December 29 Bowl Preview
Armed Forces Bowl: California Golden Bears (7-5) vs. Air Force Falcons (8-5), 2:00 P.M.
Cal has arguably the best quarterback in the country and still only managed to get seven wins. Quarterback Jared Goff is a potential first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and threw for 4252 yards and 37 touchdowns. Goff’s arm has been the reason the Golden Bears were able to average 36.5 points per game, because they didn’t have much of arunning game. Cal’s defense has been the reason that they lost five games on the season. They allow 30.8 points pergame, due to a lackluster rush defense, which allows over 200 yards per game.
Air Force lost in the Mountain West Championship to San Diego State, but still had a successful season. Their 321.8 rushing yards per game is the second best in the country because of their triple option offense. The Falcons defense has been very complimentary to their offense by allowing just 190 passing yards per game and 23 points per game.
This game pits strength against strength with Goff going up against the good pass defense of Air Force. Goff has only had one bad game all year, and that won’t repeat itself in this game. Cal will put up too many points for Air Force to keep up.
Final Score: California 43 Air Force 29
Russell Athletic Bowl: #10 North Carolina Tarheels (10-2) at #17 Baylor Bears (9-3), 5:30 P.M.
North Carolina had a chance to be in the College Football Playoff had they beaten Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, but lost to finish their regular season with ten wins. Quarterback Marquise Williams had two bad games in the team’s two losses making him the key for the Tar Heels. He had a successful season by running and throwing the ball to help North Carolina average 40.9 points per game. The Tarheel defense was improved this season under defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. They allow fewer than 200 passing yards, but more than 200 rushing yards per game.
Baylor was so desperate for a healthy quarterback at the end of the season, that they were moving wide receivers to quarterback. The third string quarterback Chris Johnson will start the game, because he is the best quarterback healthy. He was the reason that Baylor beat Oklahoma State, which was a big win. To go along with Johnson, they have a great running back, Shock Linwood, and the best wide receiver in college football, Corey Coleman. Even with a third string quarterback, the offense will play fine. Baylor’s defense was average this season, but does have two stars on the defensive line. Defensive end Shawn Oakman is athletically gifted and great at getting to the quarterback. Defensive tackle Andrew Billings has a quick burst after the snap and is very disruptive.
This game will come down to the best offense as there will be a lot of points scored. Baylor’s run game will be able to exploit the North Carolina rush defense. Billings and Oakman will force Williams to make bad decisions and have his third bad game of the season.
Final Score: Baylor 55 UNC 39
Arizona Bowl: Nevada Wolfpack (6-6) vs. Colorado State Rams (7-5), 7:30 P.M.
Nevada had six wins with two games to play, but lost their last two games. They have a good rushing offense which averages 205 yards per game. The Wolfpack offense doesn’t put a lot of points on the board, but running back James Butler racked up 1156 rushing yards and does move the chains. Nevada’s defense is average, but is vulnerableto good running offenses.
Colorado State has one of the most talented receivers in the country in Rashard Higgins, who had 933 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns. The Rams boasted an offense that was balanced, averaging around 200 yardspassing and rushing. Colorado State on defense is vulnerable to the rush more so than the pass.
The Rams will win the game because of their balanced offense creating problems for the Wolfpack.
Final Score: Colorado State 32 Nevada 23
Texas Bowl: #20 LSU Tigers (8-3) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5), 9:00 P.M.
LSU started off the season hot, but didn’t finish it off well by losing three of their last four games. Running back Leonard Fournette is one of the most talented players in the country and finished the season with 1741 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. Their offense is very bland at times, but quarterback Brandon Harris did a good job of protecting the football, only throwing five interceptions on the year. The Tiger defense wasn’t the best they have ever had, but they were solid, allowing just 24 points per game.
Texas Tech has a great offense this season using the air raid offense. Running back Deandre Washington rushed for 1455 yards and quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 4283 yards. Their tempo is a factor that a lot of teams can’t handle as they snap the ball very quickly. The Red Raiders are very bad on defense, giving up 42 points per game, which is the fourth worst scoring defense in the country. They give up 271 rushing yards per game, which is also makes them one of the worst rush defenses in the country.
Fournette will have one of the best performances of the bowl season by going up against such a bad defense. He will gain more than 200 yards rushing and the Tigers will win.
Final Score: LSU 38 Texas Tech 31