Bahamas Bowl 12/17 @ Noon EST on ESPN
Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo
Toledo led the MAC in offense and defense and is favored in the first bowl game of the season. The Rockets finished the season 7-5 and won the MAC. The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders finished the season 6-6 and led the nation in turnovers forced, with 31.
All the devy talent and C2C talent are on the offensive side of the ball for Toledo. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dequan Finn emerged partway through the season and is a target for C2C drafts next season. He threw for 16 scores and only one pick while also rushing for over 400 yards and another eight TDs. Junior running back Bryant Koback is a C2C stud and may see late draft capital in the 2023 Draft. He averaged nearly seven yards a carry and scored 18 total TDs. Koback also caught 29 passes and amassed over 1,600 total yards.
Tailgreeter Cure Bowl 12/17 @ 6 p.m. EST on ESPN2
Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina
Most agree that this game will be the best matchup in this early slate of bowls. Both teams love to control the ball, and both have strengths that match up well against each other. Northern Illinois loves to run the ball and will keep the ball away from Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers have a few players on the offensive side of the ball which should be playing in the NFL and will also try to score early and often.
Junior QB Grayson McCall is one of the most efficient passers in the nation and has NFL aspirations. He has been the heart and soul of the Coastal Carolina team but is reportedly considering a transfer after the bowl game. Wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh has been a stalwart in C2C lineups and is entering the draft but will likely be a Day 3 pick at best.
However, a player likely to be drafted higher is Coastal’s star tight end, Isaiah Likely. He was one of the best TEs in the country and is a top-five TE in the class. Likely is a natural pass catcher with strong hands. He can make people miss in the open field and is an exceptional route runner. As with most college TEs, he needs work in the blocking game, and he will take time to be a valuable NFL asset.
Boca Raton Bowl 12/18 @ 11 a.m. EST on ESPN
Western Kentucky vs. Appalachian State
Are you ready for some offense? The Hilltoppers had the second-ranked offense for scoring, and the passing attack led the nation. The App State Mountaineers will run the ball down a team’s throat, and Western Kentucky’s run defense is a wet cheesecloth – allowing UTSA to rush for over 300 yards and five TDs in the C-USA championship.
Senior Bowl-bound QB Bailey Zappe is the player to watch in this game. He threw for over 5,500 yards and 56 TDs this season and garnered draft buzz along the way. Zappe is an interesting prospect and could find his name called on the second day. He is an intelligent player and moves well in the pocket. Zappe can fit the ball in a tight window and makes throws to all levels. His arm strength is a concern; his deep ball and throwing on the run are areas where improvement is needed.
Western Kentucky has an electric WR in Jerreth Sterns, one of the top WRs in C2C this past season. He will play in the East-West Shrine Game and likely see late draft capital. Sterns is dangerous with the ball in his hands and should be a good slot receiver if he catches on in the NFL.
Appalachian State has a good RB combination with sophomore Nate Noel and redshirt junior Camerun Peoples. Noel is the lightning-quick and smaller back, while Peoples is a more established inside runner with a nose for the end zone (14 TDs in 2021). Both guys are strong C2C assets, but I don’t see either carving out a significant fantasy role in the NFL.
PUBG Mobile New Mexico Bowl 12/18 @ 2:15 p.m. EST on ESPN
UTEP vs. Fresno State
UTEP finds itself in a bowl game for the first time since 2014 and gets the dangerous Fresno State team as an opponent. The Bulldogs have been very busy, losing their head coach, then their star QB, Jake Haener, who withdrew his transfer request and returned to the team. UTEP can also score but have been inconsistent and lost their head coach after the season.
Fresno State likely runs away with this game, led by Haener – a player I love a lot to find a spot at the next level. He’s not a traditional QB and doesn’t have a great arm, but he can make a lot of the throw. Haener plays with passion and moxie, is mobile enough to keep plays alive, and throws well on the run. I like him as a late pick in the NFL and a QB who hangs around the league a while.
Bulldog RB Ronnie Rivers and WR Jalen Cropper give Haener a few dangerous options, and both could see late draft capital. Rivers could be a good third-down back in the NFL; he averaged over 30 receptions a year over five seasons. Cropper will likely stay another season and is Haener’s first option in the red zone. He has a nose for the end zone and will likely be a tremendous C2C option in 2022.
On the Miners’ side of the ball, redshirt sophomore WR Jacob Cowing burst onto the scene in 2021. He averaged over 20 yards a catch and had 1,343 yards while scoring seven times. I like him as a later pick in C2C leagues and could see late draft capital when he enters. Cowing is a dangerous smaller receiver and profiles better as a slot guy at the next level.
Radiance Tech. Independence Bowl 12/18 @ 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC
UAB vs. BYU
This game features a pair of backs I really love as C2C and NFL prospects. The Blazers of UAB have a strong rushing attack, and their defense has been stout against the run. The Cougars also have a powerful running game and have faced a much tougher schedule en route to this bowl game.
UAB’s sophomore RB DeWayne McBride started slow but put together a great season. He rushed for 1,188 yards and 12 TDs – 11 of them in the last six games. McBride could be one of the top backs in C2C for 2022, and I love his NFL prospects. He is 5’11” and 215 pounds – great size – but his burst and explosion are impressive. McBride has the potential to be one of the best backs in the nation next season, and NFL scouts will take notice. Unfortunately, next year’s RB class is loaded.
BYU has its own impressive RB, redshirt sophomore Tyler Allgeier. He is eligible for the draft, and I believe he declares. He rushed for 1,414 yards and 20 TDs, chipping in another 187 yards on 26 receptions. Allgeier is tough enough to run inside with good contact balance but also has the ability to hit a home run. He’s a dark horse in this draft class, and I am curious to see where NFL scouts have him. I love Allgeier and think he has the potential to be a three-down back in the NFL.
LendingTree Bowl 12/18 @ 5:45 p.m. EST on ABC
Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty
Malik Willis – that is all. Okay, it’s a little more than that, but all eyes will be on the enigmatic signal-caller for the Liberty Flames. Eastern Michigan and Liberty were wildly inconsistent this season, and this has the potential to be an ugly game, and either team could win.
As far as prospects, C2C, Devy, or NFL, it’s all about Willis for me. His second half of the season has been atrocious, and Willis will be looking to erase all of that in this game. When he is on, he’s the most dangerous player in college football. Willis is so dangerous as a runner, but his passing ability is the question. At times, he takes care of the ball and makes some throws that very few can. At other times, he makes Nathan Peterman look like a good QB.
Eastern’s junior WR Hassan Beydoun was a valuable C2C guy this season, with 86 grabs for 932 yards. I could see him replicating those numbers next season and being a decent WR3 for your college squads.
Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl 12/18 @ 7:30 p.m. EST on ABC
Utah State vs. Oregon State
Both teams had surprisingly good seasons with wins over teams they should have lost to. Utah State’s offense is explosive and averaged over 300 passing yards a game. Oregon State beat Pac-12 champ Utah, Arizona State, and USC.
Both QBs are also solid C2C assets but not much in terms of NFL prospects. Logan Bonner chucked the ball for 3,560 yards and 36 TDs for Utah State and isn’t afraid to sling it around the yard. Chance Nolan is more conservative and takes care of the ball but emerged later in the season. His yards per game were increasing, and the Oregon State offense was humming.
B.J. Baylor ended up being a good C2C back, rushing for over 1,200 yards and 13 TDs for the Beavers. He should return next season, but his lack of versatility should hinder his NFL chances. WR Deven Thompkins was money for college leagues with over 1,500 yards receiving and scoring nine times while catching 96 passes.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl 9:15 p.m. EST on ESPN
Lousiana vs. Marshall
The New Orleans Bowl may be one of the more exciting games of the early bunch here. I love Louisiana’s rushing attack, and they take care of the ball. On the other hand, Marshall can turn the ball over in droves. But they have a much more dangerous attack.
The QBs are interesting in the matchup. Levis Lewis helms the Rajin’ Cajun attack and is incredibly efficient. He’s a mobile QB but not a solid C2C contributor or NFL prospect. I like Grant Wells for Marshall, although he threw 12 picks this season. Wells has a little potential, but we need to see growth in 2022.
At the site, we love RB Chris Smith for Louisiana, but he has been in a total timeshare. He is a tough runner with good pass-catching chops, and next year is critical for him to emerge.
Marshall’s redshirt freshman RB sensation, Rasheen Ali, may be the most interesting player in the whole slate of games this weekend. He has good size at 6’0” and 200 pounds and was a college league winner, from the waiver wire even. Ali rushed for 1,241 yards and 20 scores while raking in 44 receptions for another 329 yards. He did a little bit of everything and looked to be a complete back, and it will be interesting to see what he does next season – now that everyone knows he is coming. Ali will be an early pick next year, and his draft stock could hit another stratosphere with a huge 2022.