The 2016-17 college football bowl season officially begins tomorrow with five games on the schedule. It seems hard to believe that another football season has come and gone in the NCAA, but the best and brightest games are to come over the next 30 days as 41 bowl games are scheduled to take place.
For college football fans, tomorrow is the beginning of the best month of the season.
ESPN reported that the college bowl season officially kicks off tomorrow at High Noon when North Carolina Central takes on Grambling in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.
Of course, while none of the games tomorrow will have an effect on this year's national champion, there is just something special about every bowl game. Each school gets a chance to have a stage of their own for 3-4 hours as the spotlight is directly on them. It really is one of the best times for college sports outside of the annual March Madness basketball tournaments.
One game that will probably draw more attention than the others on December 17 will be the Houston Cougars taking on the San Diego State Aztecs in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Houston had big dreams for 2016, and after starting the season 5-0, including a huge win over Oklahoma, the Cougars were rightfully dreaming of the college football playoffs.
Those dreams were crushed on October 8, when they were out-dueled by the Navy Midshipmen 46-40. Two weeks later, the possibility of playing in a New Year's Six game were officially dashed when Houston stumbled as a heavy favorite against SMU.
Nevertheless, Houston doesn't want to go out as a loser in 2016 as they try to salvage a season that was full of big dreams. It won't be easy for the Cougars, as they will be facing a pretty good San Diego State squad, who has a pretty darn good guy in the backfield.
Donnel Pumphrey will have the spotlight on him the entire game when the Mountain West champion San Diego State Aztecs hit the field in the Las Vegas Bowl Saturday afternoon.
Pumphrey may be college football's best kept secret. The SDSU running back needs 108 yards to surpass Wisconsin's Ron Dayne as the all-time leading career rusher in FBS history. Dayne doesn't mind if his record is broken, however, he did express his opinion on the matter.
"He's gonna have (an asterisk) by his name if he breaks the record anyway," said Dayne, who starred at Wisconsin from 1996-1999. "They didn't use none of my bowl games." "Records are made to be broken," Dayne said. "Good luck to him, and I wish him the best."
The former Wisconsin big man has a valid point. The NCAA began counting bowl games toward regular season and career statistical totals in 2002, which is when Dayne was finished at Wisconsin.
While the all-time rushing record could be broken, don't tell that to an aggravated Houston team, who wants no part of watching an opponent celebrate such a thing.
Below is a look at the schedule, odds, live stream and TV information for every college bowl game scheduled for Saturday, December 17. Let the games begin!
Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
- North Carolina Central vs. Grambling (-15)
- 12 p.m., ABC -- Live Stream ESPN3
- Georgia Dome, Atlanta
- New Mexico (-7) vs. UTSA
- 2 p.m., ESPN -- Live Stream Watch ESPN
- University Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M.
- Houston (-3) vs. San Diego State
- 3:30 p.m., ABC -- Live Stream ESPN 3
- Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
- Appalachian State vs. Toledo (-1)
- 5:30 p.m., ESPN -- Live Stream ESPN 3
- Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.
- UCF (-6) vs. Arkansas State
- 5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
- Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
- Southern Mississippi (-6.5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
- 9 p.m., ESPN -- Live Stream Watch ESPN
- Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans