College football bowl game predictions: Week 1 (Dec. 16-22)

Here are predictions for the opening week of the college football bowl games.

Arizona State v UCLA
Arizona State v UCLA / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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College football bowl season is officially here and as the old ESPN commercials used to say, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."

There are 41 college football bowl games total on the 2023-24 schedule. In addiiton to our breakdown of how to watch every college football bowl game, here are our predictions for the first full week of bowl season (Dec. 16-22).

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Georgia Southern (-3.5) vs. Ohio -- 11 AM EST, ESPN (Dec. 16)

A common theme this bowl season is quarterbacks in the transfer portal or opting out. That's true for the Bobcats who won't have quarterback Kurtis Rourke. Ohio also won't have its top two running backs either. However, its defense allowed just 264 yards per game this season and wil be intact. Georgia Southern also didn't win a game in November, so give me Ohio with the points.

Prediction: Ohio 23, Georgia Southern 17

New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State (-2.5) vs. Louisiana -- 2:15 PM EST, ESPN (Dec. 16)

Rich Rod's team was able to get a special exemption after a 8-4 season. The passing game struggles at times, but the running game averages 232 yards per game. Plus the Gamecocks have a top-30 defense.

Prediction: Jacksonville State 31, Louisiana 17

Cure Bowl: Miami (OH) vs. Appalachian State (-6.5) -- 3:30 PM EST, ABC (Dec. 16)

Joey Aguilar threw for 33 touchdowns this season compared to just nine interceptions and he'll give App State a big edge since Miami (OH) will be without its top two quarterbacks. The RedHawks have a spectacular defense though that led to an 11-win season and a MAC Championship. Still, it's hard to win without your top two quarterbacks.

Prediction: Appalachian State 24, Miami (OH) 17