Alright. We’ve got all the bowl games. We think.
College Football Playoff
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #4 Cincinnati Bearcats
Dec. 31 | 2:30pm | ESPN | Ala -13.5 | O/U 59
Stew: Cincy has almost no shot. This will used to prevent all G5 teams in the future, and Cincy is moving to the Big 12, anyway.
MNW: It’s an interesting point Stew makes, because really, what other G5 teams can you see coming through in the future? Louisiana loses Bill Napier and will be back in the bucket with all the other crabs soon enough, Appalachian State hasn’t quite put it all together, no one’s ever taking a MAC team like 2015 Western Michigan seriously...
Right now it feels like the P5 market has found ways to be flexible enough to accommodate the 2-3 winners (Cincinnati, UCF, BYU) who manage to slip into the conversation a few times. Once Cincy and UCF are in the Big XII, I am willing to bet this “breakthrough team” becomes a rarer phenomenon.
Anywho, Tide by 20.
Kind of...: It would be silly to hold this result against the G5. Alabama generally throttles everybody in the semis. The national champ will probably be a team that lost, needed 4 OT to avoid a second loss, and barely beat an awful Florida team. Great. I’m old and I saw this before with 1990 Colorado. I’m off to yell at clouds.
RockyMtnBlue: Oh look. Alabama is the 1-seed. Screw you, Georgia. YOU HAD ONE GODDAMN JOB!
I’m glad the committee didn’t screw Cincinnati out of a playoff spot. Sadly the Bearcats are going to discover there’s a big difference between September Notre Dame and January Alabama.
Green Akers: Who cares?
#2 Michigan Wolverines vs. #3 Georgia Bulldogs
Dec. 31 | 6:30pm | ESPN | UGA -7.5 | O/U 43
MNW: It’s amazing that the Committee (1) finds this believable, or (2) thinks that there won’t be SEC matchup fatigue in the College Football Playoff, but do you, I guess. I look forward to having something else to do the night of the “hotly anticipated Alabama-Georgia rematch,” as they’ll be trying to bill it for the rest of us.
Kind of...: Let me just note the weird confluence of 1) “ackshully Georgia might not deserve to be in the playoff” takes with 2) “shit, SEC rematch for the title” takes in other threads, and elsewhere.
Maybe the answer is they’re both wrong. Georgia probably is one of the four best teams in the country and/but maybe they won’t run away and hide from Michigan. Georgia’s offense isn’t all-world and Michigan should have an edge at special teams. So, yeah, I honest expect the national media to acknowledge that the B1G acquitted itself really well...and that Georgia had to earn it’s spot in the title game. Fuck.
RockyMtnBlue: I haven’t actually seen Georgia play since very early in the season, but I know they’re men playing against boys on defense. So that’ll be fun. Let’s just make sure we get some damned points and go from there.
Green Akers: Who cares?
New Year’s Six
#12 Pittsburgh Panthers vs. #10 Michigan State Spartans
Dec. 30 | 6pm | ESPN
Stew: This game gonna be hella fun. Narduzzi vs. Sparty. And yet neither of these teams have terribly great defenders and very explosive offenses.
Kind of...: Kenny Pickett is going to love what he sees watching film. Kenneth Walker isn’t going to be disappointed, either. May the best Ken win.
RockyMtnBlue: If there was any justice in this world Georgia would have won this weekend and MSU would have drawn Alabama in a bowl game. Alas. We will spend the offseason with happy, optimistic Spartan fans. This is never a good thing.
Green Akers: Should be fun! Pickett’s going to throw for about 700 yards and we might still win! I really hope I get to see one final curtain call from K9 before he goes to make his money, but I won’t blame him a bit if he opts to sit this one out.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Jan. 1 | 12pm | ESPN
MNW: Really would have thought there’d be more cache with a Michigan State-Notre Dame matchup, but I guess the Megaphone will have to gather dust for a few more years until [/checks schedule] dear God, 2026.
Kind of...: Sorry, but I will not cheer for Mike Gundy. And Brian Kelly having already left means I’m not even conflicted. Jack Coan, good on you for having a fine last season of football. Thanks for the 2019 memories.
Get fucked, T. Boone Pickens U.
RockyMtnBlue: I get where Kind of... is coming from, but he’s SO WRONG! Brian Kelly wasn’t the reason to hate Notre Dame. He was merely one bit of evidence you should hate Notre Dame. Fuck Notre Dame!
Green Akers: Blecch, Team Meteor more than any other game I’ve seen on the slate.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Utah Utes
Jan. 1 | 4pm | ESPN
MNW: Will Ohio State have learned its lesson from either the Oregon or Michigan loss? Utah will present all (more!) of the defensive strengths the Buckeyes have struggled with, though...less...of the offensive firepower that troubled Ohio State in each of their two losses.
RockyMtnBlue: This was supposed to be our game. What the hell? How did we screw this up? I can’t believe I’m reduced to rooting for goddamn Utah, but here we are.
Green Akers: I wonder if there’s ever been a more miserable Rose Bowl participating fanbase than the Buckeyes this year? Eh, the San Gabriels at sunset will help them get over it. OSU has a full month to correct its run defense, or possibly to start calling better defensive coordinators. Honestly, they should do the latter regardless, but it’s been radio silence from Columbus since The Beating.
Jan. 1 | 7:45pm | ESPN
Stew: I really hope Aranda is gone, so I have no positive feelings for Baylor. Kiffin is great, run it up.
Green Akers: I’m often intrigued by the Sugar Bowl on paper, and then it gets to 8:00 on NYD, and the post-holiday ennui has begun to blend with the sadness of bowl season being over and the very real fatigue of New Years’ festivities on my sleepy little baby constitution, and I never make it past halftime.
All the B1G Bowl Games We Know
Jan. 1 | 12pm | ABC
Stew: HEY! DID YOU KNOW MARK STOOPS PLAYED FOR IOWA?!?
Iowa’s going to trot out a terrible offense, good defense, and elite special teams. It’s probably going to be ugly and the winner will be a coin flip.
RockyMtnBlue: I know absolutely nothing about Kentucky football. I will be rooting for Iowa because I generally don’t mind them as long as my team isn’t playing in their stadium.
Green Akers: Gonna need Iowa to go get this W and reduce the appeal of Kentucky football such that Vince Marrow reconsiders his life decisions and leaves Kentucky for a job with MSU. Thaaaaanks, hugs and kisses
Jan. 1 | 11am | ESPN | Ark -1.5
pkloa: Hope y'all like Bloomin' Onions, because our coaching staff minus Brent Pry won't win us the Coconut Shrimp. Of course, this is the typical SEC Team Who Didn't Care About This Game, so maybe you'll have to shell out $11 for the superior app anyway.
Green Akers: Boy here’s the first one where it doesn’t feel like the B1G team has a chance. No idea why these bowlrunners think the PSU fanbase is jazzed enough about this season to stump down to Tampa. A defensively oriented team loses a big chunk of its defensive staff, Treylon Burks is legit...I wouldn’t bank on pkloa’s rationale, either. Arkansas isn’t in a spot yet where they’re rolling their eyes at a midtier game, I would expect them to show up ready to roll.
misdreavus79: I don’t even know if Arkansas is still ranked, but let me stop y’all right there: Penn State will show up to this game. The Nittany Lions missed a bowl last season, some players, if they don’t opt out of the game (nothing’s been announced yet so I don’t expect much), will want to go out with a bang, and there’s no indication anywhere that Penn State fans are disappointed in this bowl. In fact, everyone is pleasantly surprised they went this high!
Arkansas reminds me a lot of Michigan, in that they’ll try to run the ball as much as possible then try to hit you with a bomb to keep you off balance. I think the biggest difference between the two is that one is playing in the College Football Playoff and the other is, well, Arkansas.
Of course, bowl “week” is, next to week one, the most unpredictable time in college football. Anything can happen, and any team can beat any other team, but the notion that we should chalk this one up as an Hog victory right now is a bit premature.
And last, but not least: If 8-4 Wisconsin wants to cry about 7-5 Penn State jumping them, they can use 10-3 Wisconsin’s shoulder, since, you know, they jumped 10-2 Penn State for the right to lose to Oregon yet again in the Rose Bowl. Also don’t lose to this very Penn State team at home I don’t know. If 8-4 Purdue also wants to cry over 7-5 Penn State jumping them, don’t lose by 50 million to Ohio State and, like, have fans. Minnesota y’all cool (but y’all weren't going to go to two Outback Bowls in a row anyway).
Glen Mason Memorial Music City Bowl
Dec. 30 | 2pm | ESPN | Tenn -4
BoilerUp89: What an exciting new bowl game! I thought I had heard of all the bowl names, but new ones like the Music City Bowl are always popping up on the schedule. I sure hope Purdue can do as well as their last bowl game against Arizona in 2017.
I am also obligated to complain about Penn State jumping the 3 West teams that finished with better records than them. Penn State lost to Illinois. They also lost to Iowa. They should not be going to the Outback Bowl over Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Purdue.
RockyMtnBlue: I’m excited for this game. Purdue is always fun to watch and Tennessee is always fun to root against. I sympathize with Boiler’s gripe against PSU, but those west teams let Iowa win their division. They’ve earned their scorn.
Green Akers: Huh, Tennessee made a bowl. Who knew. This shouldn’t be as bad as Purdue’s last trip, but they’re still facing a more talented team.
Las Vegas Bowl
Dec. 30 | 9:30pm | ESPN | wisc -3.5
Kind of...: Well, it kicks off at 10:30 eastern, so, um, maybe? Chryst is 5-1 in bowls at UW and I suspect the team will take it seriously. But really, it doesn’t matter. After it’s over, I’ll probably won’t think of it again...unless it ends similar to the last time these two played:
If nothing else, it’s a couple additional weeks of practice to help Graham Mertz’s development. Wait, why are you laughing?
Green Akers: Herm Edwards has taken a little bit of a turn for the Locksley, as he’s racked an impressive pile of talent but really doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. Badgers certainly know their way around a midtier bowl these days, they’ll take care of business.
Dec. 29 | 1:15pm | ESPN | VaTech -5
Kind of...: If Rutgers had beaten Maryland, this could have been them.
Maybe Maryland is pissed they have to go north for a bowl game. Maybe Maryland is grateful to be in a bowl game. But a Wednesday afternoon kickoff makes this a true Sickos special, either way. I’m in.
RockyMtnBlue: There aren’t a lot of bowl games that I miss because I’m working at that time. By ‘miss’ I mean I won’t be able to watch it. I won’t actually, you know, miss it.
Green Akers: Was there any juice to this matchup when it was still a conference game? I can’t imagine so, as VaTech was still in the tail end of the good Beamer years and Maryland was never much but meh back then. Anyway, we have no data points on how Locksley prepares for a bowl game, so as to the result? Ionno.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Dec. 28 | 9:15pm | ESPN | Minn -2
WSR: Clearly I should not have been tactful in telling the B1G to go fuck itself.
MNW: Would be curious to hear the Big Ten’s logic on this—seems like Minnesota’s been one of those fanbases that shows up very gratefully at bowls in the Fleck Era. Dropping them below wisconsin is odd, though reflects, likely, that the Big Ten thinks wisconsin is just straight-up better.
And for that, LOL.
Kind of...: Don’t lose at home to a MAC team and you won’t get sent to the MAC of bowls.
RockyMtnBlue: I wasn’t sure what to say about this bowl, and then I read Kind of...’s comment, and yep: That’s exactly what you say about this game.
Green Akers: LMAO seems pretty fair IMO
Quick Lane Bowl
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Western Michigan Broncos
Dec. 27 | 10am | ESPN | Nev -5
Bonus Bowl or Three
Thump: Oh no, Illinois didn’t make a bowl game. Oh no, whatever shall I do...
Well, there go my plans for the four-hour slot from like 8AM to noon on the day after Christmas in, like, fucking Spokane or some shit-ass inaccessible destination at a time nobody would ever go there.
What’s another few years?
Auburn Tigers vs. Houston Cougars
Dec. 28 | 11am | ESPN | Auburn -3
MNW: A couple of my students are diehard Coogs fans—yes, they exist—and do actually “paint up” for games, apparently. So I’m excited they get a driveable bowl game that’s still prestigious enough, thanks to the opponent.
Also, heard a wonderful conspiracy theory from a UH fan at the game I went to a couple weeks ago—the Coogs took a 21-7 lead on Texas Tech into the half “to prove a point” in the season-opener that they belonged, then had to ease up in the second half lest they not get admitted to the Big XII.
Kind of...: That’s a really good conspiracy theory. Undercut only by the fact that Dana Holgorsen is their coach.
East Carolina Pirates vs. Boston College... Patriots?
Dec. 27 | 1:30pm | ESPN | Even
pkloa: I'm considering going to this one, if for nothing other than to check out the US Naval Academy. Any squids on the site have recommendations for things to do?
Be sure to give us your hot takes and rapid reactions in the comments! Not done arguing about the Big Ten Championship Game yet? Check out Sunday Morning Coming Down.