Welcome to Bowl-a-pa-loser as Rankman tackles the wonderful, wacky, Wake Forest games of Christmas, from worst to best. Our picks are only as solid as opponent information we are provided daily by embittered radio analysts based in Winston Salem. These guesses are for entertainment purposes only as TMG does not encourage, promote, or endorse gambling on bowl games unless the line on a certain game looks funky or you need a big score to put one of your children through college.
41: Quick Lane, Boston College (6-6) vs. Maryland (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN
Quick lane? This game is your grandma driving 25 mph in the right lane of the interstate, for 65 miles, with her left-turn blinker on.
Winner: Boston College
40: Hawaii, Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Hawaii (6-7), Dec. 24, ESPN
Who thought Captain Cook’s discovery of Hawaii in 1778 could lead to something as middling Tennessee as this?
Winner: Middle Tennessee
39: Cure, Central Florida (6-6) vs. Arkansas State (7-5), Dec. 17, CBSSN
Some might prefer being tied in a trunk over this tie-in between schools from the American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.
Winner: Central Florida
38: New Orleans, Southern Miss (6-6) vs. UL-Lafayette (6-6), Dec. 17, ESPN
Rankman is looking to trade in this 12-12 match up ticket for two dozen charbroiled oysters at Drago’s.
Winner: Southern Miss
37: St. Petersburg, Mississippi St. (5-7) vs. Miami-Ohio (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN.
Perfect: Two programs trying to keep their heads above water play in a town that is 44 feet above sea level.
Winner: Mississippi State
36: Celebration, Grambling (10-1) vs. UNC Central (9-2), Dec. 17, ABC
Not listed in my Football Bowl Assn. guide but Wikipedia describes it as a “post-season American college football bowl game played on Dec. 17, 2016, in Atlanta.”
35: Heart of Dallas, North Texas (5-7) vs. Army (6-5), Dec. 27, ESPN
Due to a colon vs. dash mix up, a previous note on this game incorrectly stated 11:12 as kickoff time. In fact, 11-12 is the combined records of both schools.
34: Arizona, South Alabama (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3), Dec. 30, ASN
The only bowl aired on the American Sports Network, also the exclusive home of Real Salt Lake Soccer and AMA Pro Flat Track.
Winner: Air Force
33: New Mexico, Texas-San Antonio (6-6) vs. New Mexico (8-4), Dec. 17, ESPN
There’s a technical Emmy in play for “tightest crowd shot by an ESPN cameraman who needs five more years of seniority to bid for the Hawaii Bowl.”
Winner: New Mexico
32: Independence, NC State (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN2
Idiom Illustrated says picking this evenly-matched game is like “6-6 of one and two half-dozens of another.”
31: Foster Farms, Indiana (6-6) vs. Utah (8-4), Dec. 28, FOX
Schools suckered into bowl trip after being told the game was “near” San Francisco.
30: Miami Beach, Tulsa (9-3) vs. Central Michigan (6-6), Dec. 19, ESPN
Tesla vs. CMU is a mismatch of technology, innovation and payload capability. Elon Musk is a genius. What? Sorry, it’s “Tulsa” vs. CMU.
29: Famous Idaho Potato, Colorado State (7-5) vs. Idaho (8-4), Dec. 22, ESPN
Idaho is dropping down to FCS after going 8-4, but Notre Dame is staying in FBS after going 4-8?
Winner: Colorado State
28: Liberty, Texas Christian (6-6) vs. Georgia (7-5), Dec. 30, ESPN
Coaches of teams that were ranked in the preseason top 20 meet at midfield before game to discuss their million-dollar vacation homes on Lake Como.
27: Dollar General, Troy (9-3) vs. Ohio (8-5), Dec. 23, ESPN
Formerly known as the Go.Daddy, Go.Mommy, Go.Johnny.Go, GMAC, BMOC, SOS, Mobile Alabama and Kumquat bowls.
26: Camellia, Toledo (9-3) vs. Appalachian State (9-3), Dec. 17, ESPN
Toledo is located on the border between Ohio and Michigan. Appalachian State is located roughly between Seven Devils and Deep Gap.
Winner: Appalachian State
25: Birmingham, South Florida (10-2) vs. South Carolina (6-6), Dec. 29, ESPN
Coaches say it is both an honor and a privilege to participate in any bowl that Rutgers could win, 29-23, in 2008.
Winner: South Florida
24: Poinsettia, Brigham Young (8-4) vs. Wyoming (8-5), Dec. 21, ESPN
Rankman covered this matchup at Laramie on Nov. 10, 2001 and got his tongue stuck trying to lick a frozen goal post.
23: Armed Forces, Navy (9-3) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-5), Dec. 23, ESPN
Cal’s Jared Goff threw for 467 yards and six touchdowns in last year’s game and has only been stopped since by the L.A. Rams.
22: TaxSlayer, Kentucky (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (8-4), Dec. 31, ESPN
This SEC-ACC match-up is a game with minimal national interest but huge IRS implications.
Winner: Georgia Tech
21: Military, Wake Forest (6-6) vs. Temple (10-3), Dec. 27, ESPN
Temple has everything it needs to win after obtaining game plan from Wake’s radio announcer in Operation “Demon” Deacon.
20: Holiday, Minnesota (8-4) vs. Washington State (8-4), Dec.27, ESPN
This is not exactly “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby as 10 Minnesota players have been suspended for the trip as the school investigates an alleged sexual assault in September.
Winner: Washington State
19: Cactus, Baylor (6-6) vs. Boise State (10-2), Dec. 27, ESPN
Baylor seeks to become the first team to lose its seventh straight game as part of a post-season reward for having a successful season.
Winner: Boise State
18: Pinstripe, Pittsburgh (8-4) vs. Northwestern (6-6), Dec. 28, ESPN
Pitt has defeated Clemson and Penn State this year; Northwestern has a decent journalism program.
17: Las Vegas, San Diego State (10-3) vs. Houston (9-3), Dec. 17, ABC
Houston’s Tom Herman cancelled this Vegas gig but Peter Noone of “Herman’s Hermits” is playing June 2 at the Golden Nugget.
16: Russell Athletic, Miami-Fla (8-4) vs. West Virginia (10-2), Dec. 28, ESPN
Iconic coaches Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno squared off in the inaugural 1990 game and secretly vowed never to mention it again.
Winner: West Virginia
15: Texas, Kansas State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (8-4), Dec. 28, ESPN
Bill Snyder said this could be his biggest personal coaching challenge since the Dust Bowl.
Winner: Kansas State
14: Belk, Virginia Tech (9-4) vs. Arkansas (7-5), Dec. 29, ESPN
Ark Coach Bret Beliema forgot to rank V-Tech on his final USA Today ballot. Virginia Tech might forget to take a knee.
Winner: Virginia Tech
13: Outback, Iowa (8-4) vs. Florida (8-4), Jan. 2, ABC
This game is played in Tampa Bay but not to be remotely confused with the national title game on Jan. 9.
12: Sun, North Carolina (8-4) vs. Stanford (9-3), Dec. 30, CBS
Network devoted to SEC discovers in pregame notes an interesting running back named “McCaffrey.”
11: Bahamas, Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs. Old Dominion (9-3), Dec. 23, ESPN
The last two games produced a cumulative final score of 94-79 and a cumulative combined crowd of 26,790.
Winner: Eastern Michigan
10: Boca Raton, Memphis (8-4) vs. Western Kentucky (10-3), Dec. 20, ESPN
Lane Kiffin will live tweet game while recruiting for Florida Atlantic, preparing Alabama’s offense for the Peach Bowl and balancing a bar stool on his nose.
Winner: Western Kentucky
9: Music City, Tennessee (8-4) vs. Nebraska (9-3), Dec. 30, ESPN
Mike Riley, citing an intestinal conflict, has respectfully bowed out of the “hot chicken eating contest” scheduled for Dec. 29.
8: Alamo, Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Colorado (10-3), Dec. 29, ESPN
Game features two of Rankman’s favorite live college football mascots: T. Boone Pickens and Ralphie.
7: Sugar, Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Auburn (8-4), Jan. 2, ESPN
The best team in the underrated Big 12 meets the fourth best team from the overrated SEC.
6: Peach, Alabama (13-0) vs. Washington (12-1), Dec. 31, ESPN
Petersen solicits a running back who might be interested in proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend following a stunning upset victory on a last-second Statue of Liberty play.
5: Cotton, Western Michigan (13-0) vs. Wisconsin (10-3), Jan. 2, ESPN
Western Michigan’s schedule ranked 118th toughest schedule in latest Sagarin Football ratings. Wisconsin’s Limburger ranked 118th smelliest in latest Sagarin Cheese Ratings.
4: Citrus, LSU (7-4) vs. Louisville (9-3), Dec. 31, ABC
Lamar Jackson says his legs feel like “rubber chickens” after devouring 14 entrees featuring poultry during his December awards-banquet circuit.
3: Fiesta, Ohio State (11-1) vs. Clemson (12-1), Dec. 31, ESPN
Florida Coach Urban Meyer, circa 2006: “You shouldn’t play for a national championship if you don’t win your conference.”
Winner: Ohio State
2: Orange, Florida State (9-3) vs. Michigan (10-2), Dec. 30, ESPN
Harbaugh pays $10,000 in advance to cover the fine he’s going to receive for calling the officiating crew in this bowl “the worst I’ve seen since Ohio State.”
1: Rose, Penn State (11-2), vs. USC (9-3), Jan. 2, ESPN
This John Carpenter-directed slasher sequel, “They Live 2,” centers around two schools who rise from Granddaddy’s rose garden years after being buried alive by the NCAA.