Predictions for every 2016 college football bowl game, including a pick for the College Football Playoff National Championship
The Army-Navy game has come to an end (as has Army’s losing streak), Lamar Jackson has won the 2016 Heisman Trophy, and the conference champions have all been crowned. All of this can only mean one glorious, bittersweet thing: It’s time for college football bowl season.
Admittedly, there’s something that’s always a tad sour about this time of year. Though college football’s postseason is always packed to the brim with thrills, excitement and generally good times, it does signify the end. After this, it’s another eight-month long wait until the beloved sport returns to fill our Saturdays. That only means we should enjoy bowl season that much more, though—go out with a bang.
There are terrific matchups throughout bowl season, starting on the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 17 all the way through the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday, Jan. 9. Though there’s always a level of unpredictability in bowl season and college football in general, we can at least take what we saw this season and try to project how things will play out. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
In chronological order, here are the picks and predictions for every college football bowl game in 2016, starting with the New Mexico Bowl:
New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico vs. UTSA – Dec. 17, 2 p.m. ET
There’s at least a decent chance that you haven’t watched much of either the New Mexico Lobos or the Texas San Antonio Roadrunners this season. You aren’t alone in that, I’m sure. However, this is a bit of a mismatch in favor of the Lobos when you get down to it.
While quarterback Dalton Sturm leads a decent Roadrunners passing attack, their offense is nothing particularly special. Meanwhile, their defense has shown solid outings at time, but can only be labeled inconsistent at best. That doesn’t bode well for them going up against a fierce Lobos rushing attack led by Teriyon Gipson and Tyrone Owens, who combined for over 2,200 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns on the season. Add in New Mexico having a solid pass-rush as well and the Lobos should win in their home state.
Prediction: New Mexico: 38, UTSA: 24
Las Vegas Bowl: Houston vs. San Diego State – Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m. ET
Las Vegas, as it’s known to do, should be host to quite a show with the Houston Cougars and San Diego State Aztecs coming into town. These are two of the most exciting offenses in the country squaring off, though they are hardly mirror images of one another. Houston is led by quarterback Greg Ward Jr. and his dynamic playmaking as both a runner and passer, though Ed Oliver and the defense can hold their own as well.
Then you have Donnell Pumphrey and the Aztecs, with the running back being one of the most productive college players in history. It’s no secret that the SDSU offense centers around the No. 2 all-time rusher in NCAA history leading the way, and that will surely be the case in this game.
However, you have to imagine that Houston will have an odd, dark cloud hanging over them given the departure of Tom Herman for Texas. At the same time, San Diego State will be looking to send out Pumphrey, arguably the greatest player in the program’s history, out on a high note. That will prove to be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Houston: 28, San Diego State: 31