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WEEK ONE COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL GAMES: 12/19 - 12/24

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Taking a look at and "breaking down" every college football bowl game from December 19th to Christmas Eve.

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

There are 41 college football bowl games starting with the Gildan New Mexico on December 19th and concluding with the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 11th. That's a whole lot of bowls, a whole lot of potential for hilarity and a whole lot of ESPN. Seriously, that's a lot of ESPN. Did you know that all of the Playoff games are on ESPN? All but three of the other bowl games are on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. I might watch the Cure, Sun or Arizona Bowls just so I can change the channel. Wait no I won't be watching the Arizona Bowl because I don't get the American Sports Network. People in Arizona don't even get the American Sports Network, do they? Mistakes were made, Arizona Bowl...mistakes were made.

Saturday, December 19th

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Who: Arizona (6-6) vs. New Mexico (7-5)
When:
1:00 PM CT
Where:
University Stadium - Albuquerque, NM
TV: ESPN
Storyline: The bowl season kicks off with the Arizona Wildcats, cheered on by the shittiest fan base in football, taking on the New Mexico Lobos...at their own stadium. No, you read that correctly. New Mexico gets to play at home. Rich Rod and the Wildcats got off to fast 3-0 start before getting thrashed by UCLA and Stanford and lost four out their final five games. New Mexico, on the other hand, won three out of their last four and beat Boise State in Boise. This will be a ground game. Arizona ranks 18th in the nation in rushing and New Mexico ranks 8th. Did you know New Mexico runs the triple-option? You do now.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Who: BYU (9-3) vs. Utah (9-3)
When:
2:30 PM CT
Where:
Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV
TV:
ABC
Storyline:
HOLY WAR IN SIN CITY. Between 1922 and 2010, the Utes and the Cougars were in the same conference and played almost every year until BYU went independent. The series had been on hiatus since 2014 and wasn't expected to start up until 2016, but then the Las Vegas Bowl came along and made it fun for everyone. The coolest thing is that the winner will not only get the bowl game trophy but will also get the Beehive Boot and be announced as the winner of the 2015 Holy War. This is the type of stuff that makes college football great. That and Mormons braving Las Vegas.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Who: Ohio (8-4) vs. Appalachian State (10-2)
When:
4:30 PM CT
Where:
Cramton Bowl - Montgomery, AL
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
You didn't even know Appalachian State was an FBS school did you? The Mountaineers only losses were to Clemson and Sun Belt Champion Arkansas State. Ohio finished second in the MAC East and Frank Solich still shouldn't have been fired from Nebraska.

AutoNation Cure Bowl

Who: San Jose State (5-7) vs. Georgia State (6-6)
When:
6:00 PM CT
Where:
Orlando Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
TV:
CBSSN
Storyline:
Ah, the first bowl game featuring a team with a losing record. In case you're asking "Why the Cure Bowl" it's because the proceeds of the bowl (whatever are considered proceeds) are going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Fun fact about San Jose State: they didn't win two games in a row this season. Georgia State didn't actually start playing football until 2010 and this is their first bowl game in school history! Under head coach Trent Miles they've gone 0-12, 1-11 to 6-6, so the turnaround is here.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Who: Arkansas State (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
When:
8:00 PM CT
Where:
Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, LA
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
I still don't know what R+L Carriers is. Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech actually used to be conference rivals when the Big West still played football but that all stopped when Tech joined the WAC and ASU joined the Sun Belt. Arkansas State won the Sun Belt and only lost to USC, Missouri (barely) and Toledo. Skip Holtz has Louisiana Tech in their second straight bowl game. Did you know Arkansas State used to be called the Indians?

Monday, December 21st

Miami Beach Bowl

Who: Western Kentucky (11-2) vs. South Florida (8-4)
When:
1:30 PM CT
Where:
Marlins Park - Miami, FL
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
A football game in a baseball stadium? Specifically, a baseball stadium built over where the Orange Bowl used to be? What will they think of next? Willie Taggart took the USF Bulls from 2-10, to 4-8 to 8-4. He has them bowling for the first time since 2010. And their opponent? The school where Taggart used to coach until he left for the USF job: Western Kentucky.

Tuesday, December 22nd

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Who: Akron (7-5) vs. Utah State (6-6)
When:
2:30 PM CT
Where:
Albertsons Stadium - Boise, ID
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
How does Albertsons have a stadium but Hy-Vee doesn't? Oh...so that's what happened to Terry Bowden. Anyway, here's this:

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl

Who: Toledo (9-2) vs. Temple (10-3)
When:
7:00 PM CT
Where:
FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Florida
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
Isn't a marmot a squirrel? Why would you name a bowl after a squirrel? I feel like this is a legitimate question. This is probably one of the best match ups between two Group of Five schools and one time contenders for the final NY6 bowl spot. Toledo, once ranked 19th in the nation, slipped up against NIU and eventually missed out on the MAC Championship after losing to the West Division winner Western Michigan. Temple missed out on the NY6 after losing to the American champion, Houston.

Wednesday, December 23rd

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Who: Boise State (8-4) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5)
When:
3:30 PM CT
Where:
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
Oddly enough, despite being second in the pecking order for MWC teams, the Poinsettia Bowl didn't actually go with the conference champion, San Diego State. This probably had something to do with SDSU being in San Diego...and playing in Qualcomm Stadium. Boise looked like they were going to have their way with the MWC until getting trashed by Utah State and eventually losing two of their final three games. NIU was the runner-up in the MAC to Bowling Green. This match up is between the two winningest programs in the FBS since 2010.

GoDaddy Bowl

Who: Georgia Southern (8-4) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)
When:
7:00 PM CT
Where:
Ladd-Peebles Stadium - Mobile, AL
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
Make sure you understand that there is Georgia Southern and Georgia State and they both play in the Sun Belt. Georgia Southern was the program that beat Florida a couple years ago and actually won the Sun Belt last season but due to the glorious rules of the NCAA, they weren't allowed to compete in a bowl despite jumping up from the FCS. Just like Georgia State, they'll be competing in their first bowl game in school history. Bowling Green went 10-3 and won the MAC but unfortunately, head coach Dino Babers jumped at a better opportunity and took the Syracuse head coaching job. Interim coach Brian Ward will take over coaching duties for the Falcons.

Thursday, December 24th

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Who: Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)
When:
11:00 AM CT
Where:
Thomas Robinson Stadium - Nassau, Bahamas
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
Popeyes AND the Bahamas? That's like my two favorite things. You might remember this game from last season, when Central Michigan launched the craziest comeback ever against Western Kentucky but lost when they decided to go for two instead of kicking the PAT. P.J. Fleck ROWROWROW'd the Broncos to their second straight bowl game and has them searching for their first bowl game victory in school history. Middle Tennessee finished second in the C-USA East Division and I still don't know what a Blue Raider is.

Hawaii Bowl

Who: San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)
When:
8:00 PM CT
Where:
Aloha Stadium - Honolulu, HI
TV:
ESPN
Storyline:
Since taking over for Brady Hoke at SDSU all Rocky Long has done is win two conference championships and taken the Aztecs to five straight bowl games. Brady Hoke never won 10 games in a season. Nor did Tom Craft, Ted Tollner or Al Luginbill. Chuck Long sure as shit never won 10 games. Cincinnati is still coached by Tommy Tuberville. Here's a list of coaches under Tuberville who went on to become NCAA head coaches: Will Muschamp, Bobby Petrino, Gene Chizik and Paul Rhoads.

LOL.