Projecting the College Football National Championship

Hey Slingers! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The bowl games are here! We’re a little obsessed with football so we wanted to write about every college bowl game on Sling TV this year. We’ve given a preview and picked a winner of each game. 

College Football Playoff National Championship: #2 Clemson Tigers at #1 Alabama Crimson Tide – Monday, January 7 – 6:00 PM ET on ESPN

Is there a limit on the number of times you can experience Déjà vu? With Alabama and Clemson the answer is a definitive no. These two have met in three of the last four national championships and have faced off in every one of the college football playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders are the only other teams in professional or college football to meet more times in the postseason at five.

These two have a lot of experience against each other and dominated in their respective semifinal games against Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Clemson’s defense looked more impressive only holding the Irish to three points. Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a freshman and has little experience as he made his first start in the middle of the season. But Alabama’s star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made his first start in last year’s championship at half time to pull off a come from behind victory. This will be a close, likely high scoring game.

The slight experience edge goes to Alabama and that will make them the favorites to give Nick Saban his seventh national championship. Once Lawerence gets more experience, he will become truly unstoppable. This won’t be the last time you experience Déjà vu with these two. These two programs will be in their prime for a long time to come.

Winner: Alabama Crimson Tide

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl: North Carolina A&T Aggies vs. Alcorn State Braves: Sat, Dec 15 – 12:00 PM ET on ESPN3 

I too had to look up where the state of Alcorn. Turns out the Braves play in Mississippi at possibly the closest school ever to the Mississippi river. Alcorn State has one of the best offenses in the FCS while North Carolina A&T boasts the best defense. Defense wins championships, right? Chicago Bears running back, and fantasy darling won this bowl outright in 2015 so there’s precedent for A&T. Besides Cohen made this amazing catch…

Winner: North Carolina A&T Aggies

New Mexico Bowl: North Texas Mean Green vs. Utah State Aggies – Sat, Dec 15 – 2:00 PM ET on ESPN

A showdown of the Mean Green and the Aggies might be the highest scoring game of this bowl season outside of Alabama vs. Oklahoma. Utah State head coach Matt Wells moved to Texas Tech where he will fit in nicely in their high flying pass happy culture. North Texas led Conference USA in scoring this season, so this will go down to the last possession. Even without their coach, Utah State has proven themselves among bowl teams beating BYU, Hawaii and nearly upsetting Michigan State. 

Winner: Utah State Aggies

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl – Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Fresno State Bulldogs – Sat, Dec 15 at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN3 

Don’t worry, there won’t be a third straight pick for another Aggies team to win. Just by securing a bowl appearance, ASU coach Herm Edwards is way ahead of schedule and won’t have to worry about job security for some time to come. Of course, Edwards will play to win the game, but Fresno State was a UCF loss away from reaching a New Year’s Day bowl. Both teams should be happy to be here the way the last couple years have gone for these schools. Beating Boise State in the Mountain West title makes the Bulldogs the heavy favorite against the first power five team of the year to play in a bowl.

Winner: Fresno State Bulldogs

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl – Georgia Southern Eagles vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles – Sat, Dec 15 – 5:30 PM ET on ESPN

The Eagles you need to pay attention to most are from Georgia Southern. The team was 2-10 last year and moved to the FBS just five years ago. They’ve only won one bowl game but this team is dominating on the ground in a throwback option styled offense. If you’re a fan of old school run it up the gut football in an era of aerial assaults, we found a reason to watch a MAC vs. Sun Belt bowl game. 

Winner: Georgia Southern Eagles

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers – Sat, Dec 15 at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

Middle Tennessee won last years’ Camellia Bowl but it was only their second win in a bowl since 2006. Appalachian State is probably the better team and their coach got rewarded for it by nabbing the job at Louisville. They pushed Penn State to overtime but they will be hurting without their coach and the Blue Raiders have a flying horse mascot with lightning coming out of its mouth. For that reason alone, they’ll get the upset. 

Winner: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl – UAB Blazers vs. Northern Illinois Huskies – Tue, Dec 18 at 7:00 PM on ESPN

UAB terminated their football program in 2014. Last year they made a triumphant comeback and made it to a bowl game. They’ll be looking to win this year after their first Conference USA championship ever. The only thing more seemingly mythical than their back-to-back bowl appearances is their dragon mascot. UAB all the way to complete their miraculous comeback. 

Winner: UAB Blazers  

DXL Frisco Bowl – San Diego State Aztecs vs. Ohio Bobcats – Wed, Dec 19 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN. 

The combined age of the starting head coaches in this matchup is 142 years. Ohio’s Frank Solich is the oldest at 74 and San Diego State’s Rocky Long is third oldest at 68. Their age may give a hint of how they run their offenses. Running rules the day between these two and might be the biggest coin flip game of the first week. Solich has brought the Bobcats to 10 of their 12 bowl games. He’s been coaching there for 14 seasons. But they’ve only won a single bowl game. The Bobcat’s aren’t built for bowl season and Long’s not great 4-8 in bowl game record get the edge. 

Winner: San Diego State Aztecs

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl – Marshall Thundering Herd vs. South Florida Bulls – Thur, Dec 20 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN

Good luck finding a better name for a bowl. Good luck finding the Bulls a win if quarterback Blake Barnett isn’t suiting up. USF was 7-0 to start the season but now they have lost five straight. Marshall’s stingy defense should take the advantage and hopefully get a consolation lawn mower. Is this Puff Daddy’s line of mowers? 

Winner: Marshall Thundering Herd

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl – Florida Intl Golden Panthers vs. Toledo Rockets – Fri, Dec 21 at 12:30 PM ET on ESPN

If you can think of something that is the exact opposite of the Bahamas, the closest you can probably get is Toledo Ohio. FIU plays in Miami so they’ll be more familiar with the playing conditions. The Panthers also have a better quarterback so in a close matchup, that will be deciding factor in this coin flip. 

Winner – FIU Golden Panthers

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Western Michigan Broncos vs. BYU Cougars – Fri, Dec 21 at 4:00 PM ET on ESPN

This is about as good as it gets for best name competition with the Bad Boy Mowers Bowl. After a brilliant and ranked start for BYU, this bowl seems to be a downgrade matchup for the Cougars. Western Michigan is a shell of itself when coach P.J. Fleck left the program for Minnesota after 13-1 season. After beating a ranked Wisconsin team, BYU looked like a legitimate contender. Despite a free fall in the middle of the season, they lost by only a touchdown to Utah who made an appearance in the PAC12 Championship. BYU is the better team and should win. 

Winner: BYU Cougars 

Birmingham Bowl – Memphis Tigers vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Sat, Dec 22 at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN 

If only this was a March Madness matchup. This game is a bit of a mismatch and possibly one of the easier bowls to predict. The Tigers looked dominant against a Houston Cougars team with a 52-31 win. Houston boasts with one of the best players in the country in Ed Oliver who will be a top 10 pick in the next NFL draft. The Tigers fell to UCF Knights in the AAC championship game. To be fair, they put up 41 on a Knights team that hasn’t lost in nearly two years with a 17-point lead at half. The Tigers could easily be in a higher tier bowl and cruise past the Demon Deacons under leadership from their head coach Mike Norvell. 

Winner – Memphis Tigers 

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – Houston Cougars vs. Army Black Knights – Sat, Dec 22 at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN. 

Speaking of those Houston Cougars… Ed Oliver, their star defensive lineman, will sit out this bowl to get ready for the NFL draft. Not to mention that they will be missing three other linemen on defense due to injury. Army has won seven in a row and will have home field advantage because, well, Murica. The only stat that keeps this close is that all of Army’s bowl game appearances have been decided by one touchdown or less. The Knights will keep their streak rolling. 

Winner – Army Black Knights

Dollar General Bowl – Buffalo Bulls vs. Troy Trojans – Sat, Dec 22 at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN 

There is nothing cheap about this bowl matchup. Troy has played in this bowl twice before and was victorious just two years ago. They will be facing a tough matchup against the Bulls and arguably the best player on the field in Tyree Jackson. The Trojans don’t have much QB play to speak of but will bring a stout running game. Troy has arguably faced a tougher schedule and is surprisingly potent against historically powerhouse programs beating LSU last year and Nebraska this season. The Bulls are playing in their first bowl game since 2013. Troy’s experience will give them a slight edge in this close matchup.

Winner – Troy Trojans

SoFi Hawai’I Bowl – Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs – Sat, Dec 22 at 10:30 PM ET on ESPN

The Warriors have made the most appearances in this bowl with eight but are only 4-3 in those games so far.  To avoid a .500 record on their home turf, who are making their first bowl appearance. Ever. That’s enough to give Hawai’i the edge in their own stadium. Not to mention their high-flying offense. 

Winner – Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

Servpro First Responder Bowl – Boston College Eagles vs. #25 Boise State Broncos – Wed, Dec 26 at 1:30 PM ET on ESPN 

Boston College was ranked as high as #17 deep into the season but have lost three in a row since a dominating performance against #2 Clemson. That didn’t stop BC from giving coach Steve Addazio a two-year extension before this game. It is much more plausible to bet on Boise State as they won seven games in a row after losing in their last game in overtime to a ranked Fresno State team. It may be too late for BC to pull out of this nose dive in facing a superior Broncos team.

Winner – Boise State Broncos 

 Quick Lane Bowl – Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – Wed, Dec 26 at 5:15 PM ET on ESPN 

P.J. Fleck has had nowhere near the success at Minnesota as he did at Western Michigan. To be fair, it may take some time bringing his vision to the Twin Cities. He went 1-11 in 2013 to 13-1 in 2016. The Gophers improved a game in the division and with their record overall in Fleck’s second year but are still not scaring anyone in the BIG10. Georgia Tech simply has more impressive wins especially over Miami and North Carolina. Minnesota won decisively over a sprawling Wisconsin team in their last game but it was too little too late. 

Winner – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Cheez-It Bowl – California Golden Bears vs. TCU Horned Frogs – Wed, Dec 26 at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

The last bowl on the day after Christmas sums up the day’s matchups. Most teams have mediocre .500 records with nothing much separating the two. Cal vs. TCU is no exception (7-5 vs. TCU respectively.) Cal has one of the better defencses in college football and have found some light for the first time since Jared Goff left as the first overall pick in the NFL draft. 

Winner – California Golden Bears

Walk On’s Independence Bowl – Temple Owls vs. Duke Blue Devils – Thurs, Dec 27 at 1:30 PM ET on ESPN 

Even though this might be a better basketball matchup, these two schools are going to be a close matchup. Being a bigger program, at first glance it might seem easy to pick the Blue Devils. They started out tremendously with a 4-0 start but ACC play derailed their season. The Owls played well in conference play and went toe-to-toe (what does that phrase even mean?) with a UCF team that hasn’t lost in two years. The Owls have won six of their last seven and trending much better than Duke. 

Winner – Temple Owls 

New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Miami Hurricanes vs. Wisconsin Badgers – Thurs, Dec 27 at 5:15 PM ET on ESPN 

At the beginning of the season, this is a matchup that seemed very plausible. But the expectations were these two to meet at the very least in a New Year’s Day bowl. Instead they we’ll meet in Yankee Stadium after both finished the season 7-5 after both made it to their conference title games in 2017. Both teams have had troubling quarterback play and have resorted to nearly exclusively to running the ball. The lack of balance in Madison and Miami sum up this matchup. Alex Rodriguez played for the Hurricanes and Yankees so that’s enough to put Miami as the favorite of these struggling teams in a surprisingly even matchup. 

Winner – Miami Hurricanes 

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl – Baylor Bears vs. Vanderbilt Commodores – Thurs, Dec 27 at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

This game might be a better baseball matchup. The Bears went 1-11 last season and it is a true testament that they have made it to a bowl game after their head coach was let go after a major assault scandal. Baylor’s new head coach Matt Rhule is slowly bringing the program out of the darkness as the team features a strong passing game led by QB Jalen Hurd’s standout season. The problem is Hurd will be out for this game. Vanderbilt has a stingy defense that will make it difficult for the Bears to throw with backup Charlie Brewer. With reserves, Baylor faces the heavy underdog role. The comeback is just beginning. 

Winner – Vanderbilt Commodores

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Purdue Boilermakers vs. Auburn Tigers – Fri, Dec 28 at 1:30 PM ET on ESPN 

Much more was expected from both of these schools with their huge wins over premier teams over the last year. Auburn was the only team to beat both Alabama and Georgia who made it into the National Championship last year. Purdue, in dominating fashion, was the only team to beat the BIG10 champion Ohio State Buckeyes this year. Regardless, both teams have regressed and struggled to stay above .500. The Tigers frankly are bette by default having to compete in the brutal SEC. They barely lost to at the time #12 LSU and beat the PAC12 Champion Washington Huskies. Strength of schedule should give the Tigers an edge. 

Winner – Auburn Tigers 

Camping World Bowl – #16 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. #20 Syracuse Orange – Fri, Dec 28 at 5:15 PM on ESPN 

Bowl season is seemingly the only way this historic rivalry is rekindled. These two have met 60 times before Syracuse moved to the ACC and West Virginia moved to the BIG12. The two last met in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl where Syracuse won including two matchups before that. It is the Mountaineers turn to get back in the win column as this offense has matched any offense in the incredibly high scoring BIG12 Conference. Including Oklahoma who is in the National Championship playoff. West Virginia doesn’t have to improve on defense because Syracuse’s offense most likely won’t match West Virginia’s pass attack. 

Winner – West Virginia Mountaineers

Valero Alamo Bowl – Iowa State Cyclones vs. Washington State Cougars – Fri, Dec 28 at 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

Quarterback Gardner Minshew and the Cougars make the final stand in their argument for being ranked higher in the College Football Playoff rankings. Ranked as high as 8that one point, a devastating loss to Washington in the Apple Cup dropped them to 13th– and out of a potential New Year’s Six bowl appearance. The Cyclones meanwhile have posted their second straight 8-win season behind freshman quarterback Brock Purdy and look to head in to 2019 on a high note. Keeping up with Washington State’s relentless Air Raid attack should prove to be a tall order, however. 

Winner – Washington State Cougars

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Florida Gators vs. Michigan Wolverines – Saturday, Dec 29 at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN

Michigan is out for redemption after a serious beatdown at the hands of rival Ohio State on November 24th. Florida presents a golden opportunity, as the Wolverines have beaten them handily in their past two meetings going back to the 2016 Citrus Bowl. The Gators have other ideas though, coming in riding a three-game winning streak, and back-to-back 250+ yard passing games by young quarterback Feleipe Franks. This could easily be the most entertaining non-playoff matchup.

Winner – Michigan Wolverines

Belk Bowl – South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Virginia Cavaliers – Saturday, Dec 29 at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN3

After not being included in the postseason since 2011, Virginia is heading to a bowl game in back-to-back years and are after their first win since the 2005 Music City Bowl. The Cavaliers boast one of the ACC’s best passing defenses and look to shoot down a slick Gamecocks passing attack led by quarterback Jake Bentley. The junior will be without one of his top weapons though, as receiver Deebo Samuel has opted to skip the game to prepare for the NFL draft. However, a middle-of-the-pack SEC team should handily best a middle-of-the-pack ACC team.

Winner – South Carolina Gamecocks

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic – Clemson Tigers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – Saturday, Dec 29 at 4:00 PM ET on ESPN

Coming off their first undefeated season since 2012, Notre Dame eyes a chance to return to the National Championship game for the first time since that same year, when they were thoroughly handled by Alabama. They’ve been solid on offense all year, despite having sophomore quarterback Ian Book take over for an ineffective Brandon Wimbush early in the season. Clemson is looking for their third championship game appearance in the past four years after winning the championship in 2016 against (you guessed it) the Crimson Tide. Led by workhorse running back Travis Etienne’s 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns on an insane 8.3 yards per carry, the Tigers certainly have the resume to make it back to the big game. The Irish come in as the hungrier team which makes this game rife with upset potential, however, the Tigers’ superior offense should prevail.

Winner – Clemson Tigers

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl – Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Oklahoma Sooners – Saturday, Dec 29 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN

It’s a matchup of the Heisman winner and runner-up as Kyler Murray and the Sooners face off against Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide. Murray definitely deserved the Heisman nod this year, racking up almost 5,000 yards of total offense and 51 total touchdowns. By comparison, Tagovailoa’s numbers seem almost pedestrian. But when you factor in that he regularly got the second half of games off due to Alabama blowing out its’ opponents, Tagovailoa’s 3,500 yards of total offense and 42 total touchdowns certainly warranted Heisman consideration. The difference in this matchup should come down to defense. Alabama fields a top-ten unit, while Oklahoma claims to field something resembling a defense. This game will feature plenty of offensive fireworks, but in the end, the Crimson Tide’s defense should do just enough to get them back to the championship game.

Winner – Alabama Crimson Tide

Military Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats vs Virginia Tech Hokies: Mon, Dec 31 – 12:00 PM ET on ESPN

The Hookies, due to the litany of injuries including losing their starting quarterback, had a very disappointing season. They lost to ODU in which they were a four-touchdown favorite, lost to Georgia Tech, Boston College and Miami at home and needed a win over Marshall, in a make-up game, to reach a bowl game.  Cincinnati on the other hand, had their best season since moving to the American Conference in 2013. After back-to-back 4-win seasons, the Bearcats won 10 games with their only losses coming against Temple in overtime, and undefeated UCF.  There is a big motivation mismatch here and despite Virginia Tech having the talent edge, I think Cincinnati comes in determined to win their first bowl game since 2012. 

Winner: Cincinnati Bearcats

Redbox Bowl: Michigan State Spartans vs Oregon Ducks: Mon, Dec 31 – 3:00 PM ET on FOX

Both teams come into the season with high expectations and conference title hopes, however both fell quite short. Oregon is led by star quarterback Justin Herbert, who will likely be a first round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. He will try to make a statement to scouts in this game so watch out for a lot of throwing early. Michigan State, like most Spartan teams are led by their defense which ranked 13th nationally in opponent yards per game. The Spartans season’s highlight was their upset of Penn State for the second year in a row, but this time in Happy Valley. I believe this game goes down to the wire and will be decided by a late drive led by Herbert, which will leave the scouts with a positive impression as he heads to the 2019 NFL draft as the top QB on the board. 

Winner: Oregon Ducks 

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Missouri Tigers vs Oklahoma State Cowboys: Mon, Dec 31 – 3:45 PM ET on ESPN

Offense, Offense and more Offense. If you are looking for a defensive battle, this is not the game for you. However, if you like explosive routes, dynamic athletes, and big plays, you are in the right spot. Missouri, led by QB Drew Lock, was an under-the-radar great offensive team. The Tigers ranked 16th in offensive efficiency and averaged over 36 points per game, even with an SEC schedule that included Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida. On the other hand, Oklahoma State is known for their offense. They averaged over 38 points a game and had big wins over Texas and West Virginia. However, the defense was not so good allowing over 430 yards per game. Missouri, who welcomes grad-transfer Kelly Bryant from Clemson next season, is excited for the future. With their young core of position players, and the leadership experience coming in at QB, the Tigers are a team to look out for in the future.

Winner: Missouri Tigers

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: Northwestern Wildcats vs Utah Utes: Mon, Dec 31 – 7:00 PM ET on FS1

This matchup is between the two surprising teams of the year in my opinion. Both unexpectedly made it to their respective conference championship games although struggling on the offensive side of the ball at times. Both teams battled all season and were led by their stout defenses. Northwestern only allowed 23.5 points a game, even in the competitive in Big Ten, while Utah only allowed 18 points per game in the Pac-12. Utah is ranked 15th national in defense and was bad-call away from beating Washington in the Pac-12 Championship. The major factor in this low-scoring game, is Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes are 11-1 in bowl games under Whittingham. Due to this motivational edge and Northwestern coming off a very disappointing three-touchdown loss to Ohio State, I believe the Utes will continue their bowl streak.

Winner: Utah Utes

Taxslayer Gator Bowl: NC State Wolfpack vs Texas A&M Aggies: Mon, Dec 31 – 7:30 PM ET on FS1

Closing out New Year’s Eve is a battle between two middle of the road teams who were let down by their defenses this year. The Aggies led by new coach Jumbo Fisher, brought the energy and enthusiasm back to Texas A&M after several disappointing seasons under Kevin Sumlin. A&M won 8 games and almost upset No. 2 Clemson at home. The aggies relied on their running game with stand-out RB Trayveon Williams, who led the SEC with 1,524 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. However, the Wolfpack relied on their passing game, led by Senior and future NFL Draft Pick Ryan Finley. He is expected to go early in the 2019 NFL draft. The major factor in this game is, State will be without leading receiver Kelvin Harmon and leading tackler Germaine Pratt who are both preparing for the NFL Draft. Without two of NC State’s best players, I think Texas A&M wins this game easily. 

Winner: Texas A&M Aggies

Outback Bowl – #18 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Iowa Hawkeyes – Tue, Jan 1 at 12:00 PM ET on ESPN2 

The first game of the new year is a matchup that will feature all defense. The Bulldogs look very similar at first glance. Their records are the same and their offensive performances have not been up to par to the defensive side of the ball. But this still might be a lopsided matchup favoring Mississippi State. They allow 300 yards a game which is number 11 in the country and they have the number one scoring defense in the nation. If it wasn’t for their puttering offense, MSU would be in a much more prestigious bowl. They play in the much tougher SEC and Iowa was barely able to hold off a 4-8 team in their final game of the season. If the Bulldogs’ defense can score at all, this one might not be close at all. 

Winner – Mississippi State Bulldogs 

 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl – #11 LSU Tigers vs. #8 UCF Knights – Tue, Jan 1 at 1:00 PM ET on ESPN

The last time the UCF Knights lost a football game was on December 17, 2016. You’d have to pick a team that hasn’t lost in more than two years. Right? Not so fast. We can’t be sleeping on this team like everyone did last year when UCF beat an Auburn team that beat both Alabama and Georgia who played in the National Championship. Saying that, LSU still seems to be the favorite. Besides a bizarre-seven-overtime shootout with Texas A&M (combined score 146) the Tigers defense has been outstanding. Which usually wouldn’t be a problem for UCF’s standout up-tempo offense and withstanding a coaching change to start this season. But the face of their team, QB McKenzie Milton, dislocated his knee in the regular season finale. This game should still be close, but that injury might be too much to overcome to stay undefeated. 

Winner – LSU Tigers 

VBRO Citrus Bowl – #14 Kentucky Wildcats vs. #12 Penn State Nittany Lions – Tue, Jan 1 at 1:00 PM ET on ESPN3 

If you haven’t caught on to the theme to start this New Year’s slate, defense rules the day. Both Penn State and Kentucky have top 20 defenses.  As for the offenses, they leave much to leave desired. The Wildcats might have to rely too much on their great half-back in Benny Snell to win. Not that the Nittany Lions are that much better through the air, but they can rely on more weapons. It will be enough to give them edge in this one. 

Winner – Penn State Nittany Lions

Rose Bowl – #9 Washington Huskies vs. #6 Ohio State Buckeyes – Tue, Jan 1 at 5:00 PM ET on ESPN

Now we’re getting to the conference champions. This is also when we will start seeing some offense on New Year’s. Ohio State has had one of the most tumultuous seasons in recent memory with their head coach being suspended three games to start the season. They didn’t look all that dominant throughout the season even surprisingly struggling to an uneven Purdue team. But after that loss, the Buckeyes looked unstoppable winning five straight with dominating performances over Michigan and Northwestern in the BIG10 Championship. They have everything to play for in Urban Meyer’s last game as head coach. (Who surprisingly has never coached in the Rose Bowl in his storied career.) Dwayne Haskins was in the Heisman conversation and has a great shot of earning his team the win alone before he might declare for the NFL draft. Washington’s saving grace is their defense and will have plenty drafted from that corp. But the Buckeyes will be playing for much more than the Huskies. 

Winner – Ohio State Buckeyes 

Allstate Sugar Bowl – #15 Texas Longhorns vs. #5 Georgia Bulldogs – Tue, Jan 1 at 8:45 PM ET on ESPN 

This will be a slugfest from teams who lost their respective conference championships. Georgia could easily be in the College Football Playoff after losing the SEC Championship after they were leading most of the game. That is why they will be favored in this game by a long shot but don’t sleep on Texas. They are the only team to give Oklahoma a loss and they have more than hung in an explosive BIG12 high scoring conference. The Bulldogs offense is just that much better though and will demand the Longhorns to be perfect throughout the night to get a win. This is the Bulldogs revenge game and they won’t let a lead go again. 

Winner – Georgia Bulldogs