A half-dozen bowl games will be played on Saturday as college football’s bowl season rolls into its post-Christmas schedule, including the Sun Bowl and the Heart of Dallas Bowl down in Texas, and the Pinstripe Bowl up in the Bronx.
Washington State and Miami will meet in the Sun Bowl as the Cougars get quarterback Luke Falk back into the starting lineup.
The Cougars were unrecognizable without Falk against Washington but now that they have him back and he’s had several weeks in which to get healthy you should see the version of Washington State which finished in the upper division of the Pac-12 and nearly won the North division of the conference.
On the Miami side of things, it’ll be interesting to see how they play with an interim head coach. Larry Scott did well in place of Al Golden but his team still got blown out a few times, and while it had some moments, it never looked like a team that was ready to compete for the ACC championship. All things being equal, Washington State, is more stable right now, which is why they’re a three-point favorite in this spot.
In the Heart of Dallas Bowl, Southern Mississippi will be up against Washington with the Huskies a nine-point favorite. Washington has a young team and most of the Huskies who played this season were underclassmen.
The Huskies lost a number of key seniors from the previous season and had to survive in 2015 based on the coaching staff throwing players into games with little prior experience. We’ll see how they respond as a sizable favorite against Southern Miss.
The Pinstripe Bowl pits two basketball schools together in a baseball park as Indiana and Duke meet at Yankee Stadium.
Indiana and Duke don’t know a lot about winning bowl games. They have spent a lot of time struggling in general, and Indiana hasn’t made a bowl in several seasons. Duke has made a series of bowl games, but has failed to win them.
The key here is whether Duke is able to get its defense back to a reasonable level. Offense should be the highlight in a game that has a posted total of 71. Indiana is a two-point favorite.
On December 26 we’ll also see Connecticut square off with Marshall (-5) in the St. Petersburg Bowl, Tulsa and Virginia Tech (-13.5) meet in the Independence Bowl, and UCLA (-7) and Nebraska cap off the evening in the Foster Farms Bowl.