Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech
It’s a little surprising that Virginia Tech ended up making a bowl game because they were pretty much a complete disaster in the second half of the season, but here they are. They will be facing a Cincinnati team that likes to play really physical and has a very sound defense. After giving up 30.7 points per game in the regular season, I think Virginia Tech is going to have a hard time stopping Desmond Ridder and the Bearcats offense.
Sun Bowl: Stanford vs Pitt
There’s a good chance that this game could finish with under 40 points total. Stanford ranks alright offensively, but Bryce Love isn’t going to be playing in this one as he gets ready for the NFL Draft. On top of that, Pitt is very limited on offense and both teams feature pretty solid defenses. Ultimately I think Stanford will prevail with K.J. Costello and some of the big targets they have proving to be too much for Pitt.
Redbox Bowl: Michigan State vs Oregon
Oregon has a chance to carry a ton of momentum into the offseason, having a top-10 recruiting class at the moment and then having the announcement that Justin Herbert will return for his senior season. Standing in there way however will be one of the top defenses in the country. Michigan State only gave up 18 points per game in the regular season, and they love to try and drag teams into ugly teams. The reason I’m going with Oregon though is because they’ll be a lot more healthy going into this one than they were for much of the second half of the season, so I think they can win an ugly game.
Liberty Bowl: (23) Missouri vs Oklahoma State
Plenty of points should be put up in this one. Neither team is accused of having a lockdown defense, although the Missouri defense ranks better than people would probably guess. The star to watch in this game is of course Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, but there’s plenty of other offensive talent in this game with both teams having a number of different running backs and receivers. If Oklahoma State is going to win they will need star receiver Tylan Wallace to have a big game in my opinion. I’m going to go with Missouri in this one though because of Drew Lock.
Holiday Bowl: (22) Northwestern vs (17) Utah
Take what I said about the Liberty Bowl and apply the exact opposite to this one. This game should be all about the defenses, like most games these two teams are involved in tend to be. There’s a good chance that Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley will be back for the Utes after he suffered a broken collarbone in early November, and that’s huge, because while Jason Shelley did a fine job for the most part when he filled in, their offense is much better when Huntley plays. On the other side, you never know what you’re going to get from the Northwestern offense. Clayton Thorson is pretty up and down and if he’s playing good, the Northwestern offense is something to contend with, but if he’s off, the offense has a really hard time moving the ball.
Gator Bowl: NC State vs (19) Texas A&M
This is probably the most interesting bowl game to me this week that’s not a New Years Six Bowl, and that’s simply because a non-traditional school in NC State is trying to finish off a 10-win season, while Texas A&M has seemingly built a lot of momentum in its first season under Jimbo Fisher, and a win to finish off the season could really springboard the Aggies into the offseason with a lot of momentum. I’m pretty torn on who I think will win this game because Texas A&M has a lot of injuries, but more depth, but for NC State, Kelvin Harmon isn’t going to be playing and he’s the teams leading receiver. Ultimately though, I like the play I’ve seen from Texas A&M more this season so I’m going to go with them, even though I’m not confident about that pick.
Pick: Texas A&M
Outback Bowl: (18) Mississippi State vs Iowa
This one might not have too many points scored, but I’m going to go with Mississippi State because they gave up the fewest points per game in college football this season and while Iowa is well-coached, I think the athletes that Mississippi State will be putting on the field will be significantly better than what Iowa will be putting on the field, and it really wouldn’t be surprising to see Iowa not even reach double-digits in this one.
Pick: Mississippi State
Citrus Bowl: (14) Kentucky vs (12) Penn State
The last non-New Years Six Bowl will feature an interesting battle of a Kentucky team who had a phenomenal season based on Kentucky football standards and a Penn State team that will be having it’s great quarterback, Trace McSorley, playing his last ever college game. The defense of Kentucky should be able to keep them in this one and if Benny Snell has a huge game they can definitely win, but I think Terry Wilson and that passing game will end up being too limited to match the level of skill player that Penn State will be putting on the field, lead by Miles Sanders and KJ Hamler.
Pick: Penn State