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JT’s Jungle: A definitive guide to every bowl game on the slate

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An irreverent and uninformed guide to being a degenerate this bowl season.

Texas A&M v Texas Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As another semester comes to a close I find myself with overwhelming amount of free time. It was at this point that I hatched an idea to do an inordinate amount of research for every bowl game and make a prediction against the spread. But then I had another idea: why don’t I just make the selection based off no research and go with whatever I am feeling in the current moment. The latter idea afforded me the ability to watch Band of Brothers and the 7th Season of Game of Thrones again, which were large proponents of my decision. And that is exactly what you have below; an unadulterated look inside my James Joyce-ian, stream-of-consciousness mind. Will all the picks make sense? Probably not, but I reckon i will come out with the same win percentage as I would have with the former approach. If you came here for in-depth analysis, you are in the wrong place. I can’t guarantee you’ll win, but I can promise you’ll have a lot of fun during the greatest time of the year.

And let us just briefly celebrate this time of year where we become fixated to mediocre football. Because, after all, isn’t that what bowl season is all about? Aside from all of the Outlandish names for the bowl, of course.

Before we begin, let me make a couple disclaimers. Firstly, the lines are subject to change over the course of the bowl season. This happens generally because players get hurt, or they decide to go to the draft (or get arrested. See Alamo Bowl circa 2015) as well as the lines generally waver throughout the process. Check with your local bookkeeper before placing any wagers. Secondly, some games are either not on the radar of some bookkeepers or they are not posting the lines until the dates are closer (especially for CFP games). In those instances, I am essentially acting as though the lines are even and will pick who I think is the winner. When the lines are posted, adjust accordingly.

Onward.

1. Autonation Cure Bowl - Tulane (-3.5) v. Louisiana

What is the malady to which Autonation can provide a remedy? Not sure. Riptide v. Cajuns? Poor form Autonation; Don’t be sorry, just be better. Give me Tulane.

2. New Mexico Bowl - Utah State (-7.5) v. North Texas

Give me North Texas to cover, despite the fact that Utah is a state and Texas is not in the North.

3. Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl - Fresno State (-4.5) v. Arizona State

This game is determined by location, not by distance travelled or the location of the schools, but the bowl. The question here is, statistically speaking of course (keeping in mind the Twain Quote “There a lies, damned lies, and statistics” - for you Parker) who can stay out of trouble in Sin City. I guess there’s also the point that Fresno State is ranked, won their conferences, and stuff. Give me Fresno State.

4. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl - Georgia Southern (-2.5) v. Eastern Michigan

I have no thoughts or feelings about this game, which means it will be a directional blood bath worse than the battle of Antietam. There will probably be more than four scores of seven here. (Yes I know that’s Gettysburg, and yes I hate myself) Give me Eastern Michigan

5. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl - Middle Tennessee v. Appalachian State (-7)

There’s no way this is not homage to Game of Thrones. By God, it’s come full circle. The Mountaineers feel very Karstarkesque so I will go with them. Plus they just hired someone named Drinkwitz, so that’s pretty neat.

6. Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl - UAB (-2.5) v. Northern Illinois

Joking aside, it’s pretty astonishing that UAB is where they are after being nonexistent, literally, only three years ago. Also, Cheribundi is a tart cherry juice. I just looked it up. Give me UAB.

7. DXL Frisco Bowl - San Diego State v. Ohio (-3)

Kawhi Leonard went to San Diego State. The video of him laughing still slaps. Give me the Aztecs to cover.

8. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl - Marshall (-2.5) v. South Florida

This is perhaps the best bowl name of the year. The problem is that it might be the only redeemable quality about this bowl game. Here’s to hoping the Bad Boy Mowers commercials are fire. Give me Charlie Strong and South Florida to cover.

9. Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl - Florida International v. Toledo (-6)

This has to be the most sought bowl by the players and the coaches, not because it’s particularly illustrious, but because it’s essentially a paid vacation to stay at Atlantis in the Bahamas for a few days. I suppose if you have to bet a team, bet FIU for fun, but if you can get action of how many times they will show pictures/videos of the shark slide, take the over.

10. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Western Michigan v. BYU (-13)

Give me Western Michigan for no other reason than 13 points is a whole lot.

11. Jared Birmingham Bowl - Memphis (-3.5) v. Wake Forest

My first thought when looking at this bowl was that it couldn’t possibly be the Jared Jeweler with the atrocious commercials. My second thought, after learning that it was, in fact, the one and the same, was I wonder whether Jared is a fair trade Jeweler or if they sell blood diamonds. My third thought was that I really need to rewatch Blood Diamond. Give me Wake Forest.

12. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl - Houston v. Army (-3)

This is a tough look for Bell Helicopter. What happened, and why are they no longer the sponsor? As both Bell and Lockheed are Companies based out of Fort Worth, I’d like to think they have a West Side Story rivalry going on. Cross Bryant Irvin, and you might be in trouble. When you’re a jet, you’re a jet all the way. Go Army.

13. Dollar General Bowl - Buffalo v. Troy (no line posted)

C’mon… Give me Troy.

14. Sofi Hawai’i Bowl - Hawai’i (-1) v. Louisiana Tech

This feels like home field advantage. I doubt LA Tech travels this well. Give me Hawai’i.

15. Servpro First Responder Bowl - Boston College v. Boise State (-3)

Servpro is a franchisor of fire and water cleanup and restoration franchises in the United States and Canada. The franchise system provides localized services as well as large scale disaster recovery. It is headquartered in Gallatin, Tennessee. (I took this straight from the wikipedia page). Give me Steve Addazio and the mustache against the spread.

16. Quick Lane Bowl - Minnesota v. Georgia Tech (-6)

When I think of Georgia Tech, I think of two things. Calvin Johnson and this. Thank you for your service Paul Johnson. Georgia Tech against the spread.

17. CHEEZ-IT Bowl - California v. TCU (EVEN)

This is a homer take, but this is a dope name for a bowl. Cheez-its are great. Hot take alert: they are superior to Goldfish. There I said it. Give me the Frogs.

18. Walk-On’s Independence Bowl - Temple (-4) v. Duke

I think to make this game more interesting only Walk-Ons should be allowed to play. It would be some of the sloppiest, goriest, most entertaining football all year. Give me Temple to cover here. The video of their temporary coach screaming positive things at the media gives them the edge.

19. New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Miami (-4) v. Wisconsin

This game has all the appearances of being interesting. You have two large power five schools who are in the top echelon of their conference playing at Yankee Stadium. And yet I have no interest in viewing or writing about this game. Give me the turnover chain.

20. Academy Sports + Outdoors Bowl - Baylor v. Vanderbilt (-3.5)

Vanderbilt is going to win this game.

21. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - Purdue v. Auburn (-4)

At a first glance the titular heading for this bowl doesn’t seem to make sense, and yet I believe it has a lot in common. A city of musicians and a mortgage company, what could they possibly have in common? They both deal with a lot of debt. Ba dum tss.. Auburn.

22. Camping World Bowl - Syracuse v. West Virginia (-1.5)

The Adirondacks vs. the Blue Ridge Mountains. Give me West Virginia sans Will Grier. Camping seems like their thing.

23. Valero Alamo Bowl - Iowa State v. Washington State (-3.5)

Mike Leach posted a tweet about teaching a class on leadership via insurgent warfare and football strategy. If you’re reading this, Pirate, please sign me up. I would follow you into battle sir. Give me Mike Leach and the Cougs.

24. Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl - Michigan (-7.5) v. Florida

Harbaugh looks like a guy who has a wealth of conspiracy theory knowledge and would enjoy talking about the Denver Airport. Dan Mullen seems like a guy who could get on board about chemtrails and degrees of water purification. I think in lieu of a football game we should put forth different conspiracy theories and determine where they stand on each. Give me Michigan.

25. Belk Bowl - South Carolina (-4) v. Virginia

I am running out of steam here. 39 games is a lot. Give me the Gamecocks and Angry Will Muschamp. The best part about this bowl is Belk Bowl Twitter.

26. Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl - Arkansas State (-1.5) v. Nevada

Ah yes, the perennial and longstanding Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. It’s a tale as old as time, really. Give me Nevada against the spread.

27. Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Notre Dame v. Clemson (No Line Posted)

I am so thankful that they decided not to play these games on New Year’s Eve. What a waste of good college football. As for the game, I think Notre Dame will be exposed. Give me Clemson.

28. Capital One Orange Bowl - Oklahoma v. Alabama (No Line Posted)

This is perhaps the only game that I am interested in watching in the sense of the quality of game that will be played. I believe we have the two best teams matching up here and I can’t wait. I have oklahoma and Kyler Murray winning here. See above about NYE.

29. Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumann - Cincinnati v. Virginia Tech (No Line Posted)

I don’t know much about either of these teams, nor do I have a quip about the bowl game. I’ll take Virginia Tech.

30. Hyundai Sun Bowl - Stanford (-6.5) v. Pittsburgh

I am still reeling from the fact that Pitt played in a conference championship game. This is why I love college football. Give me Stanford against the spread.

31. Redbox Bowl - Michigan State v. Oregon (-3)

I don’t think I’ll watch this one live. I’ll wait until it comes out and then rent it later. Give me Oregon.

32. Autozone Liberty Bowl - Missouri (-8) v. Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State was one of the most bizarre teams this year. They were a 2-point conversion away from beating a playoff team, and then they lost to teams they had no business losing to. See TCU. point being, they played to their competition, which is signature OSU. I like Gundy and the Corn Dog to cover.

33. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl - Northwestern v. Utah (-7.5)

I have nothing to say about this bowl. Northwestern to cover.

34. Taxslayer Gator Bowl - North Carolina State v. Texas A&M (-5)

I am at the point where I am just typing nonsense. Gig em’ Aggies.

35. Outback Bowl - Mississippi State (-7) v. Iowa

I get made fun of for this take, but I really like Outback. For the price, the steak isn’t bad. And who doesn’t love a bloomin’ onion, both to eat and to dance on the sideline. I also think about the episode of The Office where Meredith gives a discount on paper in exchange for steak coupons and sex. Give me the Cowbell.

36. Playstation Fiesta Bowl - LSU v. UCF (No Line Posted)

RIP Tostitos. The only thing that makes me interested about this game is the hope that LSU will destroy UCF and put an end to this UCF should be in the playoff madness. Is their streak impressive? Yes. Could they beat a lot of P5 teams? Yes. Are they one of the best 4 teams in the country? No. LSU please demolish them.

37. VRBO Citrus Bowl - Kentucky v. Penn State (-6.5)

Airbnb must be pissed they didn’t think to sponsor a bowl first. Do you think the teams are staying in rented homes? If not then I feel like we’ve been cheated somehow. I don’t really have much more to say honestly. Give me Kentucky to cover. (Moneyline if you’re feeling dangerous)

38. Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual - Washington v. Ohio State (-6.5)

Chris Peterson: Give me a Statue of Liberty of Give me Death. Give me the Huskies to cover.

39. Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v. Georgia (-12)

In the penultimate game of the year, and my last game of the article, praises be to the Good Lord, we have Texas, who is back and yet is so insecure about it that they can’t have anyone disrespecting the rich traditions of the program, and then Georgia who was just on the outside looking in this year. The spread being what it is, makes me nervous so I will take Texas, despite my better judgement.

Finally, we are done.

OK Cool. Hook em’