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Bowl Preview, Part 2

by Big Al

The last year of the first iteration of playoffs has come. But first, we have a lot of games where we get to crown champions. Sure, they aren't going to wow the world with their trophies; but it means something to finish the year with a win. And if the success of some lower-tier teams is a bad thing, then I don't want to be good.

Quick Lane Bowl
Bowling Green vs. Minnesota

Thank you graduation rates at Minnesota! If it wasn't for having the best one of those among the 5-7 teams, the Gophers wouldn't be here. And they make the most of the opportunity with a win in... um... Detroit.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Texas State vs. Rice

Hoo boy, let's see. Crazy thing: two Texas teams playing in a bowl in Texas. I get those feeling those bowl folks figured that would put some butts in seats.

As for a pick... let's go with... um... Texas State.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Kansas vs. UNLV

I'm liking Kansas here just because I like Kansas.

Military Bowl Presented by GoBowling.com
Virginia Tech vs. Tulane

I think the "Go Bowling" referenced in the name of the website is the sport where you roll a heavy ball at 10 pins and try to knock them down. Not the bowling that these two teams are doing here.

In other news, there isn't a service academy in this game. I feel like that used to be a thing. Anyway, I'm going with Virginia Tech to ruin the ending for a pretty good Tulane team.

Duke's Mayo Bowl
North Carolina vs. West Virginia

I love the fact that the winning coach gets a bucket of mayonnaise dumped on him after the game. Bowl season is so weird. But man alive, I love this goofy stuff.

As for the pick, I am going with North Carolina, because they had a rough year and could use the pick-me-up.

DIRECTV Holiday Bowl
Louisville vs. USC

Honestly, I feel like USC is better off with Caleb Williams opting out: the rest of the team will know they need to step it up rather than waiting for Caleb to do something. All the same, Louisville is a good team that is hungry for a win. So they get it.

TaxAct Texas Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State

This is actually a really good placement for TaxAct. We all know what's coming up at the start of the year. Might as well remind people they'll be needing you very soon.

Anyway, I might actually know some of the players for Oklahoma State, whereas Texas A&M might be starting a couple of walk-ons by Wednesday. Oklahoma State it is.

Wasabi Fenway Bowl
SMU vs. Boston College

I know it gets cold in Texas. But it doesn't get Boston cold. Boston College it is.

Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers vs. Miami (FL)

See above. Except it doesn't get cold in Miami. Assuming Rutgers doesn't turn the ball over too much, they are in good shape.

Pop-Tarts Bowl
NC State vs. Kansas State

I assume we're dumping Pop Tarts on the winning coach? Sure, why not. Which is fine: Pop Tarts are awesome (or at least most of them are). Kansas State's coach hopes they aren't using the cherry ones.

Valero Alamo Bowl
Arizona vs. Oklahoma

That is the quietest I have ever seen #14, 9-3 Arizona team be. Seriously, this is a good team, but they were under the radar all year. So I'll go with them to get noisier in Texas with a win.

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
Clemson vs. Kentucky

It is a big season for tax services, isn't it?

I've said all year that Clemson is a better team than their record. That keeps going with a win here.

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Oregon State vs. Notre Dame

Hidden among the unremarkable bowl games sits the Sun Bowl, the second-oldest bowl of them all (behind the Rose Bowl, and tied with the Sugar and Orange Bowls). So I always like to see this little engine that could, did, and continues doing.

And speaking of things that have stuck around for a while, Notre Dame wins.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Memphis vs. Iowa State

I seriously have no idea. So, I'm going with Iowa State because I just kind of like them.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Missouri vs. Ohio State

As I have said before, I am an Ohio State fan. So I will be rooting for Ohio State here. But, if there were darn near any other team playing, I'd be rooting for Missouri. And that's the part that stinks. Because, to tell you the truth, that has happened a lot over the last several years. I would have rooted for Oregon in the national championship game in 2015. I would have rooted for Utah in the Rose Bowl in 2022. But here we are.

Anyway, Ohio State is out its starting quarterback, probably its best player, and I still don't have any idea of which other players, I'd say a very good, if under-the-radar, Missouri team is in very good shape. Missouri wins.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Ole Miss vs. Penn State

This is actually a pretty good game. Both teams are somewhat forgotten, but losing games to Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio State is hardly something to be embarrassed about. And that's all the losses for both of these teams.

Anyway, I like Penn State to get a victory because they are really a lot better than you might think, and I'm sure Ole Miss doesn't take them seriously.

TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Auburn vs. Maryland

Maryland, because I haven't any idea what the %$#@ Auburn is doing.

Capital One Orange Bowl
Georgia vs. Florida State

If your dog dies on December 30, you'll still be in a better mood than Georgia and Florida State when they play this game.

I have a lot of things to say about Florida State. I'll say them sometime. But not today. All I will say is that I think Georgia is less crushed that Florida State right now and that should help them get a win.

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Toledo vs. Wyoming

Oh, let's go with Wyoming.

ReliaQuest Bowl
Wisconsin vs. LSU

A what-now bowl? I guess I'll find out during the game.

I expect LSU to win. But I will point out that this is the sort of game that Barry Alvarez always used to win when he was the coach. We'll see how much Alvarez Luke Fickell has in him.

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl
Liberty vs. Oregon

Oregon is the pick. But I'm going to be rooting for Libery all the same.

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
Iowa vs. Tennessee

First to nine points wins! That will be Tennessee, because Iowa won't get that far.

CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game Pres. by Prudential
Michigan vs. Alabama

Every season has a theme. This year's theme seems to be "this is just embarassing". If you can think of anything more embarassing than a team that has been cheating on the field for the last 3 years winning a national title, more power to you. I can't. And that's why I expect Michigan to win this game and the national championship.

With that said, I'm trying to come up with some way I can avoid watching this game. Michigan has disgraced themselves and the sport I love. I can't even look at them anymore.

CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl
Texas vs. Washington

Washington has been overlooked all year. But they keep winning. They are a better team than they get credit for. I'm not picking against them here. Washington wins.

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