Week 1 of the 2017-2018 College Football Bowl Game Season begins in earnest this Saturday, Dec. 16. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is the first game of the College Football Bowl Season. Four other bowl games take place on Dec. 16 with the Las Vegas Bowl between 25 Boise State and Oregon being the most interesting.
The Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 19. On Wednesday, Dec. 20 is the DXL Frisco Bowl. The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl takes place on Thursday before two bowl games on Friday, Dec. 22: the Bahamas Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Check out previews of every college football bowl game from Saturday, Dec. 16 to Friday, Dec. 22!
2017-2018 College Bowl Week 1 Preview
Saturday, Dec. 16
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – North Texas +6.5 vs Troy -6.5
North Texas heads to the Big Easy to battle Troy in what’s traditionally become the first College Football Bowl Game of the season. The North Texas Mean Green won the Conference USA West Division with a 9 and 4 record. The Mean Green head to New Orleans after having lost 17 to 41 to Florida Atlantic in the CUSA Championship.
Troy beat Arkansas State 32 to 25 in their final Sun Belt game. Although Troy shared the Sun Belt Championship with Appalachian State, Troy had a better overall record than App State. The Troy Trojans finished the season on a 3 game straight up and against the spread winning streak.
The Trojans are 8 and 1 against the spread in their last 9 non-conference games. Troy should have no trouble covering the soon be -7 spread in the New Orleans Bowl.
Pick: Troy -6.5
Autonation Cure Bowl – Georgia State +6.5 vs Western Kentucky -6.5
Georgia State takes on Western Kentucky in the Autonation Cure Bowl. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers finished 6 and 6 this season. The Hilltoppers finished in fifth place in the Conference USA East. Western Kentucky is 1 and 4 against the spread in their last 5 versus an opponent from the Sun Belt Conference.
Georgia State is 0 and 4 against the spread in their last 4 games overall. The Panthers average less than 20 points per game. That’s why my attention goes to Western Kentucky. To beat the Hilltoppers, you must be able to score with them.
WKU isn’t nearly as formidable on offense as it has been in the past. Still, it’s offense is good enough for it to get past Georgia State in the Cure Bowl.
Pick: Western Kentucky -6.5
Las Vegas Bowl – 25 Boise State +7.5 vs Oregon -7.5
The Boise State Broncos climbed back into the College Football Playoff Rankings Top 25 after beating Fresno State 17 to 14. A week before that win, Fresno State had beaten the Broncos 28 to 17. Boise went 10 and 3 straight up this season. The Broncos are only 4 and 11 against the spread versus a team with a winning record, though.
Oregon is only at 7 and 5. The one thing to note about the Ducks is that they went 3 and 0 straight up and against the spread in their final 3 games of the season. Oregon’s 69 to 10 win over Oregon State in the annual Civil War is a sign that the Ducks are peaking at the right time.
I think Oregon blows out Boise State on Saturday.
Best Pick: Oregon -7.5
Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Marshall +5.5 vs Colorado State -5.5
Marshall, yet another team from Conference USA, heads to a bowl game on Dec. 16. The Marshall Thundering Herd finished behind Florida Atlantic and Florida International in the Conf USA East Division. Marshall heads to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in bad form. The Thundering Herd lost 4 of their last 5. They went 2 and 3 against the spread in their last 5.
Colorado State went 4 and 8 against the spread this season. The Rams didn’t finish the season strong. Although Colorado did beat San Jose State 42 to 14 in their final game of the season, the Rams went 0 and 6 against the spread in their final 6 games of the season.
Marshall is 5 and 0 against the spread in their last 5 bowl games. Colorado State is 2 and 5 ATS in their last 7 bowl games. Marshall gets the nod.
Pick: Marshall +5.5
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl – Middle Tennessee State +3.5 vs Arkansas State -3.5
Even though Arkansas State lost to Troy in their final Sun Belt Conference game, the Red Wolves did enough during the season to get a bowl bid to the Raycom media Camellia Bowl. Arkansas State went a dynamite 7 and 4 against the spread this season. The Red Wolves were 14 and 6 against the spread in their last 20 games overall. Arkansas State is 1 and 4 ATS in their last 5 versus opponents from Conference USA, though.
Still, the Red Wolves figure to cover the spread versus Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Raiders are a terrible 0 and 4 against the spread in their last 4 bowl games. Middle Tennessee State averages around 25 points per game. Arkansas State allows around 25 points per.
But, the Red Wolves average over 38 points per. I just think Arkansas State’s offense is going to be too much for the Blue Raiders to handle.
Pick: Arkansas State -3.5
Tuesday, Dec. 19
Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl – Akron +22.5 vs Florida Atlantic -22.5
I must hand it to the Boca Raton Bowl organizers. Getting Cheribundi Tart Cherry to be the sponsor is a stroke of genius. I mean, really? The name is so unique that all of us football fans are curious even before knowing who’s playing in the Boca Raton Bowl.
Those two teams, Akron and Florida Atlantic, aren’t close to being mirror images of each other. FAU had a stunningly impressive season. The Owls went 10 and 3 straight up. They went 9 and 0 in Conference USA. Everything points to an FAU blowout win.
Everything points to an FAU blowout win except the trends. Akron is a solid 6 and 1 against the spread versus a team with a winning record. The Zips are also 8 and 2 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Akron should keep this closer than 21 points. I like the Zips to cover.
Pick: Akron +22.5
Wednesday, Dec. 20
DXL Frisco Bowl – Louisiana Tech +5 vs Southern Methodist -5
So far, 59% of college football handicappers are all over the Southern Methodist Mustangs to cover the spread. SMU is only 6 and 6 against the spread this season, though. Worse than that, the Mustangs went 1 and 6 ATS in their final 7 games of the season.
Louisiana Tech won their final 2 games of the season. The Bulldogs are 4 and 1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. But, LA Tech only averages 28.8 points per game. SMU averages 40.2 points per. It sure looks like the Mustangs blow out the Bulldogs on Dec. 20.
Best Pick: Southern Methodist -5
Thursday, Dec. 21
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl – Temple -7 vs Florida International +7
If I didn’t love the name of the Boca Raton Bowl sponsors, there’s no doubt that Bad Boy Mowers would get my award for best bowl sponsor this season. The Bad Bowl Mowers Gasparilla Bowl might actually be an interesting game as well.
Temple is no lock to cover as -7 favorites over the Florida International Panthers. The Temple Owls only went 6 and 6 against the spread this season. Temple is 1 and 4 against the spread in their last 5 games at a neutral site. Not only that, but Temple is also 1 and 5 against the spread in their last 6 following a straight up win.
The Panthers are 11 and 2 against the spread in their last 13 games after scoring 40 points or more in their previous game. There’s a good chance that FIU upsets Temple on the money line on Dec. 21.
Pick: Florida International +7
Friday, Dec. 222
Bahamas Bowl – UAB +7.5 vs Ohio -7.5
No fancy sponsor for the Bahamas Bowl. Just the nation of Bahama. A year or two ago, UAB didn’t even have a football program. The University of Alabama-Birmingham decided not to play football. Now? The folks in Alabama-Birmingham can’t live without their gridiron Blazers.
That’s what happens when you go 8 and 4. Ohio Went 8 and 4 as well. The Bobcats are a veteran football program that routinely makes the postseason. UAB isn’t. Does that mean Ohio covers versus the Blazers? I don’t think so.
I’m taking the 7.5 points on Alabama-Birmingham.
Pick: UAB +7.5
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Central Michigan pk vs Wyoming pk
The final college football bowl game in Week 1 has the Central Michigan Chippewas battling the Wyoming Cowboys. So far in this pick game, 55% back the Cowboys over the Chippewas.
To me, it makes sense. Wyoming Cowboys’ QB Josh Allen gets the press. But, he’s not the reason Wyoming went 7 and 5 this season. The reason Wyoming racked up a winning record is because their defense allows less than 18 points per game.
I like Wyoming.
Pick: Wyoming pk