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2022 predictions and picks for the college football bowl games

GettyImages 1444841084 e1671723737504
GettyImages 1444841084 e1671723737504
Prepare for the most delightful time of the year with our friends at FanDuel’s top college football bowl predictions.

No offense intended, but the bowl season is actually the best time of year. There are other times when the momentum builds and you’re a team of destiny and perhaps you just need to get lucky Once. While several of the supposed top contenders in August have since found themselves Falling Slowly—and some have fallen All the Way Down—there are other times when the momentum builds and you’re a team of destiny.

Yes, we will reach the CFP when we arrive. However, there is a mobile gridiron feast of Cheez-Its, mayonnaise, oranges, sugar, and the military-industrial complex to regale in, or perhaps drown in, and once you’ve decided how these celebratory chips are to fall, you might think about organizing a safe, legal bowl game about it.

If you are feeling the pull, you’re in luck since we asked our closest friends at to guide us with some accurate bowl game predictions. We were able to secure the greatest results for Oklahoma State, Washington, South Carolina, Clemson, Kansas State, and a ton of other teams

2022-23 CFB Bowl Game Predictions

Thursday, Dec. 22

ARMED FORCES BOWL: Baylor vs. Air Force

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

Baylor might be the favorite at the Armed Forces Bowl, but Air Force shouldn’t be overlooked. The Falcons have been one of the better teams on both sides of the ball. On one hand, they average the most rushing yards in the nation (312.9) and are more than capable of making big plays through the air. On the other, their defense allows the fewest total yards (256.4) and third-fewest points (13.3).

It’s just hard to like much that Baylor has done lately, regardless of how tough its opponents have been. I don’t expect the Bears’ frontline to stop the Falcons’ run attack either, especially after the former has averaged 169.0 rushing yards against in their last three games, having just surrendered 208 to Texas.

Air Force’s versatile attack should get the lead here before the run game locks things down until the final whistle.

AIR FORCE VS. BAYLOR ARMED FORCES BOWL PREDICTION: Air Force 33, Baylor 20

Friday, Dec. 23 Bowl Predictions

GASPARILLA BOWL: Wake Forest vs. Missouri

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

Wake Forest might have the better record here, but don’t let that distract you from its awful defense. The Demon Deacons haven’t been able to keep the ball out of their end zone lately, allowing 30-plus points in each of their last five games, averaging out to a 36.6 PPG rate.

Missouri’s offense isn’t elite, but it should be able to generate some numbers against Wake Forest’s defense. After all, the Tigers are averaging 40 more passing yards over their last three games (240.0) compared to their season average (204.7).

Those numbers are encouraging as they’re set to take on a Demon Deacons’ secondary that surrenders the fifth-most passing yards (285.0), which has only increased to a 398.7-yard rate over their last three games.

Though Wake Forest is decent enough to win, I smell a Missouri upset win in the cards.

MISSOURI VS. WAKE FOREST GASPARILLA BOWL PREDICTION: Missouri 38, Wake Forest 35

Tuesday, Dec. 27

GUARANTEED RATE BOWL: Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

campaign took a massive nosedive the longer the season went on. The Cowboys haven’t been able to keep things close when they lose, either, with their last four losses coming by an average margin of 22.3 points. Even if you remove the 49-0 blowout loss to Wisconsin from the group, losing by 13.7 points on average still isn’t anything to be proud of.

Wisconsin isn’t an offensive powerhouse (25.5 PPG, No. 76), but there should be plenty of opportunities to score. Oklahoma State surrenders 31.4 points (No. 104) and 460.0 total yards (No. 121) per game while allowing opponents to hold the ball for 31:13 (No. 93).

With how bad Oklahoma State has looked lately, the Cowboys are destined to be faded. Back a more consistent Wisconsin squad getting the job done in Phoenix.

OKLAHOMA STATE VS. WISCONSIN GUARANTEED RATE BOWL GAME PREDICTION: Wisconsin 27, Oklahoma State 18

Wednesday, Dec. 28 College Football Bowl Predictions

MILITARY BOWL: UCF vs. Duke

As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:

Things are not trending in the right direction for the Knights. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was in and out of the AAC Championship Game with an injury, while his backup Mikey Keene has entered the transfer portal. Plumlee will be far from 100% healthy if he suits up, so expect a ton of running plays.

That bodes well for a defense that gives up only 111.5 rushing yards per game (No. 17 in FBS) and allows just 3.5 yards per carry (No. 21 in FBS). The Blue Devils also average 31.6 points per game this season (No. 33 in FBS) and could pull away early in this one if they can force the Knights to pass.

Duke players will want to give first-year head coach Mike Elko a win here, so I’ll back the Blue Devils.

DUKE VS. UCF MILITARY BOWL PREDICTION: Duke 35, UCF 31

LIBERTY BOWL: Kansas vs. Arkansas

As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:

Kansas’ early season success was a great feel-good storyline, but its defense regressed as the season went on. The Jayhawks went from allowing 24.0 points per game in their first five games to giving up an average of 40.9 over their final seven games. Talk about falling apart.

A shaky run defense was to blame as Kansas finished last in the Big 12 when it came to rushing yards allowed per game (193.8). Look for Arkansas’ powerful backfield to make an impact in this matchup, as running back Raheim Sanders and quarterback KJ Jefferson have combined for 1,936 rushing yards.

Arkansas needs this win to salvage an otherwise disappointing season, so I’ll back the Razorbacks to pick up their third straight win in the Liberty Bowl.

ARKANSAS VS. KANSAS LIBERTY BOWL PREDICTION: Arkansas 41, Kansas 31

HOLIDAY BOWL: Oregon vs. UNC

As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:

This is going to be an exciting game between two teams that know how to reach the end zone. averages an impressive 36.9 points per game (No. 14 in FBS), while North Carolina puts up 33.3 points per game (No. 23 in FBS). Each team ranks among the top 20 in yards per game as well.

The Tar Heels will be without one of their top offensive players, though. Wide receiver Josh Downs has declared for the NFL Draft and will not suit up for the Liberty Bowl. He had logged 1,029 yards on 94 receptions this season. Ducks quarterback Bo Nix has announced he will play, however, which is a boost.

Look for freshman QB Drake Maye to struggle early on without his top target. That will give Oregon a chance to grab the lead and never look back.

UNC VS. OREGON HOLIDAY BOWL GAME PREDICTION: Oregon 38, North Carolina 28

TEXAS BOWL: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

A date with Texas Tech might be exactly what Ole Miss needs to taste success once again. The Rebels are 4-2 in six all-time matchups against the Red Raiders, tallying a 47-27 victory in their last meeting (Sept. 2018), which also happened to be at NRG Stadium.

Besides, it’s not like Ole Miss’ recent losses have come against bad teams. Three of those losses stem from games against LSU, Alabama, and Mississippi State — all ranked programs at the moment. Meanwhile, Texas Tech’s run is comprised of wins against Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Kansas, who have a combined 16-20 record with none of the trio being over .500.

Ole Miss is still a solid team despite its recent record and has the defensive edge over Texas Tech. I’ll take the Rebels forgetting about their recent woes with a victory in Houston.

OLE MISS VS. TEXAS TECH TEXAS BOWL PREDICTION: Ole Miss 38, Texas Tech 35

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Thursday, Dec. 29

CHEEZ-IT BOWL: Oklahoma vs. Florida State

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

Florida State’s offense has been firing on all cylinders over its five-game winning streak. The Seminoles have averaged 43.6 points over that stretch, finishing above 40 on four occasions. That’s not exactly good news for the Sooners, who’ve allowed opponents to score 32.3 PPG over their last four games and were just burned for 51 points by the Red Raiders.

Meanwhile, Florida State’s defense has looked much better. Opposing teams have scored more than 17 points only once against the Seminoles during their impressive run. With FSU also boasting a plus-14.4 scoring margin this season (No. 9), I just don’t see Oklahoma keeping things close.

Give me Florida State winning this one in lopsided fashion.

FSU VS. OKLAHOMA CHEEZ-IT BOWL PREDICTION: FSU 43, Oklahoma 24

ALAMO BOWL: Texas vs. Washington

As FairwayJay writes at TheDuel:

The Longhorns qualify as a defensive dominator, allowing just 21.2 points and 362 yards per game. Washington allows 28.2 points and 390 yards per game, and 5.5 yards per play vs. FBS opponents. The Longhorns’ strength is run defense, but they allow 239 passing YPG (No. 82) and Washington has the top pass attack in the country led by QB Michael Penix Jr. He’s passed for 4,354 yards (362/game) to lead the country while passing for 29 TDs.

Texas has a solid, balanced offensive attack led by top RB Bijan Robinson. The Longhorns run for 200 YPG and pass for 231 YPG. Quarterback Quinn Ewers has failed to pass for more than 200 yards in his last four games, but the Longhorns scored 34, 55 and 38 points in three wins. Texas was perfectly balanced on offense in beating Baylor to close the season against the Bears’ Big 12 average defense.

Washington’s run defense is pretty solid allowing 131 YPG vs. FBS foes, but their pass efficiency defense is below average. Washington only punted 22 times this season, but they will punt more than two times in this contest. Penix passed for 298 yards vs. Oregon State’s top Pac-12 defense, but wasn’t sacked in 52 dropbacks in a 24-21 win.

WASHINGTON VS. TEXAS ALAMO BOWL GAME PREDICTION: Texas 31, Washington 27

Friday, Dec. 30 Bowl Game Predictions

SUN BOWL: Pittsburgh vs. UCLA

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

Despite Pittsburgh’s solid play this season, the Panthers didn’t fare too well against ranked schools. After all, they lost a combined 76-51 against Tennessee and North Carolina. While they did secure a victory over Syracuse at the start of November, it’s worth pointing out that the Orange are 1-5 in their last six games and the loss to the Panthers was one of five in a row.

UCLA isn’t perfect, but it boasts an elite offense that puts up 39.1 points (No. 8) and 510.0 yards (No. 3) per game. UNC proved that the key to beating Pittsburgh is through the air (388 passing yards), which is doable for the Bruins, who average 261.2 aerial yards this season (No. 33).

Throwing in the fact that UCLA has also won 10 of its last 11 games as the favorite, it’s easy to see why the Bruins should be victorious at the Sun Bowl.

UCLA VS. PITT SUN BOWL PREDICTION: UCLA 41, Pitt 33

GATOR BOWL: Notre Dame vs. South Carolina

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

While has played well recently, its run defense has left a lot to be desired this season. Not only do the Gamecocks surrender the 21st-most rushing yards in the nation (197.2), but they’ve also allowed an average of 254.3 yards on the ground over their last three games. If that wasn’t bad enough, the 5.0 yards per carry that they surrender is also among the worst in the nation (No. 113).

The good news for Notre Dame is that its rushing attack is quite strong. The Fighting Irish put up 182.8 rushing yards per game (No. 41), with a lot of that having to do with names like Audric Estime and Logan Diggs in the backfield.

Considering how Diggs has toppled 100 yards three times in his last six games while Estime has also hit the century mark thrice this season, the duo will be key to Notre Dame’s Gator Bowl success.

While I expect South Carolina to put up a solid fight, I’m going with Notre Dame as the victor.

SOUTH CAROLINA VS. NOTRE DAME GATOR BOWL PREDICTION: Notre Dame 30, South Carolina 27

ORANGE BOWL: Tennessee vs. Clemson

As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:

Tennessee’s season truly took a turn when starting quarterback Hendon Hooker went down with a gruesome knee injury in Week 12. Backup Joe Milton was unable to mount a comeback against South Carolina, but the good news is that he looked improved against Vanderbilt (11-of-21, 147 yards, 1 touchdown).

That kind of effort is not going to be enough to beat , though. The Tigers have been stellar on defense, allowing 20.8 points (No. 16 in FBS) on 328.8 total yards per game (No. 21 in FBS). They have been especially great against the run, allowing just 100.8 rushing yards per contest (No. 9 in FBS).

Clemson is 18-2 straight up in its last 20 games as a favorite, so I trust the Tigers to earn a victory.

CLEMSON VS. TENNESSEE ORANGE BOWL FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Clemson 34, Tennessee 24

Saturday, Dec. 31

NOTE: Stay tuned for our College Football Playoff picks and predictions for New Year’s Eve.

SUGAR BOWL: Alabama vs. Kansas State

As Larry Rupp writes at TheDuel:

These teams have reached this bowl in very different ways. Alabama entered the season touted as an SEC Championship contender, yet failed to live up to those expectations due to a few close losses. Kansas State was not originally seen as a Big 12 threat, yet proved everyone wrong week after week.

Momentum is key at this point in the season and the Wildcats have it. They are expected to have zero opt-outs, meaning their stellar defense will be ready to go. Kansas State allows only 21.8 points per game (No. 27 in FBS) and has a third-down conversion percentage of 33.9% (No. 24 in FBS).

Alabama has lost in three of its last four Sugar Bowl appearances, so I’ll back Kansas State to pull off the upset.

KSU VS. ALABAMA SUGAR BOWL GAME PREDICTION: Kansas State 27, Alabama 24

MUSIC CITY BOWL: Iowa vs. Kentucky

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

If Iowa’s going to win this game, it’s going to be due to its stout defense. Before the loss to Nebraska, the Hawkeyes had allowed 13 or fewer points in four straight games. In fact, their scoring defense ranks sixth-best in the nation (15.5 PPG). They’re also allowing the seventh-fewest total yards per game (292.3) as well.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s offense has been far from consistent. Not only do the Wildcats average roughly five fewer points away from home (18.0 PPG) than they do at Kroger Field, but they also have been held to exactly six points twice in the last five games.

I’m expecting Iowa to rely on its defense to slow down and frustrate Kentucky, leading to another low-scoring win for the Hawkeyes.

KENTUCKY VS. IOWA MUSIC CITY BOWL PREDICTION: Iowa 20, Kentucky 17

Monday, Jan. 2 Bowl Predictions

RELIAQUEST BOWL: Mississippi State vs. Illinois

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

I really like Mississippi State in this matchup, especially after its win over Ole Miss (ranked No. 20 at the time), proving that the former can handle some of the better competition. It’s hard to say the same about Illinois, especially after three losses in its last four games with the only win in that stretch coming against the 1-11 Northwestern Wildcats.

Even with the Fighting Illini’s strong defense, they’re beatable through the air. They allow over 80 more passing yards in road and neutral site games (219.8) than they do at home (139.5). That might not be an eye-popping total, but it gives the Bulldogs’ offense more than enough to work with after averaging 32.6 completions (No. 1) and 310.9 passing yards (No. 11) this fall.

Illinois has also been outscored 70-38 in its last two bowl games, having not won in over a decade. With Mississippi State having won the Armed Forces Bowl just two years ago and going 10-5 in its last 15 bowl outings, it’s easy to see that the Bulldogs are capable of pulling off an upset to kick off 2023.

ILLINOIS VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE RELIAQUEST BOWL PREDICTION: Mississippi State 24, Illinois 21

NOTE: The above was written before the passing of Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach.

COTTON BOWL: Tulane vs. USC

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

One of the reasons why the Trojans came up short in the Pac-12 Championship Game is that they only generated 56 rushing yards on 27 carries against the Utes. Fortunately, Tulane’s frontline isn’t nearly as stout, surrendering 161.7 rushing yards per game (No. 74), which has increased to 173.7 over the last three outings.

USC also has the edge when it comes to the turnover department. Not only do the Trojans give up the ball less than any other team (0.5 per game), but they also force the seventh-most turnovers (2.1). While Tulane is relatively decent at holding onto the ball, the offense is coming off a three-turnover performance against UCF, so some vulnerability is there.

As long as USC sticks with what’s worked this season, a Cotton Bowl victory is attainable.

USC VS. TULANE COTTON BOWL GAME PREDICTION: USC 41, Tulane 38

CITRUS BOWL: LSU vs. Purdue

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

Though Purdue has won three of its last four games, two of those victories came against Indiana and Northwestern, who have a 5-19 combined record. As soon as the Boilermakers faced tougher competition in the form of the Wolverines, they collapsed, allowing 386 total yards and six offensive touchdowns.

LSU hasn’t been perfect, but it has performed well against noteworthy opponents, picking up wins against both Alabama and Ole Miss this season. Even though the Tigers were steamrolled by the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship, LSU head coach Brian Kelly can take solace in the fact that his team at least put up 549 total yards on one of the nation’s top defenses.

It’s going to be a hard-fought contest between two hungry teams, but LSU’s ability to step up in tough situations leads to me siding with the Tigers in the end.

PURDUE VS. LSU CITRUS BOWL PREDICTION: LSU 33, Purdue 27

ROSE BOWL: Penn State vs. Utah

As Devon Platana writes at TheDuel:

It’s hard to bet against Utah, especially after such an impressive performance to take home the Pac-12 Championship. The Utes absolutely brutalized the Trojans to the tune of 533 total yards, picking up six offensive touchdowns along the way.

Penn State might have some momentum, but three of the four wins over its successful run have come against sub-.500 opponents. That’s not exactly inspiring considering how the Nittany Lions are 0-2 against ranked competition this season, losing by double digits both times.

Although Penn State’s defense is solid, it won’t be a match for a Utah team that’s averaged 42.3 points over the last three games. The Utes are also hungry after last year’s Rose Bowl loss, only giving them more incentive to get the job done next month.

UTAH VS. PENN STATE CITRUS BOWL PREDICTION: Utah 38, Penn State 28

2022 predictions and picks for the college football bowl games

 

 

 

 

 

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