December 24 College Bowl Picks: Bahamas and Hawaii Bowls

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Nov 8, 2014; Bowling Green, KY, USA; Western Kentucky running back Leon Allen (33) is lifted by his teammates after scoring to make it 35-27 in the fourth quarter during the Hilltoppers game at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. WKU won 35-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

As Santa Claus and the reindeer go through their pre-flight checklist, we have December 24 college bowl picks, featuring the Bahamas Bowl and the Hawaii Bowl.

Two tropical destinations on an evening typically associated with the North Pole; the irony is not lost on us.

Bowl season is about to kick into overdrive very shortly, and while none of the teams involved in the Christmas Eve games are spectacular, it’s something else to watch in the middle of your last-minute gift wrapping and as you flip back and forth with It’s A Wonderful Life.

December 24 College Bowl Picks: Bahamas Bowl

Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky (-4) | Nassau, Bahamas | 12pm ET (ESPN)

Two 7-5 teams from have-not conferences square off in a warm and sunny paradise on Christmas Eve morning. They are the Chippewas of Central Michigan and the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky.

There is one stark difference between these two teams on a cursory glance of their schedules: Western Kentucky has a good win this season (Marshall); Central Michigan got blown out by Syracuse. Boston College fans know how hideous an offensive team the Orange are, which leads one to ask the question: how good can the Chips really be?

Yet, even though WKU won an epic slugfest with Marshall, does that mean the Tops are any good? Relative to the best teams in college, no, but they did end their season on a four-game win streak, even though there was little quality they faced overall.

What you get out of this is two teams that are mediocre at best facing one another, which should logically make for an even game. However, while both are average, they have taken completely opposite routes to get there. WKU has a high-flying offense that scores 44 points per game, but they like to keep things very interesting: they allow about 39.

On the other hand, CMU scores 25 per game and allows only 23, riding their defense to most of their wins this season. Central Michigan’s pass defense was okay at 42nd nationally this year, while WKU’s pass offense is third with 365 yards per game. Quarterback Brandon Doughty has thrown 44 touchdown passes on 4,344 yards, leading the country in both — not even Marcus Mariota had as many yards or touchdowns.

While the Chips have a much better defense, they have been overwhelmed by some of the better offensive teams they have faced. Look for a high-scoring game and for the Tops to sling their way to a win.

Western Kentucky -4

Next: Hawaii Bowl