College Football: Predicting All 41 Bowl Games

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College Football: Predicting All 41 Bowl Games

By Jack Woodard and Aaron Hook

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially that time of year again: bowl season.  The college football regular season has wrapped up and now we can sit back and watch all the bowl games throughout the next month.  The action starts with the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl on December 20 and will not end until the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 13.  Just like last year, Aaron Hook and Jack Woodard (who are both college football fanatics), will give you their take on every single game this bowl season and predict who they think will win.  Last year, Jack and Aaron both predicted 25 games correctly (Aaron won the tie breaker because of points scored in the National Championship). This article is the college football fan’s guide to bowl season and will give you everything you need to know, even if you do not know anything about some of these teams.  Let’s jump right into it.  

 

 

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl: Buffalo (7-5) vs. Charlotte (7-5) 

Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas

December 20, 2 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The players in this one will surely be happy to get the chance to travel to the Bahamas and enjoy time in the sun during the cold month of December.  However, this is a business trip after all, as both teams will look to get a win and make the flight home a happy one. Buffalo did not live up to expectations this year as they came in 2nd in the MAC East and they were one of the favorites to win that division.  Nevertheless, the Bulls played themselves into a bowl game and will look to finally win a bowl game at the FBS level. The Bulls have a very explosive running back in Jaret Patterson who has 1,626 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground this year. Charlotte is playing in their first ever bowl game and will look to come out with a win in it as well.  One thing is for certain, one team is going to get their first ever bowl win in this game.

Jack’s pick: Buffalo

Aaron’s pick: Buffalo

 

Tropical Smoothing Cafe Frisco Bowl: Utah State (7-5) vs. Kent State (6-6) 

Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas

December 20, 7:30 p.m. E.T., on ESPN2

The Frisco Bowl hit the scene in 2017 and its only two games have both been blowouts, with Louisiana Tech torching SMU 51-10 in the inaugural game and Ohio shutting out San Diego State 27-0 a year ago.  This year’s matchup features an early season Mountain West favorite in the Aggies of Utah State and a rebuilding program in the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Utah State finished 6-2 in Mountain West play, a conference which featured 19th ranked Boise State. The Aggies are in a bit of hot water at the moment, however, as junior quarterback Jordan Love was busted for possession of marijuana and was charged for a misdemeanor along with 2 of his teammates, including leading rusher Gerold Bright.  This could be bad for the Aggies as well as Love’s draft stock. On the other side, Kent State enjoyed its first winning season in 7 seasons, and also enjoyed a big turnaround from their 2-10 campaign last year in what was their first season under Head Coach Sean Lewis. KSU finished 2nd in the MAC-East, their highest finish since 2012. Junior QB Dustin Crum is more of a runner than a pocket passer, in fact he lead the team in rushing, but despite this he still had an excellent season, throwing 18 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions.  He has run for 560 yards and 5 TDs on the ground. While the defense may be suspect, or VERY suspect, the high powered rushing attack of the Golden Flashes is not something to take for granted.

Jack’s pick: Utah State
Aaron’s pick: Utah State

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl: Alcorn State (9-3)  vs. North Carolina A&T (8-3) 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

December 21, Noon E.T., on ABC

The Celebration Bowl is a tough one to pick every year as it features two FCS teams that many people have not watched too much of throughout the year.  Every year this game brings together the top two HBCU schools in the country to battle it out in Atlanta. These two teams have dominated their respective conferences (North Carolina A&T out of the MEAC and Alcorn State out of the SWAC) for the past couple years and always seem to be in this game.  This is a rematch of last year’s Celebration Bowl, a 24-22 North Carolina A&T win, and the inaugural Celebration Bowl in 2015, a 41-34 North Carolina A&T win. North Carolina A&T has won this game 3 out of the 4 years it has been played and will look to stay hot in it. Alcorn State will look to avenge losses from the previous years to North Carolina A&T.
Jack’s pick: North Carolina A&T

Aaron’s pick: North Carolina A&T

 

New Mexico Bowl: Central Michigan (8-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3) 

Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico

December 21, 2 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Two teams that are chasing a bowl win for the first time in awhile face off in the New Mexico Bowl’s 14th year.  Central Michigan fell to Miami (OH), 26-21 in the MAC Championship game, which was a crushing blow that spoiled a 3 game winning streak they had coming into the title game.  Senior Quarterback Quinten Dormady had a solid year, throwing 14 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, 2,148 yards, and completed 66.8% of his passing attempts. Where this team is lethal, however, is on the ground.  The Chippewas boast a 1,000+ yard rusher in senior back Jonathan Ward, who rushed for 15 scores on the ground, as well as sophomore Kobe Lewis, who ran for 977 yards and 11 touchdowns. For the Aztecs, their 9-3 record added to their run of four 9+ win seasons in the past 5 years. The Aztecs had a stellar defense in 2019, allowing just 13.3 points per game. A team that has been built on defense for the better part of the past decade has continued the trend, but that’s not to say they can’t get it done offedinvely.  SDSU had 4 players who rushed for multiple touchdowns, with Chase Jasmin leading the way with 3. A balanced running attack complimented by an offense led by senior quarterback Ryan Agnew, who is well rested after sitting out in the season finale against BYU, is certainly a threat. An elite running team vs an elite defense. This should be a good one.

 

Jack’s pick: San Diego State

Aaron’s pick: Central Michigan

 

Cure Bowl: Liberty (7-5)  vs. Georgia Southern (7-5) 

Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida

December 21, 2:30 p.m. E.T., on CBS Sports Network

The fifth annual Cure Bowl in Orlando hosts a pair of 7-5 teams in Liberty and Georgia Southern. The Flames of Liberty have lost 3 of their last 5, including 2 losses to Power 5 squads in Rutgers and Virginia.  Senior quarterback Stephen Calvert had an incredible year, throwing for 3,393 yards and 26 touchdowns. His best performance came against UMASS on November 2nd, when he passed for 474 yards, completing 20 of his 27 attempts and converting for 4 scores through the air. The Flames are another squad that has two elite tailbacks in senior Frankie Hickson and junior Josh Mack.  The pair combined for 18 touchdowns and 1,688 yards rushing. For Georgia Southern, their season is defined by their standout upset win at No. 20 Appalachian State on Halloween night. It was their first road win against a ranked opponent since joining the FBS in 2013, and their 7-5 record is just their 2nd winning record in that time span, but their 2nd in three years. This Georgia Southern team can be described as electric and risk taking.  They total over 446 yards of total offense per contest but also allow over 450 to their opponents. Against a strong running team like Liberty, Georgia Southern may be vulnerable, as they give up 211 yards a game in that department. Offensively, quarterback Dan Ellington tossed 21 touchdowns as well as ran for 5. Senior running back Tra Barnett led the conference in rushing with 1,369 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Jack’s pick: Georgia Southern

Aaron’s pick: Georgia Southern

 

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl: SMU (10-2) vs. Florida Atlantic (10-3) 

FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida

December 21, 3:30 p.m. E.T., on ABC

This one is going to be fun.  Two teams that did very well in their respective conference looking for 11 win seasons.  SMU has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, averaging 43 points per game on the year.  Quarterback Shane Buechele, the Texas transfer, has been absolutely electric, throwing for 3,626 yards and 33 touchdowns on the year.  Buechele is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, numbers wise. This will be a tough one for SMU to win, however, as it is being played in Florida Atlantic’s home stadium.  The FAU fans will certainly show up ready for this one. Florida Atlantic also has their own 3,000 + yard passer in Chris Robinson and is coming off of a 49-6 thrashing over UAB in the Conference USA Championship Game.  The Owls had a very successful season under coach Lane Kiffin, who left to take a job at Ole Miss, and will look to finish what he started with a win here. If you like offense, this game is for you.

Jack’s pick: SMU

Aaron’s pick: Florida Atlantic

 

Camellia Bowl: Florida International (6-6)  vs. Arkansas State (7-5) 

Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama

December 21, 5:30 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The Sun Belt West runner up Arkansas State looks to snap a 2 game bowl losing streak against an FIU team that was quite frankly, the definition of average all season in the Conference USA.  Two mid-tier teams in two mid-tier conferences should make for an interesting matchup for the slot right before the ABC Prime time game. Arkansas State comes in hot as they’ve won 4 of their last 5 and have a high powered offense that is rolling. Their main weapon is senior wideout Omar Bayless, who caught 84 passes for 1,473 yards and 16 (!!!) touchdowns, earning him Third team AP All-American honors.  It comes as no surprise that Arkansas State has produced an elite receiver, as they led the conference in points per game last year and have fully committed themselves to an air raid style attack, but to put up those numbers are just absurd. Junior quarterback Logan Bonner got off to a hot start through his first four games, totaling 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns to just 1 pick, but was sidelined for the remainder of the season with a broken thumb after Week 4.  Freshman signal caller Layne Hatcher stepped in and did a nice job, throwing for 2,553 yards and 23 touchdowns in 8 games. Arkansas State is another team that gives up a lot on the defensive side of the ball but comes right back with just as much firepower on offense. For the Panthers of FIU, they’ve been solid on both sides of the ball, and aren’t really heavily reliant on one side or the other. Senior running back Anthony Jones led the way with 802 yards rushing for 9 touchdowns while James Morgan had a good follow up to his breakout 2018 season with 13 touchdowns and 2,248 yards passing.

Jack’s pick: Arkansas State

Aaron’s pick: Arkansas State 

 

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State (12-1)  vs. Washington (7-5) 

Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada

December 21, 7:30 p.m. E.T., on ABC

This game will be intriguing for many as Boise State is one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country (they just missed out on the Group of 5 bid to a New Year’s Six game) and many people believe that Washington is the best 7 win team in the country.  Boise State ran through the Mountain West this season, as we are accustomed to seeing them do, and almost went undefeated, having just barely lost to BYU (28-25). Boise State has had trouble with their quarterback position all year but it seems that Jaylon Henderson has finally taken over at that position.  Henderson has started the last 4 games and has been solid. He does not turn the ball over often and he is a senior with experience. Washington came into the year with playoff aspirations but had an underwhelming season. A few plays here and there and the Huskies could easily be a 1 or 2 loss team, as 4 of their 5 losses have come by 6 points or less.  Jacob Eason is a proven quarterback and will look to impress NFL scouts in this one as well as give his team a W.  

Jack’s pick: Washington

Aaron’s pick: Boise State

 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Appalachian State (12-1) vs. UAB (9-4) 

Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

December 21, 9 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The Appalachian State Mountaineers continued their reign of dominance in the Sun Belt again this season, posing a 7-1 record in conference play, a 12-1 record overall, and capturing another Sun Belt title, their 2nd straight. This squad possesses an elite offense, averaging 39.4 points per game which gives them a spot in the Top 10 scoring offenses in the country. The Mountaineers are without one of their top targets however, as Junior wideout Corey Sutton, who followed up a 10 touchdown year with 7 this year in 9 games,  is out for the rest of the year with a torn left ACL. Junior Zac Thomas had himself quite the year under center, throwing for 2,576 and 26 touchdowns, good for a quarterback rating of 149.9. On the ground, Darrynton Evans, a 5’11 Junior, rushed for 1,323 yards and 17 touchdowns, an incredible year for a college running back. The defense is also something to be wary of, as this scrappy unit forces more than a turnover per game on average. App State really is the complete package and you can see why they finished the season as the 20th best team in the nation.  For UAB, they continue their trend of success since returning to College football after a two year absence. The defending Conference USA champs posted a 9-4 record and a 6-2 record inside of the conference, but failed to defend their title in 2019 as they fell to FAU in the C-USA Title game. Head Coach Bill Clark’s squad is gearing up to play their third straight bowl game and are looking to build off of last year’s domination of Northern Illinois, 37-13 in the Boca Raton Bowl. The story for them coming into this one is the availability of redshirt sophomore Quarterback Tyler Johnston III, who is currently nursing a knee injury.  Reports have said that it is unclear as of now if he will be available to play. Johnston didn’t have a particularly great sophomore season however, completing 58.1% of his passes for 1,949 yards and 15 touchdowns, but throwing 14 interceptions. The deep threat and middle of the field combo of Austin Watkins (933 yards, 5 touchdowns), and Kendall Parham (608 yards, 6 touchdowns) at receiver should serve UAB well though. UAB’s strength lies on the defensive side of the ball, where they were the 26th ranked total defense in the nation and 1st in C-USA. Two very interesting teams that have enjoyed a lot of success recently will battle in the Big Easy, and it should be tons of fun.

Jack’s pick: Appalachian State

Aaron’s pick: Appalachian State

 

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: UCF (9-3)  vs. Marshall (8-4) 

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida

December 23, 2:30 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

UCF has become a household name throughout the country in recent years and had another successful season this year.  Dillon Gabriel won the starting quarterback job in the beginning of the year for a team with a plethora of quarterbacks and has put up 3,393 yards and 27 touchdowns on the year.  Gabriel has sent a message to the entire country that UCF isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, as he is only a freshman and will have great things to come in his career at UCF. UCF’s losses on the year all came by 3 points or less.  Marshall had a solid season in the Conference USA and has a win against Florida Atlantic to their credit as well as a very close loss at Boise State. The Thundering Herd are always a competitive team and this game features two Group of 5 teams that are used to winning.  Can Marshall go into Florida and upset UCF in their own state?

Jack’s pick: UCF

Aaron’s pick: UCF

 

SoFi Hawai’i Bowl: Hawai’i (9-5) vs. BYU (7-5) 

Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawai’i

December 24, 8 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

If you’ve read any of my recent articles (Jack Woodard), you’ll know that I have kept a close eye on this Hawai’i team all year and believe that they have one of the best quarterback rooms in the country.  Cole McDonald is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country and has accounted for 35 touchdowns on the year as well as throwing for 3,642 yards. McDonald has 14 interceptions on the year, which may seem alarming, but his production seems to outweigh his mistakes.  McDonald kept his team in a competitive game against Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Championship, but Boise State pulled away late and won the game. Chevan Cordeiro is also a great backup for the Rainbow Warriors and can produce almost, if not at the same level as McDonald when needed.  Coredeiro comes into the game whenever McDonald is struggling and has even started some games this year. Remember the names Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro. Hawai’i also has two fantastic receivers in Cedric Byrd II and Jason-Matthew Sharsh. Head coach Nick Rolovich is building a very good team out in Hawai’i and he has mastered the run and shoot offense.  BYU is a solid team and has some quality wins on the year against Tennessee, USC, and Boise State, but will have to go into a hostile environment in Hawai’i. The Cougars were on a 5 game winning streak before losing to San Diego State in the last week of the season. BYU certainly knows how to perform in big games. The Hawai’i Bowl is a Christmas Eve tradition for all college football fans and this one will add another chapter to the book.

Jack’s pick: Hawai’i

Aaron’s pick: BYU

 

Walk On’s Independence Bowl: Louisiana Tech (9-3) vs. Miami (FL) (6-6) 

Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana

December 26, 4 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Louisiana Tech is feeling good coming into this post-Christmas late afternoon clash.  Not just because of the fact that they posted their best record in 7 years, but also because they get to play this game about an hour down the road from their home stadium in Ruston.  Super senior quarterback J’Mar Smith ended his career with arguably his best campaign at Louisiana Tech, throwing for 2,814 yards, 17 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions, while completing 66% of his passes.  A common theme amongst Conference USA teams, the Bulldogs’ backfield is simply electric, featuring junior running back Justin Henderson, who ran for 967 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 games this season. For Miami, a season that once seemed like an opportunity to take a step in the right direction towards regaining past seasons’ glory has turned into one that is quite frankly considered a failure.  Despite playing No.8 Florida close in Week 1, and notching a big win against Virginia, bad losses to Georgia Tech and FIU spoiled what could’ve been a potential 8 win season. Sophomore Jarren Williams controversially won the starting job at the start of the year over Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, who has since taken a leave of absence from the program, and his future both with the U and his position are unclear. For Williams, in his first full season in 2019 as a sophomore, he threw for 2,093 yards, 19 touchdowns and 6 picks.  On the ground, the situation is kind of a disaster for the Canes at the moment. Leading rusher Deejay Dallas is out for the season with a dislocated elbow, and third string Lorenzo Linzard is questionable for the game. This leaves Cam’ron Harris, who rushed for 545 yards and 5 touchdowns, and everyone else. A knock on this Miami team is that they don’t have a standout receiver who is a big time playmaker for Williams to use as a go to guy. The defense is led by middle linebacker Shaq Quarterman, who at 6’1, 240 is a monster in the middle of the defense, and has racked up 96 tackles and 15.5 for loss in 2019.

Jack’s pick: Miami 

Aaron’s pick: Miami

 

Quick Lane Bowl: Pitt (7-5) vs. Eastern Michigan (6-6) 

Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan

December 26, 8 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

To be a college football player and to get to play a prime time bowl game in an NFL stadium is an experience of a lifetime, and the Quick Lane bowl has become one that has made its way into fans hearts as a post-Christmas bowl season classic. This year’s duel features the ACC’s Pitt Panthers and the MAC’s Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Panthers had a stretch in the early part of the year, where they played No. 13 Penn State close on the road and then upset No.15 UCF at home one week later. At one time, this Pitt team was 5-2 with a non-conference Top 25 upset under their belt and were rolling on a 4 game winning streak.  Then the Miami game happened. After kicking a field goal with 7 minutes to go in the fourth, Pitt had Miami on the ropes, with a 2nd and 10 outside of field goal range with about a minute to go, and then the defense collapsed, missed a couple tackles and let up a 32 yard touchdown pass. They would go on to lose 3 of their next 5, and ruin any chance they had of gaining traction in the ACC. Junior quarterback Kenny Pickett faired well enough during his second full season under center, throwing for 2,737 yards and 10 TDs against 9 interceptions. #1 receiver Taysir Mack is probable for the game with an ankle injury. On the other side for Eastern Michigan, a bowl game in your home state is always nice, and they get it here in Detroit.  EMU has a balanced offensive attack, with quarterback Mike Glass at the helm. Glass and Shaq Vann have combined for 15 rushing touchdowns and over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. It’ll be a big test for the Eagles to see if they can use the home state advantage to capture their first bowl win in 32 years.

Jack’s pick: Pitt

Aaron’s pick: Pitt

 

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: North Carolina (6-6) vs. Temple (8-4) 

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland

December 27, Noon E.T., on ESPN

North Carolina reached a bowl game under head coach Mack Brown, in his first season coaching the Tar Heels since he left them for the Texas job 21 years ago.  Fans were satisfied with the return of Brown and he certainly gave them plenty of memories this season. North Carolina upset South Carolina in the first game of the season, beat Miami, almost upset Clemson, and clinched a berth in a bowl game after beating rival North Carolina State.  Brown is building a team that will be ready to compete in the coming years at North Carolina. A very bright spot for the Tar Heels this season has been the play of their true freshman quarterback Sam Howell. Howell has thrown for 3,347 yards on the season to go along with 35 touchdowns.  The Tar Heels are certainly on every ACC fan’s watchlist for next year. Temple has had an up and down season this year coming up with some memorable wins (20-17 against then ranked Maryland, 24-2 against a Power 5 Georgia Tech team, and 30-28 against AAC champions Memphis) but has also had some bad losses (38-22 against Buffalo, 45-21 against SMU, and 63-21 against UCF).  Temple seems to be a very inconsistent team and this could hurt them in this game. The Owls are looking to go 3-0 against Power 5 teams on the year. Which Temple team will show up, the one that gave Memphis its only loss of the year or the one that got embarrassed by UCF?

Jack’s pick: North Carolina
Aaron’s pick: Temple

 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Michigan State (6-6) vs. Wake Forest (8-4) 

Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York

December 27, 3:20 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The Pinstripe Bowl is always a great tradition as it is played in the heart of the New York sports world, Yankee Stadium.  The Spartans of Michigan State saw their season go downhill fast when they lost at home to unranked Arizona State while being the 18th ranked team in the nation.  They were ranked again three weeks later when they traveled to The Shoe to play Ohio State, but got blown out. They proceeded to lose 4 in a row including BARLEY sneaking out a win at home against a bad Maryland team.  Brian Lewerke followed up an underwhelming 2018 with a solid 2019 senior season, with 16 touchdowns against 12 picks while compiling 2,759 yards on a 58% completion rate. Cody White was by far the top target for Michigan State, racking up 825 yards and 5 receiving touchdowns.  Wake Forest’s season was a good one, but one that could have seen them potentially playing in a premier bowl game if they hadn’t lost some trap games late in the season, like a 39-30 loss at a 5-7 Syracuse team. Sam Hartman had to step in for junior Jamie Newman late in the year.  Newman was having a terrific season, throwing for 2,693 yards and 23 touchdowns. Hartman threw for 830 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 picks in 3 games. Newman also served as the team’s leading rusher with 487 yards and 6 touchdowns. A battle of two teams that were once both ranked inside the Top 20 should be good as one of these teams will end the season with a win.

Jack’s pick: Wake Forest
Aaron’s pick: Michigan State

 

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5) 

NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

December 27, 6:45 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Both of these teams are competitive teams and will do a great job representing their conferences in this game.  Oklahoma State was average in the Big 12 this year and could not quite come up with any season-defining wins. Oklahoma State only has one top 25 victory and it came against Iowa State.  The Cowboys have one of the best running backs in the nation in Chuba Hubbard, who leads college football in rushing yards with 1,936 yards. Hubbard also has 21 touchdowns on the year and averages an insane 6.3 yards per carry.  Chuba Hubbard is a threat to take a run to the house any time he touches the ball and Texas A&M will have a tough time stopping him. The Aggies had a rough season under head coach Jimbo Fisher and went 7-5 in the SEC West. The Aggies lost close games to Clemson (24-10), Auburn (28-20), and Georgia (19-13).  Kellen Mond is a solid quarterback for the Aggies and will look to raise his draft stock with this game.

Jack’s pick: Texas A&M

Aaron’s pick: Texas A&M

 

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: USC (8-4) vs. Iowa (9-3) 

SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California

December 27, 8 p.m. E.T., on Fox Sports 1

In a battle between two Power Five squads that came up just short of a New Year’s Six Bowl, Iowa and USC will both seek to end their respective seasons on a high note. USC started their season off with a bang, beating both Fresno State and No. 23 Stanford in consecutive contests at home. After a road loss to a tough BYU team, the Trojans had to face three ranked teams in back to back to back games. They beat No. 10 Utah, but then fell to 17 Washington and 9th ranked Notre Dame. Then they won 5 of their next 6, with their lone loss coming to No. 7 Oregon. An up and down season with more positives, a big win or two and USC is a potential national title contender.  The Hawkeyes on Iowa out of the Big Ten come in white hot, having won five of their last 6 and three in a row, including a huge win over No. 8 Minnesota. Currently ranked 16th in the nation, Iowa rebounded from back-to back losses to Michigan and Penn State to go on that streak. Senior quarterback Nate Stanley had a rather disappointing senior season, throwing 14 touchdowns against 7 interceptions while he had thrown for 52 touchdowns the previous two years combined. As they usually do, the Hawkeyes boast a truly elite defense however, allowing just 13.1 points per game. They also went 9-3 on the year, as they usually do. A battle between two teams looking to represent two Power 5 conferences, as well as seeking a statement to the nation for next year. This should be electric.

Jack’s pick: Iowa

Aaron’s pick: Iowa

 

Cheez-It Bowl: Air Force (10-2) vs. Washington State (6-6) 

Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona

December 27, 10:15 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Another Power 5 vs. Group of 5 battle and this one will catch the eyes of many people.  Mike Leach, of Washington State, is one of the best offensive coaches in the country, producing Gardner Minshew II and now Anthony Gordon.  Gordon has flown under the radar this year and is a name many people do not know. However, just like Minshew last year, Gordon is going to be a great pick for whoever drafts him.  The senior leads the country in passing yards with an absurd 5,228 yards and 45 touchdowns. Gordon has thrown for over 300 yards in 11 of his 12 games this season. Brace yourself for these stats: Gordon has 9 games over 400 yards with 3 of them being for 520, 570, and 606 yards.  You read that right, Gordon has 3 games with over 500 passing yards. Gordon also has a 9 passing touchdown game under his belt this season. That is unheard of. Expect a lot of passing from Washington State in this game as Gordon usually attempts near 60 passes a game. Mike Leach has once again produced a great quarterback at Washington State and remember the name Anthony Gordon when draft day comes.  Air Force is going to have a very tough time trying to slow down this Washington State offense. The Falcons come into this game on a 7 game win streak and are one of the hottest teams in the country. This game is going to be very exciting to watch.

Jack’s pick: Washington State
Aaron’s pick: Washington State

 

Camping World Bowl: Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5) 

Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida

December 28, Noon E.T., on ABC

While Notre Dame gets a lot of hate for not being in a Power 5 conference, or even a conference in general, they have been extremely consistent and impressive over the past 5 years.  Another double digit season for the Fighting Irish has landed them a spot in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, which may be a bit of a disappointment for them. Notre Dame has been absolutely lights out on both sides of the ball, as they have the 13th best scoring offense in the country and allow the 14th fewest points per game.  Notre Dame is ranked 15th in the country coming into this one, and in 4 games against ranked squads, they went 2-2, with a close loss to No. 3 Georgia on the road, wins against Virginia and Navy, and a blowout loss against Michigan. Ian Book had a huge season, that finally silenced any doubters he had from last year, posting great numbers of 33 touchdowns against just 6 interceptions, 2,787 yards, and completing just under 60% of his passes.  He had a great core of receivers that had 5 players catch 4 or more touchdowns, with Senior Chase Claypool leading the way with 12. For the Big 12’s Iowa State Cyclones, they started off the year 2-2 but then racked off 3 straight conference wins. A couple of tough losses later, including a narrow 42-41 loss to No. 9 Oklahoma on the road, and they were back to 5-4. A season that got away from them now gives them possibly their biggest test. Brock Purdy did it all this season, throwing for 3,760 yards and 27 touchdowns while adding 8 more on the ground.  Playing in a true Big 12 air raid system, Purdy slinged the ball all season, throwing for the fourth most yards in FBS. The go to guy was sophomore tight end Charlie Kolar who hauled in a team leading 7 touchdown receptions. Can Notre Dame silence the haters with an 11 win season, or can Iowa State shock the bookies and pull off a big upset?

Jack’s pick: Notre Dame

Aaron’s pick: Notre Dame

 

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Penn State (10-2) vs. Memphis (12-1) 

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

December 28, Noon E.T., on ESPN

Memphis earned a bid to the Cotton Bowl after going 12-1 on the season and winning the American Athletic Conference Championship.  The Tigers are the best Group of 5 team in the country and would be undefeated if they were able to sneak out a win against Temple (they lost 30-28).  Brady White is a great quarterback and has thrown for 3,560 yards and 33 touchdowns this year. Memphis also has an outstanding running back in Kenneth Gainwell and a great receiver in Damonte Coxie (both of these guys have over 1,000 yards in their respective areas).  This Tigers offense is dangerous. Penn State was in College Football Playoff contention all year but suffered two heartbreaking losses to Minnesota and Ohio State in close games. Penn State has an outstanding defense, allowing only 14 points per game. KJ Hamler is an explosive receiver and Sean Clifford is a solid quarterback.  This game will come down to if the Memphis offense can crack this Penn State defense, which is something many teams have not been able to do this season.
Jack’s pick: Penn State
Aaron’s pick: Penn State

 

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: #1 LSU (13-0) vs. #4 Oklahoma (12-1) 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

December 28, 4 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Joe Burrow.  Need I say more?  What an incredible season from the former Ohio State outcast turned Hesiman winner and potential #1 pick in the NFL Draft.  After a good, but not great 2018 season, he lit the country on fire in his senior stint, as he threw for 4,715 yards, completed 78% of his passes, tossed 48 scores and threw just 6 interceptions.  These are absolutely outrageous numbers, and he was rewarded for them with the 2019 Heisman Trophy, beating out Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Chase Young as well as Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. This LSU team is a complete one, however, and their #1 Ranking shows that.  Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the team in rushing with 1,290 yards and 16 touchdowns, as well as adding nearly 400 yards receiving and a touchdown. Bad news for the Tigers regarding him however as he is listed as doubtful to play with a hamstring injury. Freshman backup Tyrion Davis-Prince ran for 6 touchdowns in the regular season, but is listed as questionable as well.  This hole in the backfield could be troublesome for the Tigers. Fortunately for LSU, the pair of 1,000 yard receivers they boast in Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, who also combined for 32 receiving touchdowns, are healthy. On the defensive side of the ball, freshman defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. made a name for himself, tying for 5th in the country with 6 interceptions.  This LSU team is the best in recent years, and with a Heisman winner under center, a lethal receiver duo, and a tough, hard hitting defense, they are certainly the favorite to win it all. The Oklahoma Sooners are Big 12 champions, again. Oklahoma has won 5 consecutive Big 12 titles, asserting their dominance over all other Big 12 teams by a wide margin. Jalen Hurts, the transfer from Alabama who lost his job to Tua Tagovailoa in the historic Georgia National Championship game, put on a show for the Sooners this year.  The senior threw for 3,634 yards, 32 touchdowns and 7 picks while completing 72% of his passes. Hurts is truly an elite dual threat quarterback, as he ran for over 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019. Kennedy Brooks and Rhamondre Stevenson combined for 11 rushing touchdowns, and Hurts has a superstar receiver in deep threat CeeDee Lamb. This team has no holes on offense. Two of the country’s best will square off in the Atlanta, seeking a shot at either Clemson or Ohio State for the National Championship.
Jack’s pick: LSU

Aaron’s pick: Oklahoma

 

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Playstation Fiesta Bowl: #2 Ohio State (13-0) vs. #3 Clemson (13-0) 

State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

December 28, 8 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

This is going to be a classic.  The Buckeyes come into this game with 3 of the best players in the country in Chase Young, Justin Fields, and J.K. Dobbins.  Chase Young has 16.5 sacks on the year and is nearly impossible for one offensive linemen to block. Young is 6’5, 265, and has power and speed when rushing off the edge.  Chase Young is a monster. Justin Fields is one of the most productive quarterbacks in the country, needing only 47 more yards to reach 3,000 passing yards on the season. Fields also has 40 touchdowns and just 1 interception.  Fields does not turn the ball over and that is a great trait to have in a young quarterback. It also helps when he can hand the ball off to his reliable back J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins has 1,829 yards on the year and could very well reach 2,000 before the season ends.  Dobbins is one of the best backs in the nation. Ohio State also has plenty of other great players like Chris Olave, K.J. Hill, and Jeff Okudah. Ohio State is averaging 48.6 points per game this season and only giving up 12.5 points per game. The Buckeyes have blown teams out all year and are going to be tough to stop.  If anyone can do it, it’s Trevor Lawrence and Clemson. Clemson has been blowing out opponents all year and has won their last 8 games by at least 31 points. The Tigers have had a weak schedule, but they are still taking care of business. Trevor Lawrence is a proven quarterback and he played his best football last season in the College Football Playoff.  Lawrence has 3,172 yards on the year and 34 passing touchdowns. Lawrence is extremely accurate and has a cannon for an arm. Lawrence is the most clutch quarterback in college football right now and will look to lead his team to another National Championship. Travis Etienne has 1,500 rushing yards on the season and this battle between these teams is going to be great.  Trevor Lawrence vs. Justin Fields. Travis Etienne vs. J.K. Dobbins. Undefeated vs. undefeated. Clemson vs. Ohio State for a spot in the National Championship.

Jack’s pick: Ohio State
Aaron’s pick: Ohio State

 

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: Western Kentucky (8-4) vs. Western Michigan (7-5) Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas

December 30, 12:30 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The First Responder Bowl is college football’s way of saying thank you to policemen, firemen, EMT, and all other first responders in our communities. This year’s matchup features Western Kentucky and Western Michigan, and the two sides are probably hoping for better weather conditions than last year, as the 2018 bowl between Boston College and Boise State was cancelled due to severe weather conditions. For the Hilltoppers, their Top 25 scoring defense is going to be fun to watch as Western Michigan comes in with a Top 25 offense in the country, averaging just over 34 points per game. This should be a classic offensive vs. defensive battle between two teams from the western part of their respective states.  WMU’s Jon Wassink had a career year as a senior, throwing for nearly 3,000 yards with 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. WKU’s stellar defensive unit, no matter how good they are, is going to have their hands full with LaVante Bellamy, who ran for 23 touchdowns and over 1,200 yards, and Gio Ricci was a force through the air for the Broncos, hauling in 8 touchdowns, a career high for the senior wide Receiver turned tight end. Gaej Walker is a tough runner and a red zone swiss army knife for Wetsern Kentucky, and they’ll need him every chance they can get to compete with the electric offense of the Broncos.

Jack’s pick: Western Michigan
Aaron’s pick: Western Michigan

 

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Louisville (7-5)

Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee

December 30, 4 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Mississippi State came into this season hoping to build off of last year under second year coach Joe Moorhead, but the Bulldogs took a step back.  Mississippi State just barely squeaked into a ball game, thanks to a celebration involving imitating a dog in the Ole Miss game, and will look to have a winning season.  Garrett Shrader is only a freshman and will be in control of this offense in the coming years. Kylin Hill has been outstanding at running back all season and recently announced he would skip his senior season and head to the draft.  Hill has 1,347 rushing yards and is a workhorse for this Bulldog team. Louisville exceeded expectations this year, however, they play in what is arguably the worst Power 5 conference in college football. Louisville won some close games in ACC play and got trounced by Kentucky in their last game by a score of 45-13.  The SEC is just that much better than the ACC, but will it show again in this game?

Jack’s pick: Mississippi State 

Aaron’s pick: Louisville

 

Redbox Bowl: California (7-5) vs. Illinois (6-6)

Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California

December 30, 4 p.m. E.T., on Fox

Another good Big 10/Pac-12 showdown on the eve of New Year’s eve.  We must talk about the fall of Cal. What had the looks of a dream season and at least 8 or 9 wins spiraled out of control after a 4-0 start including a win against No. 14 Wasington up in Seattle.  The Bears then lost 4 in a row, but then won 3 of their next 4 to end the season. It was a strange and bumpy ride of a year, but at least now they get to play the Fighting Illini in their home state.  Illinois experienced a strange road to a bowl game too, as in Week 7 they hosted No. 6 Wisconsin sitting at 2-4, but pulled off a HUGE upset, 24-23. Redshirt junior quarterback Brandon Peters had a mediocre season, throwing for an underwhelming 1,611 s yards with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Peters’ main man was junior Josh Imatorbhebhe, who caught 9 touchdowns.  The Illinois defense had themselves a year as well, as they played multiple good Big 10 offenses throughout the season and they averaged an interception a game. Can Cal knock off a Big 10 up and comer in their home state?

Jack’s pick: California
Aaron’s pick: Illinois

 

Capital One Orange Bowl: Florida (10-2) vs. Virginia (9-4) 

Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida

December 30, 8 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Florida is one of the best teams in the nation and was in the running for the SEC East all season.  Florida’s only two losses came to Georgia, 24-17, and at LSU, 42-28. The Gators can compete with anyone in the nation.  Kyle Trask has been a bright spot at quarterback, ever since Feleipe Franks went down with a season-ending injury. Trask also has some very talented receivers to work with in Van Jefferson, Kadarius Toney, and Tyrie Cleveland.  Trask’s favorite target is his tight end Kyle Pitts who is extremely athletic and tough. Florida has a great defense and will look to assert themselves against Virginia. Virginia will look to bounce back from getting embarrassed in the ACC Championship game against Clemson by winning a New Year’s Six bowl game.  This Cavaliers team will only go as far as quarterback Bryce Perkins takes them. Perkins has 3,215 passing yards on the year and 18 passing touchdowns. Perkins is also Virginia’s leading rusher and has added 11 more touchdowns on the ground. If Perkins does not have an outstanding game in this one, it could get ugly early.

Jack’s pick: Florida

Aaron’s pick: Florida

 

Belk Bowl: Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5) 

Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina

December 31, Noon E.T., on ESPN

This ACC vs. SEC matchup should be interesting to watch.  Let’s start with what has been a hot topic all season, Kentucky’s Quarterback situation which is not exactly ideal.  Junior Troy transfer Sawyer Smith played 8 games at quarterback, and was awful with 4 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and 690 yards.  Mark Stoops turned to desperate measures and made Lynn Bowden Jr, who played wide receiver the entire year and was arguably their best receiver, the starter.  The situation is still complicated and that’s never good going into a bowl game, let alone a big one against a good Virginia Tech squad. The Wildcats’ saving grace is their defense, as they allow the 12th least amount of points per game to their opponents in the country.  Playing in the SEC is a tall task, but as of recent years, Kentucky has been trending up and continues their success with a Belk Bowl appearance. For the Hokies, senior Ryan Willis lost his job mid way through the season after beginning his senior year slow. Sophomore Hendon Hooker proceeded to take over and throw for 11 touchdowns in 9 games. Deshawn McClease was the top runner out of the backfield, running for 6 touchdowns and 717 yards on 166 carries.  With 3 receivers who caught more than 4 touchdowns, the Hokie offense as well as Hendon Hooker are in good hands, but Kentucky’s defense is something that they may have a problem with given that they have not played a Top 20 defense outside of Clemson.

Jack’s pick: Kentucky

Aaron’s pick: Virginia Tech 

 

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl: Florida State (6-6) vs. Arizona State (7-5) 

Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas

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

Florida State was a mediocre football team this season and is still in the midst of a rebuild.  Willie Taggart was fired and is now at Florida Atlantic and Mike Norvell will become the Seminoles coach next year.  Florida State has only beaten two teams with a .500 or above record this year and have not lived up to Seminole standards in recent years.  The Seminoles will look to end the season on a high note to transition into the Norvell era. Arizona State had an unexpectedly good start to the season, going 5-1, but then losing their next 4.  The Sun Devils upset Oregon, to knock the Ducks out of the playoff, and beat Arizona to finish the year and clinch a bowl game. True freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels has grown throughout the year and will continue to do so under head coach Herm Edwards.  This game features two teams that are rebuilding and hoping to compete in the coming years.

Jack’s pick: Arizona State

Aaron’s pick: Florida State

 

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Navy (10-2) vs. Kansas State (8-4) 

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee

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

When you think of Navy football, you think about one thing and one thing only.  Running the football. Navy’s offense is, and has been for as long as the college football fan can remember, been built on the ground.  Whether it’s sweeps, options, designed quarterback runs, or just a plain handoff up the middle, Navy LOVES the run and they do it very well.  Starting quarterback Malcolm Perry threw the ball just 79 times all season, going for 1,027 yards and 6 touchdowns. Perry was also the team’s leading rusher with 1,804 yards (ridiculous) and 21 touchdowns.  Nelson Smith and Jamie Carothers combined for 21 rushing touchdowns. It is a one dimensional offense, but it works extremely well, as shown by Navy’s No. 23 ranking and 10-2 record. Navy’s defense is built on stopping the run, as they allow just 110 rushing yards a game, 17th best in the country.  The Midshipmen are tough, they run hard and don’t let you get anything on the ground. Expect anything more from future soldiers? The Big 12’s Kansas State Wildcats have thrown themselves into the forefront of potential breakout teams in that conference in the near future. After a 6-2 start and being ranked No. 16 in the country, back to back losses to Texas and West Virginia derailed any Big 12 title game hopes they may have had.  Still, bouncing back to in their last 2 games is very impressive for a team in its first year under new coach Chris Kliemnan, who took over for Kansas State legend Bill Snyder. Skyler Thompson acts as a great dual threat weapon under center, with 16 total touchdowns and 10 of them rushing. This is a team built on offensive line play and using extra blockers to create huge holes to run. James Gilbert leads K-State on the ground with 600+ yards and 6 TDs.  They also have a Top 30 defense with wide receiver turned defensive back Denzel Goolsby, who led the team in total tackles with 56.
Jack’s pick: Kansas State
Aaron’s pick: Navy

 

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Wyoming (7-5) vs. Georgia State (7-5) 

Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona

December 31, 4:30 p.m. E.T., on CBS Sports Network

This game will get overlooked by many people, and understandably so, on a day with other more exciting games and big-time teams.  We will still give you an overview though, as it is still part of bowl season. Wyoming is a solid team on defense and has played plenty of close games this season with 4 out of 5 of their losses coming by 5 points or fewer and the other coming by 14.  Wyoming has played close games all year in a competitive Mountain West Conference. Georgia State started the season with a historic upset over Tennessee and have played their way to a winning season since. The Panthers went 4-4 in the Sun Belt and were a middle of the pack team.

Jack’s pick: Wyoming
Aaron’s pick: Georgia State

 

Valero Alamo Bowl: Utah (11-2) vs. Texas (7-5) 

Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas

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

Oh what could’ve been for Utah.  The Utes, ranked #5 two weeks ago and a win away from most likely getting the Number 4 seed in the College Football Playoff, fell to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.  Rather, they got destroyed. Justin Herbert looked like he was in practice against this normally dynamic Utah defense, and the Ducks tore them to shreds 37-15. Still, Utah had an incredible year and finished as the 7th ranked team in the country. Tyler Huntley threw 34 yards shy of 3,000 with 18 scores through the air and 5 more on the ground in his senior season.  Zack Moss has put his name on NFL draft boards everywhere with his 3rd straight 1,000 yard rushing season. Brant Kuithe is the Utes best pass catcher with 6 end zone scores. When Utah gets going early, look out. On the other side is the disappointing Longhorns of Texas. To be ranked in the Top 10 to start the year and to finish 7-5 is just plain embarrassing. Sam Ehlinger does his part year in and year out, and his 2nd campaign as full time starter after Shane Buchele’s departure, he tossed 29 touchdowns.  Ehlinger also got things done on the ground and was the team’s 3rd leading rusher with 590 yards and 6 touchdowns. One bit of slack you can give to the Horns is that they were riddled with injuries, as last year’s main running back Keaontay Ingram went down. Tom Herman may not the answer at Texas. He may have been a genius at Houston, but the Big 12 is a whole different animal than the American.
Jack’s pick: Utah
Aaron’s pick: Utah

 

VRBO Citrus Bowl: Michigan (9-3) vs. Alabama (10-2) 

Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida

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

Finally, Alabama isn’t in the Playoff.  The Crimson Tide had made an appearance in every College Football Playoff before this year and are now seeing things from the outside.  Not only did Alabama not make the playoff, but they didn’t even make a New Year’s Six bowl game. While the Citrus Bowl is a very respected game, it just isn’t a New Year’s Six game.  Alabama will look to finish off a “disappointing” season (by their standards) with a win in this game. Mac Jones took over the quarterback job after Tua Tagovailoa was knocked out for the season with an injury.  Jones has held his own and even put up 335 yards against Auburn with 4 touchdowns (he did have 2 costly interceptions in that game as well, however). Najee Harris has been good at running back and Devonta Smith has racked up 1,200 yards along with 13 touchdowns at receiver.  It is being reported that pass rusher Terrell Lewis and corner Trevon Diggs will not play in this game to focus on the draft and that is a huge hit to the Crimson Tide defense. Nick Saban will have his guys ready to go no matter the situation, but you have to wonder if the Tide will have motivation in this game.  Michigan underwhelmed again this season under Jim Harbaugh and speculations about his job security were being made throughout the year. Sources say that Harbaugh will not be fired but he has to get the Wolverines in playoff contention soon or he may find himself on the hot seat, if he isn’t already. Michigan went 9-3 with wins against Iowa and Notre Dame, but also a close loss to Penn State and two more embarrassing ones at the hands of Wisconsin and Ohio State (again).  The Wolverines will have all their players for this one, as reports have said that nobody is sitting out for the draft. Motivation will be key in this one and Alabama will look to build on their dynasty for next year while Michigan will look to prove that they are ready to contend next year.

Jack’s pick: Alabama
Aaron’s pick: Alabama

 

Outback Bowl: Minnesota (10-2) vs. Auburn (9-3) 

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida

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

Minnesota had a dream season in 2019, and they were the talk of College Football for a little while after they beat No.10 Penn State at home.  They were ranked as high as No. 8 at one point, but lost 2 of their last 3 to end the year and slipped to 16th. This team is still incredibly talented and super dangerous come bowl season.  Tanner Morgan can thank his big wide receivers for his success this year, as Tyler Johnson (6’2/205) and Rashad Bateman (6’3/210) caught 11 touchdowns each and hauled in a combined 2,284 of Morgan’s 2,975 passing yards this season.  The Golden Gophers’ top runner was senior Rodney Smith, who had his second 1,000+ yard rushing season of his 6 year tenure at Minnesota, and punched in 8 times on the ground as well. The Auburn Tigers did it again. They knocked off Alabama in the Iron Bowl in what was another instant classic. Looking past just that game, Auburn’s entire season was phenomenal and come into this one ranked No.12 in the country.  If it weren’t for close losses to both Georgia, and LSU, Auburn could easily have challenged LSU for the SEC Championship a couple of weeks ago. And if they hadn’t come out slow against Florida, they could have been looking at a potential undefeated season. Nonetheless, here they are with their dynamic offense and tight defense ready to take on one of the Big 10’s finest. True Freshman Bo Nix had a nice start to his College football career, as he tossed 15 touchdowns while going for 2,366 yards on a completion rate of 57%.  Nix scored 7 times on the ground as well, and was second in that department behind only Ja’Tarvious Whitlow. With the 4th toughest schedule in the nation, a 9-3 finish and a shot at winning a big bowl game isn’t bad for Auburn.

Jack’s pick: Auburn
Aaron’s pick: Minnesota

 

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Oregon (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (10-3) 

Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California

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

The oldest bowl game in college football, the Rose Bowl Game, referred to as the Granddaddy of them all, features two very good teams this year and will be a fun one to watch.  Oregon is led by quarterback Justin Herbert, who could very well be the first quarterback selected in the draft. Herbert has a big frame at 6’6, 237 pounds, and is the ideal quarterback with good accuracy and a cannon for an arm.  Herbert has 3,333 passing yards on the year and 32 touchdowns. Herbert is the centerpiece of this Oregon offense and is the key to their success. The Ducks are also coming off of an impressive 22 point win against Utah in the PAC-12 Championship.  Oregon was in the College Football Playoff running until the second to last game of the season when they lost to Arizona State. The Ducks are a very good team and a Rose Bowl victory would cap off a great season for them. Wisconsin is led by running back Jonathan Taylor, as many people know, and Taylor could very well be the best running back in the nation.  The junior has 1,909 rushing yards on the season to go along with 21 rushing and 5 receiving touchdowns. Taylor has 10 games on the season with over 100 rushing yards, including 4 with over 200 rushing yards! Jonathan Taylor is a freak of nature and is impossible for defenses to try and stop. Taylor can put this team on his back and carry them to a victory. Quarterback Jack Coan has been solid as well, but Wisconsin will look to assert their running game early and wear Oregon down with it as they have done to teams all year.  Can Wisconsin’s defense stop the dangerous arm of Herbert and can Oregon’s defense slow Jonathan Taylor down just a little bit? We will find out.
Jack’s pick: Wisconsin
Aaron’s pick: Oregon

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Georgia (11-2) vs. Baylor (11-2) 

Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

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

The 4th of the 6 New Year’s Six Bowls looks to be one for the ages with both teams being the runners up in their respective conferences squaring off in the Big Easy.  Georgia JUST missed out on making the playoff, finishing as the 5th best team in the country in the final CFP standings. Former Golden Boy Jake Fromm took a step back in 2019, throwing for 2,610 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.  A good year on paper, but disappointing by Georgia standards. Fromm is currently nursing an ankle injury but is expected to play against the Bears. D’Andre Swift was fantastic again for Georgia, rushing for 1,216 yards and 7 TDs, and Brian Herrien was right behind him with 6 scores to compliment his 490 yards.  Georgia’s defense was remarkably good, and allowed the 2nd fewest points per game in the country. They were led by junior Monty Rice, who racked up 84 tackles. For Baylor, they were considered the biggest threat to take the Big 12 from Oklahoma, but fell short after a couple of heartbreaking losses to the Sooners including one in the title game. Baylor’s incredible run this year marks a return of the Bears, who had seemingly fell off the map for the previous 3 seasons including a 1-11 2017 campaign amidst coach firings and scandals.  The Bears had a top 25 offense and defense alike, and Charlie Brewer threw himself into the conversation for the Big 12’s Top Quarterback as he has 30 total touchdowns.

Jack’s pick: Georgia
Aaron’s pick: Georgia

 

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl: Boston College (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (10-3) 

Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama

January 2, 3 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

A very average Power 5 team vs. one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country is the matchup in this year’s Birmingham Bowl.  Boston College went 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the ACC. As mentioned, this is a very average team, if not below average. Boston College has only beaten 2 FBS teams with records over .500 and has had some bad losses.  The Eagles were blown out by a lowly Kansas team 48-24, throttled by Clemson 59-7, and pummelled by Notre Dame 40-7. The Eagles only bright spot on offense is star running back AJ Dillon, who is one of the best backs in the country.  Dillon is a battering ram at 6’0, 250 pounds, and is very hard to bring down. It almost always takes multiple tacklers to bring Dillon down. Dillon has 1,685 rushing yards on the season, 5th in FBS, and 14 rushing touchdowns on the year.  The problem here is that AJ Dillon announced that he is skipping this game to focus on the draft. This leaves a downright awful Boston College offense without their only playmaker. Cincinnati went 10-3 on the year, with 2 of those losses coming to a very good Memphis team in close games.  Desmond Ridder is a solid quarterback for the Bearcats and almost led his team to a win against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. Cincinnati has won some very close games this year and also won some in blowout fashion. Cincinnati knows how to win in all kinds of ways and will look to add another here.

Jack’s pick: Cincinnati
Aaron’s pick: Cincinnati

 

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: Indiana (8-4) vs. Tennessee (7-5) 

TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida

January 2, 7 p.m. E.T., on ESPN
Indiana shocked many this year when they followed up a long 11 year losing season streak with an 8-4 record, including 5 Big Ten wins.  The Hoosiers were even ranked at one point in the season. Tom Allen has finally turned the Hooisers into a winning program. Peyton Ramsey threw for 2,227 yards and 13 touchdowns in split snaps with the now injured Mike Penix Jr.  Stevie Scott ran for 845 yards and 10 scores, and Whop Phylior caught 5 touchdowns in the attack of Indiana’s three headed monster. Scott is hurting with a leg ailment, and his status for the Gator bowl, as of now, is unknown. The Vols season started off in the worst way imaginable as they were the laughing stock of college football when they fell to Georgia State at home.  Things didn’t get much better from there as they had a stretch of games between Weeks 4-8 where they played 3 ranked teams, losing to them all. Tennessee found a way to salvage a 2-5 start by winning 5 straight to end their campaign, which saved Jeremy Pruitt’s job. While the offense is underwhelming, a Top 30 defense headlined by Henry To’oTo’o and Nigel Warrior could be what gives Tennessee a 6 game winning streak to end what was once a complete disaster of a season. 

Jack’s pick: Indiana
Aaron’s pick: Tennessee

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Ohio (6-6) vs. Nevada (7-5) 

Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho

January 3, 3:30 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

Ohio rebounded nicely after a 1-3 start to the, finishing with a 6-6 record and 5-3 record in MAC play.  After scoring 52+ points in their last two games, the Bobcats will look to carry the momentum into bowl season.  Ohio does not really have any standout players, but instead, plays together as a team. Nathan Rourke is an experienced quarterback and the senior is 2-0 in his career in bowl games.  Rourke led his team to a 27-0 victory over San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl last year and a 41-6 win in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl against UAB. Rourke will look to go a perfect 3 for 3 in his career at Ohio.  Nevada started the year with a 34-31 upset victory over Purdue, but then went on to get slaughtered by Oregon 77-6 the following week. The Wolf Pack mainly beat up on weak teams all year, with wins against UTEP, San Jose State, New Mexico, and Fresno State.  The Wolf Pack were blown out by 51 points against Hawai’i, by 26 points against Utah State, and by 28 points to Wyoming. Nevada has feasted against a weak schedule and will need to step up their game in this one. Nevada does have a win against San Diego State to their credit, however.  If you need an incentive to watch this game, which some people will, it is being played on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho,which makes everything better. Everyone loves watching games on that blue turf.

Jack’s pick: Ohio

Aaron’s pick: Nevada

 

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Southern Miss (7-5) vs. Tulane (6-6) 

Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas

January 4, 11:30 a.m. E.T., on ESPN

The Golden Eagles and the Green Wave clash in the Armed Forces Bowl, which honors and recognizes the enormous sacrifices that America’s military personnel have made on the battlefield.  Fittingly, the championship trophy is forged from combat-tested metal and the steel from all five branches of the United States Armed Forces. Southern Mississippi, out of Conference USA, enjoyed their 4th straight winning season under Jay Hopson.  While Jack Abraham and the rest of the offense were for the most part below average, the Golden Eagles found ways to win games by any means necessary, and it was usually the defense that stepped up. Leading rusher De’Michael Harris is listed as questionable for the game, and his replacement would be junior Kevin Perkins, who ran for 454 yards and 3 touchdowns on 96 attempts.  For Tulane, averaging 33 points per game in the American is no small feat, but they have to be disappointed after starting 5-1 and then dropping 5 of their next 6, resulting in a 3-5 conference record. Senior LSU transfer Justin McMillan posted a below average great statline in terms of the aerial attack in his only real full year of college football, throwing for 14 touchdowns and 2,229 yards while throwing 10 picks.  McMillan is more of a runner than a thrower though, and it showed as he led the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns with 704 and 12 respectively. Corey Dauphine added 7 more rushing scores for the Green Wave, and Darnell Mooney had himself a good end to his career with 5 touchdown receptions. Two teams from the south playing in the heart of the south, in a game where America’s heroes will be in attendance and honored.  It will be a great show.

Jack’s pick: Tulane
Aaron’s pick: Tulane

 

LendingTree Bowl: Louisiana (10-3) vs. Miami (OH) (8-5) 

Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama

January 6, 7:30 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

The LendingTree Bowl is going to be a very interesting matchup, featuring two teams who made their conference championship games.  Louisiana went 10-3 on the year, 10-1 against teams not named Appalachian State, and has some very good wins. The Ragin Cajuns breezed through Sun Belt play and made it to the Sun Belt Championship before losing to Appalachian State for the second time this year.  Louisiana even almost pulled off a victory against Mississippi State, losing 38-28. Levi Lewis is the engine to this offense at quarterback and has 24 passing touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Lewis had a great game in the Sun Belt Championship, going 24-46 for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Lewis did everything he could do get his team a win in this game but they fell just short. The Ragin Cajuns will look to rebound against the MAC Champion Miami (OH). The Redhawks went 6-2 in MAC play and won a close championship game against a surging Central Michigan team. True freshman quarterback Brett Gabbert has 2,163 yards on the year with 11 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.  Gabbert certainly has not had a great year by any stretch of the imagination but he is an inexperienced freshman. Miami (OH) won the MAC with a shaky freshman quarterback. This goes to show that this team will be dangerous in the coming years. This game promises to be good as it features the best of the MAC vs. the top tier of the Sun Belt.
Jack’s pick: Louisiana
Aaron’s pick: Louisiana

 

College Football Playoff National Championship: TBD vs. TBD 

Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana

January 13, 8 p.m. E.T., on ESPN

It all comes down to this.  The criticisms, the seeding controversies, the mistakes of whoever wins this game will be forgotten and we will have a new National Champion.  The best team will emerge. Will Jalen Hurts be apart of another storybook ending and lead Oklahoma to its first CFP National Championship in their 3rd straight playoff appearance?  Will Clemson silence the doubters and finish another perfect season with another National Championship? Will Ohio State continue their dominance that they have shown throughout the season and win the National Championship in Ryan Day’s first full season?  Will LSU’s offense continue to ravage opposing defenses and send Heisman winner Joe Burrow off as a National Champion? We will find out on January 13 and all the questions will be answered. This is going to be a championship for the ages.

Jack’s pick: LSU
Aaron’s pick: Ohio State