College Football Bowl Preview

Nick Saban (Alabama), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Mark Helfrich (Oregon) and Jimbo Fisher (Florida State) participate in a joint press conference for the inaugural College Football Playoff. (RollTide.com)

Nick Saban (Alabama), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Mark Helfrich (Oregon) and Jimbo Fisher (Florida State) participate in a joint press conference for the inaugural College Football Playoff. (RollTide.com)

The 2014 College Football bowl games and playoff are set and ready to go.  Let’s dig in.

Date – Bowl Game: Matchup – Pick
Notes if needed will be typed below

Non-Big 12 Bowl Games

Dec. 20 – R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette – ULL

Dec. 20 – Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs. UTEP – Utah State

Dec. 20 – Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: No. 22 Utah vs. Colorado State – Utah

Dec. 20 – Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Air Force – Air Force

Dec. 20 – Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green – BGSU

Dec. 22 – Miami Beach Bowl: Memphis vs. BYU – BYU

Dec. 23 – Boca Raton Bowl – Marshall vs. Northern Illinois – Marshall

Dec. 23 – San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State – Navy
A home game for SDSU, I feel that they lack the defensive ability to defend Navy’s dangerous triple option which destroys the clock, giving the Apaches no time to work on offense.  The Midshipmen offense gave Ohio State, a playoff team, a real scare during the first week of the season.

Dec. 24 – Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky – CMU

Dec. 24 – Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice – Rice
Fresno State is sitting at 6-7 after their loss to Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game and has to face a much-improved Rice team.  The Owls are actually a good program now and should be able to win this game without much trouble.

Dec. 26 – Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech – Illinois

Dec. 26 – Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina – Rutgers
Rutgers is like Rice, they look so much better than they used to, including a dominating win over Michigan.  Even though Michigan was awful this year, Rutgers looked great in that game and they didn’t look all too bad in their first year in the Big Ten.  North Carolina has fallen off the map, struggling to even get to a bowl game this year.

Dec. 26 – Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl: NC State vs. Central Florida – UCF
I love the thought of the high-powered, air raid attach of Central Florida going up against an ACC defense.  NC State will put up a fight, but as long as they can limit turnovers I feel like UCF will win this game.

Dec. 27 – Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech – VA Tech
Virginia Tech is from the ACC which is the worst Power 5 by far, true.  However, I’ll take a 6-6 ACC over an 8-4 AAC team any day, especially when the 6-6 is coached by Frank Beamer.  Cincinnati just doesn’t jump out in any way shape or form, while Virginia Tech can say they have a win over a playoff team, Ohio State.

Dec. 27 – Hyundai Sun Bowl: No. 15 Arizona State vs. Duke – Arizona State
Duke is rebuilding from last year’s ACC Championship Game team which mostly graduated.  Arizona State looked incredible against Notre Dame and they honestly haven’t looked bad since, except maybe a slightly weak performance against in-state rival Arizona.

Dec. 27 – Duck Commander Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) v.s South Carolina – South Carolina
Two 6-6 teams face off against each other.  This game is in essence ACC vs. SEC power and strength.

Dec. 27 – New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College vs. Penn State – Penn State

Dec. 27 – National University Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. No. 24 USC – USC
The Bo Pelini firing still makes no sense, he never finished worse than 9-3 at Nebraska.  Barney Cotton, the new UNLV Offensive Coordinator, will serve as interim even after hiring Mike Riley from Oregon State.  USC should be able to beat a coach-less Nebraska team.

Dec. 30 – Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. No. 23 LSU – LSU
Notre Dame just fell apart after losing to Florida State after Corey Robinson’s game-winning TD was overturned due to a Pass Interference by a teammate.  LSU, while not as strong, is still a good team.  This shouldn’t be too difficult for the Tigers.

Dec. 30 – Belk Bowl: No. 13 Georgia vs. No. 21 Louisville – Georgia

Dec. 30 – Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford – Stanford

Jan. 1 – Outback Bowl: No. 19 Auburn vs. No. 18 Wisconsin – Auburn
This should be easy for Auburn, Wisconsin will be without a coach as Gary Andersen has departed Madison for Oregon State.

Jan. 1 – Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: No. 16 Missouri vs. No. 25 Minnesota – Missouri

Jan. 2 – Taxslayer Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee – Tennessee

Jan. 3 – Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida – East Carolina

Jan. 4 – GoDaddy Bowl: Toledo vs. Arkansas State – Arkansas State

Big 12 Non-New Year’s Six Bowl Games

Dec. 29 – Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia – Texas A&M
West Virginia fell off the wagon after losing to TCU, while Texas A&M was very close to a Thanksgiving night win against LSU.

Dec. 29 – Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs. No. 17 Clemson – Oklahoma
The Sooners should be able to rebound from a poor performance all-around against Oklahoma State and upset the Tigers.

Dec. 29 – Advocare V100 Texas Bowl: Texas vs. Arkansas – Arkansas
Texas needs to capitalize and make something out of every possible drive to win, as Arkansas loves to hold on the ball and power run it down the field.

Jan. 2 – Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 11 Kansas State vs. No. 14 UCLA – K-State
This could be one of the most entertaining bowl games with the most intriguing matchup being Jake Waters vs. Bret Hundley.  The Wildcats’ Waters I feel is much more experienced.

Jan. 2 – TicketCity Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Washington – Oklahoma State
With Mason Rudolph under center, the Cowboys look incredible.  I don’t see that stopping against Pac-12 Washington.  This marks a school-record 9th straight bowl appearance for Oklahoma State.

Big 12 New Year’s Six Bowl Games

Dec. 31 – Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 6 TCU vs. No. 9 Ole Miss – TCU
While good, Ole Miss’ land-shark defense doesn’t have the speed to contain Trevone Boykin and the explosive Horned Frogs offense.

Jan. 1 – Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 8 Michigan State – Mich. St.
Michigan State will likely keep the ball too much of the game for Baylor to do anything.  With freedom, the Bears are able to strike quickly, but not so much with pressure on.  The Spartans also have a lot more strength and power.

Non-Big 12 New Year’s Six Bowl Games

Dec. 31 – Vizio Fiesta Bowl: No. 20 Boise State vs. No. 10 Arizona – Boise State
Boise State just doesn’t lose big bowl games.  Why start now?

Dec. 31 – Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 7 Mississippi State vs. No. 12 Georgia Tech – GA Tech
The Yellow Jackets are much like Navy in that they destroy the clock.  Mississippi State will need to force a lot of 3-and-out’s to even have a shot at winning this one.

2014-15 College Football Playoff

Jan. 1 – Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwest Mutual: No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 3 Florida State – Oregon
Oregon’s offense is just too much for the Florida State defense who hasn’t faced anybody this season.

Jan. 1 – Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Ohio State – Alabama
Alabama is the best football team in the country right now.  Ohio State just doesn’t have the power.  I expect Alabama to beat Oregon in the National Championship game too.

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