College Bowl predictions for games played December 31-January 2

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A brief overview of the six state title games on tap at the UNI-Dome.


Thursday, Dec. 31
Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl (Atlanta), 11 a.m. ESPN
FLORIDA STATE (10-2) vs. HOUSTON (12-1)
The Cougars are explosive and have had a great year, but none of that came against a team the caliber of the Seminoles … FLORIDA STATE 38-20.

National Semifinal
Orange Bowl (Miami), 3 p.m. ESPN
No. 1 CLEMSON (13-0) vs. No. 4 OKLAHOMA (11-1)
The Sooners have faced the much tougher schedule, but the Tigers are no joke. It is fashionable to pick Stoops’ team because “they are hot” but I think they will be exposed as this game wears on … CLEMSON 38-24.

National Semifinal
Cotton Bowl (Arlington, Tx), 7 p.m. ESPN
No. 2 ALABAMA (12-1) vs. No. 3 MICHIGAN STATE (12-1)
Everyone had better prepare for a bloodletting, as this game will be as physical as you can get. The Spartans are a damn fine team and good enough to win it all, but to do so they will first have to beat the Crimson Tide at Bama’s preferred style of play, and beating the Tide in a man vs man battle has happened only twice in the last six years, during which span Saban has won three titles. It will not be pretty, but it will be decisive … ALABAMA 26-13.

Friday, Jan. 1
Outback Bowl (Tampa), 11 a.m. ESPN2
NORTHWESTERN (10-2) vs. TENNESSEE (8-4)
The Vols showed a certain Big Ten team what they are capable of in a certain bowl game last year. The Wildcats are simply next … TENNESSEE 30-20.

Citrus Bowl (Orlando), 12 p.m. ABC
MICHIGAN (9-3) vs. FLORIDA (10-3)
All the rats are jumping ship in Gainesville, either by transfer or opting to enter the draft. The Gator defense is for real, and if the team is not distracted will stifle Jimmy’s boys … FLORIDA 23-13.

Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, Az), 12 p.m. ESPN
OHIO STATE (11-1) vs. NOTRE DAME (10-2)
A fully healthy Irish team would be an easier pick, but I am going with them anyway, simply because of my anger at the Buckeyes for losing their way out of a semifinal payback … OUR LADY 27-24.

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Ca), 4 p.m. ESPN
STANFORD (11-2) vs. IOWA (12-1)
Christian McCaffery is a weapon the likes of which the Hawkeyes have not seen. Fortune, in the form of a 57-yard field goal and a favorable schedule (FPI team rankings has Iowa 27th, REM puts schedule at 66th toughest) has helped grow their mystique. They are better than the naysayers will admit, but not as good as their fans believe … STANFORD 31-20.

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans), 7:30 p.m. ESPN
OKLAHOMA STATE (10-2) vs. MISSISSIPPI (9-3)
The Cowboys have two wins that were gifted to them. So do the Rebels. SEC bias at play in this pick … MISSISSIPPI 28-21.

Saturday, Jan. 2
Taxslayer Bowl (Jacksonville, Fl), 11 .m. ESPN
GEORGIA (9-3) vs. PENN STATE (7-5)
The best new-coach hire? The Bulldogs snatching up Bama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart … GEORGIA 30-13.

Liberty Bowl (Memphis), 2:20 p.m. ESPN
ARKANSAS (7-5) vs. KANSAS STATE (6-6)
Turns out Bret Bielema is every bit as much the braying ass in Little Rock he was in Iowa City and Madison, except now he has to try and survive the SEC West. However, the Hogs are just too much for 114-year old KSU head coach Bill Snyder’s team … ARKANSAS 35-17.

Alamo Bowl (San Antonio), 5:45 p.m ESPN
OREGON (9-3) vs. TCU (10-2)
A possible shootout looms in what might be one of the more entertaining bowls to watch — if great defense means nothing to you … TCU 44-38.

Cactus Bowl (Phoenix), 9:15 p.m. ESPN
ARIZONA STATE (6-6) vs. WEST VIRGINIA (7-5)
The Sun Devils will have the much larger crowd, for whatever that will matter. A toss-up, and the coin-flip suggests … ARIZONA STATE 18-16.

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