Tulane vs. Louisiana Lafayette – AutoNation Cure Bowl 1:30pm – CBS Sports
Coming off a close win against Navy, Tulane comes into this game as a 3.5 point favorite. Senior Justin McMillan has gone 4-1 in the last 5 games for the Green Wave, with a 2-1 TD/int ratio. Louisiana lost their last game to a really good Appalachian State team in the Sun Belt Championship, but has all their key players ready to go. Nothing really stands out from the Ragin’ Cajuns season, they got plastered when they were expected to (14-56 against Alabama, 10-56 vs. Miss. St.), and they played well enough to make this bowl. Same goes for Tulane. Definitely no fireworks for the kickoff to bowl season, I am taking the 3.5 points and hoping it stays close.
Utah State vs. North Texas – New Mexico Bowl – 2pm – ESPN
With losses bookending their season, the Utah St. Aggies surprised quite a few with a dynamic offense that coasted through most of the Mountain West all year. Their offense met their match in the final game of the year against Boise St. where they hung tough until the 4th quarter and just couldn’t keep pace. North Texas hasn’t really played any hard hitting matchups all year, though a trouncing of SEC doormat Arkansas should still be considered a quality win. As of now, the leading receiver for N. Texas is expected to play in the New Mexico Bowl, but it would be a huge hit if he can’t play, as he was responsible for over a quarter of the yards gained through the air this year. This line looks like a spot where Vegas would love to get some action on North Texas, giving them that extra half point that is crucial to books. In this spot I still have to ignore the 1/2 and take Utah St. to cover for the bowl game.
Utah St. -7.5
Arizona St. vs. #21 Fresno State – Las Vegas Bowl – 3:30pm – CBS
With a couple breaks, and one or two scores extra, could Arizona State have gone…(gasp) undefeated? All four losses this year came by one TD or less, and Herm Edwards is probably going to be thinking ‘what if’ on the bus ride to Las Vegas. How they matchup against Fresno St. is yet to be seen, but with N’Keal Harry opting out of the game, and musings about giving time to sophomore QB Dillon Sterling-Cole, it doesn’t seem like this is a must win spot for the Sun Devils. I like the defense of Fresno St. to give enough fits to a team that is looking to move on from 2018.
Fresno St. -4.5
Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan –
Camellia Bowl – 5:30p – ESPN
The only way either of these teams EVER get this close to prime time on ESPN is by meeting in the Camellia Bowl. Eastern defensively will be challenged against the grind it out running game of GA Southern. How long they can keep that up and not be exhausted depends on early success against the run, pushing them to 3rd and long. If Georgia Southern can score first, it may be tough for the offense of EMU to keep pace.
GA Southern -3
Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State –
New Orleans Bowl – 9pm – ESPN
Appalachian State spent one whole week tickling the top 25 when it all came crashing down against Georgia Southern. Part of that loss could be attributed to losing their starting QB Zac Thomas, who has been a major reason for the Mountaineers success. Middle Tennessee had some tough spots in their schedule leading to losses against all SEC opponents, and one hiccup to Florida International. Yes, the HC for App State has moved on down to Louisville, but the team should still do well enough to outlast Middle Tennessee by at least a TD.
App St. -7