It’s that time again ladies and gentlemen. One of the best times of the year, college football postseason. Now we get even more excitement to go along with bowl games, welcome in the playoff system. We will now get to see who the best team is in the country using a playoff system. I will be writing about every bowl and playoff game there is. I summed up each teams season and put a prediction to each game. Just scroll down and read about the games that interest you! Thanks for reading. -Trent
- R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 20 @ 11:00 AM
Nevada(7-5) VS Louisiana-Lafayette(8-4)
– The Wolf Pack is led by senior QB, Cody Fajardo. Fajardo has passed for 2374 yards with 18 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions this season, and also rushed for nearly 1000 yards with 13 touchdowns. He has had a down year this season, which has been his worst season since his freshman year of college. But, he is ready to show the nation why he was one of the better dual threat quarterbacks the last two years. He will be joined in the backfield with junior running back Don Jackson, who also rushed for almost 1000 yards. The Wolf Pack are in the middle of the pack in all statistical categories, but they may be better than their record shows. They lost to Arizona 35-28, Boise State 51-46, and Colorado State 31-24. All three of those programs had good seasons this year. Nevada will need Jackson and Fajardo to have big games if they want to beat the Rajin’ Cajuns.
– After a 1-3 start, the Rajin’ Cajuns went 7-1 their last eight games of the season. They were the 26th best rushing team in the nation with 228 yards a game. But, they were also ranked 102nd thru the air with 188 yards a game. They use a 2-back system while using the read-option with their senior QB, Terrance Broadway. Running back Elijah McGuire carried the ball only 150 times for 1165 yards and 14 touchdowns. That is an astounding 7.8 yards a carry. The other running back, Alonzo Harris, ran the ball 159 times for 737 yards and 12 touchdowns. Broadway can run the ball, but he has struggled throwing it this season with only 12 touchdowns with 9 interceptions on the year. The Rajin’ Cajuns will need the read-option to work to win this game.
-PREDICTION: Fajardo and the Wolf Pack will be too much for the Cajuns in this game. Nevada will find a way to stop the run, and Broadway will make too many costly errors late in the game. 34-27 Nevada.
- Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 20th @ 2:20 PM
Utah State(9-4) VS UTEP(7-5)
-The Aggies finished 2nd in the Mountain West conference this season behind Boise State. They had a unfortunate start of the season when their star quarterback, Chuckie Keeton, went down after the third game with a season ending injury. They tried three different quarterbacks out until they decided to go with sophomore, Darell Garretson. Garretson has passed over 1100 yards with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Garrettson found his secret weapon in WR ,Hunter Sharp, who caught just a little under 1000 yards this season. Their leading rusher, Lajuan Hunt, rushed for 524 yards this season. Utah State obviously is not an offensive power, but they do have a pretty good defense that ranked 21st in points allowed this season with 21. They are also in the top 40 in rushing defense and top 25 in total defense as a team. As long as the Aggies can control the clock they are a tough team to compete against.
– The Miners come in with the 34th ranked rushing attack that averages 212 yards a game. They are lead by the hard nosed sophmore, Aaron Jones. Jones picked up 1233 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. UTEP is a one sided football team, because outside of their rushing attack they on average 144 yards thru the air, which make them the 120th ranked passing attack in the nation. Quarterback, Jamiell Showers, passed for over 1700 yards this year, but he has been inconsistent all season. UTEP will need to rely on their young running back to lead the way in scoring against Utah State. UTEP is towards the lower 3rd in defense. They rank as the 81st defense in all of NCAA.
-PREDICTION: Look for Aaron Jones and the Miners to get the ground game working early and they will get some points on the board in the first half. Utah State will come out in the second half and make some good defensive adjustments, and Garretson will hook up with Sharp for a late game touchdown to seal the deal. Utah State wins 24-21
- Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 20th @ 3:30 pm
Utah(8-4) Vs Colorado State(10-2)
– Utah ended the year 5th in the Pac-12 conference. Utah’s loses came to the hands of Arizona State(in overtime), Oregon, Arizona, and Washington State. Overall this season the Utes have held their own all season, and they have had some good quality wins in Michigan(at the time), UCLA, USC, and Stanford. The Utes are led by quarterback Travis Wilson and running back Davontae Booker. Wilson threw for over 2000 yards with 17 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions on the year. But, Booker is the real star. The Junior rushed for 1350 yards with 9 touchdowns on the season. Thanks to Booker, Utah ranks 54th in rushing with 176 yards a game. On the defensive side of the ball, Utah is ranked 73rd in total defense allowing 401 yards a game. Utah has leaned on their offense all year, and it will be the same during their bowl game.
-The Rams had their best season since 2002, and they finished 2nd in the MWC behind Boise. But, when there is good news there is also bad news. Their coach, Jim McElwain, got hired in at Florida to become the Gators new head coach. McElwain is a Nick Saban prodigy, and he is known for his high powered offense. That is exactly what they were this season. The Rams were 22nd in the nation in scoring averaging 36 points a game. Their defense was solid as well, ranked 34th, averaging 23 points allowed a game. Colorado State is led by the 8th best passer in the nation, Garrett Grayson. The senior gun-slinger passed for 3779 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions. Graysons favorite target is the 6’2 sopohmore, Rashard Higgins. Higgins caught for 1640 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year. Think their passing attack is good? Well so is their running game. Dee Hart, the Alabama transfer, is the man that will carry the rock for the Rams. Hart had 1254 yards on the ground with 16 touchdowns. Colorado State will allow yards, but they don’t always break. They only allow 23 points a game scored on them. With McElwain going to Florida, OC Dave Baldwin will coach the time in the bowl game.
-Prediction: This should be an offensive explosion. If you like to watch a back and forth score fest then this game should be for you. Booker and Wilson will have a field day gaining yards against the Rams defense. But, the combo of Grayson to Higgins will become too much for the Utes to handle. 41-30 Colorado State
- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Dec. 20th, @ 5:45 pm
Western Michigan(8-4) vs Air Force(9-3)
– The Broncos come into the Bowl Game after finishing 3rd in the MAC. They have a very explosive offense, and a great balanced attack thru the air and on the ground. Sophmore quarterback Zach Terrell threw for 3146 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions this season. Terrell will be throwing to Corey Davis(1232 yards) and Daniel Braverman(912 yards). Whenever the passing game wasn’t working they could always go to their fabulous run game. Jarvion Franklin, who is a freshman, rushed for 1525 yards and 24 touchdowns. With having a sophomore quarterback and a freshman running back, the Broncos could be dangerous in a year or two. Even with them having a great offense, they have just as good of a defense. They rank 47th in the country in total defense. This was a good year for the young Broncos.
– The option running Falcons finished 3rd in the MWC. They ended on a great note upsetting Colorado State in the last game of the regular season 27-24. Air Force is 8th in the nation on the ground averaging 272 yards a game. Air Force has 3 primary backs with 2 fill in backs when needed. It’s hard for defenses to key onto any single player because you never really know who could get the ball. The Falcons leading rusher is Jacobi Owens who had 1054 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. For only throwing the ball 162 times all year, quarterback Kale Pearson has been very efficient. He has thrown for 14 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. It will be a tough offense to stop for the Broncos.
-Prediction: Air Force ranks 35th in rushing defense. The question is which running game will be better? Air Force will get more yards, but Franklin is going to be too dominant for the Falcons to handle. 27-17 Western Michigan
- Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Dec. 20th @ 9:15 pm
Bowling Green(7-6) vs South Alabama(6-6)
– Bowling Green finished 1st in the east, but they lost to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game. They started off the season good going 5-2, but ended bad going 2-4 with a 3 game losing streak. The Falcons have a very balanced offensive attack. They rank 45th thru the air, and 55th on the ground. Quarterback James Knapke threw for 2805 yards with 13 touchdowns. The duo of Travis Greene and Fred Coppett will be the primary ball carriers for the Falcons. They do allow 33 points a game against them though, and that ranks them 108th in the nation. Good balanced offense with a suspect defense.
– South Alabama became bowl eligible after only their second season in the FBS. They could have won more than 6 games this year, but they just cant score many points. The Jaguars only average scoring 22 points a game which makes them 107th in the nation. The positive side the South Alabama is that they have a good run attack, and they don’t allow their opponents to score much. The Jaguars have 6 running backs that they will use during games. They love to switch in and out for fresh energy. Their leading rusher is Kendall Houston who carried for 652 yards this season.
-Prediction: This game could either be a close win for South Alabama or a blow out win for Bowling Green. If South Alabama doesn’t score more than 21 then Bowling Green will win pretty easily. I see the Falcons getting this one. 31-14 Bowling Green
- Miami Beach Bowl, Dec. 22nd @ 2:00 pm
BYU(8-4) vs Memphis(9-3)
– BYU had a strange season. Most people thought this team had the schedule to go undefeated and maybe even challenge for a playoff birth. But, that never got going. The Cougars lost their stud quarterback after going 4-0 to start the season. Once Hill got injured the Cougars went on a 4 game losing streak, but then they ended the year on another 4 game winning streak. When Hill went down the Cougars ended up going with Christian Stewart as their signal caller. Stewart(in only 8 games) threw for 2262 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Cougars have a very good offense. They are 33rd in passing, 42nd in rushing, and 20th in scoring. They have a very suspect defense, but they have a good enough offense to out score other teams.
-Memphis had a very good year, and they ended up coming in 1st in the American conference. Their three losses came to the hands of UCLA, Ole Miss, and Houston. This team was no push over all season, and they showed in during conference play. Memphis had a very good defense. They play tight coverage, and their corner backs will bump the opposing wide-outs all game long. They are ranked 22nd in total defense, and 5th in points allowed. Offensive wise they are lead by Paxton Lynch who thew for 2725 yards and 18 touchdowns. Whenever Memphis could score they typically won because of how dominant their defense was all year.
Prediction: This will end up being a defensive game. Stewart and the Cougars will get some points, but it wont be as much as they are used to scoring. Memphis will lock down on defense and make this a close game. 17-14 BYU
- Boca Raton Bowl, Dec. 23rd @ 6:00 pm
Marshall(12-1) vs Northern Illinois(11-2)
-Marshall had a perfect season going until they lost to Western Kentucky on the last week of the regular season. But, they still won the C-USA. The Thundering Herd is about as dangerous as you can get on offense. They average 45 points a game which ranks them 5th in the nation, 275 rushing yards a game which ranks them 7th, and 287 passing yards a game which ranks them 18th. Most of this is behind the arm of senior quarterback Rakeem Cato. Cato passed for 3622 yards and 37 touchdowns this season. Cato’s favorite target is Tommy Shuler who caught 77 passes for 953 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. On the ground, Devon Johnson, has rushed for 1636 yards and 16 touchdowns. Their defense is also really good too. They only allow 20 points a game which ranks them 22nd, and they rank 29th in total defense.
-Northern Illinois is the MAC champs after defeating Bowling Green in the finale. Their only two losses came to the hands of Arkansas and Central Michigan. The Huskies are in the middle of the pack in about every category besides rushing and passing. Passing wise they rank 101st in the nation, but they are pretty good on the ground. The Huskies rank 14th in the nation on the ground. Cameron Stingley and Drew Hare both are close to 900 yards a piece on the ground. They have a very good balanced rush attack. Even though they don’t pass the ball all that well wide-out, Da’Ron Brown, has caught for over 1000 yards this year with 6 touchdowns.
-Prediction: Marshall will be ready to revenge their one loss this season, and they are going to be ready to take it out on the Huskies. But, if NIU can get their pass game going, and keep up their rushing attack then anything could be possible. I see it going like 44-28 Marshall
- San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec, 23rd @ 9:30 pm
Navy(6-5) vs San Diego State(7-5)
– The dreaded triple option attack. When most defenses see Navy on their schedule they will dread preparing for the option. You have to account for the quarterback, both running backs, and the full back who gets the ball plenty as well. Go figure, Navy is 2nd in the nation for rushing yards, but 127th in passing. Quarterback, Keenon Reynolds, leads the team in rushing with 1082 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. As I said before the option is so tough to defend they average 33 points a game, and all defenses know that they will be running the ball. Navy is also ranked 89th in points allowed.
– The Aztecs finished first in the MWC-west division this season. All of it was behind running back Donnell Pumphrey who had 1761 yards and 19 touchdowns. They ranked 30th in rushing this season and 106th in passing. Luckily their defense has done enough for them to stay in games. They rank 14th in points allowed and 21st in total defense. If it wasn’t for that defense then this could be a 4 or 5 win team.
-Prediction: Reynolds and Navy will get tons of rushing yards, like normal. But, so will Pumphrey. If the Aztecs can continue to play defense like they have all year then they will get the win, but I don’t see it happening. 35-24 Navy
- Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, Dec. 24th @ noon
Central Michigan(7-5) vs Western Kentuck(7-5)
-The Chippewas had a very up and down year to say the very least. They would be playing good, and then all of a sudden they would lose to a team they shouldn’t lose too. They had an average offense and a decent defense that got them by when needed. The Michigan transfer, Thomas Rawls, is the main running back for Central Michigan. Rawls rushed for 1103 yards with 10 touchdowns on the season. Quaterback, Cooper Rush, also had his ups and downs. Rush threw for 2664 yards and 20 touchdowns. He didn’t always make the best decisions, but he did enough to win them 7 games. The big thing that helped the Chippewas was their defense was ranked 16th in total defense. But, they still gave up 32 points a game.
-The Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky ended the season on a high note winning four straight games, and a win against Marshall. WKU sure does know how to score though. They average 44 points a game, and that ranks them 6th in the nation. They also average 365 passing yards a game which ranks them 3rd in the nation. They are led by Brandon Doughty who threw for 4344 yards and 44 touchdowns on the season. Even if their defense doesn’t stop a team they can outscore almost anyone.
-Prediction: The Chippewas have a good defense, and they sure are going to need to use to beat WKU in this game. IF Doughty can keep throwing like he did all season then WKU will easily, but if CMU holds Doughty and forces a few turnovers then CMU could win this game. 38-24 Western Kentucky
- Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24th @ 8:00 pm
Fresno State(6-7) vs Rice(7-5)
– Fresno State comes into the Hawaii bowl with a first place finish in the MCW-west side. They lost to Boise St for the MWC championship game. As their record shows, they have had a very streaky year all season long. They went from a 3 game losing streak to a 3 game winning streak, and back to a 3 game losing streak to end the season. The Bulldogs can get some scores on the board with their solid rushing and air attacks, but they have a very suspect defense to say the very least. Fresno State allows 32 points a game which ranks them 101st in the nation, and they are 108th in the country in total defense. Luckily, for the Bulldogs, they have a solid quarterback in Brian Burrell. He threw for 2576 yards, and 22 touchdowns this season. His favorite target is Josh Harper who caught over 80 passes, and a 1000 yards this season.
– The Owls had five losses, but three of those losses came to top 25 teams in Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and also Marshall. Take those three tough losses out they would be sitting 7-2 on the season. Rice has a better team than most people will give them credit for. Quarterback, Driphous Jackson, will be ready to show the nation what they are made of in the Hawaii Bowl. Jackson threw for 2524 yards on the season. Rice will be able to put up some points in the bowl game, like they have all year long.
-Prediction: Burrell and the Bulldogs will need to keep up with Rice to win this game. Fresno State won’t be able to rely on their defense to stop Jackson and that mighty offense for Rice. As long as Fresno State can score points they will win, but if Rice can hold them then they will win. 24-21 Fresno State
- Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dec. 26th @ 1:00 pm
Illinois(6-6) vs Louisiana Tech(8-5)
– The Fighting Irish finally make a bowl game. Their last one was back in 2011 when they lost to UCLA. The Fighting Illini won their last two games of the season against Penn State and Northwestern to get into a bowl game. Illinois had to rely heavily on sophomore quarterback Wes Lunt this season. Lunt passed for 1729 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lunt missed four games this season due to injury, and senior quarterback Reilly O’Toole played took his place during those stretches. It is still not know who will be under center during the bowl game, but both quarterbacks are capable of throwing the football. They also have a good running back in junior, Josh Ferguson. He had a little bit of a down year from his sophomore year, but he still carried the ball for 685 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Fighting Illini will need to count on their offense since their defense is no sort of spectacular. Illinois ranks 112th in the nation in total defense, and they rank 108th in the nation in opponents scoring.
-Quarterback, Cody Sokol, leads the charge for the Bulldogs. Sokol threw for 3189 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. The Bulldogs have one of the best offensive scoring teams in all of FBS. They average 37 points a game which ranks them 13th in the nation. The lead ball carrier is, Kenneth Dixon, who totaled 1236 yards and 21 touchdowns on the season. The Bulldogs also had a very good defense this season ranking 31st in total defense on the year.
-Prediction: Either Lunt or O’Toole will lead the Illini into a tough matchup against a good C-USA team. The Big Ten have been down for the last few years, and Illinois will be the first team to try and change that. But, Sokol and the Bulldogs won’t let that happen. Sokol and Dixon will put up tons of points during this game. 42-21 Louisiana Tech
- Quick Lane Bowl, Dec. 26th @ 4:30 pm
Rutgers(7-5) vs North Carolina(6-6)
-Rutgers first season in the Big Ten went better than expected. Many thought that the Scarlet Knights couldn’t hang in the Big Ten, but they held their own. Rutgers did lose to the “big” teams like Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Nebraska. But, they did get quality wins as well like Michigan, Navy, Indiana, and Maryland. Rutgers came in as more of an Air Raid team with senior gunslinger Gary Nova. Nova compiled 2667 yards and 20 touchdowns, but he had 12 interceptions with it. Luckily for Nova he had arguably the 2nd best wide-out in the Big Ten in junior, Leonte Carroo. Carroo caught for 1053 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Rutgers didn’t have much of defense, which ranked 92nd in the nation, so they will need to rely heavily on their offense.
-The Tar Heels ended with the same record as last season in the ACC. North Carolina had the 34th toughest schedule this season, and that is a hard task to accomplish for a young team like the Tar Heels. UNC rely on dual threat quarterback, Marquise Williams. Williams threw for 2870 yards and 20 touchdowns along with 7373 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. Williams was the Tar Heels leading rusher as well.
-Prediction: If Rutgers wants to win this game then they need to come into this game with one task: Stop Marquise Williams. If they can stop Williams, and they need to get the ball to Carroo early and often. The key to the game for UNC is to obviously get Williams going, and to get the read-option going. If UNC can do that and force Rutgers to run the ball and take away the passing game then they will win. 41-38 Rutgers
- Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, Dec. 26th @ 8:00 pm
North Carolina State(7-5) vs UCF(9-3)
-The WolfPack started off the season great going 4-0 and jumping into the top 25. But, then their down-fall began. Their last 8 games they went 3-5. The best part of their season was going out and beating rival UNC the last week of the season 35-7. Florida transfer, Jacoby Brissett, is the man under center for NCST. Brissett had to sit our last season, but he was finally eligible to play this year and won the job. Jacoby passed for 2344 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Brissett is also their 2nd leading rusher behind main ball carrier, Shadrach Thornton. Thornton rushed for 811 yards and 9 touchdowns. NCST is ranked 97th passing, and 38th on the ground this season. Defensively they are stout as they rank 45th in total defense.
– The Knights started the season off 0-2 losing to Penn State and Missouri. But, they went 9-1 their last 10 games to end the season. UCF switched to sophomore quarterback, Justin Holman, during the 2nd game of the season. That switch worked out just right. Holman threw for 2661 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year. Holman did enough to put UCF 64th in the nation in passing per game. UCF is a very young offense, but their defense is full of veteran leaders. The Knights allow opponents offenses to score 17 points a game which ranks them 8th in the nation. They are also ranked 3rd in the nation in total defense. UCF only allows 282 yards a game.
-Prediction: This game will all come down to the quarterback play. Who plays better? Holman is going up against a good Wolfpack defense, and Brissett is going up against a great Knights defense. Even if Brissett plays well, NCST will need to force Holman to turn the ball over to win. 28-21 UCF
- Military Bowl, Dec. 27th @ 1:00 pm
Virginia Tech(6-6) vs Cincinnati(9-3)
-Hokies started the season off as good as any team could. They went to Columbus, Ohio and beat the Buckeyes 35-21. But, that was as good as the season went for Va Tech, because the downfall was about to begin. Out of all 6 of their losses 5 of them were decided 6 points or less. The 6th loss was a blowout to Miami. There have been rumblings the last few seasons that long time Head Coach, Frank Beamer could be getting fired after seasons end. Beamer could be coaching for his job, possibly. Frank was able to bring in Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer in as their leading quarterback. Brewer wasn’t very consistent this season, but he hold onto the starting job all season. Frank Beamer has been known for defense during his tenure at Virginia Tech, and once again they are ranked 17th in the nation in total defense.
-The Bearcats got a five star transfer from Notre Dame last season, and this was the season of Gunner Kiel. Kiel was ranked in the top 5 of all recruits in the nation 3 seasons ago. He committed to Indiana, then LSU, and then finally he went to Notre Dame. Kiel found himself in a quarterback shuffle with the Irish so he decided to take his talents to Cincinnati. The redshirt sophomore QB threw for 3010 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. Kiel found himself liking junior WR, Shaq Thompson. Thompson caught a team high 61 passes, and caught for under 700 yards this season. The offense ranked 25th in total offense, and they also ranked 13th in passing. But, the defense was the Bearcats issue. They ranked 100th in total defense, and 66th in scoring defense.
-This game should be an intriguing one since there is a really good offense going against a really good defense. Both quarterbacks should have a good day, but they wont be the deciding factor. The running backs will be the deciding factors in this game. If Brewer can get some help on the ground against a very weak defense in Cincinnati then the Hokies could pull this off. But, if the gunslinger Gunner Kiel gets some help as well then the Bearcats will win. The defenses will need to make the running games beat them, and try to shut down the passing attacks. 38-30 Cincinnati.
- Hyundai Bowl, Dec. 27th @ 2:00 pm
Arizona State(9-3) vs Duke(9-3)
-Since coach Todd Graham(27-11) took the program over in 2012 the Sun Devils have been a very competitive team in the Pac-12 conference. They did not disappoint this year either. Arizona State started off with an amazing 8-1 record with wins over Stanford, USC, Utah, and Notre Dame before losing their last 2 out of 3 games. Their last two losses were to Oregon State and Arizona by one score each. With the loss to Arizona, the Wildcats took the place of the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 championship game against Oregon. Coach Graham knows that his team is slowly improving year by year, and coach Graham could be in line for a big job this upcoming season if contacted. Graham had a solid veteran leader in senior quarterback, Taylor Kelly. Kelly was injured for four games this year, but he still totaled 1874 yards and 20 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions on the year. The Sun Devils ranked 29th in passing offense in the nation, and that was due to Kelly and his junior wideout, Jaelen Strong. Strong was known for his acrobatic catches all season long, and he caught 1062 yards with 10 touchdowns on the year. If Strong wasn’t enough alone for weapons around Kelly, the Sun Devils also had half-back DJ Foster to rely on. Foster ran for 1002 yards and had 9 touchdowns on the ground. The Sun Devils were towards the bottom in defense this season, but they ended up being ranked 15th in the final poll this year.
-When you say the words Duke Blue Devils, what do you think of? Basketball? Coach K.? Of course. How about football? Most likely not, but you better start thinking that way, folks. Duke is turning into a good football team under coach David Cutcliffe. Duke played Florida State last season in the ACC championship game, but lost. This season they had another good season going 9-3, and barely missing out on facing FSU again. Just like Arizona State, Duke started off 8-1 and then lost their last 2 of 3 games. Duke got beat by North Carolina late this season and that ruined their dreams of playing for the title game again. Luckily, for the Blue Devils and Cutcliffe, they got their big tandem back of QB. Anthony Boone and WR. Jamison Crowder. Boone and Crowder hooked up for 942 yards and 9 touchdowns on the year. Duke also had a good defense this season only giving up 20 points a game, which ranked them 20th in the nation.
-Prediction: If the Sun Devils want to win this game they need to stop the option with Anthony Boone and force him to throw the ball. They will also need to get Jaelen Strong going early. Get some quick passes to him and let Strong get loose in the open. ASU will want to control the clock, and let Foster pound the rock in the red zone. On the other side of the ball, Duke needs to create some space for Boone to roll out from the pocket and let him make some throws. Boone has been better on the run this year, and let his veteran skills come into play. If Duke can get some points on the board first, and get their defense some hope then they could pull this off. 31-28 Arizona State
- Duck Commander Independence Bowl, Dec. 27th @ 3:30 pm
Miami FL(6-6) vs South Carolina(6-6)
-This was not the season head coach Al Golden was picturing coming off of a 9-4 season last year. Golden was pinned to make a huge decision this past offseason when “suppose to be start”, Kevin Olson, got kicked off the team for multiple DUIs. The Hurricanes were left with true freshman Brad Kaaya, transfer Jake Heaps, and long time QB Ryan Williams. Williams was going to take Olsens spot until he tore ligaments in his knee. Golden was left to make a choice that would affect the whole season, and Golden picked Kaaya as the starting quarterback of the Hurricanes. Kaaya can’t get the blame for the Hurricanes 6-6 season this year. Kaaya threw for 2962 yards and 25 touchdowns. Miami had a very fluid offense this year scoring 30 points a game. When Golden picked Kaaya to become the starting QB he knew that senior RB Duke Johnson could take alot of pressure off of the true freshman, and he wasn’t wrong. Johnson ran for 1520 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. The “Duke” was in the heisman run for most of the year, but since the Hurricanes didn’t have a good year that slipped away. Much of the blame can’t be put on the offense. So who gets the blame? Well, Golden of course, but also the defense. In all 5 of the losses the opponents scored 30 points or more, and the 6th loss was 28 points. What do we know for sure? The defense needs some work, Kaaya has established into a good QB for the future, and Golden is fighting for his job.
-This was not the type of season Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks saw coming. They started the season off with a #9 ranking in the nation, but they got a throttling from A&M in the home opener. Even with the lose, SC started the year off 3-1 with a big win at home against Georgia. After the 3-1 start the Gamecocks went 3-5 to end the season with not so good of losses against Kentucky and Tennessee. The whole reason behind the #9 preseason ranking was because the Gamecocks returned almost everyone on offense, and their defense was suppose to be pretty sharp as well. Their offense did rank 30th in the whole country led by senior, Dylan Thompson. Thompson did end up in the top 20 in best QBs in the nation throwing for 3280 yards with 24 TDs on the season. SC also had a good run game with speedster, Mike Davis. Davis ran for 927 yards with 9 touchdowns. The defense on the other hand was less than desired for. They ranked 90th in the entire country in total defense, and they also ranked 70th in points against. Spurrier has already said he will be back next season, but he will have his work cut out to turn this program around in the tough SEC.
-Prediction: The Hurricanes lost their last 3 games of the season with allowing 30 points our more in all 3 losses. Two of those losses came against Pitt and Virginia, and both of those teams don’t have the passing attack that SC has in Dylan Thompson. What I’m trying to say is for the Canes to win this game they will need to give Kaaya some help, and that will all start defensively. Golden will need to keep SC off of the field, and let Kaaya and Duke Johnson do work on the ground. If Kaaya can get some confidence going early then Miami could be pretty tough to beat, especially against a week South Carolina defense… Spurrier knows that Miami will be coming into this game with a gameplan to stop Thompson. Well, lets see what Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds can do on the ground game then. If the Thompson can spread the Miami D out, and the running backs can find some holes it will be a long game for the Canes. 27-24 South Carolina.
- New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 27th. @4:30 pm
Boston College(7-5) vs Penn State(6-6)
– When you think of a good running game, as of late, you think of Boston College. They rank 15th in the country in rushing yards a game with 251 yards. Their passing game isin’t all the strong with ranking 123rd in the nation, but when you have such a good running game, with a really good dual threat at QB who needs a passing game. Well, maybe BC if they want to get a better record, but that’s a different story for another day. That dual threat QB I was talking about is senior, Tyler Murphy. Murphy threw for over 1500 yards and also ran for over 1000 yards on the season. He led the team in both passing and rushing. Whenever BC does go against a team with a good run attack(Colorado State, Clemson, and FSU) they don’t put much numbers up. Coach, Addazio, needs to come up with a gameplan for a good defense in Penn State for the upcoming bowl game.
– Penn State got some great news in the middle of this season. They were informed by the NCAA that the sanctions have been reduced, and they could now play in bowl games and also get some scholarships back for recruiting. This was big news for new coach, James Franklin. The Nittany Lions haven’t played in the post season since back in 2011 when they faced Houston. When Penn State hired coach Franklin from Vanderbilt they were hoping for a fresh start, and that is exactly what they have. Franklin has been recruiting well so far, and he has a good young quarterback Christian Hackenburg, who was the number 1 QB coming out of high school 2 years ago. Hackenburg did have a littler bit of a down year, from his excellent freshman season, throwing for 2606 yards and only 8 touchdowns. The season could have been worse than 6-6 if it weren’t for the Nittany Lions D. Their defense ranked 2nd in the whole country. The Penn St defense only allowed 269 yards a game, and that is pretty impressive.
-Prediction: Penn State was #1 in rushing defense this season only allowing 84 yards a game on the ground. As I above, BC was ranked 123rd in passing yards a game. Obviously, BC, has a good run game, but Penn ST has a great run defense. For the Eagles it will all rely on their passing attack to win this game. Murphy will get his yards on the ground, but he will HAVE to pass the ball efficiently for BC to win this game… Penn State should be able to contain BC for the most part on the ground, and in the air. But, if Hackenburg has a bad game then BC could stay in the game long enough to actually win it. As long as Hackenburg plays like he can then I see no way BC has a chance in this one. 34-20 Penn ST
- National University Holiday Bowl, Dec. 27th @ 8:00 pm
Nebraska(9-3) vs USC(8-4)
-There was some shocking news that came out of the Nebraska camp last week. Coach, Bo Pelini, was fired after 7 seasons as the HC for the Cornhuskers. This was a bit of a surprise since Pelini has never won less than 9 games during his tenure in Nebraska. Nebraska wasted no time in finding their next coach, and that was Oregon State coach, Mike Riley. Unfortunately, for coach Riley, he won’t have senior RB Ameer Abdullah on his squad next season. Abdullah was 11th in the nation in running this season, and he ran for 1523 yards and 18 touchdowns. Abdullah is a very flashy back who can make anyone miss when he gets in the open field. Luckily, for Riley, he will have sophomore QB Tommy Armstrong back as his QB next season. Armstrong threw for 2314 yards and 19 TDs, and also ran for 664 yards this season. His top two targets were Kenny Bell and Jordan Westerkamp. Nebraska also had a middle of the pack defense this season.
-The Trojans are headed in the right direction from season to season, but they havent been able to put it all together yet. They hired Washington coach, Steve Sarkisian this past offseason, and he appears to be the right man for the job. They’ve shown flashes of the old Trojans with big wins against Stanford, Arizona, and Notre Dame. But, they also still have some bad losses like Boston College. The good news for the Trojans is that they have a very dominant offense, and barring early leaves to NFL, they return most of their players from this season. Junior QB, Cody Kessler had one of the most impressive years ever. Kessler was 10th in the entire nation in passing, and he threw for 3505 yards, 36 touchdowns and ONLY 4 INTs. Kessler loved to throw the ball to Nelson Agholor, who caught 97 passes for 1227 yards and 11 TDs this season. The USC offense also got a unexpected boost from junior RB, Javorius Allen. Allen rushed for 1337 yards and 9 TDs on the year. The defense wasn’t up to par this season. They were ranked the top 60 in defense, but that was not good enough in the high powered Pac-12.
-Prediction: This game should be a barn burner, and much scoring. I don’t see either defense stopping either offense, but if I had to choose the key to the game it would be Kessler vs Abdullah. Which player will put the team on their back and lead them to victory? On a side note: I see Armstrong having a big game because USC will keep 7 or 8 players in the box to stop Abdullah. I also see George Farmar having a big game for USC since the Cornhuskers will be doubling Agholor all game. 42-41 USC
- AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 29th @ 2:00 pm
Texas A&M(7-5) vs West Virginia(7-5)
– The best way to sum the Aggies season is to say they can’t beat good teams(most of the time). Their losses came to; Miss. St, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, and Missouri. They did beat Auburn, but that was about their only good win they had all season. Besides all of the technical stuff, the biggest question mark at the beginning of the season was: who is going to replace Johnny Football in College Station? Well, coach Sumlin thought he had his answer in Kenny Hill. Through the first 6 games Kenny”Trill” Hill was running away with the heisman tropy, but that ended once the better competition came around. Hill got replaced for the last 4 games of the season, due to a suspension, with 5 star freshman Kyle Allen. Allen was efficient enough, but Kenny Hill did have the better season. Whoever plays under center during the bowl game will have plenty of weapons at WR. Josh Reynolds, Speedy Noil, Ricky Seals Jones, and Malcome Kennedy all have caught over 40 catches each. The Aggies just may have the best WR corp in the whole country, but those WR’s sure cant play defense. Sumlin fired their DC at the end of the season, and as of today they are still searching for a replacement. They were ranked 101st in total defense.
-The Mountaineers did lose 5 games this season, but they were all to good and respectable opponents; Alabama, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, and Kansas State. West Virginia was a pretty competitive team all season, and they even beat Baylor this season. WVU was ranked 11th this season in total offense, and that was all led behind QB Clint Trickett. Trickett threw for 3285 yards and 18 TDs this season. Trickett was their bright spot this year, but you want to know some bad news? Well, coach Dana Holgorsen, reported that Trickett may not play in the bowl game due to injury. IF Trickett can’t play then duel threat sophomore, Skyler Howard will be the man under center. Howard has thrown for 483 yards and 5 TDs on the year. The Mountaineers will also rely heavily on WR Kevin White. White was the #6 WR in the country this season catching for 1318 yards and 9 TDs. On the other side of the ball, WVU is ranked in the 50’s for total defense. They will have their work cut out for them stopping the Aggies in the bowl.
-Prediction: This game is a little hard to predict. It looks more and more likely that freshman Kyle Allen will be the man starting for A&M. But, if Trickett plays or does not play, that is what will change everything. Let’s assume that Trickett will be ready to go for the bowl game and he plays.. WVU won’t have the defensive backs to play man to man against all of these WRs the Aggies have. Look for WVU to play some zone against the Aggies. If WVU can force Allen to make some mistakes they could win this game. But, that would rely on the defense making plays to stop the high powered attack of the Aggies… Now to the Aggies. They have a running back by committee in Trey Williams, Tra Carson, and Brandon Williams. WVU will be so focused on the passing game that they just might forget that A&M also has some running backs. I think if the Aggies can run the ball for more than 120 yards that they will get the win. 45-38 Texas A&M
- Russell Athletic Bowl, Dec. 29th @ 5:30 pm
Clemson(9-3) vs Oklahoma(8-4)
– Clemson had arguably the toughest schedule this season. They started their first 2 out of 3 games @ Georgia and @ Florida State. The Tigers ended up losing both games, but they were competitive in both of them. The Tigers started off with Senior QB, Cole Stoudt. But, they ended up switching to freshman Deshaun Watson. When the freshman was healthy he looked pretty good. He ended up throwing for 1466 yards and 14 TDs. Clemson really liked the freshman to freshman duo of Watson to Artavis Scott. Scott was one of the best freshman WRs in the game(if not the best). He caught team highs of 68 catches and 7 touchdowns. Enough about their freshman players. How about their defense? Yeah they are okay. When I say okay, I mean the BEST in the nation. The tigers were #1 in the nation in total defense. They only allow 259 yards a game on them. This could be a scary team next year.
-The Sooners went from the preseason #4 team to a unranked team to end the season. Oklahoma just couldn’t get any big wins this season. They lost to TCU, Baylor, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State this year. Oklahoma didn’t beat one team this season who was ranked in the top 25. It’s not like a 8 win season is bad by any means, but it almost seems like every year Oklahoma has the team to go and “win it all”, but they just can’t get it done. Anyhow, on to some stats. Sophomore, Trevor Knight, threw for 2197 yards with 14 TDs and 9 INTs. This was not the year that Knight was suppose to have. He was suppose to lead them to the title. But, that didn’t happen like normal. The ONE bright spot came from freshman, Samaje Perine. Perine was 8th in the nation in rushing with 1579 yards and 21 touchdowns. He ran that well without even rushing much in the first 3 games of the season! In week 4 vs WV he ran for a NCAA record of 242 yards with 4 touchdowns. This kid is remarkable for a freshman. Also, WR Sterling Shepard had another good season. Shepard caught for 957 yards with 5 TDs. Oklahoma ranked 53rd defensively.
-Prediction: Watson won’t be playing against Oklahoma due to a ACL injury. Which means Cole Stoudt will be back under center. Stoudt is going to have to play the game of his life to beat the Sooners. Artavis Scott, the next Sammy Watkins, is going to have to make Stoudt look good. I’m going to be honest. I think Stoudt is pretty bad. I really see Oklahoma winning this, but if turnovers happen then anything is possible. The thing I’ll be watching is Perine vs Clemson’s #7 rushing defense. Let’s see how good he can be under national spotlight against one of the best defenses in the nation. 24-20 Oklahoma
- AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, Dec. 29th @ 9:00 pm
Arkansas(6-6) vs Texas(6-6)
-Arkansas started the season off losing to Auburn 42-21. The other 5 losses that the Razorbacks have encountered were 7 points or less. Arkansas’ record may not have been the greatest, but for how tough their schedule was this season they were a mighty impressive team. If Arkansas was in any other conference I believe that would have won at least 8 games this season. Arkansas was able to hang in all of those games because of their 24th ranked defense, but also because of their great running game. The Razorbacks had the 28th best run game in the nation. They were led by duo Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins. Williams ran for 1085 yards and 11 TDs, and Collins ran for 1024 yards and 12 TDs. Arkansas also has a very good veteran QB in Brandon Allen. Allen threw for 2125 yards, 18 TDs, and only 5 INTs. Look for Arkansas to have a good year next season.
-Texas got “rid” of long time coach Mack Brown last season, and they decided to go with Louisville coach, Charlie Strong. Strong was/suppose to be the next big thing in Texas. Strong is a very disciplined coach, and he dismissed 9 players for breaking rules or academic issues during the season. He is trying to get the program in as good of shape as it has been in a long time. Strong started off on the right track defensively with his defense ranking 26th in the nation. But, his Longhorns started off shaky offensively. It started off by losing their starting QB, David Ash due to injury. Strong was forced to throw in youngster Tyrone Swoopes in real early. Swoopes made alot of mistakes, but he played pretty well throwing for 2352 yards on the season. Running backs Jonathan Gray and Malcome Brown both helped Swoopes carrying the ball. I do believe Texas found their right guy in Strong, but it will take time.
-Prediction: This game will come down to the running game. Which offensive line will open up more holes, and which duo of running backs will make more plays. I really don’t see either QB lighting the opposing team up. Arkansas, statistically, has the better duo, but don’t count out Brown and Gray for Texas. Both of those running backs were 5 star players for a reason, and they both have shown plenty of flashes of great skill. Arkansas does have the better D and that will really help them win this game. 20-14 Arkansas
- Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30th @ 3:00 pm
Notre Dame(7-5) vs LSU(8-4)
-The Fighting Irish started the season off 6-0, and they were ranked as high as #5 in the nation during that streak. The following week they lost to Florida State, by a controversial call, and it all went downhill from there for the Irish. They went 1-5 during there last 6 games of the season. This was suppose to be a big year for Notre Dame since they got their QB back in Everett Golson. Golson did help the passing game, he averaged 293 yards a game which ranked them 16th in the country, but Notre Dame still struggled during that dreadful second half. Brian Kellys defense was ranked 69th in the country. The Fighting Irish just couldn’t stop many offenses. They really struggled to stop the passing attacks. Rumors have it that coach Kelly could be on the hot seat, but his job will be safe for at least next year.
– LSU started off the season with a good win against Wisconsin, and they went 4-1 to start the season. LSU did lose to all quality teams this season in Miss. ST, Alabama, Arkansas, and Auburn. 8-4 is a down year in Les Miles eyes though, and they will be out for blood against Notre Dame. The Tigers believe they are a much better team than their record shows…. One of the bigger story lines during last off season was the signing of the #1 recruit in the nation, Leonard Fournette. He carried the ball for a team high 891 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. Fournette was also the teams main kick returner this season… LSU’s defensive is ranked 8th in the nation, and if their offense finds a grove they are a tough team to beat.
-Prediction: Will the Irish’s spread work against a tough LSU defense? It should be interesting to find out. Since LSU plays in the SEC they see all kinds of offenses and styles, and this Notre Dame offense will be nothing new to Les Miles. Notre Dame is going to have to spread LSU out, and let Golson use his feet to make some plays. Notre Dame won’t win this game if Golson can’t establish a rhythm running the football… For the Tigers to win this game they will need sophomore QB Anthony Jennings to play a good game. Jennings has been mildly inconsistent this season, which is why LSU couldn’t beat some of those better teams in the SEC. Jennings will get some help from Fournette and the Wideouts, which will help LSU pull away. 27-21 LSU
- Belk Bowl, Dec. 30th @ 6:30 pm
Georgia(9-3) vs Louisville(9-3)
-The Bulldogs had it made having the best backfield in all of NCAA with juniors Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Georgia also signed a freshman named Nick Chubb who was not suppose to see much playing time this year, but nothing went like it was suppose to for Mark Richts ball club. Keith Marshall only had 12 carries all season due to injuries, Todd Gurley(911 yards and 9 touchdowns), who could have won the heisman trophy hands down, had injuries and some law issues, and Nick Chubb was forced into action very early in the season. The good thing is, Chubb did not disappoint as a freshman, he ran for 1281 yards and 12 touchdowns… Georgia also had to replace long time QB, Aaron Murray from last years club. Senior, Hutson Mason, was the man for that job. Mason threw for 2019 yards, 20 TDs, and only 4 INTs this season. Mason was able to find his favorite target Chris Conley alot during the season, and the veteran OL did a great job protecting him… Mark Richt has had a good defense almost every single year during his tenure, and he had another good one this season ranking 20th in the nation.
– When Charlie Strong decided to go to Texas last offseason, Louisville went back to HC, Bobby Petrino. Petrino didn’t miss a beat this season, going 9-3 in his first season back with the Cardinals. The three losses came to the hands of Virginia, Clemson, and Florida State… This was the first season Louisville was in the ACC. They came from the American conference, and some analyst didn’t know how they would fair in the ACC, and I would say they did pretty well overall. The Cardinals were able to stop the offenses in the ACC pretty well all year. They ranked 7th in the nation in total defense this season… Their offense was pretty good as well. Sophomore, Will Gardner, played well under center this season. He threw for 1669 yards and 12 TDs.
-Prediction: We will be witnessing two entirely different offenses in this game. Louisville has a very fast attack with the football. They like to do alot of screens with their duo of RBs; Brandon Radcliffe and Michael Dyer. The Cardinals also like to throw the deep ball to their stud wideout, Davante Parker… Georgia on the other hand will be running it up the gut with Chubb, and throwing those shorter passes like slants and curls… Both teams have solid defenses and it should be interesting to see the gameplans designed for either team. I believe Louisville had the tougher defensive backs of the two teams, but Georgia has the better defensive lineman and linebackers. This one will be closer than some may think. 31-30 Georgia
- Foster Farms Bowl, Dec. 30th @ 10:00 pm
Maryland(7-5) vs Stanford(7-5)
– Maryland made the transition from the ACC to the Big Ten this season. Many predicted the Terps to win 4 or 5 games this season, and they obviously did much better than that. Randy Edsall implemented a fast pace to the offense, and QB CJ Brown really excelled doing it this season. Brown threw for over 2000 yards this season in the spread, and he was able to get the ball out quick to the speedster Stefon Diggs. Diggs missed some games this season due to injury, but he was still able to catch for 654 yards this season. Diggs is a hot commodity for the NFL next season, and that could really hurt Maryland if he forgoes his senior season.
– Stanford had alot of issues outscoring their opponents this season. It sure wasn’t their defense’s fault that they had a down year this season. Their defense was ranked 5th in the nation. But, their offense ranked 87th in scoring this season. It seemed like Stanford could move the ball, but once they got to opponents territory then they would just stall. Coach, David Shaw, complained about his offense during alot of interviews this season. They needed to do a better job getting Kevin Hogan and the offense rolling sooner during the games. Hogan was able to throw for 2603 yards and 17 TDs this season, but it wasn’t good enough to get the points on the board… The issue with the offense has to all stem from the running game. Stanford has done a good job breeding RBs every year, but they didn’t really have a feature back this season. Remound Wright was their leading rusher with 552 yards, and they used other running backs as a committee.. A defense can only take a team so far.
-Prediction: I think Stanford will determine this game. Which team will show up? If Stanford has any type of a run game they will win this, but if they can’t get a run game going then I could see CJ Brown and the Terps pulling a upset here. Also, if Stefon Diggs does not play then that will be real bad news for Maryland. Diggs will be a huge part in the gameplan. Maryland will need his speed to break down that Stanford D… I could see Bary Sanders JR finally breaking loose and having a game that his dad will be proud of. Look for Stanford to run the ball effectively. 17-13 Stanford
- Chick-fil-a peach bowl, Dec. 31st @ 12:30 pm
Ole Miss(9-3) vs TCU(11-1)
– Ole Miss started the season off 7-0 and were ranked 3rd in the nation. That is one heck of a start for the Rebels. They had a great defense this year which ranked them 13th in the nation. They were also ranked 1st in the nation in points allowed. Ole Miss allowed more than 20 points twice all season. That is pretty remarkable for such a young program… QB, Bo Wallace had a good season this year, he threw for 3085 yards and 22 TDs… The Rebel’s top WR, Laquon Treadwell got injured during the 9th game of the season. That was a big loss for the Rebels. They will need to find a way to replace him against TCU.. Coach, Hugh Freeze could be looking at a pay raise this offseason or even a better job at a bigger program. Stay tuned.
-No one in the nation can be more upset than TCU. The Horned Frogs lost to Baylor week 5 and that was their only loss all season long. They were ranked 3rd going into the last week of the season, and they beat Iowa State 55-3. TCU did exactly what they had to do, and the committee rewards them by pushing them down to number 6 in the nation behind OSU and Baylor. Gary Patterson’s squad will be out for some blood during their bowl game against Ole Miss… TCU had one of the most dominating offenses all season long2nd in the nation in scoring), which was led behind Trevone Boykin. Boykin was 7th in the nation in passing this season, and he threw for 3714 yards with 30 TDs… RB, Aaron Green also had a good season rushing for 854 yards and 8 TDs.
-Prediction: This is just a bad matchup for Ole Miss. Not because they can’t hang with TCU, but just because of what happened to TCU in the playoff rankings. TCU will be giving it all they have in this one to prove to the committee that they prove to be in the playoffs. I see Boykin having a field day against a great defense.. I also see Bo Wallace having a very good passing day in his last game ever for the Rebels. This should be one great game to watch! 41-35 TCU
- VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 31st @ 4:00 pm
Boise St(11-2) vs Arizona(10-3)
-Boise State had a good defense that was ranked 39th in the nation this season, but it was their offense that really shined once again. The man behind the offense was tailback Jay Ajayi. He was 4th in the nation, and he rushed for 1689 yards and 25 TDs. If Ajayi was on any other big program he could have very easily won the heisman this season… QB, Grant Hedrick, also had a good season. He threw for 3387 yards and 22 TDs this season… Boise had the 14th best offense this season.
-Rich Rod has always been known for his famous spread offense. His spread offense went to new heights this season for the Wildcats. Rich Rod started a freshman QB this season in Anu Soloman(3458 yards and 27 TDs) and he played like a veteran most times. The Wildcats started off 5-0 this season with a HUGE win @ Oregon. Arizona eventually made it to the Pac-12 title game against Oregon, but the Ducks were ready for that game. Oregon won 51-13.. Side note: RB Nick Jones ran for over 1200 yards this season. WR Cayleb Jones caught close to 1000 yards,
-Prediction: Boise should be able to move the ball effectively against the Wildcats D. Ajayi should have another monster game, but I dont see him being the X-Factor. The key for Boise is going to be Grant Hedrick. Can Hedrick give Ajayi enough help to win the game?… For the Wildcats they will need to continue to depend on Soloman. Lets not forgot that the kid is only a freshman, and he had a bad game last one against Oregon. If he rebounds in a good way then Arizona could win. 49-45 Arizona
- Capital One Orange Bowl, Dec. 31st @ 8:00 pm
Mississippi State(10-2) vs Georgia Tech(10-2)
-Coach Dan Mullen had the best start to a season you could have. The Bulldogs started off 9-0 this season and had the #1 ranking. During that stretch the Bulldogs beat A&M, LSU, and Auburn back to back to back. They would eventually lose two games to Alabama and rival Ole Miss, but they had a great year.. The main contributors, to the #9 offense, was QB Dak Prescott and RB Josh Robinson. Prescott threw for 2996 yards and 24 TDS and also ran for 939 yards and 13 TDs. Josh Robinson ran for 1128 yards and 11 TDs… As long as Mullen stays at Miss. St next season then they could have another great year.
– Georgia Tech has no run game. Said no one ever. The Yellow Jackets were 3rd in the nation running the football. Their QB Justin Thomas was their leading passer and rusher this season. He combined for over 2500 yards of offense for Ga Tech this season…. Their 3 losses came from Duke, NC, and Florida State in the ACC championship game. They ended up losing by 2 points to FSU, but the Yellow Jackets did play well for most of the season.
-Prediction: This one will come down to the running game, obviously. Both the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets like to run the ball, but they just do it two different ways. Georgia Tech will use the option and I formation to run where as the Bulldogs will spread everything out and do alot of read-options… Lets see who the better QB running really is. 28-17 Mississippi State
- Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 @ 12:00 pm
Auburn(8-4) vs Wisconsin(10-3)
-Last years national runners up had a bit of a down year this season. The Tigers did not come in expecting to lose 4 games, but they did lose to all good teams in the SEC(Alabama, Miss. ST, A&M, and Georgia). But, if you are going to be a contender you’ve got to beat the opponents. Their defense has been down for the most part of the season only ranking 59th in the nation during the season.. Auburn had a good rushing attack this season, ranking 12th, and the duo of Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis Payne did the work. Artis Payne rushed for 1482 yards with 11 TDs, and QB Nick Marshall ran for 780 yards with 11 TDs. Marshall also threw for 2315 yards, 18 TDs, and 7 INTs… Auburn sure does have a great offensive attack, but how much will that work in the bowl game is to be determined.
-The Badgers won 10 games in the Big Ten with having the 119th ranked passing game in the nation. They converted Tanner McEvoy, former saftey, to QB this season to try out the position. They were hoping his dual threat ability could help the Badgers, but that was a major fail. Then they ended up going with a 2 QB system by adding Joel Stave into the mix, but he hasn’t performed the greatest either. Luckily, they have the best running back in all of football in Melvin Gordon. Gordon was the leading rusher in all of NCAA by rushing for 2336 yards and an amazing 26 TDs this season.. Wisconsin also has the 4th ranked defense in the nation.. Side Note: Coach Gary Anderson left for Oregon State, and Wisconsin hired Paul Chryst from Pitt.
-Prediction: Auburn is going to have its hands full stopping Melvin Gordon, but they should be able to put a lockdown on the passing game. If Auburn can win the battle of the trenches I can see the Tigers winning this one. That is why the key to this game is the Auburn D-Line vs the Wisconsin O-Line. I believe Auburn will be able to move the ball on Wisconsin, but it won’t be like they are use to doing. I do see Gordon having another big day before he leaves for the draft. 24-21 Wisconsin
- Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Jan.1 @ 12:30 pm
Michigan State(10-2) vs Baylor(11-1)
-Once again the Spartans had a dominant defense this season ranking 7th overall in the nation.. The only two losses came from both playoff teams in Oregon and Ohio State. Michigan State gave up the most points to both OSU and Oregon this season. Both of those teams run the spread offense, and that is exactly what the Spartans have struggled with… The Spartans had a great trio on offense of Connor Cook, Jeremy Langford, and Tony Lippett. Cook threw for 2900 yards, 22 TDs, and only 6 INTs. Langford ran for 1360 yards and 19 TDs. Also, Lippett caught for 1124 yards and 11 TDs. The Spartans weren’t just known for their defense this year.
– Baylor had the #1 offense and scoring offense in the nation this season. Bryce Petty was also the 5th best QB this season by throwing for 3305 yards and 26 TDs this season. The Big-12 Co-Champs only lost 1 game all season and that was to WVU. Baylor beat TCU in a shoot-out earlier in the season, and they ended up finishing 5th in the playoff standings. Baylor gave defenses all kinds of fits, but the Bears had a decent defense as well, ranking 40th in the nation…. Along with Petty, RB Shock Linwood had a good season running the ball. Linwood ran for 1226 yards and 16 TDs.
-Prediction: As I stated before, MSU had alot of issues with a spread offense. Well, Baylor loves to air out the football and give Linwood some space for running the ball. MSU will have their hands full this game defending Petty and the Bears.. MSU is going to need Langford to have a real good game running the ball. They will need to have good clock management to keep Petty off the field. I think Baylor will be too much to handle in this one. 42-31 Baylor
- Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Jan. 1 @ 1:00 pm
Missouri(10-3) vs Minnesota(8-4)
-The Tigers ended up playing for the SEC championship game once again this year. They lost to Alabama, but once again they had a good season. The Tigers ended up having the 23rd ranked defense this season, but their offense was a tad shaky. When their offense couldn’t score they usually struggled. Just like they lost to Georgia 34-0 and lost to Alabama 42-13… QB, Maty Mauk, had to step in to become the lead guy this year. Mauk threw for 2551 yards, 23 TDs and 11 INTs on the season. He struggled against the better teams, but he was able to light up the weaker defenses.
-This was the year of the Gopher. Minnesota finally was able to have a good competitive team this season. They lost to TCU, Wisconsin, and Ohio State, but they also had a bad loss in their against Illinois… The Gophers had the 37th ranked defense this season, but they also had a great run game this season, averaging 224 yards a game. Minnesota had the 9th best RB in the nation in David Cobb. Cobb rushed for 1548 yards and 9 TDs… Look for Minnesota to have another good season next year.
-Prediction: If the Gophers have any shot in winning this game they will need a good outing by QB Mitch Leidner. He will need to use his arm and feet to create plays against a hard nosed Missouri defense. Cobb will also need to have a good game. Minnesota will try and free Cobb with screens and stretch plays.. I believe as long as Maty Mauk has a good game Missouri will win. But, Mauk will need to stay turnover free for it to happen. 30-24 Missouri
- Rose Bowl College Playoff, Jan 1. @ 5:00 pm
Oregon(12-1) vs Florida State(13-0)
-The Ducks had another stellar year on the offensive side of the ball this season. They ranked 3rd in total offense, and they were ranked 3rd in scoring this year. Oh, and to top that off they had the hesiman winner this year in Marcus Mariota. Mariota threw for 3783 yards, 38 TDs, and ONLY 2 INTs this season. He also ran for 669 yards with 11 TDs on the ground… RB Royce Freeman had a good year on the ground as he ran for 1299 yards and 16 TDs this year… Oregon wasn’t so great on defense this season though only ranking 81st in the nation. They also received some bad news that their top DB, Ifo Ekpre-Olomo for the rest of the season due to an injury. We shall see how much that affects them.
-Let’s think about something here. The last time the Seminoles lost a football game came on Nov. 24 2012 against Florida. That is over two years ago. As much as some of you don’t like Jameis Winston, the bottom line is he has never lost a college football game in his career. That is pretty remarkable. The former heisman winner didn’t have as good of a season this year as he did last, but he still threw for 3559 yards, 24 TDs, but he also had 17 INTs this year. Winston loved to get the ball to WR Rashad Greene this year. Greene had 1306 yards and 7 TDs through the air… FSU had the 51st ranked D in the nation.
-Prediction: For Oregon to win this game they are going to need to keep pressure on Winston. If Oregon’s D-Line cant contain Winston, the Ducks will need to send some blitzes his way. Winston hasn’t been the greatest under pressure this year, and Oregon will need that to continue… For Florida State to win this game they are going to need to put points up early. FSU has been known for slow starts, and finishing good at the end. But, we all know how good of an offense Oregon has, and if FSU starts slow again they won’t win this game… 42-31 Oregon
- Allstate Sugar Bowl College Playoff, Jan. 1 @ 8:30 pm
Alabama(12-1) vs Ohio State(12-1)
-Alabama is once again in a big game. It could be due to their 11th ranked defense, or their 16th ranked offense, or their top ranked recruiting classes ever year, but I believe most of it has to due with Nick Saban. Saban is 86-16 at Alabama and he also has 3 National Titles with the Crimson Tide. He is a proven winner(in college football) and he gets the most out of his teams every year. Saban had a tough task in replacing AJ McCarron this season. He let Blake Sims have that opportunity, and Sims did very well. Sims threw for 3250 yards, 26 TDs and only 7 INTs……. Bama has a great running game with speedster TJ Yeldon(932 yards and 10 TDs) and power runner Derrick Henry(895 yards and 10 TDs)…. Heisman candidate, Amari Cooper(1656 yards and 14 TDs), had a exceptional year catching the ball.
-OSU started off a little rough this season losing at home to Virginia Tech, but it was all uphill after that game. They routed almost every team in there way including a 59-0 beatdown on Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game. OSU had the 4th ranked scoring offense this season and the 8th ranked offense this year. Most of that was all with a unknown signal caller named JT Barrett. Heisman candidate, Braxton Miller, got injured during preseason training and he had to miss the whole season, so Urban gave the reigns to Barrett. The redshirt Freshman threw for 2834 yards, 34 TDs, and only 10 INTs. But, Barrett got injured during the Michigan game, and sophomore Cardale Jones will be taking over for the playoff games. It should be intriguing to see how poised he will be against a big opponent like Alabama….. Note: Ezekial Elliott rushed for 1402 yards and 12 TDs. JT Barrett also rushed for 938 yards and 11 TDs. OSU had the 11th ranked rushing attack.
-Prediction: The key to this game for me is going to be the QB play. Neither Jones nor Sims have had this big of a game in their career. Sims has more experience than Jones, but he is still doesn’t have the experience McCarron had. And Jones has only had one career start, and he won’t find a tougher defense than Alabama… Im also intrigued to see how Urban Meyer’s defense tries to stop Yeldon and Henry on the ground. It will be a tough task to stop the thunder/lighting duo… The only way I see OSU winning this one is if Cardale Jones gets some confidence going real early. The one thing OSU can’t afford is costly turnovers against a team like Alabama. I believe this game will be a closer game than the Rose Bowl. 31-28 Alabama
- Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Jan. 2 @ 12:00 pm
Houston(7-5) vs Pittsburgh(6-6)
-This was a little bit of a different Houston team than we are custom to seeing. They had a better defense than they did offense, and that is almost unheard of when you think of Houston. They also had a better rush attack(48th) than they did passing attack(69th). Houston couldn’t figure out a QB this season. They tried two different ones, and they finally decided to go with sophomore Greg Ward. Ward ended up throwing for 1736 yards and 17 TDs… RB, Kenneth Farrow, ended up rushing for 934 yards with 12 TDs on the season.
-Pitt had one of the best running games in the nation, and it all had to do with James Connor. Connor was the 5th best runner in the game, and he rushed for 1675 yards and 24 TDs this season. Oh, and he is only a sophomore by the way…. WR Tyler Boyd had a team high 69 catches, 1149 yards and 8 TDs. The second WR on the team was JP Holtz with 18 catches. Obviously, Boyd was, Chad Voytiks only target.
-Prediction: I want to see how Houston decides to stop Connor. Not many teams have been able to key in on him and stop him. When teams think they have stopped him then Voytik will kill them through the air… I also want to see how Pitt will handle Greg Ward. Ward will be looking to go deep to WR, Greenberry. But, I see Pitt winning this one. 24-14 Pitt
- Taxslayer Bowl, Jan 2. @ 3:20
Iowa(7-5) vs Tennessee(6-6)
-The Hawkeyes didn’t have too many quality wins this year. Their best victory was to Pittsburgh(who went 6-6). This wasn’t the big competitive Iowa team that we are use to seeing in the Big Ten. They were about average in all of the categories. But, Iowa did have a good defense this year ranking 18th total. QB, Jake Rudock had a pretty decent year throwing for 2404 yards and 16 TDs. RB Mark Weisman ran for 802 yards and 14 TDs.
-The Volunteers had one of the toughest schedules in the nation, and they also were one of the youngest teams in the entire country. They were the 10th youngest team in the entire country. Butch Jones sure wasn’t afraid to start freshman. Half of their key contributors were true freshman. A big bright spot for the Vols was freshman Jalen Hurd. Hurd rushed for 777 yards and 3 TDs. Hurd was also very active in the passing game.
-Prediction: As stated before Tennessee is such a young squad, and even though they struggled, Iowa is still a veteran squad. Iowa also has a very experienced coach in Kirk Fertentz. I think Iowa will just pound the ball up the gut with using some play action in there to keep the Vols off guard.. If Tennessee wins this game it will be due to Jalen Hurd and the speed he brings to the table. 20-10 Iowa
- Valero Alamo Bowl, Jan 2nd @ 6:45 pm
Kansas State(9-3) vs UCLA(9-3)
-KSUs only 3 losses came to Auburn, TCU, and Baylor. Bill Snyder sure had a good offensive attack with Jake Watters and Tyler Lockett. KSU was in the top 20 in passing the football this season, and Waters threw for 3163 yards with 20 TDs.. Lockett caught for 1351 yards and 9 TDs… The defense was pretty good as well. They were ranked 35th in the nation. Kansas State keeps getting better and better every year. Watch out for this team next season.
– UCLA had it made this season, well supposed to anyway. They had all of the better teams at home this season, they had a heisman candidate at QB in Brent Hundley, and they had most of their defense back this year. And the rest is history now. They went 9-3 which is not bad, but it was below expectations. Hundley still threw for 3019 yards and 21 TDs. RB Paul Perkins ran for a team high 1378 yards. But, there defense was not up to par. They ranked a mediocre 68th in the country. Defense is what ended up killing the Bruins.
-Prediction: KSU will need Waters and Lockett to have a big game to win this one. They will also need to have one more good defensive game against Hundley… The Bruins will need Hundley to have one more good game before he leaves to go to the NFL, but I believe Perkins will end up being the hero in this game. Perkins will end up rushing for more than 100 yards and lead the Bruins to victory. 41-34 UCLA
- TicketCity Cactus Bowl, Jan 2nd @ 10:15 pm
Washington(8-5) vs Oklahoma State(6-6)
-The Huskies beat all of the teams they were suppose to beat, but they couldn’t get any big victories. Coach Sark left to go to USC this year, and Washington ended up hiring Chris Peterson from Boise State. He did end up improving the team and they are headed in the right direction, but they need to get some more quality wins to make them look even better. The Huskies are still a young team, and I believe Peterson will get them back to dominance very soon. I think Peterson needs to improve the defense right away. They ranked 74th in total defense this season, and that needs to get better. But, watch out for the Huskies soon folks.
-Oklahoma State was very bipolar this year. They started off 5-1, and ended up going 1-5 to end the season. They did beat rival Oklahoma in the last game of the year though to even become bowl eligible. Small victories I guess? They had an abysmal defense ranking 94th in the nation. Their offense wasn’t much better either. Their offense ranked 78th in scoring, and they had the 102nd ranked rushing attack. This was not a good season for Oklahoma State, and I’m not so sure it will get much better next season.
-Prediction: Washington is going to need their passing attack to come alive this game. Cyler Miles was the 98th ranked QB this season, and Peterson is going to need everything from Miles. If Miles has another bad game this just go ahead and give the Cowboys the win now… Oklahoma State is going to need have a good rushing attack to win this game. We know their passing attack will be okay enough, but they wont win if they don’t have any rushing game. RB Desmond Roland will need to have a good game. 31-24 Oklahoma State
- Birmingham Bowl, Jan. 3rd @ 12:00 pm
East Carolina(8-4) vs Florida(6-5)
-ECU had the 5th ranked offense this season, 15th ranked scoring offense, and the 5th ranked passing game. I would say that have a dominant offense. QB, Shane Carden passed for 4309 yards and 28 TDs this season. His top target was Justin Hardy who caught for 1334 yards and 9 TDs. Their defense was pretty good as well. They ranked 40th in the nation.
-Florida decided to let coach Muschamp go after this season. They will be hiring coach McElwain from Colorado State after the bowl game is over. Florida just hasnt been a very good team under Muschamp, and they want to get back to dominance like they were under Urban Meyer. The biggest issue with Florida is they don’t have much at the QB position. Jeff Driskel, former 5 star, has never become a good quarterback. He only threw for 1092 yards this season, and he even got benched during games because of all the bad decisions he makes. It can only go up from here for the Gators.
-Prediction: The ONLY way I even see this game being competitive is if the Gators have a good offensive attack. There is no way the Gators will stop Carden and ECU on offense. Either Driskel or Harris will need to match ECU in points, and I really don’t see that happening. 45-21 ECU
- GoDaddy Bowl, Jan. 4th @ 9:00 pm
Toledo(8-4) vs Arkansas State(7-5)
-The Rockets have been a solid MAC team for years now. That did not change this season with them going 8-4 and 7-1 in conference play. The Rockets had the 18th best rushing attack and the 33rd best scoring offense. Their defense was shaky, but they were able to outscore almost everyone in the MAC so that didn’t matter a whole bunch. RB Kareem Hunt, had a big year rushing for 1360 yards and 11 TDs during the season.
-The Red Wolves had the 20th ranked offense in the nation and the 21st ranked scoring offense. They had a good balanced offense with QB, Fredi Knighton(2874, 18TDs) and RB, Michael Gordon(1064, 10 TDs). They ended up finishing 3rd in the Sun Belt this season.
-Prediction: This one is going to be a big offensive game. I think both rushing attacks will have big games. So, I think this one will come down to the QB play. Who will have the better passing attack? 47-41 Toledo
- College Football Championship, Jan 12th @ 8:30 pm
PREDICTED: Alabama vs Oregon
-Prediction: This is pretty exciting. We have been waiting forever for a playoff and we finally have one. I have predicted it to be a Alabama and Oregon finish. Alabama would have a tough time defending Marcus Mariota, but Mariota hasn’t seen a defense as good as Bama all season. Alabama would send different blitzes and play more physical against Mariota’s WRs… On the otherhand, Oregon would have a tough time stopping Amari Cooper and Blake Sims. With Ekpre being out they will have to rotate players to cover Cooper and that would be the downfall of Oregon. 31-27 Alabama
Thanks for reading again. Follow us on Twitter for more updates and posts @2pointstance