The first two of four Friday bowls are the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas and the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, and both games could come down to the wire if the opponents are as closely-matched as they appear. Getting straight to it, here’s what you need to know about each game.
More: See the other bowl games
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: BYU Cougars (9-3) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-4, 7-1 C-USA), Noon [ESPN]
Both of these teams have played solid football lately — the Cougars have won eight of their last nine games, scoring at least 40 points in the final three of those games (all wins). Tulsa won seven games in a row in the middle of the year, and all four of their losses came to teams that were ranked in the top-10 when they faced off.
This should be a fast-paced, exciting football game. During their seven-game winning streak, the Golden Hurricane scored 35 points or more six times. BYU quarterback Riley Nelson is back after suffering an injury Nov. 12 against Idaho, so we’ll see how the offense performs when they’re full-strength.
I really like Tulsa. They have a solid offense and their defense has is capable of making enough stops to win this game. There may be a lot of points in this game, but that should be exciting for the fans, right?
My prediction: Tulsa 51, BYU 46
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4, 4-3 Big East) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (6-6, 3-6 Big 12), 3:20 p.m. [ESPN]
This game is tough to predict for one reason — Iowa State’s victory over Oklahoma State. I want to believe Rutgers will play well enough to beat ISU, but that Nov. 18 game told me the Cyclones are capable of anything.
Iowa State played a very tough schedule, taking on the meat of the Big 12 one after another. In a stretch of two months, the Cyclones played Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas State, and they managed to win two games of those five. Meanwhile, Rutgers played a very weak schedule, facing (and losing) to only one ranked team — West Virginia, who was ranked No. 25 at the time.
Still, I have faith in Rutgers.
This is a long trip for ISU, but Yankee Stadium is right up the road for fans of the Scarlet Knights. I think that will be an important factor, and even if Rutgers hasn’t been as battle-tested, they also haven’t been beaten up and worn down by one good team after another, like Iowa State was this year.
This is RU’s second game at Yankee Stadium this season, as they beat Army 27-12 in the Bronx on Nov. 12. So as long as Rutgers fans return to the stadium for a second time, they will have a sizable home-field advantage.
My prediction: Rutgers 22, Iowa State 17