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2017-2018 bowl schedule and FSU rooting guide

Here’s to uniting through mutual hatred.

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-North Carolina State vs Vanderbilt Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The vast majority of bowl games don’t really mean anything. But they’re also your last gasp of college football until next season, and the alternative is actually talking to your family. That said, if you’re going to watch exhibition football, you may as well have someone to root for, so we put together this schedule of each bowl game, as well as which squads you should be supporting as an FSU fan.

The games are listed in the order that they’ll be played, so be sure to check back in each day, so you know who to pull for (or against, Scrooge).

Dec. 16

Celebration Bowl: Grambling vs. North Carolina A&T

Noon, ABC

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

I know nothing about either of these teams, but A&T’s head coach is named Rod Broadway, which is pretty awesome. However, A&T’s mascot is the Aggies. Over the last month or so, the mention of that mascot has me running on about three or four hours of sleep per night, and while I don’t mind the work, I really dig my sleep. So go Grambling.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas

1 p.m., ESPN

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Jimbo Fisher’s new offensive coordinator at Texas A&M was the head coach at North Texas from 1998-2006, and they named their practice facility after him, so we’re gonna go ahead and root against the Mean Green, considering how Fisher strung out FSU in his waning days as the Seminoles’ head coach. Plus, aside from FSU, Troy is the closest bowl-school to Tallahassee, geographically.

AutoNation Cure Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State

2:30 p.m., CBSSN

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

You’ve heard a lot about Western Kentucky lately, as it’s the alma mater of new FSU head coach Willie Taggart, and you’re probably going to hear even more as he fills out his coaching staff. So hey, why not pull for the new coach’s former school? Plus, how can you beat the Hilltoppers’ mascot, Big Red?

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-Memphis vs Western Kentucky Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Bowl: No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon

3:30 p.m., ABC

Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada

That loyalty to Taggart’s old schools? Yeah, it only goes so far. In 2014, the Ducks ended FSU’s 29-game winning streak and back-to-back title chances in blowout fashion. The Seminoles repaid that by stealing UO’s head coach, but that Rose Bowl catastrophe resonates. Plus, the ’Noles open the 2019 against Boise State in Jacksonville, so here’s hoping the Broncos come in on a massive winning streak.

GILDAN New Mexico Bowl: Marshall vs. Colorado State

4:30 p.m., ESPN

Branch Field at Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Former Florida coach Jim McElwain went to Gainesville after a successful campaign at CSU. FSU fans owe the Rams a debt for the gift that was his three years in Hogtown.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State

8 p.m., ESPN

Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Alabama

The Blue Raiders beat Syracuse, which beat Clemson. So I guess it makes the ACC look better if they win. Plus, haven’t fans of Tennessee teams been through enough this year?

Dec. 19

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl: Akron vs. Florida Atlantic

7 p.m., ESPN

Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, Florida

Hey, flashback! You get to cheer for a Bowden again— Terry Bowden, Bobby’s son, has been the head coach of the Zips since 2012. On the other sideline, Lane Kiffin, who is kind of like the Ric Flair of college football coaches. Love him or hate him, he’s super talented and fascinating to watch. This is an under-the-radar game.

Dec. 20

DXL Frisco Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. SMU

8 p.m., ESPN

Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas

SMU head coach Chad Morris recently took the big job at Arkansas. Before that, he was the OC at Clemson. Clemson doesn’t need any more reason than it already has to puff out its chest, so here’s to LA Tech.

Dec. 21

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. Florida International

8 p.m., ESPN

Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

Attention to the state of Florida is a good thing. If these smaller programs can keep improving, FSU could schedule them for non-conference matchups without having to leave the state or take a major hit to their strength of schedule. Plus, trips to south Florida never suck for recruiting.

Dec. 22

Bahamas Bowl: UAB vs. Ohio

12:30 p.m., ESPN

Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas

You gotta love this trip to the Caribbean for UAB. After their football program was scrapped following the 2014 season, the Blazers returned to the gridiron this year and qualified for postseason play. If you’re not rooting for them, you’re probably kind of a dick.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming

4 p.m., ESPN

Lyle Smith Field at Albertans Stadium, Boise, Idaho

FSU and CMU have something in common: just as the Seminole Tribe of Florida supports Florida State’s use of the Seminoles as its symbol, so does the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation endorse Central Michigan’s use of the Chippewas. Plus, my master’s degree is from CMU, so y'all have to root for them, too. Fire Up, Chips!

Dec. 23

Birmingham Bowl: Texas Tech vs. South Florida

Noon, ESPN

Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama

We’re staying aboard the Taggart train here, as well as supporting in-state teams. Plus, new FSU tight ends coach Telly Lockette spent three years with the Bulls. The better USF looks, the better FSU’s new coaches could look by having it on their resumes.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State vs. Army

3:30 p.m., ESPN

Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

I just don’t know of a good reason to ever root against a service academy. SDSU has another running back who’s dashed for a million yards against Pepperdine’s backgammon team, but here’s to the Knights for winning two straight against Navy after a 14-year skid.

Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo

7 p.m., ESPN

Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama

Once upon a time, App State won at Michigan, and who doesn’t love an underdog that has also delivered. Especially in the Big (Quiet) House.

Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Houston

8:30 p.m., ESPN

Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union Field at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

“FSU wins!” It just sounds good, right? Plus, Houston beat the Seminoles in the Peach Bowl the other year, and the Cougars are in Hawaii while the ’Noles are in pretty much the opposite of Hawaii. I’d say that Florida State, coming off a 6-6 regular season, deserves its bowl destination, but does anyone really deserve Shreveport?

Dec. 26

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia

1:30 p.m., ESPN

Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas

Will Grier led the Mountaineers to a nice season. You know who he didn’t lead to a nice season? Florida, where he was the QB before expanding his diet in a manner incommensurate with NCAA standards. And since this rooting guide comes from the perspective of an FSU fan, that kind of humiliation for UF is just good clean holiday fun for Seminoles.

Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

5:15 p.m., ESPN

Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

Conference loyalty is kind of lame, especially if you take it to the extent of the SEC’s “It just means more” campaign, which is inaccurate at best and straight-up pathetic at worst. But it’s okay to root for Duke when it’s not basketball.

Cactus Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA

9 p.m., ESPN

Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona

Root for the Bruins. That would make it more likely that Bill Snyder calls it a day at KSU, and then the Wildcats can bring Clemson DC Brent Venables in as its new head coach.

Dec. 27

Walk-On's Independence Bowl: Southern Miss vs. Florida State

1:30 p.m., ESPN

Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana

Duh. But be sure to check out our staff predictions for this one.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College

5:15 p.m., ESPN

Yankee Stadium, New York, New York

As an underdog, Iowa is a rather easy team to like. Last year, the Hawkeyes knocked off Michigan. This season, they spanked Ohio State. But Steve Addazio is even more likable, along with the whole ACC connection for BC. And while I pretty much hate both the Yankees and the Red Sox, it’s fun for everyone when Boston teams win in NYC.

Foster Farms Bowl: Arizona vs. Purdue

8:30 p.m., FOX

Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California

This is a reach, but Jeff Brohm coaches Purdue, a job he took after following up Taggart’s success at WKU. So I guess a win for the Boilermakers is also a win for Taggart’s legacy, in a roundabout way. And my dad is a boilermaker, by trade, so, yeah.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Texas vs. Missouri

9 p.m., ESPN

NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

Texas is one of those huge programs than can grab recruits from anywhere when it’s hitting on all cylinders. Mizzou is not. The Longhorns have been down, and it’s best for the rest of the college football blue-bloods — like FSU — if they continue to languish in mediocrity.

Dec. 28

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: Virginia vs. Navy

1:30 p.m. ESPN

Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

This is easy. One of these schools hosts elite academics and keeps its mouth shut while doing so. The other is UVA. While Virginia is a very good school, it’s got an Ivy League attitude without the chops to back it up. I’m going against the pro-ACC narrative here, because we all know that Warrick Dunn scored on that final play in 1995. Anchors Aweigh.

Camping World Bowl: No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State

5:15 p.m., ESPN

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

Florida State opens the 2018 season against the Hokies, so you want the latter ranked as highly as possible. And it’s just tough for me to pull against VT, as I was at the 1999 title game when FSU beat Virginia Tech. Tech’s fans are the nicest I’ve encountered from a team facing the Seminoles.

Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 13 Stanford vs. No. 15 TCU

9 p.m., ESPN

Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

Mike Bloomgren was the OC at Stanford since 2013 before recently taking the head coaching job at Rice. He’s also a Tallahassee native who graduated from Florida State magna cum laude. Keep rooting for this guy, because if FSU ever has a need for his services down the road (he’s just 40), it seems unlikely that he’d turn his back on Tallahassee if he’s willing to leave Palo Alto for Houston, even with a promotion.

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: No. 18 Washington State vs. No. 16 Michigan State

9 p.m., FOX

SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California

Washington State is a lot of fun, and it’s also probably much less a real threat to be a CFP participant in the future than Sparty. So even though my little sister graduated from MSU after playing volleyball for the Seminoles, the wiser choice here is to root for the Cougars, who, unlike the Spartans, have never made the playoff. For FSU, the Big Ten East doesn’t need to get any stronger than it is.

Dec. 29

Belk Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M

1 p.m. ESPN

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

You have to respect how fun Wake Forest was to watch this year, given that school’s scant resources allocated to football, and it’s an ACC school. Plus, Demon Deacons’ head coach Dave Clawson is a nice guy who’s never berated the media for honest questions that were spot on, some asked by yours truly. Do with that what you will.

Hyundai Sun Bowl: No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State

3 p.m., CBS

Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas

NCSU is not only an ACC school, it’s an ACC Atlantic foe that FSU faces every season. And as much as I pity ASU for its odd hiring of Herm Edwards, I’ve also been to its campus; believe me when I say that you should not feel bad for Arizona State students— they’re doing just fine.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Kentucky vs. No. 21 Northwestern

4:30 p.m., ESPN

Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee

There’s not much of an FSU connection here, but when in doubt, weaken the SEC East, because it’s just funnier that way when UF fails to win it. Plus, Northwestern is a plucky little program in both football and basketball, so why not?

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Utah State vs. New Mexico State

5:30 p.m., CBSSN

Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona

Two teams whose mascots are the Aggies. This is the first circle of hell. Flip a coin, then burn it, because this is just cruel.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 8 USC vs. No. 5 Ohio State

8:30 p.m., ESPN

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Are FSU fans really ready to root for former UF coach Urban Meyer? No. Should any decent person root for Urban Meyer, ever? No. USC is harmless enough— it gets a lofty preseason rank with the next greatest QB ever who winds up disappointing, and then the Trojans just fade away over the course of the year. Their consistency is actually quite commendable. Fight On.

Dec. 30

TaxSlayer Bowl: Louisville vs. No. 23 Mississippi State

Noon, ESPN

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida

Cowbells are the dumbest rooting gimmick in college football. They make World Cup vuvuzelas sound like a choir of angels, by comparison. They should be illegal, but so should a lot of things that happen in Mississippi. Pull for the Cards and the ACC.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. No. 20 Memphis

12:30 p.m., ABC

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee

Both of these teams had great years, but Florida State, as a member of a power-five conference, should pull for chaos when it comes to the little guy upsetting a member of a fellow P5 conference. Bowl games should never matter with regard to next year’s preseason rankings, but they do. And yes, somehow, ISU is the Goliath in this equation. So pull for the Tigers.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 11 Washington vs. No. 9 Penn State

4 p.m., ESPN

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

Sometimes, conference affiliation gives way to time zones. Washington can be good, and that’s fine, as it gives us something decent to watch at 10 on Saturday nights in the fall. But the Pac-12 has tripped over itself over recent years, so a Huskies victory is probably better for FSU than one for the Nittany Lions, a squad which most opinion-shapers consider well before Washington.

Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 10 Miami vs. No. 6 Wisconsin

8 p.m., ESPN

Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

Wisconsin has the best student section I’ve witnessed in person, and its fans travel in droves, both of which command respect. Here’s hoping the Badgers consume a wheel of turnover-cheese for every pick or fumble they grab. Plus, ’Scony supporters have a great hand-sign that plays off the Miami U, as demonstrated by Bucky below.

Wisconsin v BYU

Jan. 1

Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina

Noon, ESPN2

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

South Carolina getting better is just bad for UF, and they seldom clash in recruiting with FSU. Michigan and Jim Harbaugh, however, are all about the satellite camps in recruiting-rich areas like the Sunshine State. And going up against Michigan money can be a losing proposition. Plus, Sandstorm is absolutely made for Tampa.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 12 UCF vs. No. 7 Auburn

12:30 p.m., ESPN

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

Central Florida has been a great story this year, but it’s not really a threat to FSU in the state. That said, the Knights are the highest scoring team in the country and have been a blast to watch this season. Here’s hoping they keep it going and bring more attention to Florida. Auburn will always have its prized tradition centered on toilet paper.

Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton's: No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU

1 p.m., ABC

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida

Keep rooting for Notre Dame to lose. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because the less success the Irish have as an independent, the more likely they’ll be to join the ACC as a full member in football, like they are in every other sport. This would mean more money for FSU. Money is good. Welcome to college football.

College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Oklahoma

5 p.m., ESPN

Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

The Seminoles have numerous run-ins with UGA on the recruiting trail. Oklahoma? Not so much. And given the Bulldogs’ rising profile in the southeast, FSU could totally handle a setback being thrown their way. Boomer Sooner.

College Football Playoff at the Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 Clemson

8:45 p.m., ESPN

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Tide and Tigers meet in the playoff for the third straight year. These are the best teams in the country over the last couple of years, when they’ve split their meetings to decide the national championship. FSU faces both of these schools in recruiting, but it competes closer with Clemson. That said, when your conference’s big dog once again bests the top gun of your regional-rival conference, that’s not a bad thing. But it ends there. Root for the Tigers here, and then to lose to Oklahoma in the title game. Clemson doesn’t need that much more of a lead.

That’ll do it— hope y'all have a great holiday season! And, of course, you should root for whichever team is playing against Florida in a bowl. Oh, wait...