Look at these posers previewing just the major bowl games or just the games involving national brand teams. Not the Junkies. We know you’re going to be watching every damn minute of all these bowl games, even the stupid ones. We’re the Junkies, for God’s sake! We can’t get enough!
With that in mind, we have prepared a preview for every single bowl game, complete with a national championship pick at the end. The bowls start tomorrow, so gear up. 38 games to go, plus a national title game. Let’s do it.
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
12/20, 11 am, ESPN
Nevada (7-5) vs. UL-Lafayette (8-4)
What better way to start off the bowl season (as well as nurse that Friday night hangover) than a classic Sun Belt/Mountain West tilt? The Ragin’ Cajuns put their 3-game bowl winning streak on the line against a Wolf Pack squad that hasn’t hoisted a bowl trophy since 2010, back when Beats By Dre poster boy Colin Kaepernick was under center. Not much interest in the opening game, but it is football so we will watch. Shout-out to whatever genius decided to schedule this game at 10 a.m. Central time, making it possible for the drunkards on Bourbon St. to not even go to bed prior to watching this game.
Bizzle: Nevada A-Rob: UL Lafayette
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/20, 2:20 pm, ESPN
Utah St. (9-4) vs UTEP (7-5)
Word is that our boy Gary Andersen, the former Utah State coach and now-former Wisconsin coach, might interview for the Utah State job on the sidelines during this epic showdown. In all seriousness, the New Mexico Bowl has been the site of maybe the wildest postseason games of each of the last two seasons. Two years ago, Arizona, or as we like to call them, “DickRod U”, rallied with two touchdowns in the last two minutes of the game to beat Nevada 49-48. And last season, it was Colorado State with 18 points in the last few minutes, taking advantage of an absolute meltdown by Washington State, to win the game 48-45. If the pattern holds, you won’t want to miss the ending of this one.
Bizzle: UTEP A-Rob: Utah St.
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
12/20, 3:30 pm, ABC
No. 22 Utah (8-4) vs Colorado St. (10-2)
What does a 10-win season in the Mountain West, flirting with the top 25 and a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl cost you? Answer: Your head coach and a future beatdown at the hands of Florida. Jim McElwain bolted for the Florida job but don’t feel too bad. CSU didn’t completely lose out, as they gained about $6 million in the process. CSU will take on one of the more puzzling teams in the country, as Utah couldn’t decide what team to bring on given weeks. On the one hand, this team beat UCLA, Stanford and USC, but on the other hand, they lost to Washington St. and were blown out by both Pac-12 title game participants.
Bizzle: Colorado St. A-Rob: Utah
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/20, 5:45 pm, ESPN
Air Force (9-3) vs Western Michigan (8-4)
Two of the best one-season turnaround stories in college football this season clash on the blue turf in Boise for this bowl game. Western Michigan is led by coach P.J. Fleck, who caught a lot of crap from me on Twitter for his “Row the Boat” schtick after being hired at WMU in 2013 and promptly going 1-11. However, Fleck is getting the last laugh and has positioned himself to get a much bigger job if he can replicate his 2014 success going forward. Air Force’s Troy Calhoun went 2-10 a year ago, but he too engineered a seven-game turnaround. Both teams should be fired up for this battle, which can be half the battle in these minor bowl games.
Bizzle: Western Michigan A-Rob: Air Force
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
12/20, 9:15 pm, ESPN
Bowling Green (7-6) vs South Alabama (6-6)
This is the classic “game’s on at the bar on a Saturday night so I’ll keep an eye on it” game. This is South Alabama’s 1st bowl gam,e so you know they will be amped up and raring to go. For Bowling Green it’s their 1st bowl under new HC Dino Babers. So both schools are playing for something big to get their programs going in the right direction for the future. Its going to be hard for BG to overcome playing a school’s 1st bowl game. I expect some scoring and a sneaky good game.
Bizzle: South Alabama A-Rob: South Alabama
Miami Beach Bowl
12/22, 2 pm, ESPN
Memphis (9-3) vs BYU (8-4)
Here we see another quietly awesome coaching job. Memphis won a share of the American conference title this year under Justin Fuente, the first time since 1971 that the Tigers won a league title. Bonus points if you can guess which conference that was.* Memphis also played Ole Miss very tough early in the season, back before we knew how good the Rebels would end up being. Fuente’s name has been floated for a couple of big jobs and it’s possible he might get one of those gigs after this game. BYU just keeps churning out successful seasons as an FBS independent, but the Cougars are all but begging the Big 12 to expand the league so they can join in football.
* – It was the Missouri Valley Conference.
Bizzle: BYU A-Rob: Memphis
Boca Raton Bowl
12/23, 6 pm, ESPN
Marshall (12-1) vs Northern Illinois (11-2)
It’s a Festivus Day miracle as this is my favorite matchup of non-Power 5 schools. Marshall all season flirted with being undefeated and getting a spot in the New Year’s 6 bowls, peaking in the polls at 24. Unfortunately an absolutely crazy shootout game with Western Kentucky ended in a 67-66 upset loss, thus derailing any hopes of a big-time bowl. The Conference USA champs are going for 2 straight bowl wins. For Northern Illinois – aka the Alabama of the MAC – after appearing in their 5th straight MAC title game are looking to avenge last year’s bowl loss to Utah St. Expect very little defense, might be the highest scoring game of the bowl season.
Bizzle: Marshall A-Rob: Northern Illinois
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
12/23, 9:30 pm, ESPN
San Diego St. (7-5) vs Navy (7-5)
You know the Poinsettia Bowl has to love when it can get these two teams. SDSU obviously is the local FBS squad and there’s America’s biggest naval base nearby. This game set attendance records when this matchup occurred 4 years ago, doubling as Brady Hoke’s last game before he left SDSU to burn Michigan to the ground. That was a good game, too. Navy’s Keenan Reynolds is a pain in the ass to play against (just ask ND fans), so it should be interesting to see what happens here.
Bizzle: Navy A-Rob: San Diego St.
Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl
12/24, 12 pm, ESPN
Western Kentucky (7-5) vs Central Michigan (7-5)
The “Student-Athletes” participating in this game are the real winners of the 2014 Bowl Season as not only is it Christmas Eve, and the game sponsored by a delicious Fried Chicken company, but this bowl game is being held in the Bahamas. Let me repeat, THE FREAKING BAHAMAS! Suck it Alabama and OSU, you wish you could hang out in the Bahamas for Christmas! So the outcome doesn’t even matter in this one, everyone involved is absolutely without a doubt the real winners. You go CMU and WKU, I hope its a tie.
Bizzle: Western Kentucky A-Rob: Western Kentucky
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
12/24, 8 pm, ESPN
Fresno St. (6-7) vs Rice (7-5)
Our only bowl featuring a losing team and that team gets to go to Hawaii. Life isn’t fair. Fresno gets to go because 6-6 teams that lose conference title games don’t get penalized for it. I know nothing about either of these teams except that ND killed Rice, but I’m surprised the Bulldogs aren’t better. Really, the only reason to watch this game is to see how casual the coaches dress. June Jones used to wear leis on the sidelines back in the day. Hopefully one of these coaches does, too.
Bizzle: Rice A-Rob: Rice
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
12/26, 1 pm, ESPN
Illinois (6-6) vs Louisiana Tech (8-5)
If a 6-win B1G school makes a lower-tier bowl, does anyone care? I’ll keep it short and sweet – Hell no! Heading into their last two games, the Fighting Illini were left for dead, and rightfully so. It took wins over awful Northwestern and Penn St. to get here. Hopefully they enjoy Dallas and all the free Zaxby’s they can eat, because I expect the Conference USA runner ups to boatrace them. Expect a motivated Bulldog team with a chip on their shoulder after falling to Marshall in the C-USA title game.
Bizzle: Louisiana Tech A-Rob: Louisiana Tech
Quick Lane Bowl
12/26, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Rutgers (7-5) vs North Carolina (6-6)
How the people that run these bowls convince people to keep playing one in Detroit is beyond me. There might be 300 people at this game, with neither school even close to the Motor City. Rutgers’ bright shining moment from this season, at least to me, was beating Michigan, while UNC was the first of 7 straight opponents to score at least 30 points against Notre Dame. The Heels are best known in the social media sphere for having a sideline coach who, for some reason, doesn’t wear UNC gear but rather a jersey of a random UNC player in the NFL each week. We’ll see if he busts out a star’s threads for this one.
Bizzle: Rutgers A-Rob: North Carolina
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
12/26, 8 pm, ESPN
NC State (7-5) vs UCF (9-3)
Before I get into this breakdown, what in the hell is a Bitcoin? You tell me that, I’ll be beyond impressed. Now to football, at times this season the Wolfpack (shoutout to WCW) looked like they were putting it all together after going winless in the ACC last season. They have earned a bowl game against last season’s Fiesta Bowl champs. The UCF Golden Knights followed up last seasons unexpected success by stumbling out of the gate, but rallied nicely to finish 9-3. Sadly, Blake Bortles is in Jacksonville now, which means (even sadder) his smoking hot girlfriend Lindsey Duke is also there. So if you were expecting screenshots of Lindsey Duke during breaks, you’re about a year late. So because Bortles just had to take his talents to the Jaguars, I expect the Wolfpack to end the season on a high note with a big Bitcoin win. Seriously, what the hell is that?
Bizzle: NC State A-Rob: UCF
12/27, 1 pm, ESPN
Virginia Tech (6-6) vs Cincinnati (9-3)
Oof. Virginia Tech. What are they even doing here? The only reason they made a bowl at all is because Wake Forest handed over that God-awful 6-3 double-OT win in November. And now they’re playing Cincinnati, a team with actual talent, including potentially the best QB in college football that has been on an ND roster (yes, I said it) in Gunner Kiel. I have a feeling this one is going to get ugly, and quick. Then again, Cincinnati got crushed by Ohio St. and Virginia Tech beat them. You have to love the Transitive Property.
Bizzle: Cincinnati A-Rob: Cincinnati
Hyundai Sun Bowl
12/27, 2 pm, CBS
Arizona St. (9-3) vs Duke (9-3)
Duke FOOTBALL going for their 10th win of the year, for the second straight year. I know, what is the world coming to? David Cutcliffe apparently thinks Duke football is a better place to coach than Michigan (personally I think he’s right, suck it Michigan) as he reportedly took his name out of the running last week. Think about that, Michigan is so awful the DUKE FOOTBALL coach decided to stay at Duke. For a Duke team heading into their 3rd straight bowl, getting that 10th win could go a long way towards keeping Cutcliffe long term as other programs are starting to take notice. Arizona St. flirted with the playoff for a good portion of the season, peaking at No. 6. They will also be playing to get their 10th win of the year, and likely a high 2015 preseason ranking, Todd Graham has the Sun Devils trending in the right direction so expect this game to have a lot at stake for both schools.
Bizzle: Duke A-Rob: Arizona St.
Duck Commander Independence Bowl
12/27, 3:30 pm, ABC
Miami (6-6) vs South Carolina (6-6)
Holy crap, is this a bad game. One of the weirdest things about college football is that there are four bowl games on national network TV this year (this one, Sun, Vegas and Citrus) and none of them are the major ones. It’s worth wondering what makes these games so special that they’re on network TV. Especially this one. Collectively in terms of how good the teams are, this is probably the worst matchup of the entire bowl season. There is no right pick for this game. Just go take a walk and skip it.
Bizzle: South Carolina A-Rob: South Carolina
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/27, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Boston College (7-5) vs Penn St. (6-6)
First of all, it’s a joke that Penn St. Is even playing in a bowl game this season. In September their bowl ban was lifted. Maybe I’m being too harsh but I’m pretty sure what Penn St. did far and away was worse than, let’s say, USC or Miami, but I don’t remember their sanctions being lifted. So lifting a ban while the school was 3-0 and looking good, sits the wrong way with me. Just wait til the season’s over. BC will be looking to improve to 8-5 and and continue their climb from a two-win 2012 campaign. They did upset USC and took FSU to the limit, so we know they are capable of pulling off a Pinstripe Bowl win.
Bizzle: BC A-Rob: BC
National University Holiday Bowl
12/27, 8 pm, ESPN
Nebraska (9-3) vs USC (8-4)
What’s Bo Pelini’s reward for winning nine games every single season at Nebraska for seven years? The ax. I hope the Huskers know what they’re doing. It’s a good program and I want to see it do well. The Mike Riley move was a head-scratcher, but maybe they know something I don’t. As for USC, they have the best QB no one is talking about in Cody Kessler, who had a monster season. If not for a complete fluke loss to BC and a Hail Mary to ASU, they might have faced the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game and made a New Year’s game. Combine that with my philosophy on picking against coachless teams, and this one’s a layup.
Bizzle: USC A-Rob: USC
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
12/29, 2 pm, ESPN
Texas A&M (7-5) vs West Virginia (7-5)
The Aggies came out swinging and blasted #9 South Carolina and everyone was talking about Kenny Football baby, later renamed Kenny Trill and, even later, suspended and benched. After a 5-0 start and everyone penciling in Kevin Sumlin into whatever NFL job he wanted, A&M would finish 2-5 down the stretch and have everyone wishing Johnny Football had stayed for another year. Meanwhile, West Virginia has outperformed expectations this season to earn a bowl bid. They played Alabama tough in the opener, took TCU to the wire and upset Baylor along the way. That’s proof that TCU and Baylor should just shut up, nothing against WVU but they aren’t who they were in past seasons and are still transitioning from the Geno Smith Era (yeah, it sounds just as strange to me). For both schools you can file this game under the “Moral Victory” game. Don’t expect any defense in this one and for all you betting people out there, take the over.
Bizzle: Texas A&M A-Rob: West Virginia
Russell Athletic Bowl
12/29, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Clemson (9-3) vs Oklahoma (8-4)
Oklahoma is the only one of the AP preseason top 5 to have not made the playoff this season. So there’s that. I guess beating Alabama in a bowl is no guarantee of anything anymore. Clemson has been loaded with questions all year, not least of which is, “WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU PLAY A QB WHO ALREADY HAS A TORN ACL?” I’m a little surprised no one is talking about that, to me, in this era of player safety, that move was stunning at best. This game is a complete wash to me, I’m just going with the team with a better record and the presumed home-field advantage.
Bizzle: Oklahoma A-Rob: Clemson
AdvoCare Texas Bowl
12/29, 9 pm, ESPN
Texas (6-6) vs Arkansas (6-6)
Two big-time programs, two big-time conferences, and two big-time disappointments. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Texas Bowl (Shots, Shots,Shots)! OK, I’m sure no one is that excited about this game, but, hey, a guy can dream. I’m not sure what’s larger, Arkansas’ SEC losses the last two seasons or the number of players Charlie Strong has dismissed in his 1st season at Texas? For both schools, finishing 6-7 is an absolute let down of a season, so pride is definitely on the line. Expect a dogfight in this one. Low scoring is definitely in play here, so get excited, baby – a potential field goal kicking contest!!
Bizzle: Texas A-Rob: Arkansas
Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl
12/30, 3 pm, ESPN
Notre Dame (7-5) vs LSU (8-4)
Oh joy. I, A-Rob, drew the short straw and have to write about crappy Notre Dame. I’ve never seen a collapse like the one ND has had this year. They looked, at least talent-wise, like a legitimate top 15 team and potential championship contender the first month of the season, but for some reason started turning the ball over 5 times a game against Syracuse and that was that. You might’ve seen some of my profanity-laced tirades towards Brian Kelly on our account. Truth is, I want to like Kelly. I do. And he’s had some horrendous luck with injuries and suspensions. But I’m so damn impatient to see a consistent winner, at least a 9-10 win type program with an occasional title run, and I just don’t feel like this is the guy. That being said, he just announced this week that the Irish will play both Everett Golson and Malik Zaire at QB in this game. I don’t understand that move at all, but it probably won’t matter as LSU has a good defense. The only thing the Tigers can’t do at all is throw, and they probably won’t have to do much of that in this game.
12/30, 6:45 pm, ESPN
Louisville (9-3) vs Georgia (9-3)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Georgia has just as much talent as anyone in the SEC. Ok, now stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Georgia underachieved! To be fair, breaking in a new QB doesn’t help the cause, and neither does a suspension, then a torn ACL, of a surefire Heisman finalist in Todd Gurley. Losing to in-state rival Georgia Tech and missing out on the East title should have the Bulldogs amped and ready to try and turn the heat down on Mark Richt. For Louisville, this was a nice way to begin their careers in the ACC as the 1st-year participants held their own, going 9-3. They had FSU on the ropes for much of the game (Did Jameis shave points? Whether Jameis did or not, it’s still an impressive showing for the Cardinals). 10 wins for a 3rd straight season is on the line, and surely the Bobby Petrino rumors will start up if that happens. I swear that guy goes through jobs like Seinfeld went through girlfriends.
Bizzle: Georgia A-Rob: Georgia
Foster Farms Bowl
12/30, 10 pm, ESPN
Maryland (7-5) vs Stanford (7-5)
This is bad news for Maryland. Stanford, who had a rough first couple of months, appears to have rounded into form over the last few weeks of the season, particularly by pounding UCLA on Thanksgiving weekend. The Terps’ best football, meanwhile, is long behind them. Something about Randy Edsall. This game might be the most vanilla on the bowl slate.
Bizzle: Stanford A-Rob: Stanford
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
12/31, 12:30 pm, ESPN
TCU (11-1) vs Ole Miss (9-3)
Let’s go ahead and rename this the Chick-Fil-A “Close But No Cigar and Possibly Screwed Over Bowl”. Does anyone (committee included) have a clue what the committee is doing? Ole Miss you don’t count in this – 3 losses and getting shut out by Arkansas is enough of a breakdown. Now back to the Horned Frogs, not only are they the shortest-lived Big East member of all time, but might possibly be the only school in history to beat a conference opponent by 52 points and drop from number 3 to number 6 in the rankings, thus eliminating the little Horned Frogs that could from the first ever playoff. I did want to see Trevone Boykin and TCU crash the party. Sadly though, when you play a non conference schedule that makes the Sun Belt seem like the NFL, it ultimately is up to you to change that. Also Big 12/10 (whatever) let’s get that championship game already. You had to know this would come up. I’m sure a Tulsa or SMU type would love to join you, but I’m sure you’d be afraid they’d become better than you (See: TCU, Baylor and Kansas St.) So let’s stop “ball washing” Texas and Oklahoma, and join the big boys, shall we?
Bizzle: Ole Miss A-Rob: TCU
Vizio Fiesta Bowl
12/31, 4 pm, ESPN
Arizona (10-3) vs Boise St. (11-2)
It says a lot about how bad the BCS system was, with its conference tie-ins and weird ‘selection order’, that this game, easily the worst of the major six bowls, still boasts what to me is a better and more exciting matchup than we got in most of the old BCS games. Arizona is a fun as crap team to watch, even though the Wildcats were humbled by Oregon in the Pac-12 title game. Boise State looked like a major question mark coming into the season, but in the end only lost to two very good teams in Ole Miss and 10-win Air Force. This matchup should feature a lot of points, but ultimately the Wildcats have the talent edge and won’t have to worry about the blue turf.
Bizzle: Arizona A-Rob: Arizona
Capital One Orange Bowl
12/31, 8 pm, ESPN
Georgia Tech (10-3) vs Mississippi St. (10-2)
What’s in your wallet? Well, for me, some receipts and 15 dollars and a picture of my kids. For Georgia Tech and Mississippi St., they have a lot more in their respective wallets, likely enough to buy Samuel L. Jackson. Mississippi St. had an impressive year, peaking at #1 in the polls for a good portion of the season, but suffered losses to Alabama and in-state rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Georgia Tech quietly reached the ACC title game and fell short against FSU. Most intriguing question for me is: Can Georgia Tech;s quirky offense take down another SEC opponent and win the Orange Bowl?
Bizzle: Mississippi St. A-Rob: Georgia Tech
1/1, 12 pm, ESPN2
Wisconsin (10-3) vs Auburn (8-4)
When this game was announced, I thought it represented one of the most fascinating matchups of bowl season: The nation’s leading example of MANBALL against the spreadiest and no-huddliest of all the spread no-huddle systems. Then Gary Andersen bolted for the Oregon St. job. Barry Alvarez must really have pissed him off to zip off to a place where you will never, literally never, win big. This game will still probably be interesting, but I refer back to my ‘don’t ever bet on the coachless team’ rule. The Tigers are a really good team and will probably roll here.
Bizzle: Auburn A-Rob: Auburn
Goodyear Cotton Bowl
1/1, 12:30 pm, ESPN
Baylor (11-1) vs Michigan St. (10-2)
I’d like to start by saying that when I die, they aren’t going to bury me in Maryland, I’ll be buried in Indiana. Now that I’ve said that, WHAT IN THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH THE PLAYOFF? Crazy Art Briles, you sound like a guy that got dumped after prom. Seriously, the fact that you are the head of a program scares me. Thank God Bryce Petty is out of there, so you can’t spread craziness all over him anymore. You should be glad you even got an invite to the Cotton Bowl, because in past seasons you probably wouldn’t be so fortunate to get a New Year’s Day bowl. Since the committee did the right thing and put in the top 4 teams your crazy ass should be happy. This whole “there needs to be more of a Southern presence on the committee”, well I’m pretty sure there is plenty – the head of it is the ARKANSAS A.D.!! Can you read a map, Art? Now, for the teams you think aren’t as good as yours, FSU is the most southern school of the 4, Bama is beyond southern in culture and geographically, also southern, The Ohio St. Is south of Michigan St. (who you play, remember to stop crying and game plan) plus Urban Meyer used to coach at Florida, also southern. Oregon, believe it or not, is south of Washington and Canada, not to mention the Heisman winner Marcus Mariota was born in Hawaii (he will probably be buried there when he dies), which is also very southern. So, crazy Art Briles, you need to relax. There is plenty of Southern ties in the playoffs and if you’d like to hear how to get into the top 4, see the TCU preview stated above. So relax and start preparing for the Spartans’ defense, because they aren’t going to overlook you because you’re too busy crying and making ridiculous statements in hopes that the Final 4 will change. Guess what Art, it won’t, so man up!
Bizzle: Michigan St. A-Rob: Michigan St.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
1/1, 1 pm, ABC
Minnesota (8-4) vs Missouri (10-3)
This one is called the Citrus Bowl because the “we had surprisingly good seasons but also got dominated by the only very good teams we played” Bowl won’t fit on the jersey patches. Also, Missouri lost to Indiana, who went 1-7 in Big Ten play. The “SEC East champion Indiana” thing will never stop being funny. That being said, this is actually a very good and interesting bowl matchup. Missouri has an underrated defense and Minnesota is on the way up under Jerry Kill. Look for this one to come down to the final minutes.
Bizzle: Minnesota A-Rob: Missouri
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
1/2, 12 pm, ESPN
Houston (7-5) vs Pittsburgh (6-6)
If two crappy teams play the day after the final four has been played and the national title has been set, does anyone care? This game has no business being played after the playoffs began the night before, I’m not sure of the logistics of everything (A-Rob adds “you’re goddamn right logistics”), but why have these meaningless bowl games start up after the playoffs? It’s possible they consider this to be an appetizer for the national title game but I don’t buy it. Appetizers generally are supposed to be a good beginning to a meal and this matchup is anything but that. Either Houston goes to 8-5 or Pitt goes to 7-6 – oh joy, what big stakes are on the line.
Bizzle: Houston A-Rob: Pittsburgh
1/2, 3:20 pm, ESPN
Iowa (7-5) vs Tennessee (6-6)
Iowa sucks. They’re so bad that Ball State, a team that lost to UMass and to an FCS school, should have beaten them but couldn’t hold onto a late lead. Meanwhile, Tennessee is as fired up as you’ll ever see a team for a bowl game this obscure and useless because they’ve been so bad the last several years. The pick here is an easy one if you buy into motivation being a key factor.
Bizzle: Tennessee A-Rob: Tennessee
Valero Alamo Bowl
1/2, 6:45 pm, ESPN
Kansas St. (9-3) vs UCLA (9-3)
In the preseason, the only thing sexier than picking UCLA to make the College Football Playoff was Kate Upton doing the Cat Daddy (and for the uneducated here’s the link: http://youtu.be/GlKs0Goy71A
). If you’re still reading this, well, you’re a better man than I am. UCLA with Brett Hundley coming back was supposed to take that massive next step everyone predicted. Well, after struggling in the first few games of the season, UCLA lost to Oregon and Utah and pretty much derailed any chance of making the dance. K-State seemed to have every opportunity to win big games and spoil others’ chances while helping their own, but couldn’t take down Auburn, Baylor or TCU. So that being said each are where they belong and have a chance to end their season with a solid win over a top 15 team.
Bizzle: Kate Upton…I mean, UCLA A-Rob: Kansas St.
TicketCity Cactus Bowl
1/2, 10:15 pm, ESPN
Oklahoma St. (6-6) vs Washington (8-5)
So Oklahoma State barely snuck into a bowl game thanks to a random upset of Oklahoma (which, in turn, helped sink Baylor and TCU’s playoff dreams), and then their best player, the reason they beat Oklahoma, gets arrested for domestic violence and booted off the team. This one looks like a slam dunk if you’re picking, but I guess you never know with this stuff. After the Louisville/Florida Sugar Bowl a couple of years ago, I’ll never claim to be certain of anything. Oh, and by the way, I’M A MAN! I’M 40! COME AFTER ME!
Bizzle: Oklahoma St. A-Rob: Washington
1/3, 12 pm, ESPN
Florida (6-6) vs East Carolina (8-4)
Long gone are the days of Tebow and Meyer, as they both currently have better gigs than being associated with this current Florida program.Will Muschamp came in with sky-high hopes and expectations after being a hotshot coordinator and coach-in-waiting at Texas. Well like any marriage, the honeymoon phase ended and reality set in. Muschamp had a good to great defense at times but completely underperformed when came to coaching a competitive offense (aka the Rex Ryan of college football). This game is interesting and misleading in ways. For instance, if Florida wins, great, that’s what they are supposed to do, and it would put a nice ending to a nightmare season, if they lose, oh well, they have sucked all year anyway. But for ECU, if they pull it off, they can brag about beating another Power 5 school, it would be their 5th in 2 seasons, but ultimately it’s not as if they beat the Tim Tebow/Urban Meyer led Gators, so is it truly that impressive?
Bizzle: East Carolina A-Rob: East Carolina
1/4, 9 pm, ESPN
Toledo (8-4) vs Arkansas St. (7-5)
This feels like the 200th year in a row Arkansas State has played in this bowl, but at least this time they have a coach! The Red Wolves, incredibly, had three consecutive coaches – Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin – arrive, lead the team to a bowl (all three of them the GoDaddy Bowl!), and then bolt before that bowl. If nothing else, the AD of that school deserves some credit for his hiring prowess. Not too often you do that well on 3 straight hires. This time, their coach, Blake Anderson, actually has stuck around for the bowl game, but will it be enough to overcome #MACtion??
Bizzle: Arkansas St. A-Rob: Toledo
And now, we go to the reason you’re all still here: the playoffs!
|1/1, 5 pm, ESPN
No. 3 Florida St. (13-0) vs No. 2 Oregon (12-1)
It would be entirely too easy to take shots at former Heisman winner Jameis Winston, we aren’t here to crack jokes about his love of free crab legs ( Free Seafood University). After all, he was severely disciplined and suspended from the baseball team because as we all know, baseball at FSU makes all the money for the school. We definitely aren’t going to talk about how he is quick with a BB gun (you’ll shoot your eye out). Nor will we mention that Jameis likes to “weeze the juice” at his local Burger King. If you think for one second that The Junkies are here to discuss Famous Jameis and his uncanny “Blank her in the Blank” impression…well you’ve come to the wrong place, and should be ashamed of yourselves for thinking we’d stoop to such a level. (And yes, I purposely left out a certain other alleged transgression.) Bottom line folks, Jameis is undefeated in his career. Although this season hasn’t looked pretty at times, somehow, some way, FSU always ends up on the winning side. They are the closest thing to a #SatanChip of College Football. The knock on them for not being in enough close games as been replaced by the knock on them for being in too many close games. Strange, right?
Well, I believe they have finally met their match in Oregon. The Ducks aka Nike University, play at a break neck pace and not to mention they have this season’s Heisman winner in Marcus Mariota. So what better way to start off the 1st-ever playoff with Winston and Mariota, two Heisman winners, two potential top 10 NFL draft picks at QB, and two completely opposite personalities going head to head in front of a national audience? Can Oregon finally make this year their year, and if not then, when? Will everyone’s favorite punching bag be able to move one step closer to a repeat? Stay tuned New year’s Day!
Bizzle: Oregon A-Rob: Oregon
Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/1, 8:30 pm, ESPN
No. 4 Ohio St. (12-1) vs No. 1 Alabama (12-1)
I love the four-team playoff. It’s been such an outstanding addition to college football. I would never say I was a fan of the BCS, but I did appreciate the regular-season importance that that system created, and I was leery that a playoff might detract from it. But, apart from the fact that the non-Power 5 games became even less important than before, it really didn’t. The playoff was great. The regular season hasn’t suffered one bit, because you still can’t really afford a loss, but it does incentivize big-time non-conference scheduling. I don’t want it to expand any further, though. That’s a whole other column, though, so let’s stick with this game.
Anyway, as much as I love the playoff, these two games don’t look like good ones to me. That’s not really the playoff’s fault, though, it’s just that Alabama and Oregon seem to be the clear best two teams in the country. Actually, I think OSU has a better chance than the Seminoles of making their semifinal a game, in part because Urban Meyer is a goddamn wizard. I’m sure he’ll be able to make his game plan work even if I have to play QB because of all the injuries. However, there’s just too much talent on the other side of the field, so as much as I’d like to see a wild upset in the first playoff, I don’t think we’re getting one.
Bizzle: Alabama A-Rob: Alabama
National championship picks
Bizzle: Alabama over Oregon
Not often, but every once in a great while, ARob and myself are on the same page for the most part. We both believe that FSU is going to get boatraced by Oregon. We also see Alabama doing Alabama things and playing in the national title game again. Well, that is about where this train stops for us because early word out of A-Rob’s camp is he is leaning Oregon, because he’s blinded by the flashy uniforms and his distaste for all things SEC. But while A-Rob was spooning his life away (Hi Amy), I, Bizzle, was slaving away at research (surprise, ladies, I’m single) and am about to drop some knowledge:
1. Alabama: This is what they do and by what they do I mean they hardly ever lose the big game!
2. Nick Saban’s hair is magical!
3. Oregon’s star corner Ekpre-Olomu is out with a knee injury
4. Lane Kiffin looks a little bit like Daniel Tosh
5. Lane Kiffin will expose the Ducks’ secondary and Amari Cooper will be the MVP of this game!
As much as I’d like to see Oregon win the title, I live in the real world and know that when in doubt, you pick Bama. #RollTide. So ultimately I see Alabama winning another title 42-34 over Nike University, and hey guys, at least it wasn’t FSU.
A-Rob: Oregon over Alabama
I have no good explanation for this pick. It’s entirely a gut feeling. Especially after it was announced this week that star Ducks’ defensive back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (I can’t believe I spelled that correctly) will miss the playoff with a knee injury, it would seem that Nick Saban has a clear opportunity to exploit his opponent’s weakness.
However, I’m betting on the system in this game. Oregon’s spread no-huddle wackiness has been shown to work. No one, not even Stanford or Michigan State, both of whom are good teams that played in the Rose Bowl last year, could put a stop to the Ducks’ offense this season. While the cast of characters is entirely different, Oregon was able to get enough defense played in the 2010 title game to have a chance to win it late, and I have to think they’ll be able to do so again. Bama has been great this year, but except for their games against overmatched A&M and Florida, they haven’t looked invincible. There are chinks in the armor, very small ones, and I’m betting the Ducks will find them.
So no matter how much Lane Kiffin may look like Daniel Tosh and no matter how good Amari Cooper is (seriously, how damn good is Amari Cooper?!?), I’m going to ride with my gut and bet on the Ducks and Heisman winner Marcus Mariota to be the kings of college football in the first-ever playoff season.