The best pre-Christmas Day bowl game performances

Lane Kiffin coaching for Florida Atlantic
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NCAAF · 2 years ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

For the most part, playing a bowl game after Christmas is what you want. With a few exceptions, bowls get increasingly more prestigious as time goes on (check out our free college football expert picks for the remaining schedule). If you’re in a New Year’s bowl, for example, you probably had yourself a nice little regular season. Alas, there are so many postseason contests these days that not everyone can participate post-New Year’s or even post-Christmas. Someone has to play in the Tropical Café Smoothie Frisco Bowl, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, and the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl.

Through New Year’s Eve, 10 bowl games have come and gone—11 if you count the Celebration Bowl. Let’s take a look at some of the best performances.

Rashad Smith, Linebacker, Florida Atlantic

When it comes to a 52-28 scoreline, a player on the defensive side of the ball is generally not the star. Smith was, however, just that in FAU’s rout SMU in the aforementioned Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. The senior capped off his career with 11 team-leading 11 tackles (nine solo) and two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a 34-yard touchdown to give the Owls a 42-14 lead going into the fourth quarter. Without head coach Lane Kiffin (left for Ole Miss), FAU had no trouble wrapping up its season in style—thanks in large part to Smith.

Darrynton Evans, Running back, Appalachian State

If you want to remain alive in your bowl pool heading into the College Football Playoff, you have to start somewhere. That somewhere for all intents and purposes was last Friday, when it would have been a rough start to people’s bowl pools if Appalachian State had lost to UAB in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. After all, the Mountaineers were favored by a whopping 17 points and were thus a trendy pick on which to wager the max 40 or 41 points in confidence pools. Evans was not about to let his team disappoint. The junior made the most of his 19 rushing attempts, turning them into 157 yards (8.3 average) and one touchdown. That helped App State win the time of possession battle by almost six minutes…and, much more importantly, win the game (31-17 after trailing 14-0 at the end of one quarter).

Cole McDonald, Quarterback, Hawaii

It will be a fun Christmas in the McDonald household—and in the entire Hawaii household. On Christmas Eve, McDonald led the Rainbow Warriors to a 38-34 victory over BYU in the Sofi Hawaii Bowl. It was a positively wild one, with the home team blowing two different 14-point leads (14-0 and 21-7) en route to a 34-31 fourth-quarter deficit. McDonald, however, delivered his fourth touchdown pass of the evening from 24 yards out with 1:17 remaining to provide for the final 38-34 margin. The junior went 28-for-46 for 493 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5+ On Any NFL Pre-Game ML, Get $200 If Your Bet Wins

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any NFL pre-game ML

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Unibet

$100

Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

PointsBet

$800

Get 4x $200 In Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$500

Get Your First Bet Risk-Free Up To $500

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

DraftKings

$100

Bet $5+ on MLB and get $100 in Free Bets Instantly!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $100 no matter what!

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 in Free Bets With PointsBet's Second Chance

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.