Saturday marks the first official day of college football bowl season and we get five games spanning from Montgomery, Alabama, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Boise, Idaho. Here is the low down on all five games this Saturday.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – (7-5) Nevada Wolf Pack v. (8-4) UL-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns – If you told the Ragin Cajuns that they could represent their conference in the conference champion’s bowl game in the Super Dome which is just a quick two hour drive to the Big Easy, they would be ecstatic. That is exactly what the Wolf Pack of Nevada will be dealing with Saturday when they kick off in New Orleans. This will be a pretty good quarterback match up as both quarterbacks (Nevada’s Cody Farjado & UL-Lafayette’s Terrance Broadway) have combined for 46 touchdowns and over 6,000 yards of offense. Nevada is looking for their first bowl win since 2010 when Colin Kaepernick was wearing the navy blue & silver while the Ragin Cajuns are looking to stay undefeated in the New Orleans Bowl all time. The 11 am kickoff may be too much for Nevada to overcome. Bradley’s Pick – UL-Lafayette
Gilden New Mexico Bowl – (9-4) Utah State Aggies v. (7-5) UTEP Miners – These two teams get the distinct honor to travel to the ‘Land of Enchantment’ also known as New Mexico for the early afternoon bowl game. Utah State has lost 9 starters to season ending injuries but still managed to win 9 games in one of the toughest divisions in college football that no one wants to acknowledge (Mountain West: Mountain Division). The Aggies are down to their 4th quarterback of the season due to injuries but boast one of the most productive defensive players in the country in Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Zach Vigil who has accounted for 145 tackles this season. The Miners enter the game looking for their first bowl win since 1967 but have a playmaker at quarterback in Jamiell Showers who transferred away from Texas A&M after Johnny Manziel won the starting job. Bradley’s Pick – Utah State
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – (8-4) Utah Utes v. (10-2) Colorado State Rams – So far this offseason the biggest coach hire to date was when Rams head coach Jim McElwain ditched Colorado State for the Florida Gators so the Rams will be under the helm of interim head coach Dave Baldwin who has served as the Rams’ offensive coordinator since 2012. One star that hasn’t left yet is star wide receiver Rashard Haggins who accounted for over 1600 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns this season and quarterback Garrett Grayson is no joke. Utah enjoyed a nice bounce-back season after missing a bowl bid in the last two seasons and lead the nation with 52 sacks as a team so something has got to give between the Utes’ pass rush and the Rams’ passing attack. I never like teams being led by interim coaches in bowl games. Bradley’s Pick – Utah
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – (8-4) Western Michigan Broncos v. (9-3) Air Force Falcons – These two teams combined for three whole wins in the 2013 so the fact that they combined for 17 wins in the 2014 deserves your attention. The Broncos have one of the top freshman backs in the country running the ball at tailback and his name is Jarvion Franklin. Franklin rushed for over 100 yards seven times this season on his way to a 1500-plus yard season and 24 touchdowns on the ground. Then when you add in the fact that their quarterback Zach Terrell ranked in the top 20 in total QBR on the season, Western Michigan is an efficient team offensively. Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun has done a really good job at Air Force while running the triple option and did so in the aforementioned Mountain West: Mountain Division. Western Michigan has had two weeks to prepare for that tricky offense and carries a solid offense to boot. I think it all comes down to which team plays better on the blue turf. Bradley’s Pick – Western Michigan
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl – (6-6) South Alabama Jaguars v. (7-6) Bowling Green Falcons – The nightcap game is going to be a tough one to tune in for to be completely honest. This will be a game between two teams that slid into bowl season through the back door and they will be playing in the inaugural Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. The Jaguars are looking for the first ever bowl win as they have only been an FBS team for three years while Bowling Green’s season closed out their season on a three game losing streak, including the MAC Championship Game to the MAC’s version of the Death Star, Northern Illinois. With all that said this will most likely be a pretty entertaining game between two evenly matched teams. Bradley’s Pick – South Alabama