Welcome to Rankman's annual harvest of bowl rankings plus comments, the culmination of a year gone wrong picking weekly games against the Las Vegas points spread. The idea is simple: We rank the bowl games, blind-draw a winner and then offer condolences to those foolish enough to use them for purposes of competitive wagering. You know that old saying: "Those who can't do, teach. And those who can't teach, teach gym. And those who can't teach gym go into writing. And those can't write go into journalism. And those who can't do journalism go into sports journalism. And those who can't do sports journalism start a blog about college football. And those who can't do a blog about college football cover the Pac 12." Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and fabulous experiences at the Festivus and Gasparilla bowls.
40: Cure, Georgia State (6-5) vs. Western Kentucky (6-6), Dec. 16, CBSSN
“Just Like Heaven” was a big hit for The Cure in 1987. Thirty years later comes the follow up smash: “Just Like Moonshine."
Winner: Western Kentucky
39: Military, Navy (6-5) vs. Virginia (6-6), Dec. 28, ESPN
It’s “Thank you for your service” vs. “Thank you for your Thomas Jefferson.”
38: New Mexico, Marshall (7-5) vs. Colorado State (7-5), Dec. 16, ESPN
Under “Marshall Law” in New Mexico this game can be ended at any time by ESPN and decided in a military tribunal.
Winner: Colorado State
37: Belk, Texas A&M (7-5) vs. Wake Forest (7-5), Dec. 29, ESPN
Don’t miss halftime-show tribute to Jimbo’s new $75 million contract performed by TAMU band members begging to keep tax write off for student loans.
Winner: Wake Forest
36: Foster Farms, Purdue (6-6) vs. Arizona (7-5), Dec. 27, FOX
Former Boiler-plate QB Gary Danielson has to watch at a neighbor’s house because his TV-channel nobs locked on CBS and SEC Network.
35: Texas, Missouri (7-5) vs. Texas (6-6), Dec. 27, ESPN
Former Big 12 mates meet to discuss malpractice lawsuit against chiropractor who botched up a conference realignment.
34: Arizona, Utah State (6-6) vs. New Mexico State (6-6), Dec. 29, CBSSN
White House wants six National Parks closed in these three territories and the game clock in this bowl, between plays, reduced to 25 seconds.
Winner: New Mexico State
33: Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic (10-3) vs. Akron (7-6), Dec. 19, ESPN
Lane Kiffin’s career is backward. He should have landed THIS job 10 years ago that led to OC at Alabama and head coaching gigs at Tennessee, USC and the Oakland Raiders.
Winner: Florida Atlantic
32: Heart of Dallas, West Virginia (7-5) vs. Utah (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham owns a 10-1 record in bowl games. West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen owns a 1-10 record against his hair line.
31: Camellia, Middle Tennessee (6-6), vs. Arkansas State (7-4), Dec. 16, ESPN
Arkansas State finished third in the Sun Belt. Middle Tennessee finished T-3 in Conference USA. Bowl-state host Alabama finished second in the Civil War.
Winner: Arkansas State
30: Famous Idaho Potato, Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5), Dec. 22, ESPN
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen says, if 100% healthy, he'll participate in the pre-game singing of "You say PotAto, I say Potato."
Winner: Central Michigan
29: Celebration, North Carolina AT&T (11-0) vs. Grambling (11-1), Dec. 16, ABC
This HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) match up will be more thrilling than many bowls featuring HWCU (Historically Weak Colleges and Universities).
Winner: North Carolina AT&T
28: Frisco, SMU (7-5) vs. Louisiana Tech (6-6), Dec. 20, ESPN
Program devastated by NCAA’s “Death Penalty” fights back to earn bowl game experience some are comparing to lethal injection.
Winner: Louisiana Tech
27: Gasparilla, Florida International (8-4) vs. Temple (6-6), Dec. 21, ESPN
Sounds less like a bowl game and more like an umbrella drink ordered during a long airport stopover connection en route to Tel Aviv.
Winner: Florida International
26: Bahamas, UAB (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4), Dec. 22, ESPN
UAB, left out on an island, football won EIGHT games after being brought back from shut-down extinction. Ohio hopes to deliver its message in a bottle.
25: Hawaii, Fresno State (9-4) vs. Houston (7-4), Dec. 24, ESPN
Jeff Tedford deserves major props for this year's turnaround at Fresno. Houston is coached by Major "Props" Applewhite.
Winner: Fresno State
24: Quick Lane, Northern Illinois (8-4) vs. Duke (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN
A day-after Christmas trip to Detroit is what every parent dreams when sending a child to Duke.
Winner: Northern Illinois
23: Cactus, Kansas State (7-5) vs. UCLA (6-6), Dec. 26, ESPN
Prickly old coach for K-State meets prickly young QB for UCLA, soon to be led by prickly new coach from New Hampshire.
Winner: Kansas State
22: Independence, Southern Miss (8-4) vs. Florida State (6-6), Dec. 27, ESPN
Dreams don’t come true? FSU players luxuriate after beating La. Monroe in a make-up game, with an interim coach, to land this memory-maker in Shreveport against team from Hattiesburg.
Winner: Florida State
21: Armed Forces, Army (9-3) vs. San Diego State (10-2), Dec. 23, ESPN
Nation’s leading rush team (Army) faces nation’s rush leader (Rashaad Penny) in a Fort Worth game billed as “Three yards and a cloud of habanero.”
Winner: San Diego State
20: Pinstripe, Boston College (7-5) vs. Iowa (7-5), Dec. 27, ESPN
In a reworking of “Green Acres,” couple from Iowa with a pig named “Arnold” struggle to adjust to glamorous life in New York City.
Winner: Boston College
19: Birmingham, South Florida (9-2) vs. Texas Tech (6-6), Dec. 23, ESPN
Texas Tech coach requests game be fought under “Marquis of Kingsbury” rule No. 11, which states “no shoes or boots with spikes or springs be allowed.”
Winner: South Florida
18: Holiday, Michigan State (9-3), vs. Washington State (7-5), Dec. 28, FS1
MSU players most excited to visit “Cave of Lost Sports Civilizations” to witness rock etchings of early-epoch Clippers and Chargers.
Winner: Michigan State
17: Sun, North Carolina State (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5), Dec. 29, CBS
ASU’s new “NFL model” lacks only a player payroll and a “franchise tag” to keep head coach Herm Edwards from leaving.
Winner: North Carolina State
16: Music City, Northwestern (9-3) vs. Kentucky (7-5), Dec. 29, ESPN
This game in Nashville offers Northwestern players the rare chance, in the key of G, to unionize and harmonize against the NCAA.
15: New Orleans, Troy (10-2) vs. North Texas (9-4), Dec. 16, ESPN
Schools went 1-2 vs former USC coaches this year. Troy beat Ed Orgeron (LSU) while NT lost twice to Lane Kiffin (FAU)
14: Las Vegas, Boise State (10-3) vs. Oregon (7-5), Dec. 16, ABC
Rankman likes Oregon by a point or two but it’s not like he can predict the future by rubbing a Mario Cristobal.
13: TaxSlayer, Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Louisville (8-4), Dec. 30, ESPN
If Louisville QB Lamar Jackson and four others sit Florida game out to protect their NFL futures, they'll forever be known as the “Jacksonville Five.”
12: Liberty, Memphis (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5), Dec. 30, ABC
Iowa State players interested in spending extra time with family after Christmas can be shipped overnight by FedEx, at no extra charge, one day prior to game.
11: Camping World, Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (9-3), Dec. 28, ESPN
On this week’s “The Profit,” Camping World owner Marcus Lemonis offers T. Boone Pickens “$300,000” for full control of the Oklahoma State booster program.
Winner: Oklahoma State[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
10: Alamo, Texas Christian (10-3) vs. Stanford (9-4), Dec. 28, ESPN
San Antonio serves chicken fingers in hand-made tortillas to celebrate this battle of Horned Frog legs vs. Bryce Love’s ankle.
9: Orange, Wisconsin (12-1) vs. Miami (10-2), Dec. 30, ESPN
Schools riding a combined three-game losing streak warned by compliance to steer clear of local dog-racing tracks.
8: Outback, South Carolina (8-4) vs. Michigan (8-4), Jan. 1, ESPN2
Also-rans from the SEC and Big Ten meet in Tampa to frolic in the sun and discuss their big 2017 wins over the University of Florida.
7: Dollar General, Toledo (11-2) vs. Appalachian State (8-4), Dec. 23, ESPN
Christmas comes two-days early for fans who love to spend holiday in Las Vegas betting on Santa to deliver the “over.”
6: Citrus, LSU (9-3) vs. Notre Dame (9-3), Jan. 1, ABC
Coach O’s Cajun dictionary translates this as “Red Stick” versus “Our Mother” in the devil’s game of “Foosball.”
5: Peach, Central Florida (12-0) vs. Auburn (10-3), Jan. 1, ESPN
Frost and peaches are usually bad news for the peaches but Scott Frost’s last game for Central Florida puts plenty of fuzz on this major bowl.
4: Fiesta, Washington (10-2) vs. Penn State (10-2), Dec. 30, Dec. 30, ESPN
ESPN will open with a “cupcake” segment on Washington’s schedule then pivot immediately to why Saquan Barkley was robbed of the Heisman.
3: Sugar, Clemson (12-1) vs. Alabama (11-1), Jan. 1, ESPN
You again? Schools that split last two national title games meet in part three of the trilogy: “Who Reigns on Lake Pontchartrain?”
2: Cotton, USC (11-2) vs. Ohio State (11-2), Dec. 29, ESPN
World-class Rose Bowl gets hijacked by a lineman on the 1964 Arkansas team who strikes oil, buys the Dallas Cowboys and builds an oversized stadium with platforms for pole dancers but otherwise devoid of aesthetics, history and purpled-mountain sunsets.
1: Rose, Oklahoma (12-1) vs. Georgia (12-1), Jan. 1, ESPN
Hard to believe Oklahoma and Georgia have never met. Hard to believe this is Oklahoma’s second Rose Bowl since UCLA played its last. Georgia last appeared in 1943, when it claimed a national championship with a 9-0 win over UCLA.
National Championship: Oklahoma 42, Clemson 40[/membership]