All 41 matchups are set.
Let the bowl games begin.
The first bowl game of the 2016 season kicks off Saturday, December 17th with the New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico Lobos vs UTSA Roadrunners. The State of Florida from Jacksonville to Miami will be hosting 10 college football bowl games this season.
One that stands out in the city of Boca Raton is the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers versus the Memphis Tigers at FAU Stadium played on Tuesday, December 20th at 7 pm. This is only the third installment with Marshall beating Northern Illinois 52-23 in the inaugural game in 2014.
Both teams in this year’s matchup, Memphis out of the American Athletic Conference and Western Kentucky out of Conference USA, reached here with one game that raised eyebrows.
The Tigers’ standout performance came when Houston had just been reinserted into the playoff selection committee’s rankings after an upset of Louisville. Memphis then knocked off the Cougars the following Saturday. The Tigers lost a 17-point halftime lead and allowed the go-ahead touchdown with 1:29 left, but they drove 72 yards in five plays for the game-winning score. A field goal would have tied it, but the Tigers went for the win.
Tigers wide receiver Anthony Miller had at least one touchdown in each of his final six games, and in only one of those games did he fail to pair it with 100 yards. Over the last six games, he has accounted for 845 of his 1,283 total yards and nine of his 11 touchdowns.
On the opposite sideline, the Hilltoppers come in fresh off a win in the Conference USA championship game, their seventh straight win, by getting some nice revenge against Louisiana Tech. Western Kentucky came up just short in a 55-52 loss to Tech in October despite a 21-point rally in the fourth quarter. This time, they took care of business in a 58-44 shootout for back-to-back league titles.
I am excited to see WR Taywan Taylor. Nick Saban called him as good as any receiver Alabama faced this season. Taylor ranks No. 2 nationally in receiving yards (1,586) and has 16 TDs as quarterback Mike White’s go-to guy.
The Hilltoppers are 22-5 over their last two seasons and will win over more admirers during this bowl season with their prolific offense starring White, Taylor, WR Nicholas Norris and RB Anthony Wales. They are worth the price of admission.