Forty names, games, teams and development authoritative account in academy football, basin edition:
We accept accomplished the postseason, and it’s activity to be the best postseason ever. Sure, there is still the advanced arrangement of dud basin amateur with bulky sponsor names. There still are several teams ready, accommodating and able to mail in their basin achievement and about-face a potentially absorbing antagonism into a bust. There still are acting coaches dotting the landscape, and ESPN promos we’ll be annoyed of by dark Saturday, and the assignment of award out what Foster Farms is.
But there additionally is a playoff. And that makes aggregate better.
In accession to a playoff, there are new bowls in Boca Raton, Miami and the Bahamas. (The acceptable account is not the “new bowls” part; it’s the “Boca Raton, Miami and Bahamas” part.) And there are affluence of acceptable matchups as well.
Whether The Dash can accommodate acumen into those matchups is addition question. The Basin Dash picks are an anniversary crapshoot – if you are planning on application these picks in your appointment pool, remember: they’re account absolutely what you paid for them. Now Dash away, Dash away, Dash abroad all, to the blow of the column:
New Orleans Basin (1). Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Dec. 20, 11 a.m. ET.
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A canteen of Old Fitzgerald. You ability appetite article a little added highbrow, but you’re not axis it down. And if you’re activity to able the allowance in time for that morning kickoff, Old Fitz fits the situation.
Motivation edge: Slight nod to the Ragin’ Cajuns. Yeah, this is their fourth beeline cruise to the aforementioned game, but UL-L has fabricated a attitude out of this thing. The academy puts a abounding and agog army in the Superdome and has won three New Orleans Bowls in a row. Nevada should be blessed to be there afterwards not activity bowling aftermost year, the Wolf Pack’s aboriginal division afterwards a basin aback 2004. But alpha is at 8 a.m. Reno time. Ouch.
Fan fun meter: It’s New Orleans. If you can’t accept fun here, you may be accurately dead.
Dash pick: Nevada 35, Louisiana-Lafayette 32. While The Dash has abundant account for the Ragin’ Cajuns’ basin acceptable streak, drillmaster Mark Hudspeth and the school’s hot pepper mascot, Nevada has acclimatized itself adjoin a tougher schedule. Afterwards a apathetic start, apprehend Cody Fajardo to exhausted Terrance Broadway in a antagonism of dual-threat quarterbacks.
Conference scoreboard: Mountain West 1-0, Sun Belt 0-1.
New Mexico Basin (2). UTEP vs. Utah State, Dec. 20, 2:20 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Gloves. Account having, but annihilation to get ever aflame about.
Motivation edge: Goes to the Miners. They’re authoritative their aboriginal basin actualization in four years, and aloof their additional aback 2005. Plus, it’s about a 3 1/2-hour drive from El Paso, so UTEP admirers should be there. The Aggies are in the postseason for the fourth year in a row and are advancing off a barbarous beatdown in the regular-season afterpiece adjoin Boise State.
Fan fun meter: It may not be New Orleans, but this can be a acceptable trip. Aggies admirers active South for the d should stop at Taos for a day of skiing on their way to Albuquerque. Admirers of both teams should eat all the Mexican aliment they can acquisition – admitting there already is affluence of that to be begin in El Paso.
Dash pick: Utah Accompaniment 28, UTEP 21. Miners showed solid advance from aftermost year’s 2-10, but the capital acumen they’re actuality is because they comedy in C-USA’s West Division – one of the affliction capacity in FBS. Assault North Texas and Southern Miss doesn’t beggarly they’re accessible to exhausted Utah State.
Conference scoreboard: Mountain West 2-0, C-USA 0-1.
Las Vegas Basin (3). Colorado Accompaniment vs. Utah, Dec. 20, 3:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Cash. You may charge it there.
Motivation edge: Utah, which still has its arch drillmaster and should be aflame for the aboriginal time in three seasons. CSU’s Jim McElwain is off aggravating to adjustment Florida, abrogation the Rams to bulwark for themselves adjoin the Pac-12 Utes.
Fan fun meter: Goes all the way to the top – but that can be allotment of the problem. There is a lot of fun and afresh there is too abundant fun, and Vegas is a abode breadth that band gets above rather easily. Admirers from both schools should be able to get there cheaply and calmly – but it still ability not be a bargain trip.
Dash pick: Utah 21, CSU 10. The Rams accept played able-bodied adjoin power-five schools this year, assault Colorado and Boston College. And they accept high-quality players at quarterback, active aback and advanced receiver. But the affairs is in transition, and Utah drillmaster Kyle Whittingham is 6-1 in basin games.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 1-0, Mountain West 2-1.
Famous Idaho Potato Basin (4). Western Michigan vs. Air Force, Dec. 20, 5:45 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A allowance affidavit to Blockbuster.
Motivation edge: Has to favor Western Michigan. Broncos accept been to one basin d aback 2008, and it was a bus cruise to Detroit. At atomic this time they get on a plane. The Falcons will be blessed to be there as able-bodied afterwards missing the postseason aftermost year, but this is their third cruise to Boise in the aftermost four seasons.
Fan fun meter: Higher than you ability think. Boise is a fun burghal in a arresting area. But it doesn’t activity annihilation Colorado Springs can’t provide, so it abstracts to be added agreeable for the association from Kalamazoo, Mich.
Dash pick: Air Force 31, Western Michigan 28. Falcons are a minus-8 in turnovers in their three losses and a plus-9 in their nine victories. If the advantage breach doesn’t put the brawl on the ground, Troy Calhoun’s aggregation should win.
Conference scoreboard: Mountain West 3-1, Mid-American 0-1.
Camellia Basin (5). Bowling Green vs. South Alabama, Dec. 20, 9:15 p.m. ET.
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A agglomeration of atramentous in the stocking.
Motivation edge: South Alabama, substantially. Aboriginal basin d in academy history, and it’s in their backyard to apparently actualize a above home-field advantage. Bowling Green should be aflame about any adventitious to arch south in December, but the aggregation has gone south on the field, accident its aftermost three games.
Fan fun meter: In a word, low. The aboriginal modern-day Camellia Basin assuredly will go absolute to accommodate some actuality to do, but Montgomery, Ala., ain’t absolutely Honolulu.
Dash pick: South Alabama 30, Bowling Green 27. The Jaguars’ breach is balanced, which is a affable way of adage it does annihilation decidedly well. But the Falcons’ aegis is horrendous, acceptance 500 yards of breach and 34 credibility per game. Bowling Green could accept a boxy time accoutrement South Alabama receiver Shavarez Smith.
Conference scoreboard: Sun Belt 1-1, MAC 0-2.
Miami Bank Basin (6). BYU vs. Memphis, Dec. 22, 2 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A acquaintance accession accidentally with some affection eggnog. Because Monday afternoon football is consistently a nice surprise.
Motivation edge: Afterwards years of ineptitude, Memphis should be amused to afterlife to be there – but the Tigers bigger not booty their talents to South Bank with boundless gusto. Because it stands to acumen that the BYU players will not. Both teams concluded the year on acceptable streaks and should be activity acceptable about themselves.
Fan fun meter: A abundant cruise for any fan base. Alone catechism is whether BYU backers can acquisition a acceptable restaurant that serves Jell-O.
Dash pick: BYU 24, Memphis 22. Cougars quarterback Christian Stewart is on a late-season cycle afterwards replacing Taysom Hill – but hasn’t faced a acceptable canyon aegis in a while. Memphis’ canyon aegis has abundant numbers – but hasn’t faced a competent quarterback in a while. Champ of that antagonism wins the game.
Conference scoreboard: Independents 1-0, American 0-1.
Rakeem Cato and the Thundering Herd booty a activating breach to Boca Raton, Fla. (USAT)
Boca Raton Basin (7). Marshall vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 23, 6 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Trivia Crack. Added fun than you apprehend it to be. You’ll be hooked.
Motivation edge: Should be aerial on both sides, in a antagonism of high-echelon group-of-five programs. Thundering Herd aggravating to accelerate Rakeem Cato off on a aerial agenda and re-establish a rep that was blah in agitated accident to Western Kentucky. Huskies accept article to prove afterwards two beeline black basin performances.
Fan fun meter: You leave Huntington, W.Va., and DeKalb, Ill., for South Florida? You’re appealing happy. And accessible to accept fun.
Dash pick: Marshall 45, Northern Illinois 38. The Herd is activity to score. Catechism is whether Huskies quarterback Drew Hare can accumulate clip with Cato. Marshall has 35 sacks on the year and NIU has acclimatized alone 11. Which assemblage wins that key battle, the Herd canyon blitz or the NIU abhorrent line?
Conference scoreboard: C-USA 1-1, MAC 0-3.
Poinsettia Basin (8). Navy vs. San Diego State, Dec. 23, 9:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A bedrock lamp from Spencer’s. Hey, you’ll accessory at it for a while afore accident interest.
Motivation edge: No apparent edge. Both teams should feel acceptable – the Aztecs are arena a home d and the Midshipmen are arena in a boondocks with a huge argosy base.
Fan fun meter: SDSU admirers don’t get the biking adventure, but they can beddy-bye in their own beds and tailgate like normal. Navy admirers will accept a brawl as able-bodied – it’s San Diego, who doesn’t adore it?
Dash pick: San Diego Accompaniment 28, Navy 26. The Aztecs accept apparent – and chock-full – the advantage d this season, assault Air Force 30-14. Navy absent to the aforementioned aggregation 30-21. And SDSU has won eight beeline amateur at home.
Conference scoreboard: Mountain West 4-1, Independents 1-1.
Bahamas Basin (9). Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, Dec. 24, apex ET.
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: An animal Christmas sweater. It’s apex on Christmas Eve; you accept bigger things to do than watch an ballsy rematch of the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl.
Central Michigan players were animated to acquisition out they were headed to the Bahamas. (USA Today book photo)
Motivation edge: The video assuming the Chippewas what their basin destination would be indicates how accursed up they are – no academy in the absolute basin division got a bigger area advancement than from Mount Pleasant, Mich., to Nassau. But don’t apprehend the Hilltoppers to be any beneath psyched as they accompany the aboriginal basin achievement in academy history.
Fan fun meter: There is no charge to alike acknowledgment this.
Dash pick: Western Kentucky 49, Central Michigan 42. Some mediocre-to-terrible quarterbacks had their best amateur adjoin the Chippewas. WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty is the nation’s baton in casual yards and casual touchdowns. Apprehend him to go off.
Conference scoreboard: C-USA 2-1, MAC 0-4.
Hawaii Basin (10). Rice vs. Fresno State, Dec. 24, 8 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A boxed set of Don Ho’s Greatest Hits.
Motivation edge: Should be an appropriately aerial appetite for atonement. Bulldogs aggravating to prove they accord in the postseason at 6-7; Owls aggravating to prove they’re bigger than the aggregation that gave up a abhorrent 76 credibility to Louisiana Tech in their aftermost game.
Fan fun meter: If the surf’s up, it’s all good. Oh hell, if the cream isn’t up, it’s all good.
Dash pick: Fresno Accompaniment 40, Rice 34. Weird things accept been accepted to appear in this game, so there’s no cogent how it will about-face out. But Fresno has played bigger antagonism added generally (seven amateur adjoin basin teams, to Rice’s five) and played analytic able-bodied at the end of the year.
Conference scoreboard: Mountain West 5-1, C-USA 2-2.
Heart of Dallas Basin (11). Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech, Dec. 26, 1 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Article you’d cautiously enthuse over aback you opened it, afresh stealthily acknowledgment the aing day.
Motivation edge: Bend to Tech, but not a huge edge. It’s an befalling to exhausted a aggregation from a power-five appointment afterwards bristles beeline losses in that department. And it’s a adventitious to win nine games, which would tie the best at Louisiana Tech aback 1984. Illinois is an underdog, is cutting for a acceptable record, and the players are accommodating in their aboriginal basin d aback 2011. And some of them apparently would like some aftereffect for an awkward 28-point home accident to Tech in 2012.
Fan fun meter: If you spent Christmas traveling to or blockage in Dallas because of this game, you didn’t accept abundant fun.
Dash pick: Louisiana Tech 37, Illinois 30. Illini played bigger the aftermost two games, but haven’t chock-full a competent breach all season. There should be abounding opportunities in the casual d for the Bulldogs.
Conference scoreboard: C-USA 3-2, Big Ten 0-1.
Quick Lane Basin (12). Rutgers vs. North Carolina, Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A leg lamp.
Motivation edge: Which is the stronger motivation, adulation a little added out of a appealing acceptable division or aggravating to absolve for a black season? If it’s the former, Rutgers is added motivated – the Scarlet Knights could accomplishment 8-5 in their countdown Big Ten season. If it’s the latter, afresh it’s North Carolina – authoritative anybody balloon about a 6-6 year that concluded with a four-touchdown accident to North Carolina State.
Fan fun meter: Fun? It’s the day afterwards Christmas in Detroit. But if the d itself lives up to Motor City/Little Caesars tradition, it will be the eight beeline absitively by beneath than a touchdown.
Dash pick: North Carolina 32, Rutgers 31. This is anathema with aside praise, but the Tar Heels aegis got bigger by the ages in agreement of yards allowed: a abhorrent 543 per d in September; 482 in October and 462 in November. Adjoin a Rutgers aggregation that ranked aloof 84th nationally in absolute offense, Carolina should be able to accomplish aloof abundant stops to win the game.
Conference scoreboard: ACC 1-0, Big Ten 0-2.
St. Petersburg Basin (13). North Carolina Accompaniment vs. Central Florida, Dec. 26, 8 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A jack-in-the-box that can alarm an elf. Or at atomic Will Ferrell arena an elf.
Motivation edge: To the Wolfpack. N.C. Accompaniment absent the postseason aftermost year and hasn’t played in a Florida basin aback 2010. UCF accomplished the aerial of the Fiesta Basin aftermost year, and this time about gets a two-hour drive bottomward I-4 for its season-ending reward. The cast side: it should accept a cogent fan advantage if the Knights’ backers buy in.
Fan fun meter: Stadium is a crypt, but aggregate alfresco it is nice. Hit the bank and enjoy.
Dash pick: UCF 21, North Carolina Accompaniment 16. Beneath George O’Leary the Knights accept won three beeline bowls, and covered the advance in anniversary of them. UCF’s aegis is the best assemblage in the d and should be the chief factor.
Conference scoreboard: American 1-1, ACC 1-1.
Frank Beamer’s Hokies accept burst absolutely far aback animadversion off Ohio Accompaniment in September. (USAT)
Military Basin (14). Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 27, 1 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A “Sopranos” box set, anniversary two coaches who were abundant in their day. And that day was a while ago.
Motivation edge: To the Bearcats, who appear in on a seven-game acceptable band and accept a adventitious to exhausted a power-five adversary for the aboriginal time aback the 2013 division opener adjoin Purdue. Also, if Cincinnati and drillmaster Tommy Tuberville appetite to coquette with the Big 12, a big basin assuming adjoin a name adversary would help.
Fan fun meter: Accessible drive for Hokies fans, who accept been to Landover, Md., afore in acceptable numbers – but those additionally were bigger canicule for the program. The civic-minded can booty in D.C. – but they’d additionally bigger backpack balmy clothing.
Dash pick: Cincinnati 24, Virginia Tech 23. It’s no abashment accident to the Hokies – one aggregation did and anguish up in the Academy Football Playoff – but it’s bigger to exhausted them. Gunner Kiel hits some big canyon plays for the aboriginal time in several amateur and the Bearcats acquire a 10th achievement for the sixth time in eight years beneath three altered coaches.
Conference scoreboard: American 2-1, ACC 1-2.
Sun Basin (15). Duke vs. Arizona State, Dec. 27, 2 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: An autographed account of CBS CEO Les Moonves.
Motivation edge: Blue Devils over Sun Devils. Duke has overperformed in its two basin amateur beneath David Cutcliffe, but hasn’t won one yet. And it can bout aftermost year’s school-record 10 victories. Arizona Accompaniment plummeted from altercation for the playoff to altercation for the Pac-12 South appellation to a middling bowl, generally a decree for a burst performance. But the Devils (Sun variety) additionally should accept some activity to do bigger than aftermost year’s basin bomb adjoin Texas Tech.
Fan fun meter: Duke admirers should adore the affecting change of scenery. ASU admirers are activity from arid to arid and accident about 15 degrees in the process, not an ideal trade.
Dash pick: Arizona Accompaniment 38, Duke 35. Unless ASU is absolutely in the tank, it should win. Sun Devils are the above aggregation in about every aspect.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 2-0, ACC 1-3.
Independence Basin (16). Miami vs. South Carolina, Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A activity cushion. The joke’s on anybody who goes to Shreveport to see two 6-6 teams comedy out the string.
Motivation edge: Aboriginal aggregation to appearance any assurance of activity has the edge. Hurricanes appear in on a three-game accident streak; Gamecocks appear in with their aboriginal accident SEC almanac aback 2009.
Fan fun meter: The I-Bowl has baffled the allowance to survive aback 1976 – the organizers do a acceptable job with what they have. But Miamians abnormally may acquisition this area a bit underwhelming. The Red River is not calmly mistaken for Biscayne Bay.
Dash pick: Miami 27, South Carolina 25. Your assumption is as acceptable as The Dash’s. No abstraction how this is activity to go.
Conference scoreboard: ACC 2-3, SEC 0-1.
Pinstripe Basin (17). Boston Academy vs. Penn State, Dec. 27, 4:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A 2014 Aggregation USA World Cup highlight DVD. Agnate amounts of scoring.
Motivation edge: Nittany Lions should be amid the best motivated teams still playing, They had their basin ban aerial and will acknowledgment to postseason comedy for the aboriginal time aback 2011.
Fan fun meter: New York at Christmas time is consistently fun. Throw in Yankee Stadium and it’s an added bonus.
Dash pick: Boston Academy 10, Penn Accompaniment 7. The Eagles are a apparent active aggregation activity up adjoin the top run aegis in the country. Motivated admitting they may be, the Nittany Lions are a afflicted abhorrent aggregation in around every facet. If there are added than two abhorrent touchdowns in this game, The Dash will be surprised.
Conference scoreboard: ACC 3-3, Big Ten 0-3.
Holiday Basin (18). Nebraska vs. USC, Dec. 27, 8 p.m. ET
After ditching drillmaster Bo Pelini in aboriginal December, how will Nebraska authority up adjoin USC? (AP)
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A cymbal-banging cleanup monkey.
Motivation edge: To the Trojans, who at atomic accept their arch coach. Cornhuskers are arena with an acting drillmaster afterwards the battlefront of Bo Pelini, admitting this would assume an appropriate time to put on a acceptable achievement for admission drillmaster Mike Riley.
Fan fun meter: Accessible drive for Trojans fans. Corn Nation shouldn’t apperception the biking for this one, acclimatized the locale. Anybody is consistently blessed at the Anniversary Bowl.
Dash pick: USC 34, Nebraska 24. Brand names that are boilerplate a the top of their games, in agreement of affairs history. Cody Kessler has had an underappreciated division for USC and will analysis a Nebraska canyon aegis that has absorbing numbers – but has apparent actual few top-shelf quarterbacks. That isn’t Mitch Leidner or Joel Stave at QB for the Trojans.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 3-0, Big Ten 0-4.
Liberty Basin (19). West Virginia vs. Texas A&M, Dec. 29, 2 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Speed chess. Anticipate fast, move fast, comedy fast.
Motivation edge: To the Mountaineers, who didn’t go bowling aftermost year. Aggies absent bristles of their aftermost seven amateur and may not accompany abundant abstract into this game.
Fan fun meter: Memphis is a acceptable burghal for bistro and carousing, if the arbitrary December acclimate cooperates. West Virginia admirers should be abnormally bemused – aback you’re abrogation Morgantown, W.Va., aloof about every destination is fun.
Dash pick: Texas A&M 35, West Virginia 31. Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett charcoal “in limbo,” according to drillmaster Dana Holgorsen, afterwards a blow kept him out of the regular-season finale. There hasn’t been abundant to like about the Aggies in the closing bisected of the season, but apprentice quarterback Kyle Allen should get a lot out of the basin practices arch up to this d and could comedy his best d of the year.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 1-1, Big 12 0-1.
Russell Able-bodied Basin (20). Clemson vs. Oklahoma, Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Gold belt links. Overpriced, boastful and not actual practical.
Motivation edge: To the Sooners, accept it or not, admitting advancing off a brutal, come-from-ahead accident at home to battling Oklahoma State. At atomic they get quarterback Trevor Knight aback afterwards missing three amateur with injury. Clemson is afterwards both its best quarterback (DeShaun Watson) and its ablaze abhorrent coordinator (Chad Morris), and will be piecing things calm offensively.
Fan fun meter: Adamantine not to accept fun in Orlando. Alike Bob Stoops may put on some abrasion aerial and acquiesce himself to adore a few account of affection Disney time.
Dash pick: Oklahoma 31, Clemson 14. Tigers quarterback Cole Stoudt saw activity in eight amateur adjoin basin teams. In those amateur he threw 129 passes – aught of them for touchdowns and six for interceptions. Sooners will accept this d able-bodied in duke afore giving up a backward touchdown on a continued punt return.
Conference scoreboard: Big 12 1-1, ACC 3-4.
Texas Basin (21). Texas vs. Arkansas, Dec. 29, 9 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A adornment tray of accomplished meats and cheeses, alone called by Bret Bielema.
Motivation edge: Goes to Arkansas. Razorbacks haven’t been bowling aback 2011, which was two accident seasons and two coaches ago. For the third beeline year, the Longhorns don’t alike get to leave their accompaniment to go bowling.
Fan fun meter: Houston is an accessible drive for anybody (especially the Texas admirers who alive there). It’s not The Dash’s admired burghal for a Final Four, but it’s not a abhorrent area to absorb a brace of canicule for a basin game. (While in Texas, Arkansas able-bodied administrator and CFP alternative board administrator Jeff Continued may charge to abrasion a disguise, aloof in case any Baylor or TCU admirers see him.)
Dash pick: Arkansas 21, Texas 14. Both defenses amount to amount up on the run and cartel the quarterbacks to exhausted them. Neither quarterback appears abnormally well-equipped to do that. But the Razorbacks accept the bigger active d and should be able to clasp out abundant credibility and yards to win.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 2-1, Big 12 1-2.
Music Burghal Basin (22). Notre Dame vs. LSU, Dec. 30, 3 p.m. ET
Les Miles and LSU face addition name-brand underachiever in the Music Burghal Bowl.
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A accumulation CD of sad country songs. Because neither of these teams wants to be in Music City.
Motivation edge: A accumulated nine losses for these two bluebloods agency cipher is ever enthused about the division – but the afterimage of anniversary added ability help. If anyone is motivated, it should be the quarterbacks on both teams. Notre Dame’s Everett Golson started the division with 104 passes afterwards an interception – afresh concluded it with 14 picks and a deluge of fumbles as well. That was abundant for drillmaster Brian Kelly to say advancement Malik Zaire will comedy as well, acceptable signaling an accessible QB antagonism in the spring. For LSU, the best amid Affair One (Anthony Jennings) and Affair Two (Brandon Harris) basically came bottomward to Jennings the aftermost bisected of the division – but could accessible up afresh in the basin and beyond.
Fan fun meter: Nashville is a abundant boondocks and these are two fan bases that apperceive how to accept a acceptable time. Could be an ballsy few days, but arbitrary acclimate is consistently a agency with this bowl.
Dash pick: LSU 34, Notre Dame 17. The Fighting Irish’s injury-ravaged aegis burst absolutely – its aftermost seven opponents all denticulate at atomic 31 points, and averaged about 42 credibility per game. That’s abundant account for a Tigers breach that is 116th nationally in casual yardage, 80th in absolute breach and 76th in scoring. Alike LSU can account adjoin this unit.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 3-1, Independents 1-2.
Belk Basin (23). Louisville vs. Georgia, Dec. 30, 6:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A nice tie. No, it’s not what you capital – but in the end you’ll be animated you accept it.
Motivation edge: This was not the adapted area for either team. The 9-3 Cardinals anticipation they were headed to a Florida basin afore Notre Dame ed in and acquired a re-shuffling of the ACC deck. The 9-3 Bulldogs accept been to a January Florida basin three years active and accepted at atomic that abundant afore alarming the d adjoin Georgia Tech to end the approved season. But for Louisville, this is still a name adversary from the nation’s ascendant alliance – and arresting coordinator Todd Grantham larboard Georgia to calls of “good riddance” from abundant of the fan abject aftermost year. He’ll be motivated for sure.
Fan fun meter: If the acclimate is good, admirers will accept a abundant time. If the acclimate is sketchy, they’ll still accept a acceptable time. Accessible drive for Georgia fans, and Louisville backers don’t accept to accept amid basketball Armageddon (Kentucky comes to bottomward Dec. 27) or this.
Dash pick: Georgia 29, Louisville 24. Admitting a contempo run of basin clunkers beneath Mark Richt, the Bulldogs accept the bigger aptitude and team. Afterwards a division of mix-and-match QBs, Cardinals charge adjudge which amateur guy (Reggie Bonnafon or Kyle Bolin) they appetite to go with in this game.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 4-1, ACC 3-5.
Foster Farms Basin (24). Maryland vs. Stanford, Dec. 30, 10 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A humanely harvested Christmas turkey. From Foster Farms, naturally.
Motivation edge: The Terrapins should be aflame to comedy in any bowl, and analogous up with a affairs that has been to four beeline BCS bowls is a nice opportunity. The Cardinal may be aghast to comedy in a second-tier bowl, but at atomic it’s a basic home d – and the ET alpha time may be afterwards Randy Edsall’s bedtime.
Fan fun meter: Spending time in the Bay Breadth is hardly added agitative than time in, say, Shreveport, La.
Dash pick: Stanford 21, Maryland 12. The Terrapins accept been a acceptable alley aggregation and will account from the acknowledgment of receiver Stefon Diggs, who has been out with a aching kidney. Still, they’ll accept a adamantine time scoring adjoin the Cardinal, which concluded the division with afterwards 21-point thumpings of Cal and UCLA.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 4-0, Big Ten 0-5.
Peach Basin (25). Mississippi vs. TCU, Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A canteen of whatever is best for drowning sorrows. The snubbed Horned Frogs and afflicted Rebels could use a few alpine ones.
Will Trevone Boykin and TCU lose their bend now that they’ve absent out on the Academy Football Playoff? (AP)
Motivation edge: Should be acceptable activity for both sides. TCU still has abundant mid-major mentality larboard in it to get accursed up for a attempt at an SEC team, and there will be a able appetite to accelerate a look-what-you-missed bulletin to the CFP alternative committee. Ole Miss gets a attempt at a higher-ranked adversary and a adventitious to win 10 amateur for the aboriginal time aback 2003. (When the drillmaster was David Cutcliffe. Who was blithely accursed a year later. Whatever became of Cutcliffe, anyway?)
Fan fun meter: Atlanta on New Year’s Eve? Sounds acceptable to The Dash.
Dash pick: TCU 27, Mississippi 25. With no time larboard Bo Wallace scrambles for the attached two-point conversion, lunges for the ambition band with the brawl extended, and has it agape out of his easily inches short. TCU drillmaster Gary Patterson holds up assurance saying, “Hey, Jeff Long: Ohio Accompaniment would accept absent to Ole Miss.”
Conference scoreboard: Big 12 2-2, SEC 4-2.
Fiesta Basin (26). Boise Accompaniment vs. Arizona, Dec. 31, 4 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: An assurance arena from Jared (the Galleria of Jewelry). Delivered by Ian Johnson.
Motivation edge: Should absolutely go to the aggregation from the power-five appointment and not the Mountain West academy aition the party. Wildcats haven’t been on this akin before, while Boise has played in BCS bowls (albeit not one aback 2009). The Broncos absolutely accommodate article of a name-brand target, acclimatized their success over the aftermost decade-plus.
Fan fun meter: Acceptable to winter paradise. Arizona admirers should beat the d aback it’s in-state. Boise admirers will appearance up as well, acquisitive to insolate in a 30-degree advancement in temperature.
Dash pick: Arizona 37, Boise Accompaniment 34. If Wildcats quarterback Anu Solomon comes aback advantageous afterwards awkward through the end of the season, the Wildcats will score. But the Broncos apparently will, too, with Jay Ajayi demography aim at a accessible Arizona run defense. Aftermost aggregation with the brawl may win.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 5-0, Mountain West 5-2.
Orange Basin (27). Mississippi Accompaniment vs. Georgia Tech, Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A bake-apple basket. Heavy on oranges.
Motivation edge: Huge d for both programs, which don’t get to bowls of this consequence often. In fact, for the Bulldogs this is arguably their bigger basin d aback a 1941 appointment to the Orange Bowl. Tech went to the Orange in 2009, but above-mentioned to that hadn’t played in a basin this big aback the 1960s. Catechism is whether the abandonment of Accompaniment arresting coordinator Geoff Collins for Florida affects the Bulldogs’ focus and gameplan.
Fan fun meter: From Starkville to South Beach, that’s a appealing abrupt advancement in the fun department. Accessory out for Bulldog Nation on the beach.
Dash pick: Mississippi Accompaniment 41, Georgia Tech 31. Dan Mullen is 3-1 in basin games, and alike afterwards Collins his aggregation at atomic has time to adapt for the Tech option. Yellow Jackets’ defense, aftermost apparent actuality gouged by Florida State, will accept agnate struggles with Dak Prescott & Co.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 5-2, ACC 3-6.
Outback Basin (28). Wisconsin vs. Auburn, Jan. 1, apex ET.
Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon will comedy his final d as a Wisconsin Badger in the Outback Bowl. (AP)
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Article you can alone accumulate for a anniversary afore exchanging it. An acting gift, if you will.
Motivation edge: The Badgers are afterwards their arch coach, Gary Andersen, who accidentally fled for Oregon State. The Tigers are afterwards their arresting coordinator, Ellis Johnson, who was accursed a day afterwards the Iron Bowl. Will the capricious attributes of the d abnormally affect one aggregation added than the other? It acceptable would be Wisconsin.
Fan fun meter: High. Bloomin’ onions, sun and beach for everyone.
Dash pick: Auburn 48, Wisconsin 31. The Badgers congenital up some nice arresting numbers – and 10 of their opponents either ranked in the basal bisected of the nation offensively or were from the FCS level. Aback they ran up adjoin Ohio State, they were exposed. And the Tigers can move the football like the Buckeyes. It will booty a Herculean accomplishment from Melvin Gordon to accumulate Wisconsin in this game.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 6-2, Big Ten 0-6.
Cotton Basin (29). Michigan Accompaniment vs. Baylor, Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Zoo-zizzer-karzay. A roller-skate blazon of lacrosse and croquet.
Motivation edge: Absolutely abased aloft Baylor. Are the Bears bad-tempered over missing the playoff, or angrily accessible to booty it out on the aboriginal accessible opponent? Spartans absent their playoff dream a while ago and should be motivated to column their aboriginal and alone affection win of the season.
Fan fun meter: The d itself should be a blast, acclimatized the allegory styles and strengths of the teams. For Baylor backers this is a adventitious to t up best of the JerryWorld tickets, but apprehend a acceptable assembly from Michigan Accompaniment admirers as well.
Dash pick: Baylor 34, Michigan Accompaniment 27. This could be the best non-playoff game. If Spartans arresting coordinator Pat Narduzzi has confused on (Pittsburgh? Colorado State?) that could be a above issue. If he’s alike been absent aggravating to move on, that could be an affair as well. Because it will booty a full-throttle arresting accomplishment and gameplan to apathetic bottomward the Bears.
Conference scoreboard: Big 12 3-2, Big Ten 0-7.
Citrus Basin (30). Minnesota vs. Missouri, Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A Turbo Man activity figure, as portrayed by Mizzou arresting end Shane Ray.
Motivation edge: Minnesota. Gophers arena in their highest-profile basin aback the 1962 Rose. Tigers regrouping afterwards arresting coordinator Dave Steckel was called arch drillmaster at Missouri Accompaniment – he’ll drillmaster the bowl, but how focused will he be while aggravating to body a agents and alpha recruiting for his aing job?
Fan fun meter: There’s a acumen so abounding basin amateur are in Florida. Anybody wants an alibi to go there during the asleep of winter. These fan bases should be no barring and appearance up in abounding numbers.
Dash pick: Missouri 23, Minnesota 14. To the amazement of the alternative committee, the Gophers aren’t that acceptable and will charge turnovers to win. The acceptable account for them: they’re amid the civic leaders in affected fumbles with 15. The bad account for them: the Tigers are angry for the atomic fumbles absent in America with three.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 7-2, Big Ten 0-8.
Rose Basin (31). Oregon vs. Florida State, Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Article your granddaddy would like. And The Dash agency that in the best adulatory way possible.
Motivation edge: Shouldn’t be any. Can’t accept any added activity than the four teams arena for the civic title.
Fan fun meter: Annihilation in academy football beats the Rose Basin experience. Florida Accompaniment admirers got to acquaintance it aftermost year – but not the afternoon kickoff, aureate afterglow and black finish. This time they do. Oregon admirers know, accepting been there before.
Will Heisman champ Marcus Mariota abide his dream run by arch Oregon to a title? (Getty)
Dash pick: Oregon 38, Florida Accompaniment 31. The Seminoles aegis is annihilation special, a far cry from aftermost year’s championship unit. The Ducks breach is article special, baronial third nationally in yards per d and additional in yards per play. Michigan Accompaniment has a actual acceptable defense, and Oregon afraid 46 on the Spartans. And if it becomes a shootout, can Jameis Winston bout throws with Marcus Mariota afterwards authoritative mistakes? Winston has 17 interceptions this year; Mariota aloof two. Advantage: Oregon.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 6-0, ACC 3-7.
Sugar Basin (32). Alabama vs. Ohio State, Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot air rifle.
Motivation edge: See Rose Bowl.
Fan fun meter: Off the charts. But beware, Buckeyes fans. If you canyon out in a Krystal, Alabama admirers may do afraid things to you.
Dash pick: Alabama 28, Ohio Accompaniment 13. The antagonism is aperitive – Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer, the two best coaches in the game. But it tilts heavily adjoin the Crimson Tide. Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones had the Emergency Achievement of the Year in the Big Ten championship d – but can he aback it up? Adjoin a Nick Saban aegis that has had three weeks to scheme? And Jones is alive with an abhorrent coordinator who, while brilliant, now has a disconnected focus afterwards actuality called arch drillmaster at Houston on Tuesday. ‘Bama’s aegis is barbarous adjoin the run but accessible to the canyon – which afresh puts the accountability on a guy who has apparent allusive activity in one academy game. The Tide breach is the best in the Saban Era and will affectation a claiming to an Ohio Accompaniment aegis that hasn’t apparent a affection casual advance aback Nov. 8, and hasn’t apparent abounding all season.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 8-2, Big Ten 0-9.
Armed Forces Basin (33). Pittsburgh vs. Houston, Jan. 2, apex ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A ShamWow.
Motivation edge: Will either aggregation accept any? Cougars accept an acting coach. Panthers may able-bodied accept an acting coach, if Paul Chryst to Wisconsin becomes official. At atomic Pitt is acclimatized to arena basin amateur with acting coaches.
Fan fun meter: Afterwards three years in Birmingham, Ala., and one in Detroit, activity to Fort Account will assume like Paris for the Panthers. Accessible drive for Cougars fans, so they should appearance up in appropriate numbers.
Dash pick: Pittsburgh 29, Houston 22. In James Conner The Dash trusts. Cougars run aegis isn’t bad, but there aren’t any backs in the AAC like Conner.
Conference scoreboard: ACC 4-7, American 2-2.
TaxSlayer Basin (34). Iowa vs. Tennessee, Jan. 2, 3:20 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A admirable departing allowance to backward SEC abettor Mike Slive, who could see the Volunteers accelerate Big Ten battling allowance Jim Delany out of basin division 0-10.
Motivation edge: Shade it Orange. The Volunteers should be in a tizzy, arena in their aboriginal basin in four years. But the Hawkeyes should accept a little pep in their step, too, afterwards abrogation the Midwest for Florida.
Fan fun meter: Jacksonville isn’t Miami – but it isn’t Knoxville, Tenn., or Iowa City, either. They’ll accept a acceptable time.
Dash pick: Tennessee 24, Iowa 21. The Volunteers are statistically unimpressive – but that’s abundantly because they played the nation’s seventh-hardest schedule, according to Jeff Sagarin. In the safe anchorage of the Big Ten West, the Hawkeyes played the No. 59 schedule. Young Tennessee playmakers accomplish the difference.
Conference scoreboard: SEC 9-2, Big Ten 0-10.
Alamo Basin (35). Kansas Accompaniment vs. UCLA, Jan. 2, 6:30 p.m. ET
Brett Hundley and UCLA blew a adventitious at the Pac-12 appellation d with a accident to Stanford on Nov. 28. (AP)
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Socks. A businesslike allowance for any d that involves a 75-year-old coach.
Motivation edge: To the Wildcats. Bruins began the division cerebration playoff, not San Antonio, and still had a Pac-12 appellation on their minds until flopping adjoin Stanford to end the approved season. K-State rarely seems to abridgement motivation, and shouldn’t in this d either.
Fan fun meter: The Alamo and RiverWalk may not do abundant for Bruins admirers (except accommodate bad flashbacks of the 2008 Final Four). But it should adventure K-State admirers blessed to escape the winter arctic of Kansas.
Dash pick: Kansas Accompaniment 30, UCLA 26. Bruins accept bigger talent. Wildcats are the added reliable team. Acclimatized the capricious accomplishment and focus of basin season, booty the reliable team.
Conference scoreboard: Big 12 3-2, Pac-12 6-1.
Cactus Basin (36). Oklahoma Accompaniment vs. Washington, Jan. 2, 10 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A dancing Santa.
Motivation edge: Should be affluence of activity both ways. Cowboys (6-6) got an abrupt postseason anchorage acknowledgment to their improvement agitated at Oklahoma on Dec. 6 – afresh the hero of that game, Tyreek Hill, got himself absolved from the team. Huskies should assuredly be beginning afterwards arena the final eight weeks of the division and arena 13 regular-season games.
Fan fun meter: A New Year’s cruise to Tempe is a appealing accomplished accolade for a brace of accustomed seasons. Rejoice and be glad.
Dash pick: Washington 36, Oklahoma Accompaniment 34. Huskies amid the nation’s best in about-face allowance (plus-12). Cowboys amid the nation’s affliction (minus-8). That’s acumen abundant for The Dash to booty Washington.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 7-1, Big 12 3-3.
Birmingham Basin (37). Florida vs. East Carolina, Jan. 3, apex ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: Bake-apple cake. Aged bake-apple cake.
Motivation edge: Assuredly with the Pirates, who get the adventitious to booty on a name adversary with an acting coach. Absolutely no cogent how abundant absorption the Gators will be advantageous to aloof letters or practice, but bet the beneath in that department.
Fan fun meter: Birmingham, Ala., is a deceptively nice city. But all things considered, not a basin garden atom – abnormally with the d at acrid Legion Field.
Dash pick: East Carolina 29, Florida 24. Cannot brainstorm the disjointed, transitioning Gators caring abundant to booty this d seriously. And the Pirates’ breach needs to be taken seriously.
Conference scoreboard: American 3-2, SEC 9-3.
GoDaddy Basin (38). Toledo vs. Arkansas State, Jan. 4, 9 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: The aftermost atom of Who Hash.
Motivation edge: Red Wolves should be psyched, aback it appears they’re activity to absorb their drillmaster for a additional division for the aboriginal time aback 2009-10. Rockets should be psyched to not be in Toledo.
Fan fun meter: Affluence worse places to be than the Gulf Coast. Enjoy.
Dash pick: Toledo 32, Arkansas Accompaniment 25. Antagonism of two underrated active backs: the Rockets’ Kareem Hunt had 1,360 hasty yards in aloof nine games, and ASU’s Michael Gordon had 1,064 in 10, and both were over 7 yards per carry. Bend goes to Hunt and Toledo.
Conference scoreboard: MAC 1-4, Sun Belt 1-2.
College Football Playoff Civic Championship (39). Antagonism TBD, Jan. 12, 8:30 p.m. ET
If this antagonism were a anniversary gift, it would be: A date with Dashette Theresa Longo (40).
Theresa Longo. (Photo credit: Twitter/@TheresaLongo)
Dash pick: Oregon 37, Alabama 31. A activation cessation to the first-ever Academy Football Playoff. Aloof a anticipation that it’s assuredly the Ducks’ time. The aegis is boxy enough, the breach is atomic enough, and ‘Bama is aloof affected enough. Let’s do it all afresh aing year.
Conference scoreboard: Pac-12 7-1, SEC 9-4.
For Academy Football Playoff-going admirers (and others accessory bowls) in Dallas, The Dash recommends a beer at the Idle Rich Pub. Depending on workflow, you may see The Dash there arch up to the appellation game. Don’t shoot.
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