Last year, the Junkies previewed and picked every single bowl matchup. It was awesome. This year, the college football powers that be decided to challenge us to up the ante by adding more games! This year there are a whopping 41 bowls if you count the national title game. Three 5-7 teams even got in on the fun this year, which is an absolute joke, but whatever, it means more football, and I guess we’re all ok with that.
Bizzle and I again switch back and forth between games for this annual tradition, with me going first. Here we go again, boys and girls!
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/19, 2 pm, ESPN
Arizona (6-6) vs New Mexico (7-5)
The bowl season gets underway with this titanic clash of “DickRod U” vs. Bob Davie. Believe it or not, that bag of crap Davie actually had a pretty solid year with the Lobos and his team was in the running for a Mountain West championship until the final week of the season. He even went into Boise State and won on the blue turf, a feat once unthinkable. His reward is playing host to Arizona in a bowl game. Unfortunately for Coach Davie, I think “DickRod U” will be playing fired up after their coach rejected the advances of South Carolina. I smell a rout in this one.
Bizzle: Arizona A-Rob: Arizona
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
12/19, 3:30 pm, ABC
BYU (9-3) vs Utah (9-3)
Ladies and gentlemen, the Holy War is back, at least for one game. The Utah Utes take on the BYU Cougars. The former conference rivals at one point had played each other every year since ‘46. For Utah, they looked the part earlier on in the season as a serious playoff contender. They fell off in the second half of the season, and the loss of leading rusher Devontae Booker didn’t help the Utes as they finished 3-3 to end the season.
BYU started out the 2015 season with some magical performances. The Hail Mary week one agianst Nebraska with a backup quarterback, Tanner Mangum. Then a couple of last-minute scores shocked then No. 20 Boise St. BYU lost 3 of their 4 games against Power 5 schools, though (UCLA, Michigan, Mizzou), and factor that in with the surprise departure of head coach Bronco Mendenhall to Virginia. It looks like its the Utes who will be taking this latest installment of the Holy War.
Bizzle: Utah A-Rob: Utah
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
12/19, 5:30 pm, ESPN
Ohio (8-4) vs Appalachian State (10-2)
Look, guys, it’s our first non-Power 5 bowl! These are always a guilty pleasure of ours because you never really know what to expect. The non-Power 5 leagues don’t play each other a lot, or at least you don’t know if they do because let’s be honest, you don’t pay attention. So nothing that happens in these matchups can surprise you. That being said, an Ohio win in this matchup would surprise me. App State has had a great year this year to reach the 10-win mark, and 1 of their 2 losses came to top-ranked Clemson. The MAC generally doesn’t show up for bowl season, but I’d love to see my boys prove me wrong.
Bizzle: Ohio A-Rob: Appalachian State
AutoNation Cure Bowl
12/19, 7 pm, CBSSN
San Jose State (5-7) vs Georgia State (6-6)
Full disclosure, when I saw this was a bowl game I had to double take. Which led to a lot of questions like: Exactly why is this a bowl game? What is the Cure Bowl? Did the band The Cure sponsor this? Isn’t Georgia St. a D2 school? How is San Jose St. a D1 school? What teams passed playing in a bowl that these schools where called? What exactly are the bowl tie-ins for this game? (I’m not looking them up so feel free.) So, needless to say, I haven’t seen one split second of either one of these teams play and I flat out refuse to try and break down a matchup of a 6-6 Georgia St. team vs a 5-7 San Jose St. game. Why exactly do we need this game? To fill TV time during the holidays? If that’s the case, just slap on a marathon of 2 Broke Girls, something I’ve also never seen but I bet it’s night and day better than this game. Before I end this rant, I challenge anyone reading to explain to me how this bowl game is good for college football.
Bizzle: San Jose State, I guess A-Rob: Georgia State
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
12/19, 9 pm, ESPN
Arkansas State (9-3) vs Louisiana Tech (8-4)
The New Orleans Bowl was our first bowl last year and it took place at 11 am. Fortunately for fans of the teams in this game, ESPN saw sense for this year’s edition and has put it at 9 pm. Awwww yeah, it’s time to get drunk! Expect a rowdier crowd for this game. This is also what feels like the first time in about a decade that Louisiana-Lafayette isn’t in this bowl game, so we’ll have a new flavor for the contest this year. I’m sticking with the home-state team for the pick, though.
Bizzle: Louisiana Tech A-Rob: Louisiana Tech
Miami Beach Bowl
12/21, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Western Kentucky (11-2) vs South Florida (8-4)
Well, for the Hilltoppers and Bulls, it is going to take quite a game to top last year’s inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. Not only was the game a shootout, as Memphis prevailed 55-48 in a double overtime affair, but almost immediately after the game ended, the teams engaged in an all-out brawl.
Expect another shootout in the Beach Bowl as Western Kentucky can put up points with the best of them. After a slow start, the Bulls finished strong winning their last four games. This game could be one of those classic “Which team has the ball last” type of games. Sure, WKU has the flashy record and their first conference title under their belt, but who do they play? Watch for the Bulls to pull off the upset here as the Hilltoppers will have sand and beaches on the mind.
Bizzle: South Florida A-Rob: Western Kentucky
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/22, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Akron (7-5) vs Utah State (6-6)
This bowl always cracks me up because we never, ever see a team from ANYWHERE NEAR Boise playing in it. I also love to imagine the teams’ reactions when they find out they’re going to spend a week in freaking Idaho in late December. What a great way to end the season, right? Anyway, this matchup features Terry Bowden, who no one under 30 even knows anymore, and the team that once employed Chuckie Keeton as its quarterback…what’s that? Keeton is still there? Seriously? Well, that’s it, obviously he’s going to lead his team to victory.
Bizzle: Akron A-Rob: Utah State
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl
12/22, 7 pm, ESPN
Temple (10-3) vs Toledo (9-2)
All I heard when Temple played Notre Dame this season was things like, “They are only ranked to help Notre Dame” along with a lot of “it’s going to be so funny to see ND lose to Temple”. Well, haters, neither of those statements were accurate — close but not accurate at all. Temple is good, just ask Christian Hackenberg. They did almost knock off the Irish but came up just short. So don’t sleep on this Owls team. Speaking of sleeping, hopefully Bret Bielema still has nightmares over the Rockets upsetting his then-No. 18 ranked Razorbacks earlier this season. Toledo made sure to make sure Bielema paid for his comments about how other schools schedule. That’s enough for me to take the Rockets in this one.
Bizzle: Toledo A-Rob: Temple
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
12/23, 4:30 pm, ESPN
Boise State (8-4) vs Northern Illinois (8-5)
The two best non-Power 5 programs of the decade finally take the field together, ironically, when they’re each having mediocre seasons by their standards. Boise State in particular hasn’t been this far from good in a long time. They lost twice at home, which is completely unheard of. NIU also had their struggles, although they also played a tough game against Ohio State. I expect a fun game here despite the two teams’ somewhat disappointing seasons.
Bizzle: Boise State A-Rob: Northern Illinois
12/23, 8 pm, ESPN
Georgia Southern (8-4) vs Bowling Green (10-3)
Would it be wrong of me to start off this preview by saying I’m strictly interested in this game because the GoDaddy.com commerial are some of the most artistic achievements on television? Raise your hand if you knew Georgia Southern existed before they took Georgia to the limit. Be honest, you didn’t, and neither did I. Outside of coming up short of pulling out the biggest win in school history, I had no clue they made the jump to D1. (side note: I refuse to use FCS. You are either D1 or not.) Bowling Green comes in as the number one team in D1 football in terms of passing yards, which always makes for an interesting clash going up against an option school. So I don’t know about you but primetime Wednesday I’ll vow to watch more than five minutes of this game.
Bizzle: Bowling Green A-Rob: Georgia Southern
Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl
12/24, 12 pm, ESPN
Middle Tennessee (7-5) vs Western Michigan (7-5)
The best bowl on the menu for my money. A year later and I still can’t believe they put a bowl in the damn Bahamas. And naturally it provided one of the most memorable plays of last bowl season when Central Michigan’s lateral-palooza resulted in a last-second touchdown. Other schools in the MAC and Sun Belt just have to be pissed when they find out they’re not the lucky ones to draw a trip to the Bahamas this year. I, A-Rob, even joke to my wife each year that Ball State in the Bahamas Bowl would mean we’d have to go, and even though money means we won’t, she doesn’t dismiss it out of hand. That’s how freaking awesome this bowl is.
Bizzle: Middle Tennessee A-Rob: Western Michigan
12/24, 8 pm, ESPN
San Diego State (10-3) vs Cincinnati (7-5)
There isn’t more proof that mediocrity can pay than earning a trip to Hawaii for Christmas after going 7-5. Well, Cincinnati did just that, (Lucky bastards.) While a good portion of the country will be freezing their asses off on Christmas Eve, the Bearcats well be in Hawaii. A bit of air has been deflated from this game as Gunner Kiel will not be making the trip due to personal reasons. Hey Irish fans, remember that guy? Yeah, me either. For the Aztecs, who are the class of the Mountain West Conference, a win in this game feels important as the MWC seems to want to be taken more seriously. So a big time showing in the Hawaii Bowl would be a step in the right direction.
Bizzle: San Diego State A-Rob: San Diego State
St. Petersburg Bowl
12/26, 11 am, ESPN
UConn (6-6) vs Marshall (9-3)
The Fighting Bob Diacos head to Tropicana Field! Diaco did a low-key nice job this year. He was left an absolute tire fire by Paul Pasqualoni and has swiftly built UConn back up to, at least, mediocrity. Heck, they’re the only team this year to beat Houston. Look for Diaco to get some major Power 5 love next off-season if the Huskies take another step forward. In the meantime I expect them to win this bowl game because Marshall’s been to this bowl recently and won’t give a rat’s ass about the game.
Bizzle: Marshall A-Rob: UConn
Hyundai Sun Bowl
12/26, 2 pm, CBS
Miami (8-4) vs Washington State (8-4)
So you have two 30 for 30’s, a laundry list of NFL draft picks and one of the most recognized names in college football and the best you can do is the Sun Bowl? Sorry Miami Hurricanes fans, but this isn’t your dad’s or even your slightly older brothers’ Hurricanes after an embarrassing run under Al Golden which culminated with a 58-0 dismantling at the hands of Clemson. Then, sneaking out a win over Duke in absolute garbage fashion. Here you are, the Sun Bowl. New coach Mark Richt, formerly of Georgia, has his work cut out for him. Washington St. will be ready to go and looking for a big win. Miami has its head in the clouds after landing Mark Richt and all the talk will be 2016. WSU rolls here.
Bizzle: Washington State A-Rob: Washington State
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
12/26, 2:20 pm, ESPN
Washington (6-6) vs Southern Miss (9-4)
I know nothing about either of these teams. Chris Petersen is getting some plaudits for taking this Washington team to 6-6, but even if Steve Sarkisian couldn’t lay off the sauce, did he really leave Petersen such a black hole? It remains to be seen how Petersen is going to do in Washington, but what’ss definitely not in debate is how crazy this Southern Miss thing is. The Golden Eagles were 0-12 just a couple of years ago and are now back in a bowl game. Good job, Todd Monken.
Bizzle: Washington A-Rob: Southern Miss
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
12/26, 3:30 pm, ESPN
Indiana (6-6) vs Duke (7-5)
This is the game we have all been looking forward to. Brandon Ingram vs Yogi Ferrell, two storied powerhouse teams going at it. (Oh wait — ARob just informed me this is a football game. Damn it.) Let’s hope it goes better then when these teams met on the hardwood a few weeks ago. For Duke, they have become a consistent participant in the bowl season the past few years.
For Indiana, they look like a team that could become Duke, they just need to continue to build off of this season. The Hooisers were actually watchable this season, putting up big time performances agianst OSU, Iowa and Michigan. Making a bowl game is big in Bloomington, but winning one would be massive, so for my boy Johnny D. (the only Hoosier football fan I know), I hope Nate Sudfeld gives you a Pinstripe Bowl win for Christmas.
Bizzle: Indiana A-Rob: Indiana
Camping World Independence Bowl
12/26, 5:45 pm, ESPN
Tulsa (6-6) vs Virginia Tech (6-6)
Frank Beamer’s final game, and the Independence people have to be happy with that because there’s really no other reason to watch this game. Tulsa is a nonentity and Virginia Tech sort of sucks. I’m going to suspend my usual ‘pick against the school with the departing coach’ rule because of the nature of Beamer’s departure. In the meantime, Hokies fans can look forward to the Justin Fuente era.
Bizzle: Virginia Tech A-Rob: Virginia Tech
Foster Farms Bowl
12/26, 9:15 pm, ESPN
UCLA (8-4) vs Nebraska (5-7)
Nebraska, I hope you are proud of yourself. not only is your god-awful 5-7 record a joke, but the fact is you shouldn’t even be 5-7, due to a botched call that gifted you the Michigan State game. Now I understand that with 836,352 bowl games, some crap teams will get a shot at low-tier glory. So setting aside any type of “traditional preview” I hope UCLA and the “Rosen one” stomp you into the ground. Sure, UCLA was a sexy pick for the college football playoffs but they should take this season as a plus. Rosen showed flashes of being a Heisman candidate. So keep that ball rolling and stomp on this pathetic excuse for a bowl team. Sorry not sorry.
Bizzle: UCLA A-Rob: UCLA
12/28, 2:30 pm, ESPN
Pittsburgh (8-4) vs Navy (10-2)
One of my favorite bowls just because selfishly it’s cool to see two teams Notre Dame defeated playing each other. Actually, these are two of the best three teams ND defeated, at least by record (Temple the other), which is weird considering Texas, Georgia Tech and USC were also on the schedule. This is also a home game for Navy, which would strike me as unfair if this game meant anything. It’s a nice little perk for Keenan Reynolds as he finishes his career at home, but as usual I’m going against the triple option in a bowl since Pitt has an eternity to prepare for it.
Bizzle: Navy A-Rob: Pittsburgh
Quick Lane Bowl
12/28, 5 pm, ESPN2
Central Michigan (7-5) vs Minnesota (5-7)
Another 5-7 bowl team. I’m all for more football but I do hope they get rid of this idea for next year. Just kick out one of these bowls, preferably the stupid Arizona Bowl a couple of spots down, and make sure this doesn’t happen again. Central Michigan, which obviously doesn’t give a shit, sold out its allotment for this bowl game, so good for them. However, I’m going to pick against them anyway and make them my only 5-7 bowl team I predict to win their game.
Bizzle: Central Michigan A-Rob: Minnesota
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
12/29, 2 pm, ESPN
California (7-5) vs Air Force (8-5)
This is it for Jared Goff as he gets ready to become the next Aaron Rodgers (he hopes). I didn’t see Goff play hardly at all this year, so I have no concept of what to expect from him in the pros. However, he’ll be facing a scrappy Air Force team in this game and I don’t like his chances very much.
Bizzle: Air Force A-Rob: Air Force
Russell Athletic Bowl
12/29, 5:30 pm, ESPN
North Carolina (11-2) vs Baylor (9-3)
Well, well, well, Baylor, we meet again. If anyone is reading this and remembers last season’s bowl preview (shocking if so) but I wasn’t too nice to Art Briles and his Baylor Bears. Well, this season I’m changing my tune — but only slightly. I still think if you want respect, schedule harder non-conference games. I will give you a pass this season as injuries at the quarterback position really derailed a shot at the Final 4.
For North Carolina, just imagine where you would be had you beaten that awful South Carolina team week one of the season. I’ll wait Tar Heels fans. After that loss, it seemed no one was giving you any type of respect. Even if you had beaten Clemson in the ACC title game you more than likely had no shot at the playoffs. Expecting a good game in this one. Corey Coleman should be the difference maker for me, lets just hope he wears a shirt to the post game interview.
Bizzle: Baylor A-Rob: Baylor
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
12/29, 7:30 pm, check local listings
Nevada (6-6) vs Colorado State (7-5)
It’s come to this, folks. Not only is there a bowl that matches up two teams from the same conference (the Mountain West people called it ‘a travesty’ and said the bowl system is broken, which considering three 5-7 teams are playing in bowls is hard to argue), but it’s not even airing on TV in most markets. Several nothing channels are broadcasting the game regionally, but your best bet is to watch it on CampusInsiders.com. If it’s free, which I don’t even know. And if you’re a complete loser, because why else would you watch this game over the two ESPN games that will be going on during it? This game is stupid and I don’t like it. Put your game on TV!
Bizzle: Colorado State A-Rob: Colorado State
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
12/29, 9 pm, ESPN
LSU (8-3) vs Texas Tech (7-5)
Having high expectations is a wonderful thing in theory, but having those expectations without also being realistic about who you are and what you have can create problems. Ladies and gentlemen, that is where LSU is at currently. They expect to compete for a national title every year, but haven’t had consistent quarterback play, can’t seem to win the biggest games on their schedule or they are too young. This season’s LSU team was a year away in my opinion from being a legit threat for a playoff spot. That still didn’t stop LSU from flirting with the idea to fire Les Miles. Seriously who were you going to get that is better? Expect Les Miles to pull no punches in the game and make a statement that he is the man for the job.
Bizzle: LSU A-Rob: LSU
12/30, 12 pm, ESPN
Auburn (6-6) vs Memphis (9-3)
Gotta love the SEC West, where you can go from last place to the national title game and back again without really blinking an eye. We should really have expected this from Auburn, though, after they were lucky to escape with a win over Jacksonville State in the season opener. The Jeremy Johnson era turned out to be a sore one for Tiger fans. Now they have to draw a fired-up Memphis team that just had one of its best seasons of all time although it didn’t end in a conference title. Memphis got up to the top 15 in the rankings this year, which we’ll look back on in 6 years and wonder how the hell it happened.
Bizzle: Memphis A-Rob: Memphis
12/30, 3:30 pm, ESPN
NC State (7-5) vs Mississippi State (8-4)
This game for me is all about getting to watch Dak Prescott one last time in a college uniform. Prescott has a tendency to get overlooked on the college football scene. Partially that has to do with where he plays. Mississippi St. isn’t exactly a national powerhouse and that’s okay. It also may have to do with the fact that the Bulldogs play in the same division as Alabama, LSU and Auburn. It’s easy to get overlooked. So do yourself a favor, and check out one of the best dual threat QBs in the country, if you haven’t already. Sorry NC State fans its going to be a long afternoon.
Bizzle: Mississippi State A-Rob: NC State
Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl
12/30, 7 pm, ESPN
Texas A&M (8-4) vs Louisville (7-5)
I switched my pick in this game. Texas A&M is an outright disaster at the moment. First we hear that Kyle Allen is transferring. Fine, that happens. Make room for Kyler Murray. Oh, you say HE is transferring? The Aggies are going down the toilet at warp speed and I’m not sure Kevin Sumlin even knows what hit him. He’s probably angling to get back to Houston when Tom Herman inevitably leaves at this point. Louisville is garbage, but they have some concept of who’s playing QB for them, which gives them the edge.
Bizzle: Louisville A-Rob: Louisville
12/30, 10:30 pm, ESPN
USC (8-5) vs Wisconsin (9-3)
USC was my hot pick to make the college football final 4. Well, that didn’t happen. Cody Kessler was supposed to make a trip to New York for the Heisman trophy ceremony, and that didn’t happen. USC was supposed to finally start to regain its spot as one of the top programs in the county but that didn’t happen as Steve Sarkisian was fired midseason due to a drinking problem. I bet if you asked anyone in the USC locker room, they are just happy this circus of a season is over. For Wisconsin, after making the Big Ten (14) title game a year ago, they took a step back this season and finished 9-3 finishing 3rd in the Big Ten West. Look for them to pull out a win against the Trojans to add another 10-win season to their resume.
Bizzle: Wisconsin A-Rob: USC
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
12/31, 12 pm, ESPN
Houston (12-1) vs Florida State (10-2)
Our first New Year’s Six bowl! I don’t know about you guys, but I always made a point to watch all the major bowl games, back when they were the BCS and now that they’re the New Year’s Six. It’s just fun to catch some of the best teams in the game go at it and let it all hang out. Some of them turn into the best games of all, like when MSU and Baylor played their barn burner of a Cotton Bowl last season. I think something similar will happen here. Houston and FSU are both very good, not great teams, and I have a feeling we will see a very fun game. At the end of the day I’ll take the Cougars to upset the Dalvin Cooks and make it 2-for-2 for the small-conference teams in bowl games.
Bizzle: Houston A-Rob: Houston
1/1, 12 pm, ESPN2
Northwestern (10-2) vs Tennessee (8-4)
It was one hell of a season for Northwestern as they finished the regular season with a 10-2 mark, matching their win total from the previous two seasons combined. Northwestern is currently ranked 13th in the country, with wins over Stanford and Wisconsin this season that were proof that this team is for real. The Wildcats will be going for their 11th win of the season which would set the mark for tops in school history. If they want to make history they will have to take down #23 Tennessee and dynamic quarterback Joshua Dobbs who leads the SEC in rushing yards per game by a quarterback. Northwestern fans have waited 125 years for an 11 win team and they are going to have one.
Bizzle: Northwestern A-Rob: Northwestern
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
1/1, 1 pm, ABC
Michigan (9-3) vs Florida (10-3)
So torn in this game. It’s a matchup between my all-time hated college program and the single most overrated team in the country in my opinion. Florida has no business in the top 25. They have one pretty good win, over Ole Miss. That came with a QB who’s no longer there because he got popped for PEDs, which is a real feat in college football. Since then the Gators have been horrible. I watched chunks of their humiliating ‘win’ over Vanderbilt, their even more humiliating ‘win’ over Florida Atlantic and of course most depressingly, their pathetic performance against Bama. This is a team that if they’d been in any other Power 5 division besides the rancid SEC East probably loses 3 league games or more. They are awful. I think Michigan smears them here, but Bizzle disagrees.
Bizzle: Florida A-Rob: Michigan
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl
1/1, 1 pm, ESPN
Notre Dame (10-2) vs Ohio State (11-1)
The ND game! Bizzle gave me this one because, he says, he enjoys my take on ND. Appreciate it, sir, but this ND season required few takes. It was an impressive campaign that but for some red-zone stupidity could easily have been a 12-0 season. The Irish’s win over Virginia was their only close game in which they didn’t repeatedly leave points on the field through inability to get things done in the red zone on offense. It’s something I really hope Brian Kelly can fix because in almost every other respect, this year was a championship-level offense at ND. Need to fix that defense, though.
As for this game, Ohio State’s best two defensive tackles will be out because one is injured and the other looks up hookers on the Internet. The Irish have two terrific running backs in C.J. Prosise and Josh Adams. I think you know where we’re going with this.
Bizzle: Notre Dame A-Rob: Notre Dame
1/1, 5 pm, ESPN
Stanford (11-2) vs Iowa (12-1)
How do you get hyped up for a game that neither team wanted to be in? I don’t have the answer, so lets hope that Iowa and Stanford do. Heading into the Big 10 title game against Michigan State, an overachieving (and some would say undeserving) Iowa Hawkeye team was the three seed in the College Football Playoff and undefeated. Sure, they avoided OSU, Michigan and Michigan St. until the title game but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have their hearts broken. For Stanford, they were widely considered the pick for the playoff even after suffering what at the time looked like a horrendous loss to Northwestern. All that was left to do was win out and they would have been a lock for the playoffs. They were rolling until they slipped up against an awful Oregon team late in the season. Even with wins over USC twice and a top-10 Irish team, the Cardinal were never able to climb back up the ladder.
So after great but heartbreaking seasons, who shows up to play? Iowa will be out to prove that its season wasn’t a fluke and it’s not their fault the schedule fell how it fell. Stanford, led by Kevin Hogan and Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey, will look to go out on top in their final bowl game together. A lot of intrigue and interest in this game should make it a fun one to watch.
Bizzle: Stanford A-Rob: Stanford
Allstate Sugar Bowl
1/1, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Oklahoma State (10-2) vs Ole Miss (9-3)
Thank you Oklahoma State, for making things a lot more interesting down the stretch by overachieving and staying undefeated for as long as you did. Watching Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor and to some extent TCU battle week in and week out in a de facto playoff was a lot of fun to watch. Who says a title game is the best way to determine a league champion? Not this guy, as that was seriously some great theatre down the stretch. I would also like to thank Ole Miss for being the only school willing to not let Alabama just run all over them. Thank you Rebels for taking down the Evil Empire that has become Nick Saban (probably too harsh, but anyone his age with hair that good can’t be trusted). Seriously though the rest of the league wet the bed when it was their turn to take on the Crimson Tide, so sincerely, thank you for making people question how good Bama is, at least for a week. So for both schools since you did something wonderful for my fandom, I hope the swag bags are sick, the game ends in a tie and no one gets hurt. Hell of a season gentlemen.
Bizzle: Oklahoma State A-Rob: Ole Miss
1/2, 12 pm, ESPN
Penn State (7-5) vs Georgia (9-3)
Penn State sucks. I mean they really, really suck. But they still have a coach. Georgia doesn’t, and their current coach is working for another college team for another month. Is that really a good idea, Georgia? Quit kissing Saban’s ass and make Smart start now if he wants the job. It does you no good if he helps the Tide win another national title, no matter how many S-E-C chants it might inspire in the Glendale, Ariz. night on Jan. 11. Anyway, I’m defaulting to my ‘don’t pick a team without a coach’ rule.
Bizzle: Penn State A-Rob: Penn State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
1/2, 3:20 pm, ESPN
Kansas State (6-6) vs Arkansas (7-5)
So you are worried about who the Big Ten schedules, Mr. Bielema? How did that work out for you? I take it not so well as you let Toledo beat you at your place and then proceeded to fall apart after that, sputtering to a 7-5 record. What did you learn here Mr. Bielema? Probably to mind your own business and worry about your own schedule. Not sure why he was worried about anyone else, if they win out or even lost just one, being the SEC they would have been a lock for the playoffs. That SEC bias is real folks.
For Kansas State, they limp into this game with injuries and a quarterback dilemma having two capable QBs, which usually means you have none. As the Bill Snyder era comes to a close I hope that the Wildcats give the legendary head coach a bowl victory. Also lets hope K-State does their job and sticks it to Bret Bielema for me.
Bizzle: Kansas State A-Rob: Arkansas
Valero Alamo Bowl
1/2, 6:45 pm, ESPN
Oregon (9-3) vs TCU (10-2)
I really like The Solid Verbal, a great college football podcast. I bring this up because one of the co-hosts is an Oregon fan. However, he’s grown just a little too uppity these days regarding his disdain for Notre Dame, so he’s started to get under my skin a bit. A combination of working for SB Nation, which strikes me more every day as an insular echo chamber where everyone thinks they are funnier than they are, and Oregon’s success the last few years, has seemingly combined to make him bordering on insufferable.
I say all this because I’ve grown accustomed to things I don’t want to happen happening in college football, so I’m going to assume Oregon will win this game in large part because I don’t want them to. The Ducks have been great the last 2 months, and I expect they will continue to be.
Bizzle: Oregon A-Rob: Oregon
Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
1/2, 10:15 pm, ESPN
West Virginia (7-5) vs Arizona State (6-6)
So at the point that the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl will be played, everyone and their mothers will know who’s in the national title game. All the wonderful New Year’s 6 games will have been played. So this game is like going hard drinking on a long holiday weekend and, come Sunday night, just not wanting to even think about alcohol. We could sit and talk about the seasons both schools had, both up and down (mostly down – the best win between the two schools came when ASU knocked off then No.7 UCLA). So unfortunately, like the day after a long night of drinking, the thought of watching the Cactus Bowl makes my stomach turn.
Bizzle: West Virginia A-Rob: Arizona State
And now…the playoff picks! (Hello? Are you still here? You are! Great!)
Capital One Orange Bowl
12/31, 4 pm, ESPN
#4 Oklahoma (11-1) vs #1 Clemson (13-0)
Everyone in the known universe thinks Clemson is going to lose this game. Well, I don’t. Clemson is not the dominant force Bama was in 2011 and 2012, or the team Florida State was in 2013. But they’re damn good. Quarterback Deshaun Watson’s biggest strength is throwing deep balls. Oklahoma’s defense has been less than impressive at times. I look for a few big plays out of the Tigers and for Clemson to pull out a close, exciting game. Sorry, Baker Mayfield, better luck next year.
Bizzle: Oklahoma A-Rob: Clemson
Goodyear Cotton Bowl
12/31, 8 pm, ESPN
#3 Michigan State (12-1) vs #2 Alabama (12-1)
Fun fact: Alabama has never been left out of the College Football Playoff. I bet that stings, rest of the nation. Another fun fact: no one outside of Alabama likes that they are there. Just one more fact before we get down to business: they deserve to be there. (That’s hard to say.) if not them then who? Ohio State, who lost to the team Alabama’s playing? Nah. Iowa, who people thought was a fraud? Please. Don’t even say Stanford, two losses is a given. Nick Saban has his team playing well on all sides of the ball and has arguably been playing its best football since its loss at Ole Miss.
So what can Michigan St. do to stop the Tide from rolling all over them? Its going to have to start on the defensive side of the ball, containing Heisman winner Derrick Henry (good luck) should be Head Coach Mark Dantonio’s main focus. (ARob interjects: Bizzle called the coach Mike D’Antoni originally. You’ve been drinkin’ again, Bizzle!) If MSU does that and forces Jake Coker to have to throw the ball, Sparty has a legit shot at pulling off the small upset. Connor Cook has the experience in big game situations to pull off the win. Whether he can do it or not is another story. Expect a low scoring physical affair from both schools.
Bizzle: Michigan State A-Rob: Alabama
National Championship Pick
1/11, 8:30 pm, ESPN
In typical Junkies fashion I will be picking against my P.I.C. He took Alabama vs Clemson in the title game, I will be going with Oklahoma vs Michigan St. because it is so much fun to be right to spite ARob. I’m taking this approach. Oklahoma is going to be extra motivated to prove they are still the top dogs in the Big 12(Ten). This preseason everyone was talking about Baylor and TCU, widely considered OU’s little brothers in most Big 12(Ten) circles. Plus have you ever looked into Baker Mayfield’s eyes? I have, its like the first time I heard the Beatles. (Name the movie!) Sure, Clemson is the only time I picked correctly in our preseason College Football Playoff. They are undefeated and absolutely deserving of the top seed. I just can’t get past the fact that they are Clemson and have the tendency to let you down in a big spot like the one they will be in on New Years Eve….will be so awesome (Sorry, had to do it. Damn you Jimmy Kimmel.)
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I just want to see Alabama lose. I thoroughly enjoy that look on Nick Saban’s face as he is losing a game. It’s priceless. That being said the Michigan St. team is on one magical ride this season. If you don’t believe me, just ask the boys from Ann Arbor. Had Michigan remembered how to punt, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Still not enough proof? Just ask Urban Meyer and Ezekiel Elliott how their relationship has been since a quarterback whose name I’m sure they forgot handed the Buckeyes their first loss and knocked them out of the playoff. Even a fluky loss to that god-awful Nebraska team because of a terrible no-call couldn’t keep the Spartans out of the Playoff. So if for no other reason than this team is good as well as lucky, I’m just going to roll with them over Alabama who has all the pressure on them to win. For all the reasons I just explained I will be riding the magic carpet harder than Aladdin and taking MSU to win the whole thing.
Clemson vs. Alabama is the matchup we would have gotten if this were the BCS. Unlike last year I am predicting the hypothetical BCS matchup and the playoff title game will be the same. This game will be awesome. Deshaun Watson’s strength, as mentioned before, is throwing the deep ball. Alabama’s biggest weakness on defense is defending the deep ball. I think the Tigers again strike with big plays and hurt the Tide with chunks. Alabama’s got a great running back in Heisman winner Derrick Henry. But I think that’s about all they’ve got. So I’m taking Clemson to be your 2015 national champion.