Bowl season has arrived. And Saturday brought the first full day of bowl action, with seven games in total.
This is your one-stop shop for predictions, spreads, analysis, schedules and storylines to know. Plus, we’ll keep you posted on the best plays and moments moving forward.
All times Eastern. Tickets can be found here.
The best of bowl season
North Carolina A&T 64, Alcorn State 44
Despite a sluggish start, North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State combined for 108 points and 1,034 yards in a wild game. Wild or not, though, the result was the same as ever: an A&T win. Kylil Carter threw for 364 yards and six scores, and the Aggies were up double-digits the entire second half. A&T has won HBCU national championships in five years — this is an all-out dynasty now. — Bill Connelly
A&T wins back-to-back-to-back HBCU National Championships pic.twitter.com/kbgZMFddRh
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) December 21, 2019
New Mexico Bowl
San Diego State 48, Central Michigan 11
Central Michigan’s big turnaround season ended in a loss to San Diego State in the New Mexico Bowl. Quarterback Quinten Dormady has been excellent for the Chippewas all season but started this game with an interception on the opening drive, resulting in an Aztecs touchdown. Central Michigan’s next six possessions resulted in a field goal, four punts and another interception. San Diego State capitalized, going up 20-3 at the end of the first half. As much as Dormady struggled, Aztecs quarterback Ryan Agnew threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, leading San Diego State to a win. — Tom VanHaaren
— SDSU Football (@SDSUFootball) December 21, 2019
FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl
Liberty 23, Georgia Southern 16
Coach Hugh Freeze helped get Liberty to its first bowl game in program history, and now the Flames have their first bowl win in program history after beating Georgia Southern. Georgia Southern had trouble getting anything started on offense early in the game, and the Eagles had only 28 passing yards with six minutes left in the third quarter. Despite a late run by Georgia Southern to pull within seven points, Liberty was able to come out on top. Liberty quarterback Stephen Calvert had 270 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Frankie Hickson had 120 rushing yards on 22 carries to lead the Flames. — Tom VanHaaren
Scott Van Pelt serves up his winners for the first weekend of bowl season, including selections from Week 16 of the NFL season.
Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl
Florida Atlantic 52, SMU 28
Despite missing several players and having an interim coach (Glenn Spencer), FAU turned in a heck of a performance to knock off a 10-win team from the American Athletic Conference. The Owls’ defense was huge, coming away with two takeaways that translated to 14 points and holding SMU to just two touchdowns until the fourth quarter, at which point the game was well in hand. FAU quarterback Chris Robison was outstanding, slicing up the SMU defense while throwing for 305 yards and two touchdowns. — Sam Khan Jr.
FAU’s defense has put the Boca Raton Bowl on ? pic.twitter.com/DiNQZzbJkH
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 21, 2019
Arkansas State 34, Florida International 26
Arkansas State receiver Omar Bayless — who came into Saturday trailing only Biletnikoff Award winner Ja’Marr Chase in receiving yards nationally — was stellar, catching nine passes for 180 yards and a touchdown in the Red Wolves’ win over FIU. During a key scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, he hauled in a 65-yard catch-and-run that was partially negated by a penalty, then came back on the next play with a 52-yard reception to set up Arkansas State’s final score of the night. Quarterback Layne Hatcher (393 passing yards, four touchdowns) was excellent, as well. — Sam Khan Jr.
Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl
Washington 38, Boise State 7
It wasn’t literally a passing of the torch as Washington Huskies coach Chris Petersen called his successor, Jimmy Lake, on stage for the presentation of the Mitsubishi Las Vegas Bowl trophy, but it was awfully close. Before Petersen could hoist the trophy, he gave Lake a chance to take the microphone and join him in celebrating the win. The moment was symbolic, as Saturday was Petersen’s last game as Washington’s head coach before being replaced by Lake, currently the team’s defensive coordinator. And fittingly, Lake’s defense delivered a dominant performance in the Huskies’ 38-7 win over Boise State, forcing three turnovers and holding Boise State — which entered the game 12-1 — to 266 yards of offense. Yet try as he might, Petersen couldn’t avoid center stage on a night when fans of both teams wanted to celebrate his career split between the two universities that produced wins nearly 80% of the time. After moving to 4-0 in the Las Vegas Bowl, Petersen did jokingly suggest that with free time now on his hands, he might try his chances at a different kind of Vegas competition: “I need to take some of that luck to the tables tonight and see how I do,” he said before quickly adding, “probably not.” — Kevin Pelton
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Appalachian State 31, UAB 17
The win cements a special place in history for Appalachian State. After coming into the game ranked No. 20 in the AP poll, the Mountaineers are a virtual lock to become the first team in Sun Belt history to finish a season ranked in the AP Top 25. Assuming they also move up at least one spot, they’ll also break the record they currently hold for highest ranking among Sun Belt teams. On top of that, the win moves Appalachian State to 5-0 all time in bowl games and gives the program its first 13-win season since moving up to the FBS level in 2014. — Kyle Bonagura
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
Buffalo 31, Charlotte 9
Charlotte’s first bowl trip didn’t end well, but the game still marked a turning point for the program. First-year coach Will Healy has created some buzz at a program that had virtually none before this season, and the bowl showcase is another opportunity to build. For Buffalo, Friday’s victory offered a strong ending to a rocky season in which the Bulls added impressive wins against Temple and Central Michigan but also head-scratching losses to Liberty and Kent State. The Bulls’ tandem of 1,000-yard backs — Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks — is set to return for 2020, however, and after a strong day in the Bahamas (Patterson had 173 yards and two touchdowns), it could be the Group of 5’s best backfield next season. — David M. Hale
— UB Football (@UBFootball) December 21, 2019
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl
Kent State 51, Utah State 41
Kent State’s 100-year wait for a postseason win is over. Let that sink in. The program played its first game in 1920, and before Friday’s exciting victory against Utah State — and NFL draft-bound QB Jordan Love — the Golden Flashes had never won a postseason game. No lower-level playoff wins, no conference title wins and no bowl wins in three previous appearances. It caps a remarkable turnaround for the Golden Flashes, who won just two games in each of the previous two seasons and started this season 3-6 before winning their final four games to finish 7-6 under second-year coach Sean Lewis. — Kyle Bonagura
— Kent State Football (@KentStFootball) December 21, 2019
GREEN SMOOTHIE BATH ✅
Kent State celebrates its first bowl win! pic.twitter.com/9eyYaS7OIj
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 21, 2019
Bowl season MVP so far
Kent State QB Dustin Crum. Crum did it all for the Golden Flashes as they won their first bowl game in 100 years of playing football. The junior threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns and added 147 yards and a score on the ground as Kent State took down Utah State in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. Crum’s performance earns him the honors after Day 1, just ahead of Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson, who ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-9 triumph over Charlotte in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.
This gesture by the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl was personal for Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson, whose wife, Wendy, died from breast cancer in August. Anderson’s team went on to beat Florida International 34-26 in Saturday’s Camellia Bowl.
— Blake Anderson (@CHbanderson) December 21, 2019
Pat McAfee got in on SMU’s turnover celebration at the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 21, 2019
The most wonderful time of the year
In bowl season, even enemies can become frenemies. Let noted Longhorns nemesis Barry Switzer be your compass.
Why would I smile and do “Horns Up”? A University of Texas graduate helping me change a blowout on I-40 in 5 pm trafffic! His name Francisco De Soto, 37-year-old mechanical engineer, from El Paso, Texas. Francisco had no idea who he was helping! @UTAustin #mechanicalengineering pic.twitter.com/iwRMFXDmV8
— Barry Switzer (@Barry_Switzer) December 21, 2019
Bowl picks, spreads, predictions and more
More bowl game previews
Rose: Key players and matchups
Upcoming bowl schedule
Full schedule here.
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
UCF vs. Marshall
2:30 p.m., ESPN and ESPN App
SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
Hawai’i vs. BYU
8 p.m., ESPN and ESPN App
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
Louisiana Tech vs. Miami
4 p.m., ESPN and ESPN App
Quick Lane Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. Eastern Michigan
8 p.m., ESPN and ESPN App