Bowl games ATS: 16-13-1 (12-12-1 National, 4-1 B1G)
Season ATS: 109-106-5 (57-52-3 National, 52-54-2 B1G)
If only all the segments of bowl games could go like the most recent one. Not only did Ohio State win and cover, but MC&J went 5-2-1 in the other eight games in the set. Now for the grand finale. Hopefully we end the year with a bang as college football’s biggest games.
Taxslayer Bowl: Louisville (-7) v. No. 23 Mississippi State - 12/30 12:00 PM EST - ESPN
Mississippi State won’t have their head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, and their starting quarterback for this game. Oh yeah, the Bulldogs are tasked with trying to slow down Lamar Jackson. Spoiler alert: They won’t.
Louisville 41, Mississippi State 27
Liberty Bowl: Iowa State v. No. 20 Memphis (-4) - 12/30 12:30 PM EST - ABC
Matt Campbell did a fine job with Iowa State this year, but the Cyclones faltered down the stretch, losing three of their last four games. Things definitely won’t get any easier today when they have to take on Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.
Had it not been for UCF, the Tigers might be playing in the Peach Bowl right now. The only two losses Memphis suffered this season came at the hands of the Knights. Riley Ferguson is just 29 yards away from 4,000 passing yards for the season. Anthony Miller is Ferguson’s favorite target, hauling in 92 catches for 1,407 yards, and 17 touchdowns this year.
Iowa State is on the rise, but asking them to slow down Memphis in a home game for the Tigers is just too much. David Montgomery and Allen Lazard will find some holes against a leaky Memphis defense, but the Cyclones just don’t have enough horses to keep up.
Memphis 48, Iowa State 38
Fiesta Bowl: No. 11 Washington v. No. 9 Penn State (-3) - 12/30 4:00 PM EST - ESPN
James Franklin’s wife says she is leaving him if Penn State loses to Washington. If you weren’t backing Washington before, you certainly are now.
James Franklin's wife, who went to Wazzu on FIesta Bowl vs. Washington: "Win this game, or me and the kids are gone." She is my new favorite CFB coach's wife https://t.co/TUyGt9fK9t— Morgan Moriarty (@Morgan_Moriarty) December 29, 2017
Washington 24, Penn State 20
Orange Bowl: No. 6 Wisconsin (-4.5) v. No. 10 Miami (FL) - 12/30 8:00 PM EST - ESPN
The turnover chain could get plenty of exposure tonight in Miami. Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook has thrown 15 interceptions this year, so I figure he has a few more left up his sleeve in the final college football game of 2017.
After an outstanding start to the season, Miami faltered in their final two games, losing to Pittsburgh and Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. The Hurricanes have had a few weeks off to regroup and we should see a lot better performance from them tonight at home.
I know there is a chance Jonathan Taylor could have a big game for Wisconsin, but I’m not sure even if he does pile up the yards it will be enough. The Badgers struggled with speed, as shown in their loss in the Big Ten Championship Game to Ohio State, and they’ll see plenty of that from Miami.
Miami 27, Wisconsin 24
Outback Bowl: Michigan (-7.5) v. South Carolina - 1/1 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2
Can this game just be a three-hour loop of Jadeveon Clowney sending Vincent Smith’s helmet into space five years ago? Just a continuous replay of that hit would be considerably better than the first college football game of 2018.
Michigan should be able to win this game, but I’m not confident at all that they’ll win by more than seven points. We have to root against a big Michigan win here or you’ll have Wolverine fans coming out of the woodwork about how this win sets Michigan up as a national title contender in 2018.
Michigan 23, South Carolina 17
Peach Bowl: No. 12 UCF v. No. 7 Auburn (-10) - 1/1 12:30 PM EST - ESPN
After going 0-12 in 2015, UCF is now the last remaining undefeated FBS team. Scott Frost did such a great job in cleaning up the mess that George O’Leary left, that Nebraska lured him to Lincoln to restore some glory to their football program. Before Frost leaves Orlando he’ll try and lead his team to one last victory.
Running back Adrian Killins Jr. certainly didn’t do his teammates any favors by giving Auburn some bulletin board material, questioning the speed of the Tigers. Luckily Killins has quarterback McKenzie Milton, who threw for 35 touchdowns, on his side to try and help him solve the Auburn defense.
Auburn is going to want to run the football, and it’s hard to blame them with a running back like Kerryon Johnson lining up in the backfield. Johnson rushed for 1,320 and 17 touchdowns for the Tigers this year despite missing two games early in the season.
Auburn might have been hoping to be playing in the College Football Playoff, and had they taken care of business in Atlanta earlier this month, they would be playing later on New Year’s Day. I don’t think UCF will be able to complete their perfect season, but they certainly will give Auburn all they can handle.
Auburn 38, UCF 34
Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Notre Dame v. No. 17 LSU (-3) - 1/1 1:00 PM EST - ABC
Late in the season it looked like Notre Dame ran out of gas. The Fighting Irish were in the mix for the College Football Playoff in November, but losses to Miami and Stanford erased any of those hopes. Notre Dame leaned on running back Josh Adams for most the year, but their problem was they couldn’t get much offense going when Adams was bottled up.
LSU has a tremendous running back of their own in Derrius Guice. The junior is a bit banged up heading into the bowl game, but he should be able to play on Monday in Orlando. Even if Guice is limited, the Tigers do have a solid quarterback in Purdue transfer Danny Etling to steady the ship.
I’m having a hard time seeing Notre Dame getting their offense going against an athletic LSU defense. Hopefully this game doesn’t turn out like the 2014 Music City Bowl, where I didn’t have much faith in Notre Dame, and the Fighting Irish wound up beating the Tigers 31-28 in Nashville.
LSU 28, Notre Dame 17
Rose Bowl: No. 3 Georgia (-2) v. No. 2 Oklahoma - 1/1 5:00 PM EST - ESPN
Baker Mayfield should be over his tummy ache by the time the Rose Bowl rolls around on Monday. Now the other question is, will he suffer from a Heisman hangover like so many others have over the years. At least Mayfield has to have plenty of experience dealing with hangovers.
Georgia’s defense will be the toughest Mayfield has had to square off against this year. Roquan Smith and the Bulldogs made plenty of adjustments just a few weeks after getting throttled by Auburn, so who knows what they’ll be able to do with about a month to prepare for the Sooners.
The Georgia offense leaves a lot more to be desired. While Jake Fromm has played tremendous football as a freshman, Georgia doesn’t have much of a passing game. If it wasn’t from Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the Bulldogs like wouldn’t have come anywhere close to the Rose Bowl.
Even though I respect the Georgia defense, I’m not convinced they can slow down the Oklahoma offense. The Sooners don’t have Bob Stoops coaching the team anymore, so there is a better chance they actually show up for a big game.
Oklahoma 31, Georgia 27
Sugar Bowl: No. 4 Alabama (-3) v. No. 1 Clemson - 1/1 8:45 PM EST - ESPN
The rubber match has arrived. Funny that after playing the last two years in the title game, this matchup has been relegated to the semifinals, but I’m sure both teams are just happy to be involved.
You thought Ohio State fans were tough on their quarterback. All Jalen Hurts has done this year is throw for 15 touchdowns and just one interception, but Alabama fans weren’t happy with how Hurts played against Auburn. I can’t believe a quarterback who is just a freshman had a bad day. That should never happen.
It is hard to blame Nick Saban for wanting to run the football so much when he has running backs like Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. It is crazy that after he had a huge performance in the College Football Playoff last year that Scarbrough has only rushed for 549 yards this year.
Kelly Bryant has done a great job taking over for Deshaun Watson at quarterback this year, and he has only gotten better as the season has gone on. It also doesn’t hurt that Bryant has the Clemson defense on the other side of the football working for him. Expect to see the talented defensive line in the face of Hurts all night long.
I’m really torn on this game. On one hand it’d be fun to see Clemson win and deny Alabama for the second year in a row. On the other hand, I know Saban and the Crimson Tide have to relish coming into the playoff as the lowest seed.
I’m not super confident in this pick, but I feel like this is like after the Patriots end up losing in the NFL. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick come back angry and take it out on their next opponent. Clemson is the next opponent after the beatdown Auburn gave Alabama, and the Crimson Tide has had more than a month to stew about it.
Alabama 28, Clemson 21