This is the first year I’ve thought that we might have too many bowl games. I’m just not interested in watching two 6-6 teams play each other!
This year, I figured that I would just preview/pick the bowl games that actually matter, meaning they’re being played between two good teams.
Below are previews of bowls that are New Years Six or feature two ranked teams. A Playoff preview will go up tomorrow.
Alamo Bowl: No.12 Oklahoma State vs. No.10 Colorado
This is always a fun one. The Alamo Bowl is always exciting and high-scoring, and it looks like we’re gonna get that again.
Colorado plays their game through the air, defensively and offensively. The Buffaloes’ secondary is one of the best in the nation, and they have one of the nation’s best receivers in Shay Fields. He is gonna be a problem for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys have a great offense and lackluster defense. They gave up a ton of yards this season. Oklahoma State has to hope this turns into a shootout if they want to win.
Mason Rudolph has been practically mistake-free all year, and that has to continue. The Colorado cornerbacks are smart. Rudolph’s best bet to heave up some balls and hope James Washington and others come down with it. If they can get enough of those, they have a shot, because shootouts are anyone’s game.
For Colorado, they’re gonna be able to do their thing on offense. They shouldn’t have any problems functioning on that side of the ball. Defensively, pressuring Rudolph and trusting your secondary should get the job done.
Prediction: Colorado-45 Oklahoma State-30
Orange Bowl: No.6 Michigan vs. No.11 Florida State
This is an icky game. First of all, how did Florida State get ranked No.11? Hey, at least the committee got the Playoff right.
These teams have not been on my good side this year. I haven’t been too impressed with either this season. Florida State’s rough start was something I couldn’t get over, and I thought Michigan’s offense wasn’t as good as others.
Now is Michigan’s turn to get some love from me. I think they have this game easily.
Dalvin Cook is a problem, but their defense flies around enough to contain him somewhat. He’s also their 2nd most frequent receiver, so if you take out at least one of his two capabilities, then you have a good chance. Nothing else should scare the versatile Wolverine defense.
There are so many weapons the Seminoles defense is gonna be faced with, that I really don’t think they have a shot. Michigan can smash-mouth you, or let Wilton Speight throw across the middle of the field. This is not the same Florida State defense, as we’ve seen throughout the year. I expected that unfortunate trend to continue into this game.
Prediction: Michigan-35 Florida State-14
Citrus Bowl: No.20 LSU vs. No.13 Louisville
Leonard Fournette not playing in this game doesn’t mean anything. There is simply no way for LSU to keep up with this Louisville offense.
The Tigers ran an offense this season where it was all Fournette, every play. He was their whole offense, and if it doesn’t work in general, then its definitely not gonna help you score as many points as Louisville.
LSU can do some things to halt the Cardinals; they shut down Alabama. But, with the coaching changes, I’ve read about the Tigers wanting to try new things in this game in preparation for next season. Are we sure you should be trying new things defensively against Lamar Jackson?
That just doesn’t sound smart.
Prediction: Louisville-40 LSU-20
Cotton Bowl: No.15 Western Michigan vs. No.8 Wisconsin
I am very excited about this one. Its all about matchups this year.
Western Michigan is explosive, while Wisconsin’s defense is stifling. The Badgers’ offense is barely functional while the Broncos defense can certainly get stops, but not like Wisconsin.
The Broncos can shut down the Badgers. Alex Hornibrook isn’t gonna do anything special, and Western Michigan can lock up his receivers. Its gonna take a huge game from Corey Clement for the Badgers to have a shot.
Defensively, the Badgers have to stop Corey Davis. He’s the No.1 option on this offense, and will be going in first round in the draft. If they take him out, then Wisconsin’s odds improve greatly.
I think this is a close game. The matchups are really even. But Western Michigan has been much more reliable this year, and I think they can get a couple big plays to get them the win.
Prediction: Western Michigan-24 Wisconsin-21
Rose Bowl: No.9 USC vs. No.5 Penn State
This is another game where the matchups are insanely close. Both defenses are top 30 in the country, and the offenses are very evenly matched as well.
This game is gonna come down to offense. I see a shootout.
The Nittany Lions have an insane amount of weapons. Saquon Barkley has been incredible this season, and Trace McSorely can sling it. All of the Penn State receivers are big play threats too.
Sam Darnold has had a good year, and USC has a ton of weapons too. But Penn State’s offense is extremely explosive. USC has to hope for a shootout.
Prediction: Penn State-45 USC-38
Sugar Bowl: No.14 Auburn vs. No.7 Oklahoma
Auburn is lucky to end up in a New Years Six bowl, but their matchup was not very lucky. The Sooners are one of the worst possible matchups for them.
Auburn’s defense has been great this season; they’re top ten in practically every category and in every metric. But the Sooners offense is so talented. You have to account for Baker Mayfield’s arm, the explosive backfield duo in Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, and Heisman finalist Dede Westbrook.
I think its too much for Auburn. And their offense is not gonna be able to bail them out, even against this poor Sooner defense. If the Tigers want a chance, they have to limit the big plays from the Sooners.
Prediction: Oklahoma-50 Auburn-13