Penn State Nittany Lions
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Break out the pork chops, black-eyed peas, fried okra, and cornbread which is the traditional New Year’s Day meal in the Branch Family.
The meal will be ready to eat at 12PM on Monday, which is also the best football day of every year.
You also have the College Football Playoff that starts at 5PM that day in Pasadena, California with Georgia and Oklahoma and ending with Alabama and Clemson immediately after in New Orleans.
Under the playoff format you have the two playoff games that rotate between the Sugar, Rose, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, and Peach Bowls annually; these are now called the New Years 6 Bowls.
Here are my predictions for the NY6 Bowls.
Cotton Bowl: #5 Ohio State vs. #8 USC
In this matchup you have two conference champions in OSU and USC that got snubbed by the playoff committee in favor of a one loss non-conference champion in Alabama.
Both teams will come to Dallas with a chip on it’s shoulder. I personally thought OSU would get in the playoff over Alabama if the committee was going to put a two loss Auburn team in the playoff. Which would have happened if the Tigers would have beat UGA in the SEC title game.
I think OSU has something to prove in this game and the Buckeyes handle USC pretty easy, 34-20 and Urban Meyer proposes a new playoff system in his postgame presser.
Fiesta Bowl: #9 Penn State vs. #11 Washington
Penn State might be the best team in the Big 10 after blowing the 15 point 4th quarter lead in Columbus against OSU and then sleepwalking into a loss to Michigan State the following week.
I think Penn State will be too physical for the Huskies and they will handle Washington 38-27. James Franklin is about to kick it into high gear in State College, PA.
Orange Bowl: #6 Wisconsin vs. #10 Miami
Former Glynn Academy standout Dee Jay Dallas is named Orange Bowl MVP after he scores 2 TD’s and has 140 yards rushing against the Badgers who will not beat Miami in Miami at the Orange Bowl. Too many athletes and Mark Richt owns Big 10 teams during his coaching career.
Peach Bowl: #7 Auburn vs. #12 UCF
Which Auburn team shows up? The one who beat UGA and Alabama in November or the one who blew a 20 point lead at LSU in October? Is Kerryon healthy? Does Auburn even want to be in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl?
I can guarantee you that UCF is thrilled to be there. If Auburn is motivated to play this game they win.
I think Auburn’s defense will be ready to play and the Tigers find a way to win 27-21. If Auburn comes out flat then look out for the upset, which I would be thrilled to see.
Rose Bowl: #2 Oklahoma vs. #3 Georgia
Oklahoma has the Heisman winner in Baker Mayfield at QB. UGA has the best defensive player in the country in Roquan Smith. What gives here?
For UGA to win they must control the clock and line of scrimmage with the running game and that will keep Mayfield on the sidelines.
The Sooners will score points but I think UGA gets enough stops and wins 38-34 and Nick Chubb is named Rose Bowl MVP with 175 yards and 3 TD’s, and will eventually have his #27 retired in Athens.
Sugar Bowl: #1 Clemson vs. #4 Alabama
Nick Saban lobbied to get the Tide in this year’s playoff and it is going to pay off.
Clemson’s DL is better than a couple of NFL teams and points in this game will be at a premium; so this one will come down to another heart stopping drive in the final minute with Jalen Hurts leading his team to victory 20-17 and being named Sugar Bowl MVP.
Georgia vs. Alabama in Atlanta for the NC on January 8th. Oh, my goodness what will the ticket prices be?
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
We’re reaching the home stretch of the college football season. We had one of the most chaotic Saturday’s in recent memory. It was the first time Nos. 2,3 and 4 lost in the AP Poll since 1985. Now the rankings are shaken up. I’ll examine the teams most likely to make the playoffs.
Alabama (10-0) has been the most dominant team this season and their still undefeated.
Their final two regular season games are at home against FCS Chattanooga and No. 16 Auburn. The SEC Championship game opponent is not set yet. Right now they would face Florida.
The East is so bad it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. The Crimson Tide are basically a lock to finish the season undefeated and remain No. 1.
With all of the upsets Ohio State (9-1) benefitted the most moving up to No. 2. Their last games are at Michigan State and at home against No. 4 Michigan. The Spartans (3-7) are having a subpar year so this should be an easy win.
The rivalry game against Michigan (9-1) will be tough. The Wolverines lost their starting quarterback Wilton Speight with a broken collarbone. That should increase OSU’s chances of winning.
The odd thing is even after winning their last two games they aren’t expected to play in the Big Ten Championship game. Penn State beat the Buckeyes so if they win their last two games they’ll represent the East in the championship game. Now we have to wonder if the committee will hold that against them.
No. 3 Louisville (9-1) is in the same situation as Ohio State. The Cardinals lost to Clemson so the tiebreaker belongs to the Tigers. Clemson will represent the Atlantic division in the conference championship game if they win their final conference game.
The one advantage Louisville has is they have the best player in the country, quarterback Lamar Jackson. He’s the clear cut favorite to win the Heisman. The playoff selection committee might choose the Cardinals to represent the ACC despite not winning the conference.
Michigan’s last two opponents are Indiana and Ohio State. If they can pull the upset on the road against OSU they’ll play in the conference championship game. Winning that will guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. I don’t like that the Wolverines have lost their starting QB but winning is still possible. We saw Ohio State win the 2014 national championship with a 3rd string quarterback.
No. 5 Clemson (9-1) should have easy wins to finish the season. They play Wake Forest and South Carolina. Their opponent in the ACC Championship will be Virginia Tech or North Carolina.
Washington dropped from No. 4 to No. 7 after losing to USC. The Huskies play Arizona State and at No. 20 Washington State. The Apple Cup game against the Cougars will be tough.
I’m not sure if they’ll win but if they do they will represent the Pac 12 North in the championship game. Currently they would play Colorado but that can change.
The last two weeks should be very exciting to watch. Alabama is guaranteed to finish and stay No. 1.
Ohio State and Clemson will also make the playoffs. The final spot is tricky. If Washington wins out they will be in but if they lose I’m not sure who the fourth team will be.