College football: Bahamas Bowl, Cure Bowl launch record 44 bowl games

Quarterback Grayson McCall and Coastal Carolina battle Northern Illinois in the Cure Bowl at 6 p.m. EST Friday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Coastal Carolina Athletics
Quarterback Grayson McCall and Coastal Carolina battle Northern Illinois in the Cure Bowl at 6 p.m. EST Friday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Photo by Coastal Carolina Athletics

MIAMI, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A college football postseason with a record 44 bowl games launches Friday with the Bahamas Bowl and Cure Bowl and runs through Jan. 10.

This year's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision bowl schedule marks the return of a full calendar of games. Last year's slate featured just 26 games because of cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


The 2018 and 2019 postseasons each consisted of 43 bowl games.

Middle Tennessee (6-6) battles Toledo (7-5) in the 2021 Bahamas Bowl at noon EST Friday in Nassau. Northern Illinois (9-4) faces Coastal Carolina (10-2) in the 2021 Cure Bowl at 6 p.m. Friday in Orlando, Fla.

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Those games air on ESPN and ESPN2, respectively.

"We are excited to participate in the Bahamas Bowl," Toledo coach Jason Candle said in a news release. "It is an outstanding bowl game and will be the first time many of our players have the opportunity to travel outside the United States.


"The hospitality shown to our football team last time we were there was incredible."

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Toledo and Coastal Carolina are favored to win the first two bowl games. The schedule continues with seven games Saturday and another eight games next week, including one on Christmas.

No. 1 Alabama battles No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl Classic, the first of two College Football Playoff Semifinal games on New Year's Eve.

No. 2 Michigan faces No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl, the second College Football Playoff semifinal game. Those games air on ESPN.

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"This will be a real challenge for us in every way, shape and form," Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters last week. "We are happy to have the opportunity to play against one of the top teams in the country."

The 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship game takes place Jan. 10 in Indianapolis. Alabama and Georgia are favored to advance to the title game. Alabama also is favored to repeat as champions.

Opt outs

Several top players chose not to compete in the 2021-22 college football postseason due to concerns about injuries, which could impact their stock for the 2022 NFL Draft.


Oregon defensive end/linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux, a projected top pick in the draft, announced Dec. 6 that he won't join the Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl. No. 14 Oregon faces No. 16 Oklahoma in that game Dec. 29.

Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and running back Kyren Williams opted out of the postseason. Hamilton is a projected first-round pick. No. 5 Notre Dame faces No. 9 Oklahoma State on Jan. 1 in the Fiesta Bowl.

SMU wide receivers Danny Gray and Reggie Roberson also announced they won't play this postseason. SMU battles Virginia on Dec. 29 in the Fenway Bowl.

2021-22 Bowl Schedule

Times in EST


Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Toledo at noon on ESPN

Cure Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina at 6 p.m. on ESPN2


Boca Raton Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Western Kentucky at 11 a.m. on ESPN

Celebration Bowl: Jackson State vs. South Carolina State at noon on ABC

New Mexico State: Fresno State vs. UTEP at 2:15 p.m. on ESPN

Independence Bowl: No. 13 BYU vs. UAB at 3:30 p.m. on ABC

LendingTree Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty at 5:45 p.m. on ESPN

LA Bowl: Oregon State vs. Utah State at 7:30 p.m. on ABC


New Orleans Bowl: No. 23 Louisiana vs. Marshall at 9:15 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 20

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Tulsa vs. Old Dominion at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 21

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Kent State vs. Wyoming at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Frisco Bowl: No. 24 San Diego State vs. UTSA at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 22

Armed Forces Bowl: Missouri vs. Army at 8 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 23

Frisco Football Classic: Miami (Ohio) vs. North Texas at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Gasparilla Bowl: Florida vs. UCF at 7 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl: Memphis vs. Hawaii at 8 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 25

Camellia Bowl: Ball State vs. Georgia State at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 27

Quick Lane Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Nevada at 11 a.m. on ESPN

Military Bowl: East Carolina vs. Boston College at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 28

Birmingham Bowl: No. 20 Houston vs. Auburn at noon on ESPN

First Responder Bowl: Air Force vs. Louisville at 3:15 p.m. on ESPN

Liberty Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State at 6:45 p.m. on ESPN

Holiday Bowl: No. 18 NC State vs. UCLA at 8 p.m. on Fox


Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Minnesota vs. West Virginia at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 29

Fenway Bowl: Virginia vs. SMU at 11 a.m. on ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Maryland at 2:15 p.m. on ESPN

Cheez-It Bowl: No. 19 Clemson vs. Iowa State at 5:45 p.m. on ESPN

Alamo Bowl: No. 14 Oregon vs. No. 16 Oklahoma at 9:15 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 30

Duke's Mayo Bowl: North Carolina vs. South Carolina at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN

Music City Bowl: Tennessee vs. Purdue at 3 p.m. on ESPN

Peach Bowl: No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 12 Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. on ESPN

Las Vegas Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Arizona State at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN

Dec. 31

Gator Bowl: No. 17 Wake Forest vs. No. 25 Texas A&M at 11 a.m. on ESPN

Sun Bowl: Washington State vs. Miami at noon on CBS

Arizona Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Boise State

Cotton Bowl Classic (College Football Playoff Semifinal): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Orange Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal): No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 1

Outback Bowl: No. 21 Arkansas vs. Penn State at noon on ESPN2


Citrus Bowl: No. 15 Iowa vs. No. 22 Kentucky at 1 p.m. on ABC

Fiesta Bowl: No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State at 1 p.m. on ESPN

Rose Bowl: No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Utah at 5 p.m. on ESPN

Sugar Bowl: No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 8 Ole Miss at 8:45 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 4

Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs. LSU at 9 p.m. on ESPN

Jan. 10

College Football Playoff National Championship Game: Alabama or Cincinnati vs. Georgia or Michigan at 8 p.m. on ESPN

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