We're back continuing the postseason college football Bowl match-ups. There are two games on the slate for Christmas Eve, where tropical weather is the theme during our Holiday Season of Bowl games today. Our first tropical match-up takes us to the beautifully majestic scenes of the Bahamas for the Bahamas Bowl, pitting Middle Tennessee against Western Michigan. Continuing our views of serenity, the next match-up will be hosted by the Hawai'i Bowl, where San Diego State will battle it out against Cincinnati. Enjoy the games today and Seasons Greetings!
* = indicates junior status
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Western Michigan Broncos
Location: Nassau, Bahamas | Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium
Game time: 9:00 AM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley backpack; cap; Rock 'Em Apparel socks; Jabra Bluetooth speaker.
Middle Tennessee (7-5) is coming into the action on a four-game winning streak and have only allowed seven points in each of their last two games. The Blue Raiders have an explosive offense, led by freshman quarterback Brent Stockstill, the son of the Blue Raiders' Head Coach, Rick Stockstill. Brent dominated Conference USA (conference freshman of the year) throwing for 3,678 yards and 27 touchdowns giving up 8 interceptions. On the defensive side of the ball, the Blue Raiders are a ball-hawking team, tied for 15th among all FBS teams with 16 interceptions. Safety draft prospect Kevin Byard is a major force on defense plucking 4 interceptions for the year and 19 interceptions for his career. Byard is a hard working physical safety prospect with great strength, vision, ball skills, fluidity, awareness, quickness, and a nose for the ball looking to make turnovers at every encounter.
Middle Tennessee Draft Prospects:
RB Jordan Parker, No. 6, 6'1 - 222 lbs., 4.67 40 - (UFA)
WR Ed'Marques Batties, No. 80, 6'0 - 198 lbs., - (UFA)
OT/OG Darius Johnson, No. 75, 6'3 - 305 lbs., 5.23 40 - (7th)
OLB T.T. Barber, No. 38, 6'1 - 230 lbs., 4.78 40 - (UFA)
SS Kevin Byard, No. 20, 5'11 - 226 lbs., 4.62 40 - (5th)
Western Michigan (7-5) also finished the regular season strong winning six of their last eight games, amongst them a win against then ranked No. 24 Toledo. Moreover, the Broncos also have a prolific offense with outstanding wide receivers, where Corey Davis (11 TDs) and Daniel Braverman (12 TDs) each have over 1,200 yards receiving respectively. Moreover, the Broncos are second only to Stanford in time of possession averaging a little over 34 minutes per game. Therefore, look for the Broncos to control the clock in what should be a barn burning high scoring game.
Western Michigan Draft Prospects:
WR *Corey Davis, No. 84, 6'3 - 205 lbs., 4.62 40 - (6th)
OT Willie Beavers, No. 70, 6'5 - 312 lbs., 5.17 40 - (4th-5th)
CB Ronald Zamort, No. 7, 5'10 - 175 lbs, 4.49 40 - (UFA)
SS Rontavious Atkins, No. 1, 6'0 - 207 lbs., 4.63 40 - (UFA)
San Diego State Aztecs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Location: Honolulu, HI | Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium
Game time: 5:00 PM PT
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Bowl gift swag: Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses and backpack; Tori Richard aloha shirt; surf trunks; team performance wear; Urban Barrels beach bag and towel.
San Diego State (10-3) comes into postseason on a tear, winning nine straight games after a 1-3 start. The match-up will be the second only meeting between these two teams, where the Aztecs look to even the score at 1-1. Look for the Aztecs' defense to be a major force in the game, allowing only 17.2 points per game (10th-best in FBS). Moreover, the Aztecs' defensive is an opportunistic squad forcing 11 fumble recoveries and 20 interceptions, seven of those interceptions are from outstanding junior defensive back, Damontae Kazee, a prospect strongly considering entering the 2016 NFL Draft. Another factor is the Aztecs rushing attack led by the talented Donnel Pumphrey, where the team has been averaging 235 yards a game facing a lackluster Cincinnati rushing defense allowing an average of 190 yards per game.
San Diego State Draft Prospects:
RB *Donnel Pumphrey, No. 19, 5'9 - 175 lbs., 4.49 40 - (5th)
FB Dakota Gordon, No. 46, 5'10 - 235 lbs., 4.87 40 - (7th-UFA)
OT Pearce Slater, No. 71, 6'7 - 335 lbs., 5.28 40 - (6th)
OG Darrell Greene 72, 6'3 - 322 lbs., 5.38 40 - (7th)
CB *Damontae Kazee, No. 23, 5'11 -180 lbs., 4.55 40 - (5th)
Cincinnati (7-5) enters the postseason going 2-2 for the last four games and 4-4 in conference play (AAC). The Bearcats have a prolific offense averaging 559.4 yards per game; however, it appears their starting quarterback, Gunner Kiel, will not be in action for today's game. Kiel will miss the Bowl game with undisclosed personal reasons; nevertheless, redshirt freshman Hayden Moore has stepped in admirably during Kiel's absences earlier in the season, so Moore should transition well. The Aztecs's stout defense will try to force the Bearcats to be one-dimensional, but look for Cincinnati to take advantage of their potent passing offense, which ranks 4th in the nation in passing yards (373.1 yards per game). Coach Tommy Tuberville is 0-2 in Bowl games with Cincinnati, so he'll definitely be looking for his first Bowl win under the Bearcats.
Cincinnati Draft Prospects:
QB *Gunner Kiel, No. 11, 6'4 - 208 lbs., 4.85 40 - (5th)
WR Mekale McKay, No. 2, 6'5 - 195 lbs., 4.46 40 - (5th)
WR Chris Moore, No. 15, 6'1 - 190 lbs., 4.49 40 - (6th-7th)
WR Shaq Washington, No. 19, 5'8 - 178 lbs., 4.48 40 - (7th-UFA)
OT Parker Ehinger, No. 78, 6'7 - 318 lbs., 5.27 40 - (4th)
DE Silverberry Mouhon, No. 92, 6'3 - 252 lbs., 4.86 40 - (7th-UFA)