Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 27 bowl menu, which today features a pair of Power Five vs. Power Five matchups as well as an AAC-ACC clash.
WHO: Temple (8-4) vs. Duke (7-5)
WHAT: The 43rd Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
WHEN: 1:30 ET on ESPN
WHERE: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
THE SKINNY: Contrary to popular belief, Temple interim head coach
Matt Foley Ed Foley did not live in a van down by the river before coming to the Owls and setting Shreveport on fire with his motivational prowess. … Foley takes over for this one game for Geoff Collins, who left after two seasons with the football program to take the same job at Georgia Tech. The permanent replacement, Manny Diaz, will be coordinating Miami’s defense in the bowl game right after this one. … After not appearing in a bowl game in nearly two decades, Duke has played in one in six of the last seven seasons. Head coach David Cutcliffe has been responsible for six of the football program’s 14 postseason appearances all-time and two of its five bowl wins, with the Blue Devils looking to win a third straight bowl game for the first time in the school’s history. … Temple, meanwhile, will be playing in its fourth straight bowl game, including a win in last year’s Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. … The Owls come into today’s game having won three in a row and six of their last seven, while the Blue Devils have dropped two straight and four of their last six after starting the regular season 5-1. Duke lost those last two games, incidentally, by a combined score of 94-13 (Clemson 35-6, Wake Forest 59-7). … Temple has the nation’s seventh-ranked pass defense in yards per game (166.3) and is tops in the FBS in allowing just 5.1 yards per pass attempt. … Duke starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who staged a miraculous in-season return from a broken clavicle, is tied for 104th nationally in averaging 6.4 yards per attempt. Jones, playing in potentially his last game for the Blue Devils as the redshirt junior considers an early leap to the NFL, is capable of putting up big numbers as he accounted for 547 yards of offense (361 passing, 186 rushing) in a mid-November win over rival North Carolina earlier this year. … Today’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
THE LINE: Duke, +3½
THE PREDICTION: Temple 28, Duke 27
WHO: Miami (7-5) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)
WHAT: The 9th Pinstripe Bowl
WHEN: 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York City, New York
THE LINE: Wisconsin, +3
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.
WHO: Baylor (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)
WHAT: The 13th Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
THE SKINNY: Baylor and Vanderbilt have met in football twice previously, with the last meeting coming more than sixty years ago (1954). Vandy won both of those contests. … The Commodores are looking for their first bowl win since 2013, while Derek Mason is looking to even his bowl record at 1-1 (lost the 2016 Independence Bowl). … The Bears, on the other hand, have won two straight bowl games and four of their last six postseason appearances. Three of those wins came with disgraced former head coach Art Briles in charge in Waco. … Both teams needed to win their final games of the regular season in order to reach bowl eligibility, which Baylor did with an 11-point win over Texas Tech and Vandy did with a 25-point pasting of in-state rival Tennessee. Vandy actually had to win its last two to become bowl-eligible as they beat Ole Miss as well at UT… Baylor is looking to put the finishing touches on one of the most impressive rebounds in college football as the Bears went 1-11 in 2017. … Baylor is 71st nationally in scoring offense (28.3 points per game) while Vandy is tied for 49th in scoring defense (25.1 ppg). Conversely, the Commodores are 76th in scoring offense (27.7 ppg) while the Bears are tied for 87th in scoring defense (31.2 ppg). … The last four games, three of which were wins, Vandy’s offense averaged 36.7 points per game. … Baylor’s offense, on pace for its worst scoring season in nearly a decade, won’t be at full strength as Jalen Hurd, the Tennessee transfer who is the Bears’ leading receiver (69 receptions, 946 receiving yards) and was named as the Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year, will not play in the game due to injury. … One area to keep an eye on: Baylor is 118th nationally in turnover margin (18 turnovers committed, nine turnovers gained) while Vandy is tied for 18th in the same category (21 turnovers gained, 13 lost). Only LSU (T-6th) and Florida (10th) finished better than Vandy in the SEC.
THE LINE: Baylor, +4
THE PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 24, Baylor 20