Oh my gosh, bowl games are finally here!
Even though the Army-Navy game turned out to be quite the thriller last weekend, college football fans have been deprived of a full schedule of games since conference championship weekend – which seems like forever ago at this point.
But Saturday marks the beginning of the bowl game schedule.
And while the lineup isn’t exactly on par with the New Year’s Six bowls, there are still five games, and some of them are worth watching even if you’re not rooting for either team.
1. Las Vegas Bowl: No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
On paper, these two match up fairly evenly, despite the Ducks being a seven-point favorite. Oregon averages a few more total yards than the Broncos (454.3 vs. 400.4), but it also gives up a few more too (359.8 vs. 336.7). Although it might be a seamless transition, Boise State could have a slight advantage because the Ducks will be playing for the first time with Mario Cristobal in charge, following Willie Taggart’s departure to Florida State.
These teams have only ever played each other twice – Boise State won both – but one time, this happened:
The Ducks have relied a bit more on their ground gave this season, with quarterback Justin Herbert missing five games after breaking his collarbone on his non-throwing side back in September.
But he came back a couple weeks ago, and Oregon is 6-1 with him on the field this season. He’s got a 66.5 completion percentage with 13 touchdowns and threw for at least 235 yards in every game he played, except for the one in which he was injured.
This guy can is good – and get a little sneaky on the ground too with five rushing touchdowns this year – and he’s only a sophomore. So the projected 2018 Heisman candidate is definitely a good reason to watch this game.
2. AutoNation Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State (2:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
Why, you ask? Western Kentucky has one of the best quarterbacks you’ve probably never heard of in Mike White. He’s ranked fourth in the nation in total yards (3,826) this year with a 65.6 completion percentage. Currently a senior for the Hilltoppers, he might be a good name to know come NFL Draft time.
Here’s a quick highlight from his bowl game last season against Memphis:
Georgia State also has star wide receiver Penny Hart, so these two players could create some explosive moments and sprinkle some entertaining highlights into the otherwise OK matchup.
3. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas (1 p.m. ET, ESPN)
OK, if you’ve really been missing college football that much and doggedly refuse to go a minute more without college football than you already have to, you’ll be happy to know this happens to be the first game on the schedule Saturday.
At the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Troy enters the game as a 6.5-point favorite.
BONUS – Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Rams will be wearing some spectacular helmets against Marshall.