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College football bowl games preview and live chat, Opening Weekend

Bowl season begins with small-school and third-day prospects.

This Friday and Saturday marks the beginning of college football bowl season—aka Bowlapalooza—and although it’s become a trend for big-time and/or first-round prospects to skip their bowl games, there are still plenty of players to keep your eyes on. Below you’ll find information about each of the bowl games slated for Saturday as well as the main NFL prospects to watch.

As always, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy the weekend.

Central Michigan vs. San Diego State
New Mexico Bowl
2:00 PM Eastern, ESPN

Central Michigan is a young team on the rise in the MAC, so they don’t have many 2020 prospects outside of their stud pass rusher Sean Adesanya. The 24-year old grad transfer has seven sacks on the year. The real reason to tune into to this game is the Aztecs and their absolutely stellar defense. San Diego State’s defense has dominated opponents all season, thanks to star cornerback Luq Barcoo—who is second in the FBS with eight interceptions—and linebacker Kyahva Tezino. Tezino hasn’t been quite as statistically productive as he was in 2018, but he’s still a great leader in the middle of that defense.

Liberty vs. Georgia Southern
Cure Bowl
2:30 PM Eastern, CBSSN

The big draw for this game is Liberty’s 6-foot-4, 220-lb wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. The senior wide receiver is a physical marvel who gets open on sheer size and catching ability more so then speed. On the other side—trying to slow down Gandy-Golden—is Georgia Southern cornerback Kindle Vildor. The senior corner is a scrappy player who will compete with the Liberty wide receiver for every inch. Whichever player wins that match-up has the chance to really raise their draft stock.

SMU at Florida Atlantic
Boca Raton Bowl
3:30 PM Eastern, ABC

The offensive talent that will be featured in this game is made of some future mid-round picks who should have a chance to be productive in the NFL. SMU’s Reggie Roberson Jr. and James Proche are smaller wide receivers who can attack you deep down the field. On the other side, FAU tight end Harrison Bryant—a Senior Bowl invitee and John Mackey Award winner—finished the season with 65 catches for 1,004 yards and four touchdowns. Expect fireworks during this match-up.

Florida International vs. Arkansas State
Camellia Bowl
5:30 PM Eastern, ESPN

The FBS leader in receiving yards—outside of LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase—is a little-known wideout from Arkansas State. Like many of the wide receivers coming out this year, Omar Bayless isn’t the most athletic, but he has circus-catch ability and great hand-eye coordination. An NFLPA Invitee, expect Bayless to be a lower-round draft pick.

No. 19 Boise State vs. Washington
Las Vegas Bowl
7:30 PM Eastern, ABC

Both teams have a smattering of very good NFL prospects on both sides of the ball. At the top is Broncos edge rusher Curtis Weaver. The junior pass rusher hasn’t had less than nine sacks in his three seasons. Boise also has a versatile offensive lineman in John Molchon, who has played three positions along the line just this season. Washington also has their own dominant lineman in left tackle Trey Adams. Washington’s other big draw is their quarterback Jacob Eason. The transfer has the size and arm talent you want, but some major decision-making issues.

No. 20 Appalachian State vs UAB
New Orleans Bowl
9:00 PM Eastern, ESPN

There’s a reason that Appalachian State linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither was one of my picks for a college football riser during the 2020 season. The 6’2” 218-lb linebacker won’t be every team’s cup of tea, but a smart team will utilize the speedy ‘backer to the fullest extent possible.