ranked #21 through #30. Last week I trashed the bottom ten. These bowls aren't perfect, but are running on average above being horrible. Here is the next group...

#30 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (12/29)
This is a decently entertaining mash up of two very different offensive philosophies. California (7-5) will get Air Force (8-5) in the matchup in Fort Worth. Air Force played for a Mountain West title, and Cal was 5-0 at one point before doing what Cal does, which is start fast and then crash hard. It's been that way as long as I can remember expect in seasons where the Bears have just been awful.

#29 Hawaii Bowl (12/24)
Nobody ever really attends this game in any number, and I am guessing that the same will happen once again. The only thing keeping this game out of the bottom ten is the matchup of Mountain West Champ San Diego State (10-3), and Cincinnati (7-5). San Diego State ended up here as the Las Vegas Bowl selected BYU instead of the MWC champ, so it is a benefit for the bowl to get the 10 win Aztecs. Cincinnati was the AAC favorite when the season started, but largely underperformed. They need this win to give a boost to their hopes in 2016.

#28 Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl (12/26)
Honestly, if there was more room in the bottom ten bowls, this would have been there. Washington (6-6) barely scrapes into this bowl, plays Southern Miss, who likely deserved a better matchup than the Huskies after what was a huge comeback season that will likely nab Todd Monken a CUSA coach of the Year title. It's Southern Miss' inclusion that elevates this bowl out of the bottom ten in 2015.

#27 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl (1/2)
This bowl also belonged in the bottom ten, but there is only so much room. The match is that of decent overall programs, but these are also programs that failed to live up to any level of good this season in Arizona State (6-6) and West Virginia (7-5). West Virginia had meetings this week to even decide whether or not Dana Holgorsen was even coming back in 2016 as head coach. ASU started the season ranked #15 in the AP poll. They didn't stay there long. I'm even surprised that I didn't rank this bowl lower, except for the fact that there will be video game styled offense.

#26 AutoZone Liberty Bowl (1/2)
I usually like this game. It has a fairly rich history and has played out some of my favorite bowl memories over the last 35 years. This season, the matchup fails this great game. Kansas State comes skidding in at 6-6, and only secured that record in the final week. They get Arkansas (7-5), a team that has been wildly all over the place in 2015, and largely did not live up to preseason billing. Arkansas should still be favored in this game, but never underestimate Bill Snyder. Still, this game deserved better. I would have rather seen Southern Miss getting Arkansas here.

#25 Taxslayer Bowl (1/2)
On the surface, it would seem that this should be an amazing draw, as Georgia (9-3) is taking on Penn State (7-5). That being said, it's just a fa├žade of what is really going on here. Neither team plays any offense, so take the under. You may be tempted to take a nap during this one, and you would be right to.

#24 Music City Bowl (12/30)
Louisville (7-5) will be taking on Texas A&M (8-4). Neither team lived up to what they should have been this season, and after two seasons, Louisville still doesn't really have a QB. Texas A&M was all over the place in 2015, and somehow Kevin Sumlin still gets elite coach billing, I don't buy into the hype, and they have a QB issue going on as well. Somehow, I am just not that excited to see two teams with identity issues trying to figure it out.

#23 Citrus Bowl (1/1)
Again, on paper, this game looks great. Michigan (9-3) takes on Florida (10-3) in what should be an epic battle. The problem is that Florida is probably the worst 10 win team in history. Offense is still a problem for the Gators, but Jim McElwain has done an amazing job getting this team to 10 wins, but this may not be as entertaining as it is billed up to be. Michigan should be favored, and may have an easy time of it, if they can overcome the Florida defense.

#22 Belk Bowl (12/30)
This has historically been a bowl that nobody cares about, no matter who plays in the game. NC State (7-5) gets Mississippi State (8-4) this season, and even with the Wolfpack playing here, it's still not likely to sell out. Neither team brings anything all that exciting to the table here, but it is going to be Dak Prescott's final game, so that's something.

#21 Texas Bowl (12/29)
Texas Tech (7-5) is always all over the place, and even though they started out hot this season, they ended up being fairly average, if that. They get LSU (8-3), a team that largely deserved a better fate than this. The Les Miles drama likely dropped the LSU bowl stock, but in that light, the bowl is lucky to get the Tigers here.

Coming next...Bowl Preview Part 3: #11-20

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