Memphis 40 Wake Forrest 37
Wake Forrest needed a win in their final game of the regular season to get to 6-6 and become bowl eligible. They not only won, they crushed rival Duke 59-7, in their most impressive game of the season. Memphis meanwhile blew a second-half lead and had their hearts broken a second time by Central Florida on the way to a second straight unbeaten season. Neither team plays much defense, but I think the Demon Deacons performance against Duke will not be repeated. The Tigers have been better consistently all season and will get the win in Birmingham.
Watchability factor: Absolutely none. There have to be a million things better than watching a 6-6 team in a bowl game at noon on the Saturday before Christmas. Memphis has some talent and is a fun team, but I firmly believe 6-6 teams do not belong in bowl games.
Jeff Monken has done miracles in West Point, reviving the Army football program back into a power as they won the Commander and Chief Trophy for the second straight season and beat Navy for the third year in a row. The Black Knights come into this bowl with a record of 10-2, with one of those losses coming in overtime to Oklahoma, a team in the College Football Program. Houston comes in at 8-4 but are without two key players, in Ed Oliver and D’Eriq King. Even with Oliver on defense, the Cougars would have trouble with the triple option of Army and without King at quarterback, they can’t score enough to keep it close.
Watchability factor: Any time you can watch Army football, it is good. The Black Knights with their triple option are one of the funnest teams to watch in addition all of the players on their team are apart of the greatest Army in the world and serving and protecting the United States.
2018 Dollar General Bowl
Buffalo 27 Troy 23
It was a special season for Buffalo as they won ten games and played in the MAC Championship Game. The Bulls let a 19-point lead slip away in that game, suffering their third loss of the season. Troy meanwhile finished 9-3 in the Sunbelt Conference and are looking for their third straight bowl win. Buffalo has a significant disadvantage as this sets up to be a home game for Troy, whose campus is not far from Mobile, Alabama. However, under coach Lance Leipold has a better overall team led by Khalil Hodge on defense, a player who could be a first-round draft pick that was Butkus Award nominee.
Watchability factor: Are you kidding me. There are NFL games on Saturday and you ask if this game is worth watching. This game kicks off at 7 pm, a short time later a game with huge playoff implications between the Ravens and Chargers kicks off. Also, why does the state of Alabama have three bowl games? The Dollar General Bowl, is the trophy made and sold at a dollar store too?
2018 SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
Hawai’i 37 Louisiana Tech 27
Once upon a time, Hawai’i and Louisiana Tech were rivals in the WAC. However, after the WAC football conference broke apart Hawai’i went on to the Mountain West, while Louisiana Tech went to Conference USA. The Warriors won eight of ten meetings with the Bulldogs in those days. Hawai’i had a remarkable turnaround after a poor 2017 season, going 8-5 led by the passing of Cole McDonald. They had their four-game swoon in November but recovered to win their last games. Louisiana Tech will fall victim to the island distractions as Hawai’i gets a bowl win at home.
Watchability factor: If this game were played at any other time it would be not a good watch, but a 10:30 kickoff and it’s in Hawai’i, count me in. Cole McDonald and the Warriors feature a fun offense and it’s in Hawai’i so sit back and sing Mele Kalikimaka.