2016 Bold Bowl Predictions For Every Carolina School
The culmination of southern fried football kicks off next week. For the next three weeks, television will be dominated by 42 different Bowl Games sponsored by 42 different companies. This is; The most wonderful time of the year. Fans travel to some pretty sweet destinations to cheer on their favorite team. I don’t know if I’ve ever stated my allegiance, but I’m a Washington Husky fan, keeping that in mind try not to persecute me for my bias lol.
North and South Carolina have great representation with seven teams playing in bowl games. Kicking off the Bowling season is NC Central right up I-85.
December 17th: NC Central vs Grambling State
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, noon, ABC Atlanta, GA
This is a pretty even matchup of teams. Grambling is coming off back to back conference titles and has a beast of a running back in Martez Carter. In the SWAC Championship game he rushed for 136 yards and finished with 5 catches for 66 yards. He really could be a difference maker in the game. Central defeated NC A&T in the MEAC Championship game winning their third title in a row. The Eagles put up 454 yards of offense and held the nation’s third leading rusher Tarik Cohen to just 82 yards. This game is anyone’s guess but I’m predicting NC Central 34 Grambling 31.
December 17th: Appalachian State vs. Toledo
Raycom Media Camelia Bowl, 5:30 pm ABC Montgomery, AL
Another matchup I like, both teams are ranked 55 and 58 respectively in the ESPN FPI. Appalachian State has a stingy defense that held 8 teams to 20 points or less this season, including a hot Tennessee in a 20-13 overtime loss. Jalen Moore will be a containment problem for the Rockets. The 5-11 back has a keen ability to find holes and gain quick yardage. He has already amassed 1256 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. The Rockets aren’t planning to just roll over, they are in the hunt for back to back 10 win seasons. With QB Logan Woodside already amassing 45 touchdowns this season and RB Kareem Hunt rushing towards a season high 1355 yards, both teams defenses will have their work cut out for them. Appalachian State 45- Toledo 37.
December 26th: NC State vs Vanderbilt
Camping World Independence Bowl, 5pm ESPN Shreveport, LA
NC State’s Dave Doeren is looking to erase the stink from last years lopsided Belk Bowl loss against Mississippi State. NC State boast talent in defensive lineman Bradley Chubb who finished second with 20.5 tackles for losses. State played nationally ranked Clemson and Florida State close, falling to #2 Clemson in overtime. Vanderbilt finished their season red hot defeating Tennessee and Ole Miss in their final two games of the regular season. Zach Cunningham is a two time SEC Defensive Player of the Week recipient. Neither offenses are very impressive. We will see whose defense can convert some points off turnovers. I’m picking Vandy to finish the season strong. Vanderbilt 21 NC State 10.
December 27th: Wake Forest vs Temple
Military Bowl Presented by Northrup Grumman, 3:30pm ESPN Annapolis, MD
Vanderbilt Head Coach Matt Rhule just accepted the Baylor job, no word yet on if he’ll stick around to coach his team in the Military Bowl. Something tells me Temple will be ok either way. Looking for their 11th win of the season, Temple has become a program not many want to play on the field. They have outscored opponents 427-224 The Owls finished the regular season ranked 23rd. Wake Forest returns to bowl form after being absent the past four season. They finished with 3 straight losses, but senior linebacker Marquel Lee leads the team with 98 tackles, 19.5 for a loss,and 3 forced fumbles. Either way if the Wake defense can’t figure out how to stymie Temple’s offense it could be a rough game. Temple 34 Wake Forest 17.
December 29th: South Carolina vs South Florida
Birmingham Bowl, 2pm ESPN Birmingham, AL
South Florida is a scoring machine, Jr. Quinton Flowers is the QB that no one is paying attention to, but hopefully that changes before December 29th. Flowers has racked up 2551 passing yards and 22 touchdowns this season. USF is averaging 46 ppg and I don’t see South Carolina’s defense slowing them down. Coach Muschamp is rebuilding the Gamecocks so maybe they will use this game as practice. Does Jadaveon Clowney have any eligibility left? South Florida 45- South Carolina 17.
December 29th: Stanford vs North Carolina
Hyundai Sun Bowl, 2pm CBS El Paso, TX
UNC had a lot of promise this season, after an early loss to Georgia they embarked on a 4 game win streak with a decisive win at #12 ranked Florida State. The Tar Heels could practically taste the Coastal Division title,however, losses to Virginia Tech and Duke quickly eliminated those hopes. UNC is still a good team with a promising first year QB in Mitch Trubisky. Stanford had quality early season wins against USC and UCLA, only to flounder without RB Christian McCaffery. After being demolished by a CFP bound Washington, Stanford worked out some kinks to finish with wins over Arizona, Cal, and Oregon. I think the tandem of McCafferey and Daniel Marx will be too much for UNC’s denfensive line. Stanford 45 North Carolina 42.
December 31st: Clemson vs Ohio State
Playstation Fiesta Bowl, 7pm ESPN Glendale, AZ
DeShaun Watson was named a Heisman trophy finalist. The only thing on his mind is winning Clemson’s last game. Clemson felt the sting of defeat in last years epic National Championship game, it’s a feeling not easily forgotten. They have all the right talent to stop OSU. Bronco Nagurski finalist Christian Wilkins has an opportunity to really disrupt JT Barrett’s passing game and frustrate the O-Line. That being said Urban Meyer doesn’t lose in bowl games. The last time he did was against Clemson three years ago. Urban knows with a loss he’ll be fielding tweets from Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin about how the Buckeyes didn’t deserve to be there anyway. My gut says Clemson 36-Ohio State 31.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts on these predictions.