Just think, there were almost 42 postseason college football games.
A new bowl game to be played in Austin, Texas, received NCAA approval in May, but the organizing committee decided to wait a year for a launch.
So, only 40 bowl games, plus the College Football Playoff title matchup, are on the docket this season.
The most abundant bowl season in college football history starts Saturday with a quintuple-header. Actually, six postseason games are on the slate with the first kicking off at 11 a.m. with the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl from Atlanta matching the champions of the historically black leagues, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State have the honors.
The first bowl game involving FBS schools kicks off at 1 p.m., the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, with Arizona playing New Mexico.
Before the day’s end, postseason games will have been played in four time zones and on three networks. Georgia State and the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla., get to start a tradition. It’s the Panthers’ first bowl game in their third year as a FBS program (and sixth year of competition), and the first year of the bowl game.
Saturday begins a run of 40 games over 15 days, with the CFP title settled on Jan. 11 in Glendale, Ariz. Those teams are to be determined. We know the others.
Here’s a schedule guide and star power rating for each FBS game, and here’s to over-indulgence.
1 p.m.: New Mexico Bowl, Arizona vs. New Mexico; Albuquerque, N.M. (ESPN), two stars
2:30 p.m.: Las Vegas Bowl, Utah vs. Brigham Young, (ABC), four stars
4:30 p.m.: Camellia Bowl, Appalachian State vs. Ohio; MontgomeryMongomery, Ala. (ESPN), one star
6 p.m.: Cure Bowl, Georgia State vs. San Jose State, Orlando, Fla. (CBSSN), one star
8 p.m.: New Orleans Bowl, Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech, (ESPN), two stars
Watch-ability: The Holy War moves to Sin City. Utah-BYU is an early bowl gift between 9-3 teams. The Utes looked like national contenders early but meeting a rival should counter the minor-bowl blahs. The Cougars look to send Bronco Mendenhall to Virginia on a high note. Otherwise, the day belongs to the Sun Belt with Arkansas State, Appalachian State and Georgia State carrying the league flag.
Dec. 21, 1:30 p.m.: Miami Beach Bowl, South Florida vs. Western Kentucky, Miami (ESPN), two stars
Dec. 22, 2:30 p.m.: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Akron vs. Utah State, Boise, Idaho (ESPN), one star
Dec. 22, 6 p.m.: Boca Raton Bowl, Temple vs. Toledo, Boca Raton, Fla., (ESPN), three stars
Dec. 23, 3:30 p.m.: Poinsettia Bowl, Boise State vs. Northern Illinois, San Diego (ESPN), two stars
Dec. 23, 7 p.m.: GoDaddy Bowl, Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern, Mobile, Ala. (ESPN), two stars
Dec. 24, 11 a.m.: Bahamas Bowl, Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan, Nassau (ESPN), one star
Dec. 24, 7 p.m.: Hawaii Bowl, Cincinnati vs. San Diego State, Honolulu (ESPN), two stars
Watch-ability: Get your shopping done. There are few compelling matchups in the pre-Christmas lineup but some very good teams. Temple’s season was terrific. Mid-American and Mountain West champions, Bowling Green and San Diego State are in action. Best NFL prospect in these games? Boise State safety Darian Thompson.
10 a.m.: St. Petersburg Bowl, Marshall vs. Connecticut, St. Petersburg, Fla. (ESPN), one star
1 p.m.: Sun Bowl, Miami (Fla.) vs. Washington State, El Paso, Texas (CBS), three stars
1:20 p.m.: Heart of Dallas Bowl, Southern Miss vs. Washington, (ESPN), two stars
2:30 p.m.: Pinstripe Bowl, Duke vs. Indiana, New York (ABC), two stars
4:45 p.m.: Independence Bowl, Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech, Shreveport, La. (ESPN), two stars
8:15 p.m.: Foster Farms Bowl, Nebraska vs. UCLA, Santa Clara, Calif. (ESPN), two stars
Watch-ability: High profile programs enter the bowl scene in lower profile bowls. Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach brings Washington State back to West Texas to take on Miami. Frank Beamer coaches his 425th and final game as Virginia Tech meets Tulsa in the Independence Bowl. That’s where Tech played its first bowl game under Beamer. Some schools with a sub-.500 record said no to bowl games. Nebraska welcomed the opportunity and gets a UCLA team that was once ranked seventh.
Dec. 28, 1:30 p.m.: Military Bowl, Navy vs. Pittsburgh, Annapolis, Md. (ESPN), two stars
Dec. 28, 4 p.m.: Quick Lane Bowl, Central Michigan vs. Minnesota, Detroit (ESPN2), one star
Dec. 29, 1 p.m.: Armed Forces Bowl, Air Force vs. California, Fort Worth, Texas (ESPN), three stars
Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m.: Russell Athletic Bowl, North Carolina vs. Baylor, Orlando, Fla. (ESPN), four stars
Dec. 29, 6:30 p.m.: Arizona Bowl, Colorado State vs. Nevada, Tucson, Ariz. (ASN), one star
Dec. 29, 8 p.m.: Texas Bowl, LSU vs. Texas Tech, Houston (ESPN), two stars
Watch-ability: Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds looks to add to the mountain of records he holds for quarterback rushing. The first bowl game between ranked teams matches Baylor and North Carolina, although the Bears will be without quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Chris Johnson will get the call. LSU running back Leonard Fournette is in action. Check out California’s Jared Goff, perhaps the top quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. The all-Mountain West matchup between Colorado State and Nevada will be seen on the American Sports Network.
11 a.m.: Birmingham Bowl, Auburn vs. Memphis, Birmingham, Ala. (ESPN), three stars
2:30 p.m.: Belk Bowl, Mississippi State vs. North Carolina State, Charlotte, N.C. (ESPN), two stars
6 p.m.: Music City Bowl, Louisville vs. Texas A&M, Nashville, Tenn., (ESPN), two stars
9:30 p.m.: Holiday Bowl, Southern California vs. Wisconsin, San Diego (ESPN), three stars
Watch-ability: Quarterback day for the bowls. Paxton Lynch of Memphis, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Southern California’s Cody Kessler and Jacoby Brissett of North Carolina State should be drafted, with Lynch in the first round. The Trojans and Badgers meet for the first time since 1966.
11 a.m.: Peach Bowl, Florida State vs. Houston, Atlanta (ESPN), three stars
3 p.m.: Orange (College Football Playoff semifinal), Oklahoma vs. Clemson, Miami Gardens, Fla. (ESPN), five stars
7 p.m.: Cotton (College Football Playoff semifinal), Alabama vs. Michigan State, Arlington, Texas (ESPN), five stars
Watch-ability: New Year’s Eve brings a Florida-State-Houston preliminary (the Seminoles better not take the Cougars lightly) before the national semifinals. Oklahoma looks to avenge last year’s 40-6 embarrassment to Clemson in a bowl game. The quarterbacks are dynamic, the Sooners’ Baker Mayfield and the Tigers’ Deshaun Watson. Last year, Alabama got knocked off in the semifinals by Ohio State. Is another Big Ten team up to the challenge? The Spartans must find a way to slow Derrick Henry, the Crimson Tide’s Heisman Trophy-winning running back.
11 a.m.: Outback Bowl, Northwestern vs. Tennessee, Tampa, Fla., (ESPN2), four stars
Noon: Citrus Bowl, Michigan vs. Florida, Orlando, Fla (ABC), three stars
Noon: Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Glendale, Ariz. (ESPN), four stars
4 p.m.: Rose Bowl, Iowa vs. Stanford, Pasadena, Calif. (ESPN), five stars
7:30 p.m.: Sugar Bowl, Mississippi vs. Oklahoma State, New Orleans (ESPN), three stars
Watch-ability: New Year’s Day won’t have national championship drama, but many great matchups. The day opens with a clash between trending teams, Northwestern and Tennessee. Defense should dominate when Florida meets Michigan. A load of future NFL talent will take the field when Ohio State and Notre Dame meet in the Fiesta, but will they be awake? The game kicks off around 11 a.m., local time. The Stanford-Iowa Rose Bowl could have been a national semifinal if Iowa had won and Clemson or Alabama lost in their respective conference title games. Will Robert Nkemdiche suit up for Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl? He was arrested after falling out of a hotel window last weekend.
11 a.m.: TaxSlayer Bowl, Georgia vs. Penn State, Jacksonville, Fla., (ESPN), three stars
2:20 p.m.: Liberty Bowl, Kansas State vs. Arkansas, Memphis, Tenn. (ESPN), two stars
5:45 p.m.: Alamo Bowl, TCU vs. Oregon, San Antonio, Texas (ESPN), four stars
9:15 p.m.: Cactus Bowl, Arizona State vs. West Virginia, Phoenix (ESPN), two stars
Watch-ability: The Big 12 completes its contract bowl schedule with TCU’s battle with Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, the day’s highlight. The Horned Frogs looked like national title contenders until quarterback Trevone Boykin was injured. Kansas State (mid-season) and Arkansas (early season) survived slumps and became bowl eligible. The day begins with a rematch of the 1983 Sugar Bowl that featured the Bulldogs’ Herschel Walker and Penn State’s first national championship. These teams have combined for eight losses this season.
7:30 p.m.: College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Glendale, Ariz. (ESPN)
Watch-ability: Last year’s first CFP title game between Ohio State and Oregon set a solid tone. There’s no reason to think the second game, no matter the matchup, shouldn’t be good theater.