College Football Bowl Season: Predicting All 41 Games

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College Football Bowl Season: Predicting All 41 Games

By Jack Woodard and Aaron Hook

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The best time of year to be a college football fan has arrived.  It is officially bowl season. Starting on Saturday, December 15, fans can sit on their couches and watch college football at its finest.  The action wraps up with the College Football Playoff Championship on January 7 and many people are picking Alabama to win it all. Fans are excited to watch the New Year’s Six Bowl games, but what about all the other ones?  Some people have argued that there are too many bowl games but this is just a ridiculous statement (almost as ridiculous as some of the sponsorships on the bowl games). We believe that there can never be too many games. The writers of this article, Jack Woodard and Aaron Hook, are both avid fans of college football and will give their predictions for all 41 bowl games and an insight on the teams playing in them.  So without further ado, let’s get started.

AFR Celebration Bowl: North Carolina A&T (9-2)  vs. Alcorn State (9-3)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

December 15, Noon E.T. on ABC

This year will be the fourth all time meeting of the AFR Celebration Bowl featuring the top two HBCU schools in the nation.  This game is a rematch of the first ever Celebration Bowl in 2015, when North Carolina A&T came out on top 41-34. North Carolina A&T out of the MEAC is a tough team, having beat an FBS opponent this year (East Carolina) but Alcorn State out of the SWAC is no slouch.

Jack’s pick: North Carolina A&T

Aaron’s pick: North Carolina A&T

 

New Mexico Bowl: North Texas (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-3)

Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico

December 15, 2:00 PM on ESPN

This will be definitely be an interesting one to watch.  Not only was Utah State nationally ranked at one time, but there is a lot of controversy involving the coaching staff.  Head Coach Matt Wells, as well as Offensive Coordinator David Yost and Defensive Coordinator Patterson, departed from the team and accepted jobs at Texas Tech. The news broke on November 29, after the Aggies finished off a 10-2 regular season out of the Mountain West Conference. OC David Yost will remain on the sidelines during the bowl game and call the plays, but Wells, however, will not be on the sidelines for the game.  It will be interesting to see how Utah State, who bought into Wells and had a fantastic season under him, will make adjustments in the game. Wells was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in both 2013 and 2018. As for North Texas, they finished with a 9-3 record overall and a 5-3 Conference USA record. Quarterback Mason Fine had an excellent season, tossing 27 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Wide Receiver Rico Bussey Jr. totaled 1,017 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. The Mean Green will look for their first bowl win in 5 years.

Jack’s pick: Utah State

Aaron’s pick: Utah State

 

AutoNation Cure Bowl: Louisiana (7-6)  vs. Tulane (6-6)

Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida

December 15, 2:30 p.m. E.T. on CBS Sports Network

The Cure Bowl is one of the great bowl games in college football, but not because of the game, because all the proceeds made go towards breast cancer research.  This year’s game features two teams from Louisiana looking to earn state bragging rights. Louisiana will look to bounce back from a 30-19 loss to Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Championship while Tulane stands in their way.

Jack’s pick: Tulane

Aaron’s pick: Tulane

 

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State (11-2)  vs. Arizona State (7-5)

Sam Boyd Stadium in Whitney, Nevada

December 15, 3:30 PM ET, on ABC

Fresno State is coming off a Mountain West Championship Win over Boise State, finishing 11-2. They finished as the 21st best team in the country according to the Final CFP Rankings. Senior Quarterback Marcus McMaryion had an excellent final season, tossing 25 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, completing 70% of his passes. Wide Receiver KeeSean Johnson had a fantastic year as well, compiling 1307 yards and 8 touchdowns. As for ASU, they finished 7-5 overall with a 5-4 Pac-12 record.  Considering that they finished with a positive record in a Power 5 conference, they should not be taken lightly, even by champion Fresno State. Eno Benjamin powered the Sun Devils on the ground, racking up 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns. N’Keal Harry caught for 1,088 yards and 9 touchdowns. ASU has not won a bowl game since 2014, and Herm Edwards will look to right the ship. On the other side, Fresno State is looking to create a bowl game winning streak after winning the Hawaii Bowl last year.

Jack’s pick: Fresno State

Aaron’s pick: Fresno State

 

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs. Georgia Southern (9-3)

Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama

December 15, 5:30, p.m. E.T, on ESPN

The matchup of the Eagles.  Georgia Southern will look for their second ever bowl game win since joining the FBS in 2014.  They have been a force in the Sun Belt since their transition. Eastern Michigan had a stretch earlier in the year where they lost four straight games by a combined total of 16 points .  They will look to finally win a close game here.

Jack’s pick: Georgia Southern

Aaron’s pick: Eastern Michigan

 

R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Appalachian State (10-2) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-5)

December 15, 9:00 PM EST on ESPN

Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

Since pulling off one of the biggest upsets in College Football, and sports history, the Appalachian State Mountaineers have become a household name. They won their third straight Sun-Belt title this past season, and at 10-2 had their best regular season in 10 years. This team is no joke, they were even nationally ranked at one point this season. As for Middle Tennessee, they went 8-5 overall. This may not jump out at you, but their 7-1 conference record certainly does. The losses that came from out of conference play include tough games against Vanderbilt, Georgia, and Kentucky. Despite not winning a conference championship, the Blue Raiders had an excellent season and will look to finish with a win

Jack’s pick: Appalachian State

Aaron’s pick: Appalachian State

 

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (8-5) vs. UAB (10-3)

Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida

December 18, 7 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

This one will be a battle between a historic MAC powerhouse and a program whose football team was terminated for two years, in UAB.  Northern Illinois will look to prove that their MAC Championship upset against Buffalo was not a fluke and add to their accomplishments.  UAB will look to cap off a miraculous season after not having a football team for two years. In their second season back, they have won the Conference USA Championship and will look to finish off the season with a bowl title.  

Jack’s pick: Northern Illinois

Aaron’s pick: UAB

 

DXL Frisco Bowl: Ohio (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5)

Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas

December 19, 8:00 PM ET, on ESPN

One of the newest bowl games, the Frisco Bowl will host its second ever matchup this year. The Ohio Bobcats had a solid season, with an 8-4 record and a 6-2 MAC record, finishing third in the MAC East standings. It is likely they would have qualified for the MAC Championship, if it weren’t for Buffalo having an insane season, going 7-1 in MAC play and 10-3 overall. The Bobcats are powered by the three headed monster on the ground, consisting of backs A.J Ouellette and Maleek Irons, as well as Quarterback Nathan Rourke. These 3 combined for 33 rushing touchdowns. Rourke also had 22 touchdowns through the air. SDSU finished 7-5 overall, and a 4-4 record in the Mountain West. They finished 4th in the Mountain West conference. This is not a great season for the Aztecs standards.  SDSU started the year with Christian Chapman at the helm of the offense, but he went down with an MCL Sprain that has left him sidelined. Ryan Agnew has since taken over and hasn’t done a great job but hasn’t been awful either. The Aztecs look to rebound after an Armed Forces Bowl loss to Army last season. The Bobcats look to go off an impressive 41-6 blowout against UAB in last year’s Bahamas Bowl.

Jack’s pick: Ohio

Aaron’s pick: Ohio

 

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall (8-4) vs. South Florida (7-5)

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida

December 20, 8 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

This game will feature two teams who are used to being near the top of their conferences.  Marshall had a solid year and a bowl win would be a great way to end the season. They are looking for their second win in the Gasparilla Bowl but will have to go through South Florida first.  The Bulls will be playing in their home stadium and will look to finish a disappointing season on a high note in front of their fans.

Jack’s pick: Marshall

Aaron’s pick: South Florida

 

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl: FIU (8-4)  vs. Toledo (7-5)

Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas

December 21, 12:30 PM on ESPN

The Bahamas Bowl is probably the Bowl that all players would like to get a bid in, as they get to enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather of the bahamas in the days leading up to the game, but the vacation will feel a lot better for the team that comes out on top.  The FIU Golden Panthers finished with an 8-4 record overall and a 6-2 Conference USA Record. As for the Toledo Rockets, they went 7-5 and 5-3 in MAC play. Both Diontae and Jon’Vea Johnson caught for 600+ yards and 7 touchdowns for Toledo.

Jack’s pick: Toledo

Aaron’s pick: Toledo

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: BYU (6-6) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)

Lyle Smith Field at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho

December 21, 4 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

In the 21st meeting of one of the coolest bowl games to watch, (who doesn’t love that blue turf at Boise State?) BYU will face off with Western Michigan.  BYU started the year off with two big wins against Arizona and Wisconsin to put them in the top 25. We later saw BYU fall from the rankings and finish the year poorly just like Arizona and Wisconsin.  Western Michigan had a 5-3 conference record in the MAC and an average season but a bowl win would mean a lot for this team.

Jack’s pick: BYU

Aaron’s pick: Western Michigan

 

Jared Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (8-5)  vs. Wake Forest (6-6)

Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama

December 22, 12:00 PM ET on ESPN

The Memphis Tigers had an impressive season, reaching the AAC Championship again and eventually falling to the #8 UCF Knights, again. They went 8-5 overall with a 5-2 record in conference play (not including the title game). Running back Darnell Henderson had a genuine Heisman-like season, rushing for 1909 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons had a tougher season. They finished 6-6 overall, with a less than impressive 3-5 record in conference play, but you have to account for the fact that they play in the ACC, and face very tough opponents such as Notre Dame, Boston College, Clemson, Syracuse, NC State and Duke on a yearly basis.

Jack’s pick: Memphis

Aaron’s pick: Memphis

 

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Houston (8-4) vs. Army (10-2)

Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas

December 22, 3:30 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

Houston will once again be without quarterback D’Eriq King who tore his meniscus against Tulane.  Clayton Tune will try and pick up the slack but it will be tough against a good Army defense. Army is also coming off a win in one of college football’s biggest rivalry games against Navy so they have momentum.  Army took Oklahoma to overtime early in the year and is certainly a very good football team. This game comes down to whether or not Houston can stop the option from Army and this is something many teams could not do this year.

Jack’s pick: Army

Aaron’s pick: Houston

 

Dollar General Bowl: Troy  (9-3) vs. Buffalo (10-3)

Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama

December 22, 7:00 PM ET on ESPN

The Troy Trojans had an excellent season, going 9-3 overall with a great 7-1 conference record, their only loss coming to Appalachian State. On the other side of the ball, the Buffalo Bulls had an excellent season as well, finishing 10-3 with a 7-1 conference record as well. They had a disappointing end to the regular season however, losing to underdog NIU in the MAC championship. The Bulls will look to revive their great season with a win.

Jack’s pick: Buffalo

Aaron’s pick: Buffalo

 

SoFi Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii (8-5) vs. Louisiana Tech (7-5)

Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii

December 22, 10:30 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

Louisiana Tech will certainly have a tough time defeating Hawaii.  This is practically a road game for Louisiana Tech and Hawaii will want to defend their turf.  The Rainbow Warriors were having a great season until a four game losing streak put them at 6-5 but they responded with two wins heading into this game.  Louisiana Tech finished the season with two straight loses so look for both teams to try and right the ship with this bowl game.

Jack’s pick: Louisiana Tech

Aaron’s pick: Louisiana Tech

 

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: Boston College (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-3)

Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas

December 26, 1:30 PM ET on ESPN

After a long four days with no bowl games, we get started again in the First Responder Bowl. Boise State comes into this game ranked #25 in the country, but comes off a Mountain West Title game loss to Fresno State.  However, this Broncos team still may be the best team outside of the Power 5. Boston College had a 4-4 record in ACC play. BC RB AJ Dillon ran for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

Jack’s pick: Boise State

Aaron’s pick: Boise State

 

Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota (6-6) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)

Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan

December 26, 5:15 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The Golden Gophers of Minnesota will look to finish the season above .500 when they take on the option offense of Georgia Tech.  Georgia Tech is in arguably what was the worst Power 5 division this year, the ACC Coastal. Both teams have not beaten a ranked team all year.  Minnesota needs to stop the option and force TaQuon Marshall to throw the ball, which is something the Yellow Jackets are not quite used to doing.

Jack’s pick: Minnesota

Aaron’s pick: Georgia Tech

 

Cheez-It Bowl: TCU (6-6)  vs. California (7-5)

Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona

December 26, 9 PM ET on ESPN

The Horned Frogs have fallen a bit since being one of the best teams in the nation a few years back. It is pretty hard to compete for a long time in the Big 12, however. They will look to make it 2 straight bowl wins, after a dramatic 39-37 victory over Stanford in last year’s Alamo Bowl, and a winning record on the season. The Cal Bears had a 4-5 record in Pac-12 games this year. Freshman QB Chase Garners tossed 14 TDs and 7 picks.

Jack’s pick: California

Aaron’s pick: TCU

 

Walk-On’s Independence Bowl: Duke (7-5) vs. Temple (8-4)

Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana

December 27, 1:30 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

This is usually the time of year when Blue Devils fans direct their attention to the school’s basketball team, but Duke has managed to play themselves into a bowl game and fans will need to hold on for a couple of weeks.  Duke had a good year with quality wins against Army and Northwestern but suffered a shocking blowout loss to Wake Forest to end the season. Quarterback Daniel Jones had high expectations coming into the season and was for the most part solid all year.  After being upset by Villanova (speaking of basketball schools), Temple rebounded and went 8-4 on the year. They played UCF close and beat Cincinnati. This will be a battle between two tough teams.

Jack’s pick: Temple

Aaron’ pick: Duke

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Wisconsin (7-5) vs. Miami (FL) (7-5)

Yankee Stadium in Bronx, NY

December 15, 5:15 PM ET on ESPN

Two perennial powerhouses, both unranked, both from Power 5 conferences, square off in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers of Wisconsin come in with a 5-4 Big 10 record. QB Alex Hornibrook was expected to take a leap forward but instead took a step in the wrong direction, throwing just 13 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Sophomore Running Back Jonathan Taylor had an excellent season, running for 1,989 yards and 15 touchdowns. Miami walks in to this game a year removed from a near college football playoff appearance. This game also serves as a rematch as these two faced off in the Orange Bowl last year. Wisconsin got the best of the Canes in that one, 34-24.

Jack’s pick: Wisconsin

Aaron’s pick: Wisconsin

 

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Baylor (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)

NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

December 27, 9 p.m E.T, on ESPN

After scandals and coach firings, Baylor responded well and went 6-6 on the year.  The players were not going to be defined by what people thought of their program. The Bears survived the Big 12 and now will either have a winning or losing season.  Vanderbilt will go as far as quarterback Kyle Shurmur takes them and he certainly can lead his team to a win. The Commodores fought hard in losses against Notre Dame, Florida, and Kentucky this year and ended the season with a blowout win over Tennessee.  A few plays here and there and Vanderbilt could easily be an 8-4 team.

Jack’s pick: Vanderbilt

Aaron’s pick: Vanderbilt

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Purdue (6-6)  vs. Auburn (7-5)

LP Field in Nashville,Tennessee

December 28,1:30 PM ET, on ESPN

The Boilermakers are known mostly for their great basketball team, but the last two years, the football team has been very impressive in the Big 10, earning back to back bowl bids, following a 4 year drought. Auburn didn’t quite relive the success of last year’s season, but nonetheless find themselves in an important bowl game. Jarrett Stidham threw for 2,421 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Tigers.

Jack’s pick: Purdue

Aaron’s pick: Auburn

 

Camping World Bowl: West Virginia (8-3) vs. Syracuse (9-3)

Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida

December 28, 5:15, p.m. E.T, on ESPN

West Virginia started the year with high expectations.  They expected to be in the playoff hunt and Will Grier was the early Heisman favorite.  Neither of those things happened in what was a bit of a disappointment of a season for Dana Holgorsen’s squad.  The Mountaineers were stymied by Iowa State’s defense in a loss and dropped back to back games to end the season.  To make things worse, Will Grier is skipping this game to focus on the NFL Draft. On the other hand, Syracuse exceeded expectations and coach Dino Babers has brought this team back to national prominence.  Quarterback Eric Dungey has been a passing and running threat all year and he is a key part of this team, as they were blown out by Notre Dame when he was hurt. We know what we’re getting from Syracuse but West Virginia’s offense is a question mark without Will Grier at the helms.

Jack’s pick: Syracuse

Aaron’s pick: Syracuse

 

Valero Alamo Bowl: Washington State (10-2) vs. Iowa State (8-4)

Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas

December 28, 9 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

Minshew Mania.  What else do I need to say?  Gardner Minshew II has captured the hearts of Washington State Cougar fans everywhere.  The fans all wear fake mustaches to games to show their support of the star senior quarterback.  Minshew II took over the starting job after quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide in the offseason.  Studies have shown that Hilinski suffered from CTE. Minshew II has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country this year, throwing for over 300 yards in every game except the final one against Washington, which was in the driving snow, however.  In half of the Cougars’ games this year, Minshew II has thrown over 400 yards. Washington State was even in playoff contention until the last week. This guy just puts up absurd numbers. It’s almost hard not to root for Minshew II and the Cougars. They will be facing a tough Iowa State team led by young and upcoming coach Matt Campbell who has turned the Cyclones around and led them to a 8-4 record and ranked nationally.  This one will be fun to watch and Minshew Mania will be in full effect.

Jack’s pick: Washington State

Aaron’s pick: Washington State

 

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Michigan (10-2) vs. Florida (9-3)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

December 29, Noon E.T, on ESPN

The first New Year’s Six Bowl game features the Gators and the Wolverines.  Michigan was in the top four for much of the season and looked on track to make the playoffs until they were absolutely destroyed by rival Ohio State, 62-39.  Jim Harbaugh is facing a lot of questions about his time as coach and he will need to deliver a win here. The Wolverines will be without defensive tackle Rashan Gary who is sitting out for the draft.  Will Michigan have enough motivation? All seemed lost in week 2 when the Florida Gators lost their 31 game winning streak to Kentucky, but the Gators have responded well (and who knew, Kentucky is good now).  Dan Mullen has brought this team back and they are on track to contend in the coming years, but it all starts with this game. This is huge for the fans in Gainesville as expectations are always through the roof.  This game also has a revenge factor as the Gators have lost their last two against Michigan (last year’s opener and the 2016 Citrus Bowl).

Jack’s pick: Florida

Aaron’s pick: Michigan

 

Belk Bowl: Virginia (7-5) vs. South Carolina (7-5)

Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

December 29, Noon E.T, on ABC

These teams are both 7-5 but the ways they got to those records could not be more different.  Virginia plays a less competitive schedule, the only team they played that was ranked at the time was Miami and they are not even ranked anymore.  The Cavaliers lost their last two games in overtime and will look to avenge those losses. Great things were expected out of Will Muschamp when he became the South Carolina coach and he is slowly building up to them.  This year was a bit of a disappointment as the Gamecocks were expected to contend in the SEC East. All five of their losses are against ranked teams. They were blown out by Georgia, played Kentucky and Texas A&M tough and lost a game to Florida in which they held a 17 point lead.  South Carolina could be a 10-2 team if they played better in all of those games. They also played Clemson tough, eventually losing 56-35, but Jake Bentley threw for 510 yards. Bentley was expected to make the leap from sophomore to junior year but has been disappointing. This bowl game will show if he is ready to do it next year.  South Carolina will use this as a building block on their way to competing in the SEC East.

Jack’s pick: South Carolina

Aaron’s pick: South Carolina

 

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Nevada (7-5) vs. Arkansas State (8-4)

Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona

December 29, 1:15 p.m. E.T, on CBS Sports Network

People will probably look past this game as it is two small teams on a day filled with big games but nevertheless, we will still break it down for you.  Nevada was a solid team all year with losses against quality opponents, and one perplexingly to UNLV. Ty Gangi is a very good quarterback and a proven leader for Nevada.  Arkansas State comes in on the heels of a four game winning streak and they are also led by their quarterback, Justice Hansen. This one will come down to which senior quarterback performs better and it could be quite the show to watch.

Jack’s pick: Nevada

Aaron’s pick: Nevada

 

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland

December 31, 12:00 PM ET on ESPN

Ah, the Military Bowl. So much pride and nationalism are seen throughout the stadium and felt in the atmosphere, as this is one of the most iconic Bowl games played every year. The Cincinnati Bearcats come out of the AAC and they finished with a 6-2 conference record. They had a very good season, nationally ranked at one point in the the year. On the other side, the VT Hokies started off hot, being ranked as high as #13 in the nation at one point, but fell from there, losing 5 if 6 to end the regular season.

Jack’s pick: Cincinnati

Aaron’s pick: Cincinnati

 

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Stanford (8-4) vs. Pitt (7-6)

Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas

December 31, 2 p.m. E.T, on CBS

The Sun Bowl is one of college football’s oldest bowl games, having been around since 1935.  Stanford running back Bryce Love came into the season with Heisman expectations but that faded quickly following an injury and only one game over 100 yards.  Stanford had a quietly average season and went 6-3 in PAC-12 play. Pitt won the ACC Coastal, which is not the biggest accomplishment by any stretch of the imagination, and got dismantled by Clemson in the conference championship game.  Pitt is an average team and Stanford looks a little better on paper.

Jack’s pick: Stanford

Aaron’s pick: Stanford

 

Redbox Bowl: Oregon (8-4) vs. Michigan State (7-5)

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California

December 31, 3 p.m. E.T, on Fox

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is one of the top rated quarterback prospects and he has not even declared for the draft yet.  His numbers are not that eye-catching but he has been a consistent player all year and has potential. Oregon went a disappointing 5-4 in conference play on the season and will look to make things right in this game.  Meanwhile, Michigan State had an underwhelming season, also going 5-4 in conference play. The Spartans offense has struggled to score points all year, averaging 10 points per game in their losses. They finished the last three games of the season scoring a combined 22 points (a 26-6 loss against Ohio State, a 9-6 loss against Nebraska, and a 14-10 win over a horrible Rutgers team).  Michigan State’s defense will have to keep them in this battle of squads who will look to end their disappointing seasons with a win.

Jack’s pick: Oregon

Aaron’s pick: Oregon

 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Missouri (8-4) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee

December 31, 3:45 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has said that he will play in this game, despite rumors of his draft stock.  This is a good thing for the Tigers because he is their offense. In games where Lock throws 250 + yards, the Tigers are 7-0 and when he does not they are 1-4.  Lock has three games of over 350 yards passing and the Tigers are unstoppable when he is on. Oklahoma State upset West Virginia late in the year but finished 3-6 in conference play.  This game could get out of hand if the Big 12 defense cannot step up to the plate and stop this Missouri offense.

Jack’s pick: Missouri

Aaron’s pick: Oklahoma State

 

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: Northwestern (8-5) vs. Utah (9-4)

SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California

December 31, 7.p.m E.T, on Fox Sports 1

This game might just win the award for most ridiculous sponsorship.  Try saying it three times fast. The game, however, should be a good one.  Both teams ended up making their conference championships and ending up on the wrong side of the result.  They will both be looking for some redemption here. After dropping three straight early in the season, Northwestern rebounded led by quarterback Clayton Thorson and a dominant defense.  The Wildcats only let up more than 30 points three times the whole season and held seven opponents to less than 20 points. Utah will have a tough time getting the ball moving here. The Utes, meanwhile went 6-3 in conference on their way to the PAC-12 Championship game where they lost 10-3 to Washington.  Quarterback Tyler Huntley is listed as probable after missing the last four games with a collarbone injury. Will he do enough to get past this stifling Wildcats defense?

Jack’s pick: Utah

Aaron’s pick: Northwestern

 

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Texas A&M (8-4) vs. NC State (9-3)

TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida

December 31, 7:30 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

Texas A&M was a good team all year, nearly beating Clemson and playing Alabama tough in the first half.  Quarterback Kellen Mond led the Aggies to an 8-4 record and their most impressive win was the last game of the season when they beat LSU 74-72 in seven overtimes.  The Aggies are certainly battle tested. They will have to stop Ryan Finley and his Wolfpack offense, however. Finley is one of the top quarterback draft prospects and has eight 300 + passing yard games on the season including two of over 400 (473 and 409).  Finley is an amazing talent and it will be tough for Texas A&M to stop him. This one will be a great contest.

Jack’s pick: Texas A&M

Aaron’s pick: NC State

 

Outback Bowl: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Iowa (8-4)

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida

January 1, Noon E.T, on ESPN2

Mississippi State had a solid year with first year head coach Joe Moorhead replacing the offensive minded Dan Mullen.  Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald never quite reached his full potential in his time at Mississippi State as fans expected him to be the next Dak Prescott.  Fitzgerald had seven games on the year where he had less than 150 passing yards but still managed to give his team wins. Fitzgerald is a big threat on the ground and can be tough for defenses to bring down.  The Bulldogs four losses all came against ranked opponents and will look to take down a tough Hawkeye team. Iowa comes into this game with a good defense but did not fulfill the expectations of winning the Big 10 West.  The Hawkeyes have a good defense allowing 17.4 points per game and Mississippi State’s is even better average 12 points a game (the lowest in the country), and it will be tough for both offense to get going. This one could very likely be a really low scoring game.

Jack’s pick: Mississippi State

Aaron’s pick: Iowa

 

VRBO Citrus Bowl: Penn State (9-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3)

Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida

January 1, 1 p.m. E.T, on ABC

Penn State was another team with high expectations in the beginning of the year but was in for a rude awakening when Appalachian State took them to overtime in their first game.  The Nittany Lions could not finish against Ohio State and Michigan State and were blown out by Michigan. Quarterback Trace McSorley has not played like the fans expected him to but he still has one more chance.  They will face another school that wants to be more than a perennial basketball school in Kentucky. Kentucky shocked Florida and ended the 31 game streak the Gators had over them on the way to a 9-3 season. Quarterback Terry Wilson was solid all year and running back Benny Snell Jr. was quietly one of the best backs in the nation.  This will be a good one.

Jack’s pick: Penn State

Aaron’s pick: Kentucky

 

Playstation Fiesta Bowl: UCF (12-0) vs. LSU (9-3)

Aaron

State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

New Year’s Day, 1 PM ET, on ESPN

Two of the nation’s best square off in the coveted Fiesta Bowl. The LSU Tigers were at one point in the Top 4 teams in the country, be after a blowout prime time loss to Alabama, they fell a little bit in the rankings. Nick Brousette has powered them in the ground, while Joe Burrow has done his job at aging a stable quarterback. For UCF, they will be without their starting QB, McKenzie Milton, who is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury that required surgery. This is UCF’s third consecutive undefeated season. The “National Champs”, according to their fans, will look to beat a highly ranked opponent for the second year in a row in a big bowl game.

Jack’s pick: LSU

Aaron’s pick: UCF

 

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Ohio State (12-1) vs. Washington (10-3)

Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California

January 1, 5 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

College football’s oldest bowl game, having been played since 1916, features the Buckeyes and the Huskies.  Ohio State finished 12-1, struggling at certain points during the season and getting demolished by Purdue. However, the Buckeyes ended on a high note, beating Michigan 62-39 and Northwestern 45-24 in the Big 10 championship.  Dwayne Haskins was good enough to win the Heisman and J.K. Dobbins is a great back. Ohio State is good enough to be in the playoff and are surely upset that they missed it. Will they be motivated for this one? Washington will try and take down the Buckeyes and the Huskies were another team in the playoff race at the beginning of the year.  Jake Browning was never as good as expected but they won the PAC-12 and are ready to capture the Rose Bowl. Motivation will not be a problem for the Huskies.

Jack’s pick”: Ohio State

Aaron’s pick: Ohio State

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Georgia (11-2) vs. Texas (9-4)

Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

January 1, 8:45 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

In the 85th edition of the Sugar Bowl, Texas will face off with Georgia.  This is another game where motivation is a factor as Georgia suffered a heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship and just missed out on the playoffs.  It is, however, still a New Year’s Six Bowl game and you have to think Kirby Smart will have his guys ready to go. Jake Fromm is an outstanding quarterback for the Bulldogs and has a dynamic duo of running backs in the backfield with Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift.  Mecole Hardman, Terry Godwin, and Riley Ridley are all fantastic receivers and this Georgia team can beat you in any facet of the game. Texas will have their hands full but have a number of quality wins this year. Sam Ehlinger will look for his favorite target Lil’Jordan Humphrey and the Georgia defense needs to be aware of this.  The Sugar Bowl is always a great game and hopefully this one adds another chapter to the book.

Jack’s pick: Georgia

Aaron’s pick: Georgia

 

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Clemson (13-0) vs. Notre Dame (12-0)

AT&T Stadium in Dallas,Texas

December 29, 4:00 PM ET on ESPN

The first Semi-Final game in the college football playoff is the legendary Cotton Bowl. This year’s game features two undefeated teams, Notre Dame and Clemson. Clemson was an obvious choice for the #2 spot, the best team in the ACC by miles, full of talent on offense such as Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne, as well as studs like Dexter Lawrence on the defensive side. The Tigers are the second favorite to win it all, behind Alabama. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish, while going undefeated, were a questionable choice for the playoff. Most people say that they had a weak schedule and that teams such as Ohio State and Georgia should have made the playoff over them. Nonetheless, they are here and they are GOOD. With Ian Book at the helm and weapons Miles Boykin and Dexter Williams at his disposable, this offense is electric and high scoring. This one should be a good one.

Jack’s pick: Clemson

Aaron’s pick: Clemson

 

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl: Alabama (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (12-1)

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

December 29, 8 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

There is no doubt about it, Alabama is a dynasty.  This team has been so dominant over the last couple years and will look to add more trophies to their collection.  Tua Tagovailoa is almost unstoppable and Jerry Jeudy has been his favorite target all year. Alabama has survived everyone’s best shot all year and will look to finish it out with two more games.  The question here, however, is if Alabama’s defense can stop what is perhaps the best offense in the country. Oklahoma and Heisman winner Kyler Murray will throw everything they have at the Tide. Coach Lincoln Riley is an offensive mastermind but is it good enough to beat this stellar defense?  Ceedee Lamb and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown have been electric at receiver for the Sooners this year and will be up to the test. This should be an outstanding matchup and everyone will be watching.

Jack’s pick: Alabama

Aaron’s pick: Alabama

 

College Football Playoff National Championship: TBD vs. TBD

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California

January 7, 8 p.m. E.T, on ESPN

The one we have all been waiting for.  The champions of college football will be crowned at the end of the night and who will it be?  Will Alabama continue the dynasty and their winning ways that we have all grown accustomed to? Will Clemson win their second National Championship and prove itself as the best team?  Will Notre Dame pull of the upset against Clemson and then win it all? Will Oklahoma silence the haters and win with their high scoring offense? All the questions will be answered but one thing is for sure, it will be exciting to watch.

Jack’s pick: Alabama

Aaron’s pick: Alabama

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