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Bowl Preview, Part 2

by Big Al

I've actually been doing pretty well in the ol' bowl picks this year. Can we keep this going? Heck if I know.

Saturday, December 29
Florida vs. Michigan - Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

Despite how things looked against Ohio State, Michigan is actually a very good team. Florida, on the other hand, is not nearly as good as their SEC conference membership might indicate. Michigan wins.

South Carolina vs. Virginia - Belk Bowl

Ah yes, the annual advertising of sun dresses to people in the middle of winter. Belk is a regional store. But their bowl is nationally televised. Eh, oh well. Not the goofiest thing ever. Anyway, South Carolina wins.

Arkansas State vs. Nevada - Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Oh boy. Um... how about Nevada?

Notre Dame vs. Clemson - Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Is there anyone not picking Clemson here? I mean aside from commentators who went to Notre Dame. And I wouldn't be surprised if they are picking Clemson here.

The thing about it is that Notre Dame is a real wildcard in the playoffs. Nobody knows anything about them. They haven't played a game since October. Their best win was the first game of the season, they had a different quarterback for that game, and Michigan was breaking in a first-year starter who had just transferred. Seriously, nobody knows anything about Notre Dame. This is the first time we will really see what they are made of.

Anyway, Clemson wins.

Alabama vs. Oklahoma - Capital One Orange Bowl

Alabama.

Monday, December 31
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech - Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman

Doesn't this game normally feature a service academy? Am I remembering that correctly? Anyway, Cincinnati wins.

Stanford vs. Pittsburgh - Hyundai Sun Bowl

Ah, the Sun Bowl. It started in 1935, which means it's tied for the second-oldest bowl game in the country. However, it hasn't quite had the same splash as the Orange and Sugar Bowls with which is shares that honor. All the same, you'd best respect her: she's been around along time. And this year, Stanford gets the honor of winning the 2nd (T) oldest bowl in college football.

Michigan State vs. Oregon - Redbox Bowl

Pretty sure this is not anywhere near the top of the list of oldest bowls. However, it is an intriguing matchup between two teams that kept trying to have high expectations, but couldn't quite get up to them. This game will be a good launching point for one team next year though. I think Mark Dantonio is going to have his team ready for Oregon, so I'll go with Michigan State.

Missouri vs. Oklahoma State - Autozone Liberty Bowl

It's something of a Big 8/XII reunion for these two. Missouri moved on the SEC, where they have actually made more noise than I ever heard from them in the Big XII. Look for them to have something else to lord over Oklahoma State after this game.

Northwestern vs. Utah - San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Northwestern really deserves better than a trip to the Holiday Bowl after making their first-ever trip to the B1G title game. But an 8-5 record doesn't exactly have the Rose Bowl racing to snap you up either. Utah also really deserves better than a trip to the Holiday Bowl after making their first-ever trip to the Pac-12 title game. And 10 wins will get the Rose Bowl intrigued... but 4 losses ruins the moment. So, on the whole, this actually a really good game between two teams that came up a little short in their quests for conference titles.

NC State vs. Texas A&M - TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

This is another bowl that I remember from the days of yore, when bowls were named for regional interest, rather than just the company that sponsors it. So it's been around a while. And this year's edition is like the Redbox Bowl: two teams that tried to have high expectations, right up until they didn't. I think Texas A&M is overranked and riding their SEC membership into way too much credit. But I also think they are better than NC State, which will be enough for win.

Tuesday, January 1
Mississippi State vs. Iowa - Outback Bowl

College football is run by idiots. Seriously. Pretty much everyone has the day off on New Year's Day, tons of those people are hung over, and all they want to do is rest and watch TV. So what does college football do? They take their biggest day of the entire year and remove all the content. It used to be you had at least two bowl games to pick from all day, from noon to midnight. Which was nice, because if one of the games is a clunker, you can change the channel. I appreciate that these big bowls want to monopolize eyeballs, but competition would force bowls to create better matchups. Aside from fans of the two teams playing in an given bowl, and Big Ten and Pac-12 fans during the Rose Bowl, people are looking for a good game. Give them more options to see a good game, and they will be more interested in your product.

Anyway, Mississippi State wins.

LSU vs. UCF - Playstation Fiesta Bowl

I will be very interested to see how both teams travel to this game. People in both of these states tend to prefer to stay home. I'm guessing UCF will have a bigger presence, though, what with the newness of it all.

UCF has been overlooked by the playoff committee nimrods for too long. But they're still nimrods, so they won't do anything about it. And people will remind them that they are nimrods all the time for a long time. UCF is on their way up. And LSU is an okay team. UCF it is.

Kentucky vs. Penn State - VRBO Citrus Bowl

Kentucky has been riding high all year, thanks to a very surprising upset of Florida early in the year. But Florida was overrated then and they are overrated now. Penn State lost games to Ohio State and Michigan, which is nothing to be ashamed of this year. And they lost a game to Michigan State one week after a heartbreaking loss in the annual exercise in mutually assured destruction that is the Penn State-Ohio State game. Penn State is much better than their ranking. Penn State wins, and it ain't close.

Washington vs. Ohio State - Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual

Ohio State never really got a fair hearing for their playoff inclusion, and the committee was going out of their way to slight the Buckeyes and enhance their own opinion of Oklahoma by putting the Buckeyes at #6, behind a two-loss Georgia team whose best win all season was a not-embarrassing loss to Alabama. None of which makes up for the fact that the one team most deserving of the #4 slot was UCF.

Anyway, I have often pointed out that I am a pessimistic Ohio State fan, which is why I was picking against them in every game where I made a pick following their loss to Purdue. But I look at these two teams and Ohio State actually matches up pretty well against a Washington team with a classic drop-back-style quarterback. The Washington defense will be a very good challenge for Ohio State's offense, but I still cannot believe the stuff that Dwayne Haskins does with a football. Ohio State wins.

Texas vs. Georgia

I am not as high on Georgia as other people. But they are still much better than Texas. Georgia wins.

Monday, January 7
National Championship Game

I would like to just point out that this year has been a real dud. There was one really major upset that changed the playoff landscape: Purdue beating Ohio State. But everyone was pointing to that game as a potential upset, so is it really that much of an upset when everyone was pointing to the upset? Seriously, in the history of the sport, it was like the least shocking upset of a top-5 team by an unranked team ever. Other than that, pretty much everything went according to the script. Ohio State upsetting Michigan was the only thing that changed the script that started with the release of the first CFP rankings in week 10. And Alabama beating LSU and Georgia were the only other events that changed the CFP rankings; and everybody saw those wins coming from the time the schedules were released... what?... 2-3 years ago?

In the playoff games, there are two perfectly obvious picks. Everybody is picking Alabama and Clemson. I'm not saying it's impossible for an Oklahoma-Notre Dame national title game to happen, but it would not fit in with everything else that happened this year. It's been a boring-ass, predictable year. Expect that to continue through bowl season.

Columns

Playoff Recap and Championship Preview

The boring year continues.

Bowl Preview 2

The bowl picks keep rolling in! Here are the rest of them.

Bowl Preview 1

Bowl games! You know, those games where teams get to go play a sport for fun. Doesn't really fit in with the modern sensibilities, I know. Anyway, here's the first batch of games.

Week 14 Recap

A fundamentally boring week of conference championships. Explain that to me.

Week 14 Preview

Championship weekend. I'm still not a fan: too many opportunities for teams to drop games that can mess up their seasons.

Week 13 Recap

Rivarly week didn't provide too many surprises, but there were enough that's the week is worth talking about.

Week 13 Preview

It's rivalry week! But it's an amazingly uninteresting rivalry week. I seriously can't believe how uninteresting this weekend is. It's rivalry week, and the games aren't interesting. What the heck?