We’re separating our bowl picks into two posts. Part I is today and includes the first 12 games. Part II will be posted on Friday, Dec. 27, and include the remaining 27. The playoff semifinal games are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 28.
Our staff picks for the national championship will be posted the day of the game, Monday, Jan. 13.
Our standings are at the bottom of this file.
Buffalo (-6.5) Charlotte (58.5), 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Charlotte ended the season on a five-game winning streak after a 2-5 start to earn the first bowl invitation since the program restarted in 2013 and moved to FBS two years later.
Buffalo has the nation’s fourth-best defense against the run, allowing 95.3 yards per game on the ground.
Utah St. (-7.5) Kent St. (65.5), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Kent State was the only FBS team to become bowl eligible by winning its last three games — and in one of those games, it trailed Buffalo by 27-6 in the fourth quarter before rallying to win.
Utah State has won four of its last six bowls.
San Diego St. (-3.5) Central Michigan (41.5), 2 p.m. (ESPN)
San Diego State cornerback Luq Barcoo leads the nation with 24 passes defended. His eight interceptions are tied for second in the nation, and he’s tied for first with 16 breakups.
Central Michigan first-year coach Jim McElwain led the biggest turnaround in the nation, with the Chippewas going from one win in 2018 to eight in 2019 along with their first outright MAC West title since 2009.
Ga. Southern (-5) Liberty (60.5), 2:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Liberty QB Stephen Calvert passed for 3,393 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Georgia Southern opened the season with a 55-3 loss to LSU, but nearly upset Big Ten West champ Minnesota.
SMU (-3.5) Fla. Atlantic (70.5), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
FAU coach Lane Kiffin took the Mississippi job. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer will lead the team in this game.
SMU (10-2) recorded its most victories since 1984, which was before NCAA handed the Mustangs the death penalty for the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
Arkansas St. (-2.5) Florida International (62.5), 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
For Arkansas State, WR Omar Bayless (84 catches, 1,473 yards, 16 TDs) was the Sun Belt player of the year.
FIU picked up its second-ever win over a Power Five team with an upset of Miami, once led by FIU coach Butch Davis.
Washington (-3.5) Boise State (49.5), 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
Washington coach Chris Petersen is stepping down after this game, citing the stress of the job. He coached at Boise State from 2006-13 before taking the UW job.
Appalachian State (-17) Alabama-Birmingham (48), 9 p.m. (ESPN)
The only loss for App State (12-1) this year was to Georgia State. The Mountaineers have won four consecutive bowls.
Central Florida (-17.5) Marshall (61.5), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Brigham Young (-1.5) HAWAII (63.5), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Hawaii WR Cedric Byrd II wracked up 91 receptions for 1,049 yards and 10 scores.
BYU has won eight of its last 12 bowl games.
Independence Bowl/Shreveport, La.
Miami-Fla. (-6.5) Louisiana Tech (50.5), 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Miami LB Shaquille Quarterman had 96 tackles, including 15.5 for loss. Yo.
Louisiana Tech has won its last five bowl games, averaging 34 points and 445 yards.
Pittsburgh (-10.5) Eastern Michigan (50.5), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Pittsburgh athletic director Heather Lyke previously held the same position at Eastern Michigan, where she hired EMU coach Chris Creighton in December 2013.