Saturday marks the beginning of college football’s bowl season with a handful of bowl games to entertain you. San Jose State will be a part of the first bowl day of the season when it takes on Georgia State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando. The Spartans are fortunate to be in the bowl season due to going just 5-7 this season. San Jose State gained entry into the postseason when there were not enough bowl-eligible programs to fill all of the available bowl spots. The Spartans were given an invite to fill a leftover bowl spot due to their APR scores compared to other 5-7 teams, but they will not be looking to make any excuses in the first AutoNation Cure Bowl.
San Jose State will look to help get the Mountain West Conference off to a good start as well. Earlier in the day New Mexico will officially kick off the bowl season against Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl, giving the Mountain West Conference its first taste of bowl season. Last bowl season the conference went 3-4 in bowl games, including a split with the Pac-12 and Conference USA and a 1-0 mark against the MAC. The lone conference the Mountain West Conference took a loss against was the Sun Belt Conference, with Nevada falling to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Sun Belt Conference will have three teams in action, including a pair of rookies to the bowl experience, Appalachian State and Georgia State.
Georgia State’s football program is just six years old, and this is just the third season it has played at the FBS level as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. The program, launched in 2010 after years of preparation, started off as an independent at the FCS level with the goal of transitioning to the FBS within a few years. That transition commenced in 2013 as it moved into the Sun Belt Conference during major conference realignment changes across the country. The first two seasons in the Sun Belt were rough and full of growing pains, with the Panthers going 1-13 under new head coach Trent Miles, who took over for a retiring Bill Curry.
San Jose State has won three straight bowl appearances, which stretch back to 1990 in the old Big West. San Jose State and Georgia State will kick off at 4 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network.
Pac-12 In Bowls This week
Arizona will be taking on New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl, which officially kicks off the bowl fun this season. Arizona is hoping to have both quarterback Anu Solomon and linebacker Scooby Wright III available, which would figure to be critical roster upgrades for the Wildcats, which struggled through ups and downs this season in a 6-6 year.
The most notable of the bowl games this week may be the Las Vegas Bowl between rivals Utah and BYU. Both schools went 9-3 this season and the tension is sure to be tighter than most bowl games given the animosity and history between the two programs. Utah sputtered a bit down the stretch this season, but should have a physical advantage over the Cougars.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.