- As FIU and Toledo face off in the Bahamas Bowl, some of the craziest action might be happening off the field. Later on, BYU and Western Michigan honor the humble spud in the Potato Bowl, which could feature a healthy amount of offense.
After three straight nights of having just one bowl game in primetime, Friday offers a change of pace and the chance to watch football during your workday. Both the Bahamas Bowl and Potato Bowl kick off in the afternoon, leaving the rest of your night free for your holiday party or last-minute shopping (we're not judging!).
To get you ready for today’s action, we’ve compiled a handy, digestible guide to the game for those needing a primer on these four teams.
Bowls From Last Night: Marshall beat South Florida, 38–20, in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday thanks to two touchdowns from Keion Davis and quarterback Isaiah Green completing 17 of 25 passes for 221 yards. After starting the season 7–0, USF ended its season with six straight losses.
Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl: Florida International vs. Toledo (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Why You Should Tune In: This was the first bowl matchup to get penciled in—it was finalized the Sunday after Thanksgiving. You’ll want to keep a sharp eye on this bowl’s off-the-field shenanigans (see below), but the game packs on-field intrigue, too. Toledo was the MAC’s second-best offense this year, with sophomore QB Eli Peters taking over after starter Mitchell Guadagni went down with a midseason shoulder injury. Peters has started the last four games and the Rockets have scored 45 points or more in three of them. FIU has a QB stud of its own: Junior James Morgan, who was Conference USA’s best signal caller this season.
Betting Preview: Butch Davis's FIU Squad Is Attractive Underdog Pick
What You May Not Know: The Bahamas Bowl sure seems like a good time, if you haven’t made vacation plans yet. Last year, Reddit user supermav27 detailed an outrageous experience at the game, including bringing beer into the stadium without resistance, security guards hugging beer-chugging fans and a drunk fan walking onto the field and high-fiving a player. In supermav27’s words: “For these reasons, I urge that the playoff committee consider hosting the national championship here. It would be a terrible idea, but everyone would have a great time.” —Sam Brief
NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Toledo’s Diontae Johnson projects to be a slot receiver, but will make the most impact in the return game. He averaged 25.7 yards per return, using his small frame to make defenders miss in open space. His receiving production went down significantly from his breakout 2017 season, and he has dropped a few catchable balls in his career, but he explodes off the line to beat bump-and-run coverage. —Scooby Axson
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: BYU vs. Western Michigan (4 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Why You Should Tune In: It’s the Potato Bowl! Who in their right mind doesn’t want to watch a sporting event named after a starchy tuber? On a more serious note, this game has the potential to be a lot of fun. Western Michigan is averaging a healthy 35.9 points in games against teams that aren’t Michigan; the Broncos have excellent offensive balance behind QB Jon Wassink and RB LeVante Bellamy. BYU averaged 21.2 points per game with senior QB Tanner Mangum in the season’s first six games, but turned to freshman Zach Wilson halfway through the year and has averaged 29.7 since.
Betting Preview: Western Michigan Isn't Scared of BYU's Defense
What You May Not Know: Western Michigan’s 2015 Bahamas Bowl win under PJ Fleck was the first in school history after an 0–7 start. Only Ball State (0–7) remains winless among teams with three or more bowl appearances, though UAB and Buffalo could become 0–3 this year. Also, it remains incredible how old some BYU players are because of the time they took off for mission trips. Sack leader Corbin Kaufusi is 25 and from the same 2011 recruiting class as Jadeveon Clowney, who is currently in his fifth season in the NFL. Mangum, also 25, was a member of a 2012 high school QB class that included Jameis Winston (81 NFL passing touchdowns) and Nathan Peterman. —Will Ragatz
NFL Draft Prospect to Know: To maximize his potential moving forward, Bellamy has improved his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, snagging a career-high 24 passes this season. He is a tough inside, north-south runner who hits the hole quick without a lot of wasted motion, even though he is only 185 pounds. His vision is excellent and once he reaches the secondary, Bellamy can fight for extra yards if he is not brought down immediately. —Axson