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College Football Bowl Season Watch Guide

Bowl season is here and baby there’s a lot of them. This is your guide to which games to watch and how.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Texas A&M
Only 4 teams are pursuing the national championship, but there are 40 bowl games for football fans to enjoy.
John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes are headed to a New Year’s Day bowl game and most Iowa fans have been focused on some combination of that date with Mississippi State, the upcoming national signing day and the somewhat surprising success of Fran McCaffery’s Iowa hoops squad. But for those of us who are not just Iowa football fans, but college football fans, this is a glorious time of year.

Bowl season is officially upon us beginning this weekend. That means day after day of some combination of college hoops and football for us to enjoy. Now granted, not all the bowl games are great (how can they be when there are 40 of them?), but they are indeed football.

And we all love us some football.

Friday, December 14th

Ok, so the FBS bowls don’t actually start until Saturday, but there is some solid action on Friday the 14th. ESPN2 has the FCS National Championship game starting at 7pm CT. That features a pair of Dakota State teams. North Dakota State looks for yet another title and Dakota superiority as they take on South Dakota State. Imagine if there was just one Dakota.

But the real show on Friday night kicks off an hour earlier. At 6pm CT ESPNU brings you the Stagg Bowl, featuring a pair unbeaten powers. Mount Union and Mary Hardin-Baylor for the second straight year. One of the two school has won the title each of he last four years and Mount Union has been in the title game 17 of the last 20 seasons. Yikes.

Saturday, December 15th

The FBS bowl season officially kicks off Saturday with 5 bowl games. As you might expect from a mid-December slate, none are terribly compelling.

Things get started at 12:30 CT with Tulane and Louisiana in the AutoNation Cure Bowl from Orlando. Yeah. That one’s on CBS Sports Net.

At 1pm, you have Utah State and North Texas in the Progressive New Mexico Bowl. That’s on ESPN.

The only game featuring a ranked team is the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl. That one has Arizona State facing off with #21 Fresno State at 2:30PM CT on ABC.

In the night cap, you’ve got Middle Tennessee and Appalachian State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. That’s on ESPN at 8pm CT.

Tuesday, December 18th

There’s a bit of a break as college football makes way for the NFL on Sunday and Monday, but action resumes Tuesday the 18th. There’s only one game, but it should be enough to hold you over.

Iowa’s season opening opponent Northern Illinois will take on UAB, who only recently returned to football just in time to steal a recruit from the Hawkeyes, in the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. That’s on ESPN at 6pm CT.

Wednesday, December 19th

Wednesday is more of the same with only one game. You’ve got San Diego State taking on Ohio in the DXL Frisco Bowl on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 7pm CT.

Thursday, December 20th

Ditto Friday. The Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl features Marshall and South Florida. Kickoff is at 7 on ESPN.

Friday, December 21st

Friday doubles up on the action. And don’t look now, but college football is trying to make your work day more enjoyable/get you fired for streaming football at work.

Things kick off at 11:30am CT with Florida International and Toledo in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on ESPN (

Things keep rolling into happy hour with Western Michigan and BYU at 3pm in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. That one’s also on ESPN.

Saturday, December 22nd

As you might imagine, things pick back up on Saturday. You’ve got four games, nice and spread out over the entire day. Fortunately for you, you won’t need your remote. All four are on ESPN.

At 11am CT Memphis and Wake Forest face off in the Birmingham Bowl. At 2:30, Houston and Army collide in the Armed Forces Bowl. Things keep rolling at 6pm with Buffalo and Troy in the Dollar General Bowl. The nap cap features Hawai’i and Louisiana Tech in the Hawai’i Bowl at 9:30pm.

Wednesday, December 26th

Following a brief reprieve for the Christmas holiday, things really heat up as the home stretch approaches. There are at least three games a day through New Year’s Day with the only exception being a Sunday filled with NFL games. That starts the day after Christmas with a trio of games.

Once again, things all stay on ESPN. At 12:30, you’ve got Boston College and #25 Boise State in the First Responder Bowl. At 4:15, Minnesota faces off with Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl. And in the night cap, you’ve got Cal and TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl at 8.

Thursday, December 27th

Thursday is much of the same. Three games, all on ESPN.

The time slots are also the same. 12:30 has Temple and Duke in the Independence Bowl. At 4:15 it’s Miami and Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl (enjoy!). The final matchup is Baylor and Vanderbilt in the Texas Bowl.

Friday, December 28th

Same story, different day on Friday, though the matchups start heating up.

At 12:30 you have Purdue and Auburn. At 4:15 it’s #16 West Virginia and #20 Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. And in the nightcap, it’s #24 Iowa State and #13 Washington State. The reactions on Twitter, etc. should be glorious for Hawkeye fans.

Saturday, December 29th

Saturday the 29th is the real deal. There are a couple of standard bowl games, but the real fun begins with the opening round of the College Football Playoff.

Before we get to those, though, you’ve a nice slate all day. Things start with #10 Florida and #7 Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Kick is set for 11am on ESPN. At the same time, ABC has Virginia and South Carolina in the Belk Bowl.

At 12:15, Arkansas State and Nevada face off in what is the last thing standing between you and the CFP - the Arizona Bowl. That’s on CBS Sports Net.

ESPN has both the playoff games. At 3pm CT, #3 Notre Dame and #2 Clemson face off in the Cotton Bowl. That’s followed up at 7pm with #4 Oklahoma and #1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl.

Monday, December 31st

New Year’s Eve features a slate of 6 games. It’s a bit of a mixed bag that looks much less appealing after Saturday’s slate and the taste of the CFP.

At 11, you’ve got Cincinnati and Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl on ESPN. That’s followed up at 1pm with Stanford and Pitt in the Sun Bowl on CBS. Then at 2, Michigan State and Oregon face off in the Redbox Bowl on FOX. And at 2:45, ESPN has the Liberty Bowl, featuring #23 Missouri and Oklahoma State.

Perhaps the best matchup of the day is #22 Northwestern and #17 Utah in the Holiday Bowl on FS1. That’s a 6pm kick. The final game of the day features NC State and #19 Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. That’s a 6:30 kick on ESPN.

Tuesday, January 1st

New Year’s Day is perhaps the most glorious day of the year for college football. There’s a full slate of games and slew of good matchups.

Things, of course, kick off at 11am CT with your very own Iowa Hawkeyes taking on #18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl. For those of us not headed to Tampa, this one’s on ESPN2.

At noon central, ESPN has the Fiesta Bowl featuring #11 LSU and #8 UCF. At the same time, ABC has the Citrus Bowl featuring #14 Kentucky and #12 Penn State.

Then at 4pm, you’ve got the Rose Bowl on ESPN. That features #9 Washington against #6 Ohio State.

The final game of the day is the Sugar Bowl on ESPN. That’s #15 Texas against #5 Georgia.

Monday, January 7th

The final college football game of the season takes place on Monday the 7th with the College Football National Championship. ESPN has the broadcast and kickoff is set for 7pm. We’ll know the teams after the matchups on the 29th of December.

And that’s it, we all go home and start counting down the days to next football season.

Here’s a rundown of the entire bowl slate. Note all times are central.

College Football Bowl Slate

Date Bowl Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Date Bowl Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Saturday, December 15th Cure Bowl Tulane vs. Louisiana 12:30 PM CBSSN
Saturday, December 15th New Mexico Bowl Utah State vs. North Texas 1:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 15th Las Vegas Bowl Arizona State vs. #21 Fresno State 2:30 PM ABC
Saturday, December 15th Camellia Bowl Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan 4:30 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 15th New Orleans Bowl Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State 8:00 PM ESPN
Tuesday, December 18th Boca Raton Bowl UAB vs. Northern Illinois 6:00 PM ESPN
Wednesday, December 19th Frisco Bowl San Diego State vs. Ohio 7:00 PM ESPN
Thursday, December 20th Gasparilla Bowl Marshall vs. South Florida 7:00 PM ESPN
Friday, December 21st Bahamas Bowl Florida International vs. Toledo 11:30 AM ESPN
Friday, December 21st Potato Bowl Western Michigan vs. BYU 3:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 22nd Birmingham Bowl Memphis vs. Wake Forest 11:00 AM ESPN
Saturday, December 22nd Armed Forces Bowl Houston vs. Army 2:30 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 22nd Dollar General Bowl Buffalo vs. Troy 6:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 22nd Hawaii Bowl Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech 9:30 PM ESPN
Wednesday, December 26th First Responder Bowl Boston College vs. #25 Boise State 12:30 PM ESPN
Wednesday, December 26th Quick Lane Bowl Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech 4:15 PM ESPN
Wednesday, December 26th Cheez-It Bowl California vs. TCU 8:00 PM ESPN
Thursday, December 27th Independence Bowl Temple vs. Duke 12:30 PM ESPN
Thursday, December 27th Pinstripe Bowl Miami vs. Wisconsin 4:15 PM ESPN
Thursday, December 27th Texas Bowl Baylor vs. Vanderbilt 8:00 PM ESPN
Friday, December 28th Music City Bowl Purdue vs. Auburn 12:30 PM ESPN
Friday, December 28th Camping World Bowl #16 West Virginia vs. #20 Syracuse 4:15 PM ESPN
Friday, December 28th Alamo Bowl #24 Iowa State vs. #13 Washington State 8:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 29th Peach Bowl #10 Florida vs. #7 Michigan 11:00 AM ESPN
Saturday, December 29th Belk Bowl South Carolina vs. Virginia 11:00 AM ABC
Saturday, December 29th Arizona Bowl Arkansas State vs. Nevada 12:15 PM CBSSN
Saturday, December 29th Cotton Bowl - CFP #3 Notre Dame vs. #2 Clemson 3:00 PM ESPN
Saturday, December 29th Orange Bowl - CFP #4 Oklahoma vs. #1 Alabama 7:00 PM ESPN
Monday, December 31st Military Bowl Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech 11:00 AM ESPN
Monday, December 31st Sun Bowl Stanford vs. Pittsburgh 1:00 PM CBS
Monday, December 31st Redbox Bowl Michigan State vs. Oregon 2:00 PM FOX
Monday, December 31st Liberty Bowl #23 Missouri vs. Oklahoma State 2:45 PM ESPN
Monday, December 31st Holiday Bowl #22 Northwestern vs. #17 Utah 6:00 PM FS1
Monday, December 31st Gator Bowl NC State vs. #19 Texas A&M 6:30 PM ESPN
Tuewsday, January 1st Outback Bowl #18 Mississippi State vs. Iowa 11:00 AM ESPN2
Tuewsday, January 1st Fiesta Bowl #11 LSU vs. #8 UCF 12:00 PM ESPN
Tuewsday, January 1st Citrus Bowl #14 Kentucky vs. #12 Penn State 12:00 PM ABC
Tuewsday, January 1st Rose Bowl #9 Washington vs. #6 Ohio State 4:00 PM ESPN
Tuewsday, January 1st Sugar Bowl #15 Texas vs. #5 Georgia 7:45 PM ESPN
Monday, January 7th CFP National Championship TBD vs. TBD 7:00 PM ESPN