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Bowl Game Saturday: Four More Bowls Will Be Played Today

The first two feature AAC teams while the last one has Hawai’i playing a de facto home game.

NCAA Football: Hawaii at San Diego State
Nick Rolovich and his Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors will be looking to make it Mele Kalikimaka with a win today.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There are four bowl games on tap today, starting with the Birmingham Bowl at 9 am PT which features the Memphis Tigers from the AAC taking on the ACC’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

This should actually be a pretty good game. Earlier this year, Wake Forest beat Tulane, who actually finished tied for first with Memphis in the AAC West. The Green Wave actually beat Memphis pretty easily 40-27 during the regular season, but I still think that Memphis will probably win this game. It should be a close game, however. Both Memphis coach Mike Norvell and Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson have good reputations. So, I expect them both to have their teams ready.

Keeping the AAC theme for today, the Armed Forces Bowl follows with the Houston Cougars playing the Army Black Knights. Like Memphis, Houston tied for first place in the AAC West. Meanwhile, Army went 10-2 this season, which sounds impressive until you realize that most of the games they played this season were against much lesser competition. Sure, they only lost to Oklahoma by a touchdown, which is more than we can say about UCLA, but they also had Colgate, Lafayette and Liberty on their schedule this season. They did, however, manage to blow out San Jose State, 52-3, and also beat Hawai’i. So, there’s that.

But the fact is that Houston coach Major Applewhite has the Cougars playing pretty good football in just his second full season after taking over for Tom Herman, who left for the Texas job. Applewhite led the team to an 8-4 record this season after a 7-5 record last season. Look for the Cougars to win this game.

The Dollar General Bowl looks to be the sleepiest of today’s four games. This game features the Buffalo Bulls vs. the Troy Trojans. It’s a bottom of the bowl matchup, which makes the named sponsor of this game all the more fitting.

The final game today is the Hawai’i Bowl. This game will feature the home team Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors vs. the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. While I sometimes think that the only purpose of this game is to give Hawai’i a bowl game to play in, I’ve got to hand it to Nick Rolovich. He led his Rainbow Warriors to an 8-5 record this season and they were 5-3 in the Mountain West. That was good enough to finish second in the West Division behind Fresno State.

Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, finished second in the Conference USA’s West Division behind UAB. Maybe it’s me, but I think it’s pretty bad when you lose your division to a school that wasn’t playing football just two seasons ago. So, I’d expect Hawai’i to win this since, whether by design or not, it is tantamount to a home game for them.

Here are all the details of today’s games:

College Football Bowl Games Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bowl Game Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
Bowl Game Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
Birmingham Bowl Memphis vs. Wake Forest 9:00 AM ESPN
Armed Forces Bowl Houston vs. Army 12:30 PM ESPN
Dollar General Bowl Buffalo vs. Troy 4:00 PM ESPN
Hawai'i Bowl Hawai'i vs. Louisiana Tech 7:30 PM ESPN

Given that the Hawai’i Bowl is the last bowl before Christmas, it seems fitting to end today’s Bowl Game open thread by wishing you and your family “Mele Kalikimaka” because, after all, that’s “Hawai’i’s way of saying Merry Christmas to you!”

Go Bruins!