The most intriguing matchups of bowl season

The most intriguing matchups of bowl season

Carson Field, Sports Editor

Foster Farms Bowl

UCLA (8-4) vs. Nebraska (5-7)

Dec. 26

While UCLA is widely considered a much better team than Nebraska, this is a very intriguing matchup. UCLA has a much better record, with eight wins opposed to Nebraska’s five, but a team’s excitement about going to a bowl game is a big factor that must be considered. UCLA had high hopes this season, starting off the year 4-0, whereas Nebraska did not have high expectations and finished with only five wins, which normally would not have qualified them for a bowl game.  So, needless to say, the Cornhuskers are much happier to be going to this bowl game than the Bruins. This should ultimately be a close game that could be decided on the last drive.

Russell Athletic Bowl

Baylor (9-3) vs. North Carolina (11-2)

Dec. 29

While Baylor did lose its last game of the year to heavy underdog Texas, they will be fired up to play solid ACC team North Carolina. Both teams did not end the season the way they wanted to because they each had chances to qualify for the College Football Playoff. While Baylor is probably slightly better than North Carolina, they have had quarterback issues. Starting QB Seth Russell is out for the season, leaving it to backup Jarrett Stidham, who is questionable for the game, third-string QB Chris Johnson, who suffered from concussion symptoms in the loss to Texas. Assuming Stidham or Johnson is back for the game, this should be a down-to-the-wire game, but if they are both out, the Tar Heels could run away with it.

Orange Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal)

Clemson (13-0) vs. Oklahoma (11-1)

Dec. 31

Clemson will look to advance one step closer to finishing the season as the only undefeated college football team when they face Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers finished the season undefeated in the ACC, while the Sooners from the Big 12 were one loss against Texas away from finishing undefeated. One factor to watch for in this game is the quarterback play. DeShaun Watson and Baker Mayfield are both Heisman candidates and will play a big role in this game. I predict that this game will ultimately come down to which team’s quarterback plays better.

Cotton Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal)

Alabama (12-1) vs. Michigan State (12-1)

Dec. 31

This is a very intriguing matchup, as two of the nation’s best defenses face off against each other in the Cotton Bowl. The Crimson Tide lost early in the season to Ole Miss, but they have tremendously improved since. Since that loss, the Tide have defeated opponents Georgia, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn and Florida, all by double-digits. The Spartans, on the other hand, were upset by a mediocre Nebraska team, but have been dominant since. The Spartans have defeated other powerhouse teams Ohio State and Iowa recently, proving their legitimacy. The game will ultimately come down to how Derrick Henry of Alabama rushes against the Spartan defense.

Valero Alamo Bowl

Oregon (9-3) vs. TCU (10-2)

Jan. 2

While it is not one of the New Year’s Six bowl games, this is one of the most interesting matchups of bowl season. Both teams had high expectations going into the season, but failed to live all the way up to them. Oregon started the year off struggling, as they lost games to Michigan State, Utah and Washington State. However, they have had an end of the season resurgence, defeating USC and Stanford, who were both heavy favorites. TCU, on the other hand, has suffered two end of the season losses to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, but still ended the regular season with double-digit wins. This should be a very high scoring game that will ultimately be won by the first team that scores 50 points.

Full Bowl Predictions

Cure Bowl

San Jose State 38, Georgia State 10

New Mexico Bowl

Arizona 24, New Mexico 20

Las Vegas Bowl

Utah 38, BYU 28

Camellia Bowl

Appalachian State 45, Ohio 41

Miami Beach Bowl

South Florida 27, Western Kentucky 24

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Utah State 51, Akron 31

Boca Raton Bowl

Temple 35, Toledo 21

Poinsettia Bowl

Boise State 30, Northern Illinois 27

GoDaddy Bowl

Bowling Green State 48, Georgia Southern 41

Bahamas Bowl

Western Michigan 17, Middle Tennessee State 13

Hawai’i Bowl

Cincinnati 20, San Diego State 17

St. Petersburg Bowl

Marshall 31, UCONN, 24

Sun Bowl

Washington State 42, Miami 28

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Washington 24, Southern Miss 14

Pinstripe Bowl

Duke 31, Indiana 17

Independence Bowl

Virginia Tech 27, Tulsa 7

Foster Farms Bowl

Nebraska 28, UCLA 17

Military Bowl

Navy 38, Pittsburgh 34

Quick Lane Bowl

Minnesota 13, Central Michigan 6

Armed Forces Bowl

Air Force 49, California 45

Russell Athletic Bowl

North Carolina 41, Baylor 35

Arizona Bowl

Nevada 27, Colorado State, 21

Texas Bowl

LSU 34, Texas Tech 10

Birmingham Bowl

Memphis 20, Auburn 17

Belk Bowl

Mississippi State 31, NC State 13

Music City Bowl

Texas A&M 38, Louisville 17

Holiday Bowl

Wisconsin 24, USC 20

Peach Bowl

Florida State 17, Houston 14

Orange Bowl (CFP semifinal)

Oklahoma 31, Clemson 27

Cotton Bowl (CFP semifinal)

Alabama 17, Michigan State 13

Outback Bowl

Tennessee 28, Northwestern 24

Citrus Bowl

Michigan 21, Florida 10

Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State 27, Notre Dame 17

Rose Bowl

Stanford 20, Iowa 14

Sugar Bowl

Oklahoma State 24, Ole Miss 21

TaxSlayer Bowl

Georgia 16, Penn State 10

Liberty Bowl

Arkansas 28, Kansas State 13

Alamo Bowl

Oregon 56, TCU 52

Cactus Bowl

Arizona State 34, West Virginia 30