The second set of games in this year’s bowl schedule cranks up Thursday night in Boise’s Potato Bowl. It’s a huge weather swing between that game and the very next, a Friday afternoon clash in the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau.
After two additional games on Friday, Saturday-Christmas Eve-features one night game. The collegians take Christmas Day off and get rolling again on Monday with three games.
It’s the first time we’ll see a ranked team play this bowl season (No. 25 Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl on Friday) and the first time we’ll see a Power school hit the field (Mississippi State in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Monday). It’s also the first time two Power schools will clash – Maryland and Boston in the Quick Lane Bowl, also on Monday.
All eight games will be on ESPN with the exception of the very last, the Independence Bowl, which is set to be aired on ESPN2 on Monday at 5:00pm EST.
Thursday, Dec. 22
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
Idaho (8-4) vs. Colorado State (7-5) – Sun Belt vs. MWC – Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, Id. – 7:00PM EST – ESPN
First year: 1997
Previous names: Humanitarian Bowl (1997-2003 and 2007-10), MPC Computers Bowl (2004-06)
Most appearances: Boise State and Utah State (4 each)
Last year’s result: Akron 23, Utah State 21
Stadium capacity: 36,387
Last year’s attendance: 18,876
Idaho all-time bowl record: 2-0
Last bowl appearance: 2009 Humanitarian – beat Bowling Green 43-42
Colorado State all-time bowl record: 6-9
Last bowl appearance: 2015 Arizona – lost to Nevada 28-23
All-time series record: Colorado State 4-3
Line: Colorado State -13.5
Colorado State and Idaho last played in 2010. The series started in 1969 and has been played exclusively in Fort Collins or Moscow (Idaho) with the exception of the 1971 game which was played in Spokane, Washington. Colorado State’s most recent bowl win came in 2013 when it downed Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl.
This is Idaho’s third appearance in what is now called the Potato Bowl, it’s the Rams’ first.
Friday, Dec. 23
Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs. Old Dominion (9-3) – MAC vs. CUSA – Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas – 1:00pm EST – ESPN
First year: 2014
Last year’s result: Western Michigan 45, Middle Tennessee 31
Stadium capacity: 15,023
Last year’s attendance: 13,667
Eastern Michigan all-time bowl record: 1-0
Last bowl appearance: 1987 California – beat San Jose State 30-27
Old Dominion all-time bowl record: 0-0
Last bowl appearance: NEVER
All-time series record: Old Dominion 2-0
Line: Old Dominion -4
The least experienced combo of the postseason, Eastern Michigan and Old Dominion have one all-time bowl game between them. The Monarchs played football beginning in 1930, but disbanded from 1941-2008 reappearing as an FCS Independent in 2009. They moved up to the FBS in 2014 via Conference USA and after only two seasons are 9-3 and bowl eligible.
EMU and Old Dominion played a home-and-home series in 2014-15, the Monarchs winning on both occasions.
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Louisiana Tech (8-5) vs. (25) Navy (9-3) – CUSA vs. AAC – Amon G. Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, Texas – 4:30pm EST – ESPN
First year: 2003
Previous names: Ft. Worth Bowl (2003-05)
Most appearances: Air Force (5)
Last year’s result: Cal 55, Air Force 36
Stadium capacity: 45,000
Last year’s attendance: 39,915
Louisiana Tech all-time bowl record: 4-3-1
Last bowl appearance: 2015 New Orleans – beat Arkansas State 47-28
Navy all-time bowl record: 10-10-1
Last bowl appearance: 2015 Military – beat Pitt 44-28
All-time series record: Navy 2-0
Line: Louisiana Tech -5
The Armed Forces is the first bowl to feature a ranked team. (25) Navy and Louisiana Tech’s only previous action came in a 2009-10 home-and-home series. The Midshipmen have won three straight bowl games, last falling to Arizona State in the 2012 Fight Hunger. The Bulldogs are on a two-game winning streak – last losing in 2011, a narrow 31-24 defeat to (16) TCU in the Poinsettia. Louisiana Tech hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 2005 when it toppled (23) Fresno State 40-28 in the regular season finale.
DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL
Ohio (8-5) vs. Troy (9-3) – MAC vs. Sun Belt – Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala. – 8:00PM EST – ESPN
First year: 1997
Previous names: Mobile Alabama Bowl (1999-2000), GMAC Bowl (2001-10), GoDaddy.com Bowl (2011-15)
Most appearances: Arkansas State (4)
Last year’s result: Georgia Southern 58, Bowling Green 27
Stadium capacity: 33,471
Last year’s attendance: 28,656
Ohio all-time bowl record: 2-7
Last bowl appearance: 2015 Camellia – lost to Appalachian State 31-29
Troy all-time bowl record: 2-3
Last bowl appearance: 2010 New Orleans – beat Ohio 48-21
All-time series record: Troy 1-0
Line: Troy -4
The only time these two have ever met on the gridiron was also the last time Troy ascended to a bowl game – the 2010 New Orleans, a game the Trojans won. Before that, you have to go back to the 2006 New Orleans for a Troy bowl victory, a 41-17 beat down of Rice. Ohio has dropped two straight bowl appearances, last winning the 2012 Independence over Louisiana-Monroe.
Saturday, Dec. 24
Hawaii (6-7) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-4) – MWC vs. CUSA – Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii – 8:00PM EST – ESPN
First year: 2002
Most appearances: Hawaii (7)
Last year’s result: San Diego State 42, Cincinnati 7
Stadium capacity: 50,000
Last year’s attendance: 22,793
Hawaii all-time bowl record: 5-5
Last bowl appearance: 2010 Hawaii – lost to Tulsa 62-35
Middle Tennessee all-time bowl record: 1-4
Last bowl appearance: 2015 Bahamas – lost to Western Michigan 45-31
All-time series record: Hawaii 1-0
This is a home game for Hawaii, which posted a 3-3 mark in Aloha Stadium this season. It’s Middle Tennessee’s second-ever trip to the island, last visiting in 1993 and losing 35-14. The Warriors haven’t won a bowl game since 2006, thumping Arizona State 41-24 in the Hawaii. The Blue Raiders have dropped three straight bowl games, last winning the 2009 New Orleans over Southern Miss.
Monday, Dec. 26
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
Miami Ohio (6-6) vs. Mississippi State (5-7) – MAC vs. SEC – Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla. – 11:00AM EST – ESPN
First year: 2008
Previous names: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (2010-13)
Most appearances: UCF (3)
Last year’s result: Marshall 16, UConn 10
Stadium capacity: 45,369
Last year’s attendance: 14,652
Miami (Ohio) all-time bowl record: 7-3
Last bowl appearance: 2010 GoDaddy Bowl – beat Middle Tennessee 35-21
Mississippi State all-time bowl record: 11-8
Last bowl appearance: 2015 Belk – beat NC State 51-28
All-time series record: 0-0
Line: Mississippi State -14
Mississippi State is the first Power team to go bowling in 2016. The two schools have never met. Miami (Ohio) is 11-18-1 all-time vs. the current SEC, last scoring a win in 2000 over Vanderbilt. This is only the second time in history that Mississippi State has played a current MAC member, the first was in 2013, a regular-season win over Bowling Green. This is the first visit to the St. Petersburg bowl for both teams.
QUICK LANE BOWL
Maryland (6-6) vs. Boston College (6-6) – BIG TEN vs. ACC – Ford Field, Detroit, Mich. – 2:30PM EST – ESPN
First year: 2014
Previous editions: The Quick Lane “supplanted” the Little Caesars Bowl, which had previously been known as the Motor City Bowl.
Last year’s result: Minnesota 21, Central Michigan 14
Stadium capacity: 65,000
Last year’s attendance: 34,217
Maryland all-time bowl record: 11-13-2
Last bowl appearance: 2014 Foster Farms – lost to Stanford 45-21
Boston College all-time bowl record: 13-11
Last bowl appearance: 2014 Pinstripe – lost to Penn State 31-30
All-time series record: Boston College 8-3
Line: Maryland -1
This is the first-ever postseason meeting between Maryland and Boston College, who shared ACC membership from 2005-13. The Eagles have lost five straight bowl games, last winning the 2007 Champs Sports vs. Michigan State. For the Terrapins, it’s only the second time they’ve represented the Big Ten in a postseason game. Their most recent win came in 2010 when, as ACC members, they beat East Carolina in the Military.
NC State (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6) – ACC vs. SEC – Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La. – 5:00PM EST – ESPN2
First year: 1976
Previous names: AdvoCare V100 Bowl (2013)
Most appearances: Ole Miss (5)
Last year’s result: Virginia Tech 55, Tulsa 52
Stadium capacity: 49,565
Last year’s attendance: 31,289
NC State all-time bowl record: 15-13-1
Last bowl appearance: 2015 Belk – lost to Mississippi State 51-28
Vanderbilt all-time bowl record: 4-2-1
Last bowl appearance: 2013 Compass – beat Houston 41-24
All-time series record: Vanderbilt 2-0
Line: NC State -4.5
In his third year at Vanderbilt, this is Derek Mason’s first bowl appearance as a head coach. The two schools have met twice all-time. First, in a 1946 regular-season clash in Nashville and most recently in the 2012 Music City Bowl, also in Nashville. The Independence is the 11th oldest bowl, but it’s the first appearance for both the Commodores and the Wolfpack.