As everyone gets ready to ring in the New Year, college football is looking to end 2018 with a bang of its own as there are six bowl games scheduled for Monday, Dec. 31. Between history and intriguing matchups, the Dec. 31 slate has a little bit of everything.
The action kicks off in Annapolis, Maryland, with Cincinnati and Virginia Tech meeting in the Military Bowl for the second time in five years. Elsewhere across the country, Stanford and Pitt will face off for the first time in nearly 90 years in the nation's second-oldest bowl game, while former conference foes Missouri and Oklahoma State will renew acquaintances in Memphis, Tennessee. Contrasting styles will be on display out in Santa Clara, California, when Michigan State and Oregon meet in the Redbox Bowl while the Holiday Bowl a little further south in San Diego may not feature many points between Northwestern and Utah. Finally, NC State and Texas A&M should offer plenty of offensive fireworks in Jacksonville, Florida, just in time to welcome 2019.
So if you're wondering, "What college football bowl games are on today?" know this: There are six bowl games scheduled for today, Monday, Dec. 31.
12 p.m. ET on ESPN — Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
Why You Should Watch: The 2018 season was an up-and-down year for Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente, but the Hokies secured back-to-back victories to extend their bowl streak to 26 consecutive seasons. Injuries and roster turnover hindered both sides of the ball, but there’s optimism for 2019 with a good chunk of the roster set to return. Cincinnati took a big step forward in head coach Luke Fickell’s second year, as the Bearcats jumped from 4-8 to 10-2.
Spread: Cincinnati -5
2 p.m. ET on CBS — Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas
Why You Should Watch: The 2018 Sun Bowl is the first time Pitt and Stanford have met since the 1932 season. The Panthers were the surprise champion of the ACC’s Coastal Division, leaning on a strong rushing attack and a timely passing game to earn a trip to Charlotte. The rushing attack is usually the strength for the Cardinal’s offense under coach David Shaw. However, injuries along the offensive line and to running back Bryce Love (who is not playing in the Sun Bowl) shifted the focus to quarterback K.J. Costello.
Spread: Stanford -6.5
3 p.m. ET on FOX — Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Why You Should Watch: The bowl season always has a few intriguing games featuring teams with contrasting styles, and the Redbox Bowl certainly fits that mold this year. Oregon’s high-powered offense enters the postseason averaging 37.3 points a game, led by quarterback Justin Herbert, who has already announced he is returning for his senior season. Michigan State can counter with a defense that allowed only 16 points over its final two games and surrendered more than 30 points (Utah State) just once in the regular season. Defense is the unquestioned strength for head coach Mark Dantonio, but the Spartans are averaging only 4.7 yards a play on offense.
Spread: Oregon -3
3:45 p.m. ET on ESPN — Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn.
Why You Should Watch: As old Big 12 foes, there’s no shortage of familiarity between Missouri and Oklahoma State. And considering the firepower on both offenses, a high-scoring game should be anticipated. Behind quarterback Drew Lock and big-play receiver Emanuel Hall, the Tigers are averaging 36.9 points a contest. The Cowboys are a tick higher at 38.4 and scored 38 points to beat Texas, 47 in a loss to Oklahoma, and 45 in a win over West Virginia.
Spread: Missouri -7.5
7 p.m. ET on FS1 — SDCCU Stadium in San Diego
Why You Should Watch: Utah ended the regular season by scoring only three points in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and head coach Kyle Whittingham’s offense has been hit hard by injuries. Northwestern was one of the Big Ten’s top surprise teams in 2018. The Wildcats claimed the West Division title, led by the steady play of quarterback Clayton Thorson and a defense that held opponents to just 23.5 points a game. Points could be at a premium in this one.
Spread: Utah -6.5
7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN — TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Why You Should Watch: Jimbo Fisher’s first year in College Station was a successful one, as he guided the Aggies to an 8-4 finish and a trip to a Florida bowl. Fisher is no stranger to playing NC State, as he took on the Wolfpack on an annual basis as Florida State’s head coach. Both teams are holding opponents under 27 points a game but don’t be surprised if the offenses control the pace of this matchup.
Spread: Texas A&M -4.5