Here they are, the second (and final) installment of the no doubt, 100% accurate 2016-2017 Bowl Predictions!
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Northwestern (6-6) vs #23 Pittsburgh (8-4)
Pitt boasts what could be the most impressive 8-4 in the country including wins vs #2 Clemson and #5 Penn State. They boast an electrifying offense and a solid front 7 but they also have a swiss cheese secondary which doesn’t bode well against Northwestern’s Biletnikoff finalist Austin Carr. Carr and Northwestern QB Clayton Thornson should have career days but Pitt’s offense will be able to do more than keep pace. Look for James Conner to have a big day in what could be his final game in a Panther uniform. This one should follow the trend of most other Pitt games this season, where the offense has to find a way to score enough to make up for a porous defense. This time, they will.
Prediction: Pitt 49 Northwestern 38
Russell Athletic Bowl: #16 West Virginia (10-2) vs Miami (FL) (8-4)
West Virginia solidly entrenched themselves as the 3rd team in the Big 12 this year, handling everybody else but failing to really compete versus either of the 2 Oklahoma schools. Miami will be hungry for their 1st bowl win in over a decade and the possibility of this being the final game for Brad Kaaya will loom large. The Mountaineers secondary was exposed vs Oklahoma and look for Miami’s TE David Njoku to have a big day. The Canes pull an upset close to home.
Prediction: Miami 31 West Virginia 22
Foster Farms Bowl: Indiana (6-6) vs #19 Utah (8-4)
This one should not be close. Indiana has done well to get to a bowl, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t have anywhere near the team talent that the Utes do. Joe Williams has been a beast since coming out of retirement and his clashes against Hoosier LB Tegray Scales will be must see TV. The Utes were the last team to beat USC and despite a disappointing end to the year they have the talent edge at almost every position in this game including quarterback with Troy Williams. Indiana’s sudden coaching change could inspire them, but it seems unlikely.
Prediction: Utah 34 Indiana 14
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Kansas State (8-4) vs Texas A&M (8-4)
K-State has had such a Bill Snyder type season, doing nothing of note but still managing to finish a very solid 8-4. Texas A&M started out as playoff contenders before their seemingly annual November crash to Earth. Something tells me though that the Aggies will be up for this game as it should be the final such one for many A&M stars like Josh Reynolds, Myles Garrett and Knight. The Aggies superior speed and skill trumps the Wildcats toughness this time.
Prediction: Texas A&M 30 Kansas State 17
Birmingham Bowl: South Carolina (6-6) vs South Florida (10-2)
South Carolina wasn’t supposed to be bowl eligible this year, not with Will Muschamp taking over a mostly depleted roster. Jake Bentley, however, thought otherwise, as the freshman QB provided the spark for an upset of Tennessee and eventual bowl eligibility. USF on the other hand has been a model of consistency, falling only to Temple and Florida State. Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack are two of the best kept secrets in the country. The Bulls are a more veteran team and actually have the superior skill players in this game and that should show through by the end.
Prediction: South Florida 34 South Carolina 21
Belk Bowl: #22 Virginia Tech (9-4) vs Arkansas (7-5)
The Hokies came so close to sending the ACC title game into OT but their drive stalled out oh so close to the end zone. Jerod Evans showed why he is a baller though and Bucky Hodges and Isaiah Ford are NFL level talents. Arkansas’ defense has been hovering close to bad for a while now and Austin Allen is no slouch either but he is also turnover prone, which will hurt against an opportunistic Hokie defense. VT should come out pumped to reach 10 wins for the first time since 2011.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 29 Arkansas 21
Valero Alamo Bowl: #12 Oklahoma State (9-3) vs #10 Colorado (10-3)
This game screams offensive explosion. Both teams have weapons all over the place, Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill and James Washington for the Cowboys and Sefo Liufau, Phillip Lindsay and Shay Fields for Colorado. Both teams had eyes on bigger things as the season wound down but whiffed at opportunities to take their conferences crowns. Oklahoma State would love to build towards next year when all their key contributors will return while Colorado looks to finish off this special year with a W. This one was maybe the hardest bowl to pick, but I get the sense that this one will mean just a bit more to the Buffs, and they will win it for their seniors in their first bowl since 2007.
Prediction: Colorado 45 Oklahoma State 42
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Georgia (7-5) vs TCU (6-6)
Two teams who had bitterly disappointing seasons face off to try and salvage something positive. Jacob Eason took over midway through the year and despite some flashes he could never fully get going while the Kenny Hill experiment for TCU was hampered by lackluster skill players and shoddy defense. For the Dawgs, getting a good game out of Eason and getting him to 8 wins would be great while TCU just aims to avoid a losing season. Georgia’s running game should make the difference against an unusually subpar Horned Frog defense. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel will power the Dawgs to their 8th win of the season.
Prediction: Georgia 26 TCU 17
Hyundai Sun Bowl: #18 Stanford (9-3) vs North Carolina (8-4)
Both teams had higher aspirations at the beginning of the year but UNC lost in a hurricane to Virginia Tech and Stanford was blown out of the water by Washington and Washington State before they could find their groove. This should be the final college game for both Christian McCaffrey and Mitch Trubisky and will be for Ryan Switzer. McCaffery has found his near Heisman form from last year and couple that with the maturation of Keller Chryst since he took the job from Ryan Burns and the Cardinal should have enough to beat the Tar Heels. Wild Caff goes out with a return TD and a bang.
Prediction: Stanford 31 UNC 27
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Nebraska (8-4) vs #21 Tennessee (8-4)
Both the Cornhuskers and Vols go as their QBs go. We saw how much Nebraska struggled when Tommy Armstrong went out injured and everyone who has watched Tennessee knows their offense will go only as far as Joshua Dobbs can take them. The Vols will be pumped to show that the Vanderbilt loss doesn’t define them and should be able to take advantage of Nebraska’s secondary. Look for Dobbs to have a big day through the air and on the ground.
Prediction: Tennessee 33 Nebraska 25
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: South Alabama (6-6) vs Air Force (9-3)
Air Force can reach 10 wins with a win in this game and they are the favorites for good reason. Jacobi Owens is a great runner while Nate Romine provides the Falcons with a better passing attack than they’ve had in most recent years. USA has had a good year but the offense hasn’t been great and AFA has a stout D led by star S Weston Steelhammer. What a name.
Prediction: Air Force 43 South Alabama 14
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: #20 LSU (7-4) vs #13 Lamar Jackson Louisville (9-3)
A great Offense vs Defense battle in Orlando as Lamar Jackson and co. collide with Dave Aranda’s stout LSU defense. Jackson will likely have the Heisman by the time this game rolls around while LSU’s Leonard Fournette would love to end his college career with a big game. A month or two ago I’d say Louisville would take this one but Danny Etling has steadily improved at QB and after watching Kentucky shred the UL defense the thought of Fournette, Derrius Guice, Malachi Dupre doing their thing is enough to change my mind.
Prediction: LSU 30 Louisville 28
TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia Tech (8-4) vs Kentucky (7-5)
Kentucky looked like crap early in the year but Mark Stoops did a great job turning the ship around and getting to 7-5. Their reward is matchup against a Georgia Tech team that has won 3 in a row including wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia. Kentucky does have almost a month to prepare for the triple option but Georgia Tech will do doubt be ready with some extra wrinkles. This should be a really close game but in the end having Justin Thomas gives the Yellow Jackets a little extra edge.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 35 Kentucky 34
Outback Bowl: #17 Florida (8-4) vs Iowa (8-4)
No offense to be found here but punting aficionados will love it. Florida’s defense has been shredded the last two weeks by FSU and Alabama but Iowa’s offense isn’t close to even being close to either of those teams. Iowa’s defense struggled out of the gate but returned to last years form over the past weeks. In true Florida fashion, Austin Appleby, aided by Jordan Scarlett, will do just enough to pull out a win and get to 9-4.
Prediction: Florida 20 Iowa 17
New Year’s Six:
Capital One Orange Bowl: #6 Michigan (10-2) vs #11 Florida State (9-3)
Even though they deservedly didn’t make the playoff I still think Michigan is one of the best 4 teams in the country. Florida State’s offensive line has struggled to protect Deondre Francois all year and with Taco Charlton and Jabrill Peppers coming along the Wolverines aren’t the ideal opponent. Wilton Speight having a whole month to heal up will be important too. Dalvin Cook will have a solid game but this is a bad matchup for the Seminoles in both trenches and in the secondary. If Harbaugh can get his troops motivated the defense should dominate in an easy UM win.
Prediction: Michigan 38 Florida State 21
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #15 Western Michigan (13-0) vs #8 Wisconsin (10-3)
#RowTheBoat comes to the big time finally! PJ Fleck takes his undefeated Broncos to the New Year’s Six to play a Wisconsin team that has to be bitter over their missed shot at the Rose Bowl. Both previous G5 teams have won their games and I think it will continue this year. Zach Terrell and Corey Davis can replicate the Trace McSorley-Insert any Penn State Receiver Here connection from the B1G Championship. Corey Clement will run for lots of yards but I have zero confidence in the Badger passing game and WMU eeks out a program changing win.
Prediction: Western Michigan 32 Wisconsin 27
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: #9 USC (9-3) vs #5 Penn State (11-2)
Two of the hottest teams in the country right now. Their only loss since Sam Darnold took over at QB was a tough game @ Utah. They won at #4 Washington and they didn’t look like they had all that much trouble with it. Penn State has turned into the country’s most explosive offense, leading the country in plays of 20+ yards while Trace McSorley is averaging almost 20 yards a pass. This could be the game of the bowl season and I think Penn State comes out on top, Saquon Barkley has a big day and McSorley keeps on bombing away as PSU gets win #12
Prediction: Penn State 45 USC 38
Allstate Sugar Bowl: #14 Auburn (8-4) vs #7 Oklahoma (10-2)
Auburn sneaks into the NY6 with an 8-4 record but unfortunately for them they run into the Oklahoma buzzsaw. Heisman finalists Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook are near unstoppable when on form and even though a healthier Auburn team should be able to put up some points, the Sooners are just on too much of roll. Mayfield, Mixon, Perine and Westbrook are just too good.
Prediction: Oklahoma 43 Auburn 24
College Football Playoff:
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: #4 Washington (12-1) vs #1 Alabama (13-0)
Can Washington protect Jake Browning? If they can then they’ll have a chance as they have the weapons to throw on Bama. John Ross and Dante Pettis should be able to do some things against the Tide secondary. I think people are underestimating the ability of the Huskies coming into this game. I think the UW stifles Alabama’s passing game and even though Bama runs for a bunch of yards and points Browning stays upright just enough and him, Ross, Pettis and Myles Gaskin prove to the country that they belong in a stunning upset win.
Prediction: Washington 34 Alabama 31
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: #3 Ohio State (11-1) vs #2 Clemson (12-1)
Ohio State has been great at times this year and then suddenly have just looked good at times. A lot it depends on which version of JT Barrett shows up, if we get good JT Ohio State should be able to win this game but if the bad JT comes to play Ohio State really doesn’t stand a chance. DeShaun Watson vs a young but talented Ohio State secondary will be something amazing to watch. That matchup should decide the game and when it comes down to it, Watson, Mike Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Jordan Leggett will make the plays necessary to get the Tigers back to the title game.
Prediction: Clemson 46 Ohio State 42
National Championship: #4 Washington vs #2 Clemson
If you can beat Bama, you can beat anyone. Browning will have much more time to thrown vs the Tigers than in the semi-final and that will allow him to get into a groove as this game goes on. John Ross and Dante Pettis are good enough that when given time they will make plays. We saw Pitt was able to gash the Clemson D with many variations in play calling and UW is well equipped to do the same. Washington’s secondary is just as good if not better than the Buckeyes and they are such a well rounded bunch in general. I trust Browning and the Huskies playmakers more than I do Ohio State’s which makes the difference between this game and Clemson’s semi-final matchup and the Tigers come up just short for the 2nd straight year as Washington takes home the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Prediction: Washington 40 Clemson 35