After another epic College Football regular season, bowl season is now well and truly upon us. Whilst a lot of the premier games are in late December, there are still a ton of exciting games on the slate this week. This is highlighted by the Las Vegas Bowl, featuring a matchup between Fresno State and Arizona State. The New Mexico Bowl and Camellia Bowl also look to be very intriguing matchups. We’ll provide our best bets and analysis for each of these 3 bowl games.
NEW MEXICO BOWL: UTAH STATE VS NORTH TEXAS
Utah State Aggies
The Aggies enter this one at 10-2 after another very successful season. They unfortunately couldn’t get their fairy-tale ending, falling 33-24 to Boise State last time out. Sophomore QB Jordan Love has been the driving force behind this very successful offence, throwing for 3200 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. RB Darwin Thompson was also consistently excellent, averaging 7.2 yards per carry and scoring 16 total touchdowns. The Aggies defence was also outstanding this year, holding opponents to 24 points or less in 8 of 12 games. If they can provide a similar level of performance here, I expect their offence to prove too much in this one.
North Texas Mean Green
North Texas enter this one at 9-3, winning 3 of their last 4 to close out another solid campaign. Junior QB Mason Fine has had an excellent season, throwing for over 3700 yards and 27 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He has been capably supported by RB DeAndre Torrey, who has over 1100 total yards and 16 touchdowns of his own. The Mean Green defence has also had another strong campaign, holding 5 of their 12 opponents to 17 points or less. They have tended to struggle against high-performing offences, which could prove costly against Utah State.
Prediction: Utah State -8.5
Over the past few seasons, the spread hasn’t factored too much into college bowl games. The straight up winner has tended to cover the spread. Utah State are significantly more talented than their opponents and I expect this trend to continue. I expect another strong day from Jordan Love en route to a comfortable win and cover here.
LAS VEGAS BOWL: FRESNO STATE VS ARIZONA STATE
Fresno State Bulldogs
Fresno State enter this one as the #21 team in the country, registering a huge Conference Championship win over Boise State last time out. Senior QB Marcus McMaryion has had a stellar campaign for the Bulldogs, throwing for 3400 yards and 25 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. RB Ronnie Rivers has also had a very solid season, totalling 11 touchdowns. Defensively, the Bulldogs were excellent in their Conference Championship victory. Whilst they did allow over 200 rushing yards, they contained Boise State to just 4 yards per passing attempt. If they can deliver a similar calibre of performance, I think they’re significantly undervalued here.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State enter this one at 7-5, scraping into the bowl mix after a 41-40 victory over rivals Arizona. RB Eno Benjamin stole the show in that one, registering 113 total yards and 3 touchdowns. QB Manny Wilkins also had a very efficient day, totalling 322 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, the Sun Devils haven’t pulled up too many trees this season. They struggled big time against Arizona, allowing over 500 total yards of offence. One area where they did excel was in the red zone, forcing the Wildcats into 5 field goal attempts. Ultimately, I’m not sure they’ve got the defence to hang with Fresno State here.
Prediction: Fresno State -4
At only 4 points, I think there is significant line value on Fresno State here. I think they’re the better team on both sides of the ball and expect a comfortable win here. This line should really be over a touchdown.
CAMELLIA BOWL: GEORGIA SOUTHERN VS EASTERN MICHIGAN
Georgia Southern Eagles
The Eagles enter this one at 9-3, buoyed by an excellent 5-game winning streak during the middle of the season. It has been the strong rushing attack that has led the way for this offence, totalling 276 yards against Georgia State last time out. QB Shai Wertz has done an excellent job mixing his rushing ability with some deep throws to keep the defence honest. Defensively, they were also excellent in this one. They allowed just 94 yards on 32 carries, holding the passing attack to just 170 yards in the process. If they can replicate this performance, I’m confident in a Georgia Southern win here.
Eastern Michigan Eagles
In the battle of the Eagles, Eastern Michigan enter this one of 3 straight victories by more than a touchdown. The rushing attack has been outstanding of late, registering 237 yards and 4 touchdowns last time out. Senior QB Tyler Wiegers has also been effective in a game manager role, throwing 11 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. Defensively, Eastern Michigan have been competitive all season, allowing 30 or more points just twice. The pass defence was excellent against Kent State, allowing just 209 yards and an interception on 35 total attempts.
Prediction: Georgia Southern -1
Despite what this line suggests, I think Georgia Southern is by far and away the better team here. I expect them to be able to run the ball in this one, limiting the Eastern Michigan offence in the process. Laying only 1 point, I’m very confident in this one.