When the total number of college football bowl games reaches 40, there’s bound to be more than a collection of stinkers.
Now, this isn’t to suggest we have too many. After all, more football is more football. However, the following 10 games lack nationally intriguing storylines, perceived watchability or a combination of both.
That shouldn’t stop you from watching these 10 games, but temper your expectations when you hit the channel — it might not be pretty.
10. Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis
The redeeming quality of the Birmingham Bowl is that Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, a probable top pick in the 2016 NFL draft, gets another shot at an SEC defense.
But it’s only Auburn.
Heading into the regular season, the Tigers received plenty of hype as a potential SEC champion and College Football Playoff contender because of Jeremy Johnson. Six losses later, Auburn barely reached the postseason.
Memphis looked like a potential CFP darling, but three consecutive losses in November crushed those dreams. Furthermore, head coach Justin Fuente heading to Virginia Tech leaves Lynch and Co. limping to the finish.
9. Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan
His Broncos will face an explosive Middle Tennessee offense, but neither school has received much attention throughout the season. Fair or not, that’s not going to change on Christmas Eve.
Perhaps Western can follow in the footsteps of fellow directional college Central Michigan and provide one of the wildest plays of bowl season. If that happens, casual football fans will pay attention. If not, the only draw of the Bahamas Bowl is no other sport is competing for airtime.
8. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. New Mexico
New Mexico is a fun little story. After three straight years with 1-11 records, Bob Davie took over the program and has slowly guided the Lobos toward their first bowl appearance since 2007. Congratulations, New Mexico.
However, a commendable rise from the bottom of the Football Bowl Subdivision isn’t enough to earn a place on the national landscape, and Arizona certainly hasn’t demanded it.
On the other side, Rich Rodriguez’s team limped through the final stretch of the regular season, losing four of its final games—including a 49-3 beatdown at the hands of Washington. If anyone considers the Wildcats a must-watch club, please step forward. Seeing no one except Arizona fans, we move on.
7. Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Minnesota
Central Michigan and Minnesota both experienced emotional campaigns because of health reasons affecting their respective head coaches. CMU’s John Bonamego completed cancer treatments, and Minnesota’s Jerry Kill stepped down due to medical concerns.
Wish Jerry Kill was coaching in this game. Kill vs. John Bonamego would have been a battle of perseverance.
— Evan Sasiela (@SalsaEvan) December 6, 2015
Nevertheless, this is a matchup between a Central Michigan roster that lacks a nationally recognized standout player and Minnesota team that finished 5-7 and only reached the postseason thanks to a high academic progress rate.
The extra practices will be immensely valuable for programs looking to break into the top tier of the MAC and Big Ten, respectively, but most of the college football world won’t pay attention to the Quick Lane Bowl.
6. St. Petersburg Bowl: Connecticut vs. Marshall
Marshall won seven consecutive games and eventually entered a winner-take-all matchup against Western Kentucky for a chance to reach the Conference USA Championship. Unfortunately for the Thundering Herd, the offense disappeared during the most important game of the year.
Now, they’ll take on a surprisingly decent Connecticut defense for what should be a relatively low-scoring affair. The Huskies have surrendered 30 points or more just twice.
But that doesn’t mean Connecticut is going to win. The nation’s 11th-worst scoring offense failed to even reach 14 points in five of 12 games.
5. NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Nevada vs. Colorado State
Weirdly enough, though the Arizona Bowl actually features two Mountain West programs. This is actually a non-counting conference game for Colorado State and Nevada.
At least in 2014, Colorado State boasted Garrett Grayson, Dee Hart and Rashard Higgins on the offensive side of the ball. This year, the Rams don’t have a similar high-powered attack every week.
Nevada quietly had two players eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and 700 yards receiving, but losing handily to both Arizona and Texas A&M kept the Wolf Pack safely out of the headlines.
4. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron vs. Utah State
Akron will play Utah State in a game sponsored by a potato company. We’re still going to watch it — because more football is more football — but that sounds about as boring as possible.
I cannot think of anything on earth more exciting than Utah State vs. Akron in Boise in December
— Matt Brown (@MattBrownCFB) December 6, 2015
Now, Utah State had five postseason appearances in 96 seasons of football, but the Aggies have now earned a spot in a bowl for the fifth straight year. The Potato Bowl will be Akron’s second postseason game ever.
While the programs deserve a tip-o’-the-hat for their accomplishments, there’s isn’t a significant draw to Boise.
3. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Ohio vs. Appalachian State
Congratulations to Appalachian State for registering a 10-2 season to complete the next step of its transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision and earning a spot in postseason play. Please come forward to accept your reward.
The Bobcats play football in the Mid-American Conference and won eight games in 2015. The school is located in Athens, Ohio. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio earned his master’s degree at Ohio. I have no idea how to sell you on this game.
2. Hawai’i Bowl: San Diego State vs. Cincinnati
Excluding Aztecs and Bearcats supporters, do you really want to spend Christmas Eve night watching San Diego State and Cincinnati?
The Hawai’i Bowl might actually be entertaining, but many families are headed to services, opening presents or getting ready for Christmas morning. Besides, there’s no time for football when Santa is coming!
Perhaps San Diego State will try to get revenge of Cincinnati for beating the Atzecs men’s basketball team last season. Or something. I don’t know, just make sure you finish wrapping that present you procrastinated buying until the last second.
1. AutoNation Cure Bowl: San Jose State vs. Georgia State
Ah yes, the most meaningless meaningful game of them all. Thanks to the APR waiver, 5-7 San Jose State weaseled its way into the postseason. Tyler Ervin is an all-purpose monster, but had you heard of him before now?
Georgia State finished 0-12 in 2013 and 1-11 in 2014, but head coach Trent Miles —just like at Indiana State, his previous stop — successfully completed a three-year turnaround. The Panthers grabbed their sixth victory with an upset of Georgia Southern in the regular-season finale.
But still, this is a team with losses to Charlotte and Liberty. The progress is undeniable, yet that won’t move the needle for most fans of other college programs.