Bowl previews and picks against the spread: Everything you need to know for Saturday's non-playoff games

For a preview of the Peach Bowl between No. 1 LSU and No. 4 Oklahoma, click here.

For a preview of the Fiesta Bowl between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson, click here.

Camping World Bowl: No. 15 Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5)

Location: Orlando | When: Dec. 28 (Noon ET) | TV: ESPN | Line: Notre Dame -3.5


Notre Dame: Did the Irish have the quietest 10-2 season in the country? Notre Dame started 2-0 with wins over Louisville and New Mexico. Then the first loss of the season struck in a 23-17 primetime setback at Georgia in one of the marquee games of September.

Notre Dame got blown out the next time it went on the road. The Irish lost 45-14 at Michigan on Oct. 26 to drop from No. 8 to No. 16 in the AP poll.

Despite five straight wins to close out the season — including a 32-point drubbing of Navy — Notre Dame held steady in that area of the polls for the rest of the season. 

Iowa State: The Cyclones got vaulted up the Big 12 bowl pecking order thanks to a fan base that will travel well to Orlando. ISU lost at home to Iowa in Week 2 thanks to a late-game punt that bounced off a blocker and fell by two points at Baylor to end September.

The Cyclones moved to 5-2 with three consecutive Big 12 wins but then lost back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. ISU beat Texas after that Oklahoma game and then took care of business against Kansas before losing at Kansas State to end the season. 

Iowa State could win eight games for a third-straight season. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)


Look past the records and look at the points spread for this game. It should be a lot closer than you’d expect for a game between a 10-win team and a seven-win team. Iowa State lost by a combined three points to Oklahoma and Baylor, the two teams that met in the Big 12 championship game.


Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool: The 6-4 receiver has become a downfield threat capable of winning any 50-50 ball that’s thrown his way by Ian Book.

Claypool has scored at least a touchdown in each of Notre Dame’s last four games. That includes a four-TD performance in a seven-catch game against Navy. For the season, Claypool has 59 catches for 891 yards and 12 scores. 

Iowa State QB Brock Purdy: The sophomore QB followed up his breakout freshman season with another stellar campaign. Purdy has been asked to chuck the ball a lot this season too. Iowa State throws the ball nearly 38 times a game to just 32 rushing attempts per game.

Purdy is 295-of-445 passing for 3,760 yards and 27 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s also spread the ball around a bunch. Four ISU receivers have at least 30 catches and 600 yards. 

Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet could be an early selection in the 2020 NFL draft if he declares. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet: We’re taking a risk here, as Kmet has said that his plan is to return to school in 2020. But plans change, and it wouldn’t be stunning to see him renege on that plan (which apparently would include pitching for the Irish baseball team again). If Kmet does declare, there’s a great chance he could be TE1 in this year’s class. The 6-6, 258-pounder still needs some refinement in his game and doesn’t have a ton of experience. But he has the chance to be a dominant receiver at the position and develop into a serviceable blocker. Kmet’s physical traits are excellent, and a patient team will be rewarded in time. He has star potential.

— Eric Edholm


Notre Dame: The Irish have already accomplished a 10-win season for the third straight year. An 11th win in 2019 would give Notre Dame at least 11 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1988 and 1989 when the Irish were a combined 24-1 under Lou Holtz.

Iowa State: A win puts the Cyclones at 8-5 for a third consecutive season under Matt Campbell. It’s been a long, long time since Iowa State won eight games in three consecutive seasons. How long? Nearly 42 years. ISU was 24-11 from 1976-78 under Earle Bruce before Bruce went to Ohio State. 


Nick Bromberg: Notre Dame -3.5

Sam Cooper: Notre Dame -3.5

Picks from the Yahoo Sports College Podcast

Pat Forde: Notre Dame -3.5

Pete Thamel: Notre Dame -3.5

Dan Wetzel: Notre Dame -3.5

Sean Sullivan: Notre Dame -3.5

Memphis quarterback Brady White and the Tigers are in a New Year's Six bowl for the first time. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Cotton Bowl: No. 17 Memphis (12-1) vs. No. 10 Penn State (10-2)

Location: Arlington, Texas | When: Dec. 28 (Noon) | TV: ESPN | Line: Penn State -7


Memphis: Memphis opened the year with five straight wins before dropping its only game of the season at Temple on Oct. 12. From there, Memphis closed out the season with seven consecutive victories, including one in primetime over then-undefeated SMU on Nov. 2. Later in November, the Tigers beat Cincinnati twice in a row — once to clinch the AAC West and a rematch in the AAC title game. Memphis won its first outright conference championship since 1969 and set a single-season record with 12 wins. After the AAC title game, head coach Mike Norvell left for Florida State. 

Penn State: Penn State, with first-year starter Sean Clifford at QB, started the year 8-0 and was ranked No. 4 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, but was upset on the road by then-undefeated Minnesota. Three weeks later, the Nittany Lions faced another undefeated team on the road. This time it was mighty Ohio State. PSU made things interesting but ultimately fell 28-17. In the end, finished the regular season 10-2 for the third time in the last four seasons, all under James Franklin. 


Memphis emerged as this season’s best team from the Group of Five conferences, finishing ahead of Boise State and Appalachian State. In the five years with this format, Group of Five champions are 3-2 in New Year’s Six bowl games against Power Five opponents: Boise State beat Arizona in 2014, Houston beat Florida State in 2015 and UCF beat Auburn in 2017. Can Memphis do the same? The Tigers have a top-10 offense, but Penn State allows only 14.1 points per game. 


Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell: Memphis had two 1,000-yard rushers — Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor — in 2018, but did not see a drop-off in production thanks to redshirt freshman Kenneth Gainwell. Gainwell enters the Cotton Bowl ninth in the nation with 1,425 rushing yards along with 12 touchdowns. Gainwell also has 44 receptions for 532 yards and three more scores. 

Penn State LB Micah Parsons: Micah Parsons has led Penn State in tackles in his first two years on campus. Parsons, just a sophomore, earned AP All-American honors and was named the Big Ten’s linebacker of the year. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Parsons enters bowl play with 95 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Those totals came on the heels of 82 tackles and four tackles for loss as a true freshman.

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons has been a disruptive force. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)


Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos: The 6-5, 259-pound edge rusher is entering his final game with the Nittany Lions, and his length and pass-rush juice absolutely have the attention of NFL teams. But one club we spoke with recently raised a very real concern with Gross-Matos’ edge-setting ability against the run. It’s probably his biggest question as a prospect, and it’s likely one that will be tested in this game. Memphis operates a run-heavy spread attack that mixes in old-school power plays. They use multiple backs and tight ends and can gash teams that are not disciplined against the run. NFL teams will want to watch Gross-Matos show some awareness and restraint against this type of team before stamping a first-round grade on him.

- Eric Edholm


Memphis: The first game of the Ryan Silverfield era at Memphis comes on a big stage. Silverfield was on Norvell’s staff at Memphis the last four seasons but was given the head coaching role on Dec. 13, only a few days after Norvell’s departure. A win over a program like Penn State would be a heck of a way to kick off his tenure. It would also snap a four-game bowl losing streak.

Penn State: Penn State is playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game for the third time in the last four seasons. The Nittany Lions lost a heartbreaker to USC in the Rose Bowl in 2016 before knocking off Washington in the Fiesta Bowl in 2017. PSU lost to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl in 2018. A win over Memphis would get PSU to the 11-win mark for the third time in six seasons under James Franklin. 


Nick Bromberg: Penn State -7

Sam Cooper: Penn State -7

Picks from the Yahoo Sports College Podcast

Pat Forde: Penn State -6.5

Pete Thamel: Penn State -6.5

Dan Wetzel: Penn State -6.5

Sean Sullivan: Penn State -6.5

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