2015-12-18

Bowls 2015 wave 1

This season we have a record setting 41 bowl games.

It might become the peak of bowls played out, since there are not enough teams this season being eligible to play in a bowl. On the other hand there are several bowls in the pipeline to be fielded, on top.
All FBS-Team can become eligible for Bowls (except those teams in transition from FCS to FBS) with 6 wins or more and you can have even 2 games against FCS-Teams on your schedule (which normally are blowouts and sure wins) and still be eligible.
The only other exception is a NCAA bowl ban, which happens from time to time, in which case a team is banned from post season plays for several seasons.

This season a number of 80 teams would have been needed to fill up all the bowls, including the semi-finals. The National Championship game would then be filled by the semi-final winners.
Only 77 teams had those needed 6+ wins, which lead to an odd situation, not only adding losing teams to a bowl, which had happened in the past a few times (normally 6-7 teams), but also teams with less than 6 wins. The average if eligible teams in the past was about 71 teams getting the 6 wins, but that number is not necessarily correct, since the number of FBS teams did increase over the past few seasons.

The 3 teams with a 5-7 record were chose this season to fill the 3 open gaps based on their APR ranking (Academic Progress Rate) and the winners were Nebraska, Minnesota, and San Jose State. Lucky for them it was not needed to add a 4th teams, because there are 2 teams on the next spot waiting and good luck choosing 'the right one' ...

The money will at the end decide if some of the new bowls will survive this number of bowls, I would assume some bowls do attract not enough attention and will fold when the 1st contract runs out, but you never know.
As long as all parties do earn money, they will continue it.
Good news for the SBC for example, they have a lot of teams in the bowl, while in the past they were left out of bowls most of the time even when they had 6+ wins.

So now we have 80 teams in the 40 bowls and I will give a preview to all of them.

This season the Bowls will start at Saturday, December 19th and will be played until Monday, January 11th, which is the National Championship game with no participator decided yet.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE BOWL GAMES FOR WAVE 1

Sat. Dec. 19 - 2:00 pm ET
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Arizona vs. New Mexico
@ University Stadium - Albuquerque, NM
This is played at the University of New Mexico and is played since 2006.
Each team gets around 456.250$
It's a Bowl organized between the MWC and CUSA but this season the bowl decided to pick a PAC12 team, probably because no CUSA team was available at that time.
Arizona had a rough season, were supposed to play for another PAC12 division title, if not even more and ended up 6-6.
New Mexico from the MWC did finish 7-5 and will try to hold of the good, but sometimes not well playing offense of the Wildcats.
Don't underestimate the Lobos, they did win against Boise State, Utah State and on the last gameday to then already fixed division champ Air Force.
It's not easy to pick here a winner, but this as a home game for the Lobos, I pick them as a winner.
I'm expecting a high scoring game and it might come down to some crazy last drive heroics on offense or defense to determine the winner.
I love the matchup.
Lobos win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 3:30 pm ET
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
BYU vs. #22 Utah
@Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
This is a great matchup played in the home of the UNLV Rebels.
It is played since 1992 and each team gets around 1.100.000 $.
Normally do 2 teams from the PAC12 and the MWC play in this game, but obviously did the MWC not have the right participant available and the independent team of Brigham Young was invited.
So it's HOLY WAR! In SIN CITY!
The rivalry game is played quite often, a very long time annually but the last game was 2013 and now, by a Bowl game, we have another matchup.
Utah is having a 4 game winning streak in this rivalry and for the current season it does look good for a 5th win in a row.
Utah did play very good and finished 9-3, and BYU did also play good, but had some lucky wins and finished also 9-3.
The thing is, the Cougars did lose their long time HC Bronco Mendenhall to Virginia and even if he will coach them in the Las Vegas Bowl, which he will do and which is really not common, this will have a strange taste on it.
There are 2 things possible from my point of view.
The team might live up one more time for the coach and university and will play tough ball, or the team will play not 100% concentrated and it will be a bad performance.
If I would be a team member, I would feel betrayed by Mendenhalls leave, out of nowhere.
Not saying the team will feel the same.
I pick in this game Utah as a winner, because of the simple fact that BYU had some lucky wins and Utah is from my point of view a bit better than BYU this season.
BYU can win this, but only if they come out and play as being in their last game ever.
Utes win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 5:30 pm ET
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Ohio vs. Appalachian State
@Crampton Bowl - Montgomery, AL
A new bowl since last season, 2014.
The bowl was played under the same name in the past (1948 and 1961-1980) but this new version is played since 2014.
It ties into the SBC and the MAC and they found teams from both conference to play in this bowl.
They payout is not public so far, but I did find a hint for just 100.000 $ for each team, which would be a laughing stock.
Ohio had some good games and some bad games this season and finished 8-4.
Worst loss was probably the Buffalo game, best wins the game against Marshall and NIU.
Appalachian State finished 10-2 and was 1 game short of winning the SBC.
They lost to Clemson (ACC Champ) and Arkansas State (SBC Champ).
The Mountaineers have the chance to win here, big.
Ohio is a good team, well coached, but I will pick against them.
Appalachian State is for me a much more decent team and I think they will have the edge at the end of the game.
Not 100% sure here, but sure enough to pick them.
Mountaineers win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 7:00 pm ET
AutoNation Cure Bowl
San Jose State vs. Georgia State
@Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
The 1st new bowl of the 2015 season.
It's meant to be a matchup between the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference and that failed already in the 1st try.
Instead the bowl had to s e l e c t the 5-7 San Diego State.
For Georgia State it's the 1st bowl game in their young FBS history.
It's hard to believe, but I found only this number: payout for each team, 1.350.000$.
For a new bowl, this is very much and for a bowl between AAC and SBC, that's huge.
Now the money will go to the MWC and SBC, which is even more odd.
Lucky them, if that's true.
The game itself will be interesting to watch, even if both teams are not the top teams.
San Jose State will have to field their A-game to beat Georgia State, which did show in their last game, that they can play.
They earned that spot on the field (not like San Diego State, getting the spot in the class room) and will play with passion, while San Jose will have to travel the whole USA to play.
I don't think that the Spartans will be able to play 100% and Georgia State will not only PLAY their 1st bowl, they will WIN it.
Panthers win.

Sat. Dec. 19 - 9:00 pm ET
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech
@Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
This is played since 2001 and each team gets around 500.000$.
The teams are chosen from the CUSA and the SBC.
It's the 1st time since 2010 that NOT the Ragin' Cajuns do play in this game.
The 8-4 Bulldogs from Louisiana will almost have a home game here, while the 9-3 Red Wolves from Arkansas State have to travel more than double the distant to get to the Gulf of Mexico.
I think that game will feature many many points.
Both teams can light up the score board, but that has to be put into perspective of the opponents.
It's anybody’s guess who will win this, but I do give the Louisiana team the edge.
Bulldogs win.

‘Til next time
Jack6 on BLOCK OF GRANITE

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