2023 College Football Bowl Previews (Thu 12/28)


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2023 College Football Bowl Previews (Thu 12/28)

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Fenway Bowl

SMU Mustangs @ Boston College Eagles (+10.0)

Thursday, December 28, 2023 - 11:00 AM ET

Boston, Massachusetts


The SMU Mustangs are set to take on the Boston College Eagles in a future ACC opponent matchup in the Fenway Bowl. It’s a little shocking to see a 10-point spread in a functional home game for the Eagles. However, when you dive into the numbers a little bit more, you see why. One of the initial team matchup keys that sticks out is Boston College’s defense havoc ranking versus SMU’s offense havoc allowed. The Eagles are the second-worst FBS defense in causing havoc while SMU is the fourth-best offense at havoc allowed. Meaning that Boston College does not cause many negative plays, and the SMU offense doesn’t hurt themselves often. If that wasn’t bad enough for the Eagles, they will be without three of their top players in the secondary due to injury. On top of that, the Boston College defense is one of the worst against the run in the country.

On the other side, SMU started its backup QB, Kevin Jennings, versus Tulane in the AAC Championship game and still beat the Green Wave by 12. The offense is loaded with high-level talent at the skill position players, led by former 4-star recruiting gems in Jaylan Knighton, LJ Johnson, and Camar Wheaton, who have all produced at different times this season. It’s hard to envision Boston College being able to stop the offense in any way, shape, or form. The strength of the Boston College offense is their running attack led by QB Thomas Castellanos and RB Kye Robicheaux. Unfortunately, the SMU defense is ranked 19th in RUSH YPG (111.2) and 12th in RUSH YPC (3.2).

TL;DR: This SMU team is one of the more balanced teams in the country, with talent everywhere. I don’t see Boston College being able to score a ton of points offensively nor slowing down the Mustangs on defense. A majority of our staff has the Mustangs winning this game, but the Eagles covering the spread.


  • TE Nolan Matthew-Harris


  • RB Pat Garwo
  • EDGE Shitta Silah
  • CB Alex Washington


Josh ChevalierZach HallMatt WispeRick KamlaMike Bainbridge

Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ Miami Hurricanes (-1.0)

Thursday, December 28, 2023 - 2:15 PM ET

Bronx, New York


The Miami Hurricanes take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Scarlet Knights have two advantages heading into this game: cold weather and bowl game proximity to their campus. Not sure the latter matters much, but Miami players do not love playing in cold weather. This game also features two coaches who have much familiarity, admiration, and respect for one another. In fact, Miami HC Mario Cristobal would consider Rutgers HC Greg Schiano his mentor. Considering the factors mentioned above, along with the significant opt-outs for Miami, this game will be very close, evidenced by the tight spread. Miami will start its third-string QB Jacurri Brown, who is known more for his ability as a runner than a passer at this stage of his career. However, he is as dynamic as they come when it comes to running the ball. Combine his ability with stud true freshman RB Mark Fletcher, and you can see what the gameplan will be for Miami offensively.

Offensively, the Rutgers gameplan will be very similar. They are much better at running the ball than they are at throwing it with solid RB, Kyle Monangai. Monangai ran for over 1,000 yards on 217 carries this year. However, he was pretty matchup-dependent as he got shut down against Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan. Miami has a top 15 rush defense in the country, so yards will be tough to come by for Monangai. While Miami’s starting safeties opted out of the bowl game, QB Gavin Wimsatt is one of worst passers in the country, so it will be hard for Rutgers to take advantage there.

TL;DR: This Rutgers team is extremely tough, disciplined, and well-coached. Add in the competitive nature of these two HCs, who know each other well, and I expect a very physical game. Ultimately, I think Miami’s talent and physical run game will wear down Rutgers. I expect Miami to win and cover the spread in the Pinstripe Bowl.


  • OG Mike Caifonni

  • OT Kamar Missouri


  • QB Tyler Van Dyke
  • WR Colbie Young
  • RB Don Chaney
  • DT Leonard Taylor
  • EDGE Jahfari Harvey
  • LB Corey Flagg
  • S Kam Kinchens
  • S James Williams


Josh ChevalierZach HallMatt WispeRick KamlaMike Bainbridge

Pop-Tarts Bowl

NC State Wolfpack @ Kansas State Wildcats (-2.5)

Thursday, December 28, 2023 - 5:45 PM ET

Orlando, Florida


Brennan Armstrong was reunited with OC Robert Anae, then benched for freshman MJ Morris who decided to redshirt after he played in four games and is now transferring. So enter Armstrong again! It wasn’t quite like the first time we got Armstrong and Anae together, but they did get to a 9-3 record. The real story on offense was freshman receiver Kevin Concepcion. By far the favorite target with 96 total targets. He turned that into 64 receptions, 767 yards, and 10 touchdowns. He also started to see some usage in the run game. He had 20 total attempts in the last two games of the season. They were doing everything they could to get the ball in his hands.

A year after winning the Big 12 championship Kansas State went 8-4 and will be playing this bowl game without QB Will Howard who has been heavily sought after in the portal. Howard threw for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns. He added 351 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. So they will be missing a big piece of their offense. RB DJ Giddens was able to put together a solid season rushing for 1,075 yards and nine touchdowns. Transfer RB Treshaun Ward also ran for 643 yards and five touchdowns. Look for QB Avery Johnson to target TE Ben Sinnott and Phillip Brooks in the passing game.

TL;DR: NC State will be led by veteran Brennan Armstrong for one last game with Anae, while Kansas State will rely on freshman Avery Johnson and RB DJ Giddens to get the job done on offense. I’m leaning on the Vet at QB with a solid defense behind him in NC State to win this one.


  • RB Michael Allen

  • RB Jordan Houston

  • QB MJ Morris

  • WR Porter Rooks

  • WR Terrell Timmons

  • TE Cedd Seabrough

  • S Cecil Powell

  • OT Jaleel Davis

  • S Darius Edmundson

  • OL Lyndon Cooper

  • DL CJ Clark

  • LB Torren Wright

  • WR Chris Toudle

  • LB Daejuan Thompson

  • CB Nate Evans


  • QB Will Howard
  • RB Treshaun Ward
  • WR RJ Garcia
  • LB Jordan Perry
  • CB Jordan Wright
  • LB Collin Dunn
  • CB Will Lee
  • S Kobe Savage
  • WR Wesley Watson
  • RB Trey Engram
  • RB Anthony Frias
  • QB Adryan Lara
  • RB Christian Moore


Josh ChevalierZach HallMatt WispeRick KamlaMike Bainbridge

Alamo Bowl

Arizona Wildcats @ Oklahoma Sooners (+2.5)

Thursday, December 28, 2023 - 9:15 PM ET

San Antonio, Texas


It only took Jedd Fisch three seasons to bring Arizona to bowl eligibility, and he even managed to finish the season ranked inside the top 15. His Wildcats will be primarily intact for this game with only one starter, starting LT Jordan Morgan, announced to be missing the game. Arizona averaged 34.3 points per game while allowing 20.8. Noah Fifita took over the starting QB job in week 5 and never looked back. In addition to throwing for 2,515 yards and 23 touchdowns, he demonstrated an ability to protect the ball not shown by Jayden De Laura. Fifita is expected to have his full arsenal of weapons on offense, but Jacob Cowing is worth monitoring since he accepted a Senior Bowl invitation. The Arizona defense may be perfectly built to take on a new QB. Not only does it rank 56th in success rate, but it also ranks inside of the top 20 in rushing yards allowed.

Brent Venables’ second season in Norman was a stark improvement from year 1. With a 10-2 record, he had the team on the verge of playoff contention after a 6-7 debut. The Sooners will start the Jackson Arnold era officially in this game now that Dillon Gabriel has transferred to Oregon. Arnold played 94 snaps this season over the course of six games. He completed 75% of his 24 pass attempts for an average of 8.4 yards per attempt. Arnold will be lined up behind an inexperienced offensive line as three starters have opted out of the game. Alongside Arnold, leading rusher Gavin Sawchuk will be looking at an increased workload as the next three leading rushers will not be available. The Oklahoma defense is somewhat vulnerable to explosive plays allowing an average of 5.08 plays over 20 yards per game which could present challenges if Arnold struggles on the offensive side of the ball.

TL;DR: Save for one starter, Arizona comes into this game intact, while Oklahoma will be missing key pieces across the board. While they are somewhat unspectacular, the Arizona defense has been stout enough to present challenges for the young starter. Four out of the five staff writers picked Arizona to win and cover; but as the lone member on the Oklahoma island, I’m expecting Jackson Arnold to put on a star performance and emerge as a National name.


  • LT Jordan Morgan

  • S Isaiah Taylor

  • LB Daniel Heimuli

  • EDGE Orin Patu


  • QB Dillon Gabriel
  • LG Cayden Green
  • RT Tyler Guyton
  • C Andrew Raym
  • RB Tawee Walker
  • RB Marcus Major
  • RB Daylan Smothers
  • OG Savion Byrd
  • OG Nate Anderson
  • OT Aaryn Parks
  • DL Kelvin Gilliam
  • DB Key Lawrence
  • EDGE Reggie Grimes


Josh ChevalierZach HallMatt WispeRick KamlaMike Bainbridge