December 18, 2019 - by Jason Lisk
MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 12: Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) celebrates a touchdown during a Big Ten college football game between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Michigan State University Spartans on October 12, 2019 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire)
Bowl season is upon us. That means conference pride and afternoon football on your TV on a weekday. You can see all of the bowl matchups for the 2019-2020 bowl season below. You can also check out our Bowl Picks for recommendations for your bowl pool pick contests.
But first, let’s talk about some of the matchups that have us ready to carve out couch time. Sure, we will be watching the Bahamas Bowl open things up on December 20th just for the festivities, but these seven bowl games provide some of the more interesting bowl matchups this holiday season.
Let’s not get too fancy with our first pick. Ohio State and Clemson are the top two power rated teams in our predictive ratings. Clemson is the defending champion. Ohio State has won every game by double digits while playing a tough schedule. Both teams are undefeated and have plenty of offensive firepower. For NFL fans, you will see lots of these guys playing soon on Sunday, including defensive end Chase Young of Ohio State and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. This is the heavyweight matchup we all want in our bowls, so make sure you have the calendar cleared for this one.
After the 2016 season, Clemson beat Ohio State 31-0 in the playoff semifinal, but this one should hopefully be far more competitive. (Though we should note that Clemson was a one-point underdog entering that game).
Remember when bowl season used to be all about clearing off your New Year’s Day schedule and watching football from the time you groggily climbed out of bed (or wherever you crashed) to the end of the night? There are only four New Year’s Day bowl games now, but you can still get the day started off right with a narrative game between Alabama and Michigan.
We’ve got Nick Saban versus Jim Harbaugh and two of the most storied football programs. Can Harbaugh win a big game? Will it be a big game if Alabama plays poorly? Will the excuse be that Alabama is not motivated since they are not in the playoff for the first time since it began in 2014? Add in a heavy dose of SEC versus Big Ten pride and this one checks off all the storyline boxes.
Yes, we are a sucker for the Rose Bowl, the late afternoon sun shining over the field, and the old Keith Jackson “Whoa Nellies.” So the “Grandaddy of Them All” is always going to rank highly on the bowl watch list.
This year’s matchup between Wisconsin and Oregon features two teams that were only a few plays from making the college playoffs. It’s the only bowl matchup (besides the Fiesta Bowl between Ohio State and Clemson) featuring two teams in the Top Ten in Scoring Defense. Add in Wisconsin star running back Jonathan Taylor, who has 1,909 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns this year, and this one looks like a great Rose Bowl matchup between two fairly even teams.
We are grouping these two games together. You get the two service academies running their relatively rare triple-option attacks, and going against opponents from the power conferences. Both of these games are also among the closest (by point spread) games of the bowl season.
The Air Force-Washington State matchup features quite the style contrast. You have Air Force’s ground attack going against Washington State’s Air Raid with head coach Mike Leach. Air Force ranks 2nd in rushing yards per game this year while Washington State is 1st in passing yards per game.
Navy, meanwhile, is 1st in rushing yards per game, so expect lots of running in Memphis. Kansas State has been a tough opponent who gave Oklahoma their only loss and also went on the road in the non-conference and beat Mississippi State.
One of the great things about bowl season is getting one of the top teams from the other conferences getting to prove themselves against the big boys. Boise State just missed out on getting to the Cotton Bowl (that went to Memphis) so we instead get an early matchup with the Pac-12.
Washington had a tough season in close games, and head coach Chris Petersen stepped down after the regular season ended, citing stress. The Huskies went 0-4 in one-score games, and lost at home to Oregon, Utah, and California by a combined 10 points. That’s why, despite their 7-5 record, Washington comes into this one as the favorite over 12-1 Boise State. But expect the Broncos to be ready to go against a regional neighbor and big name program.
Of all the bowl matchups between two schools outside the Power Five, this one looks like the most attractive matchup. It would have provided even better storylines, but Lane Kiffin left Florida Atlantic to coach at Ole Miss.
Still, you have SMU, who has had a great offensive year and is 5th in points per game, and Florida Atlantic, who went 10-3 and has been rolling after opening the season with losses to Ohio State and Central Florida.
Here is a full list of all the 2019 college football bowl games. And remember, if you are in bowl pick’em contests, check out our Bowl Pick’em Picks for customized advice that gives you the best chance to win your pool.
|Bowl Game||Date||Favorite||Point Spread (as of 12/9)||Underdog|
|Frisco||December 20, 2019||Utah State||-9.5||Kent State|
|Bahamas||December 20, 2019||Buffalo||-6||Charlotte|
|New Orleans||December 21, 2019||Appalachian State||-17||UAB|
|Las Vegas||December 21, 2019||Washington||-3.5||Boise State|
|Camellia||December 21, 2019||Arkansas State||-3||Florida International|
|Boca Raton||December 21, 2019||SMU||-3.5||Florida Atlantic|
|Cure||December 21, 2019||Georgia Southern||-5||Liberty|
|New Mexico||December 21, 2019||San Diego State||-4.5||Central Michigan|
|Celebration||December 21, 2019||North Carolina A&T||-1||Alcorn St|
|Gasparilla||December 23, 2019||Central Florida||-18||Marshall|
|Hawaii||December 24, 2019||BYU||-1.5||Hawaii|
|Quick Lane||December 26, 2019||Pittsburgh||-10.5||Eastern Michigan|
|Independence||December 26, 2019||Miami||-6.5||Louisiana Tech|
|Cheez-It||December 27, 2019||Air Force||-3||Washington State|
|Holiday||December 27, 2019||Iowa||-1.5||USC|
|Texas||December 27, 2019||Texas A&M||-6||Oklahoma State|
|Pinstripe||December 27, 2019||Michigan State||-3||Wake Forest|
|Military||December 27, 2019||North Carolina||-5||Temple|
|Camping World||December 28, 2019||Notre Dame||-3.5||Iowa State|
|Redbox||December 30, 2019||California||-6.5||Illinois|
|Music City||December 30, 2019||Mississippi St||-3||Louisville|
|First Responder||December 30, 2019||Western Kentucky||-2.5||Western Michigan|
|Alamo||December 31, 2019||Utah||-7||Texas|
|Arizona||December 31, 2019||Wyoming||-7||Georgia State|
|Liberty||December 31, 2019||Kansas State||-1||Navy|
|Sun||December 31, 2019||Arizona State||-5.5||Florida State|
|Belk||December 31, 2019||Virginia Tech||-3||Kentucky|
|Citrus||January 1, 2020||Alabama||-7||Michigan|
|Outback||January 1, 2020||Auburn||-7.5||Minnesota|
|Gator||January 2, 2020||Tennessee||-1.5||Indiana|
|Birmingham||January 2, 2020||Cincinnati||-7||Boston College|
|Famous Idaho Potato||January 3, 2020||Ohio||-6.5||Nevada|
|Armed Forces||January 4, 2020||Tulane||-7||Southern Miss|
|LendingTree||January 6, 2020||Louisiana||-14||Miami (OH)|
|NEW YEARS SIX BOWLS|
|Cotton||December 28, 2019||Penn State||-7||Memphis|
|Orange||December 30, 2019||Florida||-13.5||Virginia|
|Rose||January 1, 2020||Wisconsin||-2.5||Oregon|
|Sugar||January 1, 2020||Georgia||-7.5||Baylor|
|Fiesta||December 28, 2020||Clemson||-2||Ohio State|
|Chick-Fil-A||December 28, 2020||LSU||-12.5||Oklahoma|
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