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2023 Bowl Season Watch Guide, Part II

You’ve all been nice readers this year, so Santa brought you a full week of bowl games.

NCAA Football: Duke’s Mayo Bowl-Maryland at North Carolina State Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I am in full holiday mode. Yesterday was my last day of work, my out of office notification is set, and I’m not looking at my work phone for the next week and a half. Get me a red hat and sleigh bells because right now I feel like a right jolly old elf.

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday of the year, but Christmas is by far my favorite season. I will happily wrap presents for an entire evening with A Christmas Story, scientifically proven to be the best Christmas movie, on television. Don’t get me wrong, Christmas Vacation is fantastic and a very close second place on my list, and It’s a Wonderful Life is good for a viewing every year. But there’s an undeniable charm to Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time that we can all relate to. Once upon a time we were all kids who had that one thing we wanted more than anything in the world, and A Christmas Story perfectly captures that experience and payoff on Christmas morning.

And miss me with that “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” nonsense.

When you’re not watching your preferred holiday flick, there’s plenty of bowl games on this week. The first week of bowls brought us some bangers, like Western Kentucky’s comeback win in the Famous Toastery Bowl and the amazing bands from Howard and Florida A&M in the Cricket Celebration Bowl. What these early bowl games lack in star power and name brand clout they oftentimes more than make up for in entertainment value.


South Florida @ Syracuse - RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

Thursday, December 21 - 7:00 PM - ESPN

Georgia Tech @ UCF - Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

Friday, December 22 - 5:30 PM - ESPN

Troy @ Duke - 76 Birmingham Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 11:00 AM - ABC

Arkansas State @ Northern Illinois - Camelia Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 11:00 AM - ESPN

James Madison @ Air Force - Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 2:30 PM - ABC

Georgia State @ Utah State - Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 2:30 PM - ESPN

South Alabama @ Eastern Michigan - 68 Ventures Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 6:00 PM - ESPN

Utah @ Northwestern - SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 6:30 PM - ABC

Coastal Carolina @ San Jose State - EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl

Saturday, December 23 - 9:30 PM - ESPN

Bowling Green @ Minnesota - Quick Lane Bowl

Tuesday, December 26 - 1:00 PM - ESPN

Texas State @ Rice - SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Tuesday, December 26 - 4:30 PM - ESPN

Kansas @ UNLV - Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Tuesday, December 26 - 8:00 PM - ESPN

Virginia Tech @ Tulane - Military Bowl Presented by GoBowling.com

Wednesday, December 27 - 1:00 PM - ESPN

North Carolina @ West Virginia - Duke’s Mayo Bowl

Wednesday, December 27 - 4:30 PM - ESPN

#15 Louisville @ USC - DIRECTV Holiday Bowl

Wednesday, December 27 - 7:00 PM - FOX

Texas A&M @ #20 Oklahoma State - TaxAct Texas Bowl

Wednesday, December 27 - 8:00 PM - ESPN


We’re getting our first Big Ten team in action with Northwestern taking on Utah in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl. David Braun was the deserving winner of the Big Ten Coach of the Year award and was further rewarded with a bowl game in his first year. I pegged Braun as the coach most likely to be fired in our preseason Big Ten predictions, though given the evidence at the time, your honor, could you really blame me? I’d love to see the Cats finish the year with a bowl victory.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Northwestern Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl with James Madison will be interesting as well as JMU wasn’t even eligible for a bowl until a few weeks ago. To be fair, this is primarily due to there simply not being enough bowl eligible FBS teams to choose from, as the Dukes, in their second season at the FBS level, would normally be ineligible for postseason play no matter how good their record. So JMU can thank Nebraska having another losing record this year.

Perhaps Mack Brown will finally get the mayonnaise bath he missed out on two years ago in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, and the DIRECTV Holiday Bowl features our first ranked team of bowl season with #15 Louisville taking on USC, who is unranked (lol). And week two of the 2023 bowl season concludes with Texas A&M facing off against #20 Oklahoma State in the TaxAct Texas Bowl.

When you’re not watching your favorite holiday movie, which bowl games will you be tuning in to?

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!