Ranked teams will be going at it for the first time this bowl season on Dec. 28 as the Alamo Bowl plays host to the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners and the the No. 14 Arizona Wildcats in one of the four bowl games taking place.
As New Year’s Eve approaches bowl games are beginning to become more meaningful. Dec. 27 was the first time there were multiple Power-Five matchups this season, and Dec. 28 will be similar. There are two ranked matchups today, and one of them is a top-15 matchup
Fenway Bowl – No. 24 SMU (11-2)(-9.5) vs. Boston College (6-6) – 11 a.m. on ESPN
The 24th ranked SMU Mustangs will take on the Boston College Golden Eagles in the first matchup of the day. The Mustangs are coming off of an American Athletic Conference Championship, and they will be taking on a future conference opponent in Boston College.
The game will essentially be a home game for the Golden Eagles. SMU is traveling to Boston, Mass. to play in the legendary Fenway Park.
SMU is the biggest favorite of the day. Some Mustang faithful thought SMU’s 11-2 record with a conference championship should have been enough to put them in a NY6 bowl game.
Still find it cruel SMU goes 11-2 with one of those losses being to OU and go undefeated in the AAC and get stuck playing in the Fenway bowl at 11 am on a Thursday in the freezing cold in Boston lol. Deserved that ny6 bowl way more than Liberty.
— BryceHarperSZN (@j_coop131) December 27, 2023
SMU will be without starting quarterback Preston Stone. QB Kevin Jennings will be filling in just as he did in the AAC Championship game. Running back Jaylan Knighton will be the main focus of the SMU offense, and Boston College linebacker Vinny DePalma and defensive back John Pupel will be there to stop him
Pinstripe Bowl – Rutgers (6-6)(-2.5) vs. Miami (Fla.) (7-5)- 2:15 p.m. on ESPN
In another matchup that is extremely close to home for one time, head coach Greg Schiano’s Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be taking on head coach Mario Cristobal’s Miami Hurricanes. Rutgers will be leaning on Big 10 rushing leader, running back Kyle Monangai.
Monangai will be joined by quarterback Gavin Wimsatt in the backfield, who was the main QB for Rutgers for the entire season. The two combined for over 1,500 yards on the ground in 2023.
With Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke transferring to the Wisconsin Badgers, and backup quarterback Emory Williams out with an injury, quarterback Jacurri Brown will start for the Hurricanes. Brown has zero pass attempts this season. One of the offensive leaders, wide receiver Xavier Restrepo, will be playing and must be leaned on for Brown to see any sort of success.
Restrepo will be looking to cross the 1,000-yard mark in this game as he currently sits at 993 yards receiving. Restrepo has five games in which he eclipsed the century mark, and he was just seven yards away from a 200-yard game against the Louisville Cardinals.
Pop-Tarts Bowl – No. 18 NC State (9-3) vs No. 25 Kansas State (8-4)(-2.5) – 5:45 on ESPN
Starting quarterback Will Howard is one of the most sought after recruits in the transfer portal, and as a result quarterback Avery Johnson will be making the start for the Kansas State Wildcats as they take on the NC State Wolfpack. Johnson will not be able to rely on Kansas State’s best deep threat, wide receiver Phillip Brooks.
The NC State Wolfpack are hot as they are coming off of a five-game winning streak. The starting quarterback for NC State will be Brennan Armstrong, and his main target will be wide receiver Kevin Concepcion. The Wolfpack will be without key defender and linebacker Payton Wilson, who is preparing for the draft.
Had a few things gone another way, both of these teams could’ve have been in their respective conference championships. Instead they will have to duel it out in Orlando, Fla. as NC State looks for their first 10-win season since 2002.
Alamo Bowl – No. 12 Oklahoma (10-2) vs No. 14 Arizona (9-3)(-3) – 9:15 p.m. on ESPN
The most anticipated matchup of the day will take place in San Antonio, Texas as the Oklahoma Sooners will take on the Arizona Wildcats. Oklahoma and Arizona could find themselves in the top-10 after a win in this bowl game.
The Wildcats were 1-11 just two years ago, and they are now looking for their first 10-win season in nearly a decade. Standout freshman quarterback Noah Fifita will be competing for an Arizona Wildcats Alamo Bowl victory.
Oklahoma is the only team to beat the College Football Playoff participant Texas Longhorns so far this season. but they dropped two in a row shortly after. They lost to the Kansas Jayhawks and the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the last Bedlam game for the foreseeable future.
Oklahoma star quarterback Dillon Gabriel is transferring to the Oregon Ducks, and backup quarterback Jackson Arnold will be taking his place in the bowl game. Arnold will be missing a good chunk of his offensive line.
New Oklahoma offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, will be learning the ropes with the former five-star. In an article from Tulsa World, Littrell shows excitement for what the new experience will bring.
“Like I told him, we’re both getting our first start together,” Littrell said. “It’ll be an amazing time. No one to do it better with. Like I told him, we’ve got great playmakers around us, great coaches around us that are going to make plays for us too.”