It’s finally bowl season in college football!
FOX Sports’ Chris “The Bear” Fallica and Geoff Schwartz had a lot of thoughts on the first weekend of bowl games, as did FOX Sports contributors Sam Panayotovich and Will Hill.
The Group Chat segment of the latest “Bear Bets” episode broke down some of Saturday’s bowl games and shared their favorite for later in bowl season.
Let’s get into their thoughts!
Bowl season officially kicks off on Saturday with seven matchups. The most high-profile games include UCLA against Boise State in the Rob Gronkowski Starco Brands LA Bowl and Cal against Texas Tech (-3) in the Independence Bowl. Do you have any sides you like in those two games or any other bowl games on Saturday?
Hill: Georgia Southern Eagles -3 vs. Ohio Bobcats in Myrtle Beach Bowl; Jacksonville State money line vs. Louisiana in R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
“I just don’t know how Ohio is going to score. They are a bad offense to begin with. They’re missing a quarterback they’re missing all sorts of guys. We have one data point for Georgia Southern playing a MAC team where they beat Ball State, 40-3.
“Louisiana Lafayette feels like they play in this first bowl on Saturday every single year. I don’t know how much they’re gonna wanna be in the game. I know that you have some home-field advantage with this game New Orleans, but Jacksonville State went to South Carolina, who I know wasn’t that good this year, and were tied in the fourth quarter. That was anybody’s game.”
Sammy P: UCLA -4.5; Over 48.5 total points in Georgia Southern-Ohio
“Ethan Garbers is probably going to play for the Bruins at quarterback and Boise State’s on quarterback three. Jalen Green transferred to Arkansas, the second QB is out and their running back is not going to play. Yeah, they played good down the stretch, but I think UCLA is a lot better.
“I don’t like Ohio to win the game. I’m not going to call my shot. Georgia Southern clearly has an edge. It’s a much better offense but I think Ohio is that type of team that just pulls out these trick plays in this game, you know the flea flicker the wide receiver pass. The MAC always gets really wacky in these bowl games.”
Schwartz: Under 48.5 total points in UCLA-Boise State
“The Bruins can’t score either. I think both those teams struggle to score the ball but I mean Boise State is not going to score. They have a third-string quarterback playing a really good defense.
“This game is going to be just a boring game in an empty SoFi Stadium with two offenses that can’t move the football. UCLA just has a propensity to run the clock out in games.”
The Bear: Cal +3
“Texas Tech did not finish the season off in a very good manner. I don’t know coming off a 50-point loss to Texas if they are really going to care about this game? You looked at the way Cal ran the ball throughout the course of the year with the fact that Texas Tech allowed 207, 238, 300 and 272 this year on the ground, [I like Cal].”
The FCS playoffs continue this weekend with a pair of semifinal matchups. I know the North Dakota State–Montana (-1.5) game has caught the eyes of the Group Chat after the Bison head coach Matt Entz accepted an assistant coaching job with USC earlier this week. What are you guys seeing or possibly hearing there?
Sammy P: Montana -1.5
“Let me read you the text I got on Monday, ‘Coach leaving totally deflated the locker room and a lot of the players on their way out looking for D-1 offers or NIL money. Not beating Montana this weekend.’ Now, again, that’s not the Bible. But when you get a text like that on Monday, you’re like mining the situation all week and I’ve been trying to figure out like, is this stuff legit?
“Usually that stuff happens after the season. But they win, they go to the semifinals and the news comes out and now you’re trying to handicap like do these kids at North Dakota State care? I don’t know that, but this isn’t the North Dakota State team of old.”
The Bear: Lean Montana -1.5, potentially live bet it
“I do think it’s one of those things where if it starts to go poorly, Montana gets up maybe 10, 13, 14 points. If they do get up early, it’s like alright, what are we kind of in for?”
Looking beyond this weekend, are there any other plays you like when we get later into bowl season?
The Bear: N.C. Stae +3 and money line vs. Kansas State in Pop-Tarts Bowl
“N.C. State really has an opportunity to get a 10-win season for the first time in a long time. They had that one bowl game canceled that one year because they had an opportunity to win 10 games. I think Dave Doeren has his team hell-bent on a win. I think they will win.”
Sammy P: Missouri -2.5 vs. Ohio State in Cotton Bowl
“We’re gonna get to the 29th and you’re gonna have no Kyle McCord, no Marvin Harrison Jr., no TreVeyon Henderson, no Cade Stover, a lot of defensive guys are opting out. Missouri, I don’t think, has a single guy not playing in this game. I’m being a little facetious.
“Even at +2.5, +3, wise guys still don’t want to take Ohio State and to me, that’s pretty telling.”
Hill: USF +3 vs. Syracuse in Boca Raton Bowl
“South Florida has a first-year head coach who hasn’t been to a bowl in five years. Syracuse moved on from their coach. So you’re getting +3 in that one. I think that closes at +2.5. You already starting to see some places, move off +3. I think you missed the +3.5’s.”
Schwartz: Northwestern +6.5 vs. Utah in SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
“Go look at the roster of Utah right now, they were hurt already and then they have opt-outs and more guys getting hurt. Their motivation for this game is none. It’s not the year that they wanted to have.
“Northwestern has like everyone playing. I think Northwestern is winning this game outright.”
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