clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bowl Games Week 1: Game time, TV schedule, streaming, more for the top games this week

Bowl season is finally upon us!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Oregon v Oregon State Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images

I don’t know about you all, but last weekend with just one FBS college football game on was excruciating. That was amplified by the fact the Michigan Wolverines are headed to the College Football Playoff and fans have to sit and wait for almost a month before they actually hit the field again.

The action kicks off again this weekend as the first set of bowl games roll in. There are some intriguing matchups that will help prove just how good some of the conferences and teams were in 2022 compared to the rest of the country. Here are the contests I am most looking forward to this week.

No. 25 UTSA Roadrunners vs No. 24 Troy Trojans

  • Bowl: Duluth Trading Cure Bowl
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: Sling TV
  • Date: Friday, Dec. 16
  • Time: 3 p.m.
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Weather: 70 degrees, partly cloudy
  • DraftKings Odds: TROY -2, O/U: 55.5, ML: TROY -130, UTSA +110
  • Best Bet (17-18): UTSA +110

Two conference champions meet in the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl and both have been doing a lot of winning as of late. UTSA quarterback Frank Harris threw for 3,865 yards and ran for another 588. He racked up 40 touchdowns and had the 13th-best QBR in the country at 80.6. Overall, the Roadrunners averaged 486.1 yards per game while going 8-0 in Conference USA this season.

They’ll meet a Troy team that shocked a lot of people in a 45-26 blowout of Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt Championship (despite the Chanticleers being with a hobbled Grayson McCall). Troy is on a 10-game winning streak heading into this matchup.

The Trojans love to run the football with sophomore back Kimani Vidal, who had 209 carries for 1,059 rushing yards and nine touchdowns this season. Their backup, senior DK Billingsley, had eight touchdowns and 656 yards himself. Both teams were a win away from sealing the at-large bid for a New Year’s Six bowl, so the competition in this game should be really strong.

I like UTSA because of Harris and the overall offense being stronger. I question if the Trojan offense can keep up in what will likely be a pretty high-scoring football game. However, outside of Texas, this will be the best team the Roadrunners have faced this season. They will have to bring it in order to be a good Trojan squad.

Florida Gators vs No. 14 Oregon State Beavers

  • Bowl: SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: Sling TV
  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 17
  • Time: 2:30 p.m.
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Weather: None (DOME)
  • DraftKings Odds: OSU -10, O/U: 53, ML: FLO +300, OSU -365
  • Best Bet (17-18): U53

Oregon State went on a nice run this season. Head coach Jonathan Smith earned a contract extension after he took the Beavers on a 9-3 run, including an upset win over their archrival Oregon Ducks. They hung with USC and Washington in two tight losses this season as well. They are far from the pushover PAC-12 team they have been for quite some time.

Much of that is thanks to freshman running back Damien Martinez, who ran past the century mark in each of the Beavers’ final six games. He quickly became Oregon State’s greatest weapon, and being able to showcase his talent against an SEC opponent will look great for future NFL Draft prospects.

Meanwhile, Florida will be without starting quarterback Anthony Richardson, who declared for the NFL Draft. Jalen Kitna, a freshman quarterback and son of former Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, was set to take over but is in a bit of legal trouble right now. The quarterback situation for Florida isn’t great, so it may be a struggle.

The Gators allowed 176.2 rushing yards per game this season, making them highly susceptible to Oregon State’s rushing attack. Only Arkansas and Texas A&M finished with worse rushing defense in the SEC this season.

Despite that, I think Florida keeps this a close game and we see a lot of scoring. However, it won’t be enough to warrant the 53-point total that has dipped only slightly after Richardson decided to forgo the game. Expect a lot of running the football, and the clock, on both sides in a slower paced-game that approaches 53 total points.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs South Alabama Jaguars

  • Bowl: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: Sling TV
  • Date: Wednesday, Dec. 21
  • Time: 9 p.m.
  • Location: New Orleans, LA
  • Weather: None (DOME)
  • DraftKings Odds: SA -4.5, O/U: 56, ML: SA - 200, WKU +170
  • Best Bet (17-18): O56

South Alabama has a really tough defense, especially against the run. The Jaguars allow only 85.2 rushing yards per game. It’s a huge reason they hung with UCLA early this season, where a game-winning field goal as time expired won the Bruins the game.

After that, their only other loss came to Troy, 10-6, at home. Had they won that game, their record would have been strong enough to reach the Sun Belt Championship and potentially earn that at-large New Year’s Six appearance.

Western Kentucky, on the other hand, is all about the air raid. Senior Austin Reed threw for 4,247 yards and 36 touchdowns this season. Both those stats are good enough for top-five in the country in their respective categories.

As a team, the Hilltoppers ran for only 1,876 rushing yards this season. To put that in perspective, UAB’s DeWayne McBride, the nation’s leading rusher, ran for 1,713 rushing yards by himself in 2022. They just don’t intend on running the football.

Seven of 12 games for the Hilltoppers hit the over this season thanks to that offense, and I think we get there again. A Western Kentucky defense that has allowed an average of 381 yards and 23.5 points per game certainly helps the chances of this one pushing the over.