Throughout the season, Tomahawk Nation has looked at what results Florida State football fans should root for, and bowl week is no different. The 'Noles have an impressive opportunity to win 11 games, including a New Year's Six bowl, and finish in the Top Ten (minimum) in a 2015 campaign that was dubbed as a rebuilding year. Outside of FSU's Peach Bowl matchup against Houston at noon on December 31st, there are other bowl games that Seminole fans should be watching as they attempt to get in their final fill of college football action before the nine-month period of darkness that precedes the 2016 season.
As we close the final rooting guide of the 2015 college football season, Tomahawk Nation would like to wish all of our readers a hearty Happy 'Nole Year. Here's to a fantastic Peach Bowl and another FSU national title run in 2016. While not every remaining bowl game is listed in the rooting guide (does FSU really have a rooting interest in Central Michigan vs. Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl?), the bowl games that FSU fans could muster a rooting interest in are included below in chronological order. Disagree with some of the picks? Let me know in the comments.
Military Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Navy, 2:30 on ESPN
Pittsburgh. In otherwise neutral bowl games, it is a good rule of thumb to pull for the ACC representative. The Military Bowl is being played at Navy's home stadium in Annapolis, which is interesting.
Russell Athletic Bowl: North Carolina vs. Baylor, 5:30 on ESPN
North Carolina. UNC was a bad offside call from making the ACCCG against Clemson extremely interesting. FSU got the Peach Bowl nod over UNC as the ACC representative, so there's no reason not to pull for the Heels to finish up a Top-10 year with a win over Baylor in Orlando. Baylor is limping to the end of the 2015 season, so a UNC win should be expected. Having three ACC teams finish the year in the Top Ten, particularly one from the Coastal, would be great for the conference.
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: LSU vs. Texas Tech, 9:00 on ESPN
Texas Tech. LSU couldn't get Jimbo, so FSU fans no longer have to hope LSU does well enough to keep Les Miles around. Plus, when in doubt, always pull against the SEC.
Birmingham Bowl: Auburn vs. Memphis, 12:00 on ESPN
Memphis. If Memphis is able to beat Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl, they'll finish with the same number of SEC wins as Auburn managed to win in 2015. With Justin Fuente now the head coach in Blacksburg and with Paxton Lynch likely headed to the NFL, this game may be the end of a run for the Memphis Tigers. It's safe to assume that everyone is hoping for less fecal matter from the SEC representative in the 2015 edition of this bowl game.
Belk Bowl: NC State vs. Mississippi State, 3:30 on ESPN
NC State. This would be a nice win for the ACC if mid-level ACC Atlantic member NC State is able to beat mid-level SEC West member Mississippi State in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. NC State should have the crowd advantage for this one as well.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville vs. Texas A&M, 7:00 on ESPN
Louisville. See above.
Capital One Orange Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Clemson, 4:00 on ESPN
Most FSU fans will probably root for (or against) Clemson due solely to conference affiliation. Both sides of the argument can be defended rationally. I'll leave this one as a tossup, but I imagine most FSU fans will pull for Clemson (I'm personally pulling for Oklahoma).
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Michigan State vs. Alabama, 8:00 on ESPN
Michigan State. It would be nice to once again have a national championship without an SEC team playing in it, but on paper this is a really good matchup for Alabama. That being said, the same thing was said about Alabama's playoff matchup against a Big Ten team last year, too.
Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Tennessee, 12:00 on ESPN2
Northwestern. There is no reason to pull for a SEC team in a neutral game, and a Northwestern win over an SEC school would be enjoyable to watch.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida, 1:00 on ABC
Michigan. It's a no-brainer to pull against the Gators in a bowl game that features two basketball schools who were dominated by their rivals on the final weekend of the regular season. The Gators quickly came back down to earth over the past few weeks of the 2015 season, and their future now looks more gloomy with the announced early departures of much of their offensive firepower to the NFL Draft coming shortly after the news of Will Grier's transfer broke. In other words, rooting for UF to close the 2015 season with three ugly losses, carrying no momentum into the 2016 season, is something to pull for (hello, recruiting). Florida and Michigan will also open the 2017 season in Arlington.
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State, 1:00 on ESPN
Notre Dame. Notre Dame is essentially a pseudo-ACC member, and FSU fans avoid rooting for Urban Meyer whenever possible. Both of these teams are ranked ahead of FSU in the CFP rankings, so at the minimum either outcome will help FSU in the final standings if the 'Noles win the Peach Bowl. I'll always think of Tostitos when I think of the Fiesta Bowl, but BattleFrog is, at the least, a rather unique alternate corporate sponsor for this bowl game.
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Stanford vs. Iowa, 5:00 on ESPN
Iowa. The Hawkeyes only have one loss, and Stanford has two. Even assuming FSU takes care of business in the Peach Bowl, it's unlikely that the 'Noles will jump an Iowa team that lost the Big 10 Championship Game and the Rose Bowl in the final standings. However, it would be even more improbable to think that a 3-loss Stanford would stay ahead of FSU in the final standings if FSU wins the Peach Bowl and Stanford loses the Rose Bowl to Iowa. Because FSU has a better chance of rising in the final standings with a Stanford loss, Seminoles fans should root for Iowa in the Rose Bowl.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss, 8:30 on ESPN
Oklahoma State. FSU faces Ole Miss in the opening game of the 2016 season, but Ole Miss will suffer so much roster turnover between now and September that the Rebels will barely look recognizable in Orlando. An Ole Miss Sugar Bowl win would do little more than give Ole Miss momentum heading into National Signing Day and the FSU matchup to kickoff 2016. Because the cons outweigh the pros of pulling for an Ole Miss win in order to get them ranked higher for next season, FSU fans should pull for Oklahoma State. Regardless of the outcome, Ole Miss will probably reward themselves with participation rings like they did for their 42-3 loss in the Peach Bowl last year anyway.
TaxSlayer Bowl: Penn State vs. Georgia, 12:00 on ESPN
Penn State. James Franklin knows UGA pretty well from his time at Vanderbilt, and there's no reason to pull for UGA in this rather meaningless bowl game. Will Georgia fans even bother to venture back to Jacksonville for this lackluster bowl matchup with an interim coach? Given their recent history there, I imagine most Bulldog fans get nightmares just thinking of the Bold New City of the South.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kansas State vs. Arkansas, 3:20 on ESPN
Kansas State. Again, there's no reason to pull for an SEC team in a lower-tier, otherwise neutral matchup. Too bad Bret's Razorbacks don't bother to even show up for the college football season until late October, otherwise they might be rather decent.