2021-01-02 10:25

Happy New Year. We are closing in on the last few Bowls to play.

I'M sorry I did not see the game cancellation of the Texas Bowl, before I posted my preview.
TCU has some virus spikes, so they did call off the game.

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
#24 Tulsa vs Mississippi State

Well, you can hurt the sport just by a few actions.
And both teams did not do well after the game in that category.
Before that actions, the game was fine, open until halftime with MSU leading 7-6.
Then did Tulsa fall a bit behind in the 3rd, 13-21, which is not much.
Tulsa scored, the Bulldogs did score on the next drive and with about 3 minutes left to play did Tulsa then throw an INT which did give the Bulldogs the Ball back at 28-19.
But Tulsa was motivated to turn the game, held their opponents to 3-and-out, scored a TD and tried an onside-kick with 1:30 left to play.
The recovery failed and the Bulldogs won 28-26.
THEN after the game, the emotions went high and both teams were in some sort of wedge against each other, divided only by official, coaches and staff as it seems, but at some point punches were thrown and at the side of the wedges players were rushed after, kicked, punched.
It took some time to sort this mess out and break it up.
One player seems to have a serious concussion after the brawl, possibly when he was on the ground inside some pit where many seemed to kick and punch.
I seriously hope this will have consequences for the teams and the players.
The problem in college football is, some of those players might not be there next season, the do/did graduate and are off.
So it's problematic to punish the right address.
I never understand why there are no real crime related consequences for player recorded on film punching and kicking, you often don't hear about that.
Seems the field is law free zone.
Jacks BOWL Score: 11-4

Offerpad Arizona Bowl
Ball State vs #22 San José State

As one of the biggest surprises this game ended with a big win by Ball State, 34-13.
Ball State is an up and down university, sometimes having good teams, often having losing teams, but this season is a winner.
The Spartans were just playing awful in the 1st quarter and trailed 0-27!
Then both teams were unable to score in the 2nd quarter and in the 3rd both did commit turnovers, but Ball State did extend the lead at first further and then did the Spartans score a bit in garbage time.
The Spartans did prolong the coaches deal, not sure the university is so happy about that now.
No, seriously, it looked liked the Cardinals were better prepared and better motivated and the Spartans did put everything they had against Boise to win the Championship and then not much was left.
Jacks BOWL Score: 11-5

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
West Virginia vs Army

Very defense driven game, which did surprise me, since at least West Virginia can score and did that quite often in the past.
Still it was Army leading 14-10 at the half.
West Virginia had some trouble with turnovers to that point.
Then the 3rd quarter did extend the lead a bit to 21-16.
With 5 minutes left to play did then West Virginia score a TD and led 24-21, which was then the final score.
Army had chances to tie the game, but missed the FG and did commit an INT with the last few seconds to play.
Jacks BOWL Score: 12-5

Friday, January 1
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
#9 Georgia vs #8 Cincinnati

Another game which did not go as I expected it.
First blood was drawn by Cincinnati, Georgia later tied the score.
Georgia made a FG, but Cincinnati did make a TD and led at the half 14-10.
Many errors in this game, on both sides and one crucial one by Cincinnati fumbling the ball inside their half, near the redzone, allowed Georgia to get back into the game.
They scored a TD, now trailing 16-21.
I think most important was, they stayed away from turnovers then and held Cincinnati scoreless.
But surprisingly they were not really able to move the ball efficiently, scored a FG for 19-21 later and then with 2 ticks left AFTER the kick they score the game winner for 22-21.
Then came a monster kickoff, placing the ball at the 2-yard line and Georgia did sack the QB for the final score of 24-21.
Great game by both teams, but Cincinnati did show some real game today, they were just not able to capitalize as much as needed from the Georgia errors.
Jacks BOWL Score: 13-5

Friday, January 1
Vrbo Citrus Bowl
Auburn vs #14 Northwestern

This here went as expected.
Auburn was bad, really bad, and Northwestern did just punch it in, again and again.
The Wildcats led at the half 14-6, which did look like an open game, but that changed in the 4th quarter.
The 3rd quarter was tied between the teams and the score was 21-13, Auburn was held on 4th and 1 on the 50 and from that point on ... Northwestern.
They did score on the next drive, 28-13, Auburn fumbled and Northwestern scored again, 35-13.
Still 7:49 to play, but Auburn needed 3 minutes to score for the later final score of 35-19.
Northwestern got the ball and Auburn did suck big time in defense, as before, and the time went by.
Great game by Northwestern and I hope Auburn gets some kicks by their new HC.
Jacks BOWL Score: 14-5

Friday, January 1
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One - CFP Semifinal
#4 Notre Dame vs #1 Alabama

The good news for Notre Dame fans is, they did beat the spread of -20.0.
The bad news is, they lost by 17 points, with Alabama winning 31-14.
And what a game it was.
Bama went ahead 14-0 (with a fantastic hurdle play by Bama during the 2nd scoring drive), Notre Dame went for 4th down to punch in the 14-7.
Then Alabama became a wall Notre Dame was unable to penetrate and the Tide did increase the score to 31-7 over time, until Notre Dame did score another TD in the last few minutes when Alabama was already thinking about the Championship game.
What's left is, that Alabama won this clearly and that Notre Dame might be OK to be #4, but I still think they should have put A&M into this.
Jacks BOWL Score: 15-5

Friday, January 1
Allstate Sugar Bowl - CFP Semifinal
#3 Ohio State vs #2 Clemson

Well, here we have the big surprise.
Ohio State won the game and really in style, 49-28.
For me the MVP of the game was not the Buckeyes QB, who did play very well, but the Buckeyes O-line which did take out that scary Clemson Defense line by 100% and which allowed Ohio State to exploit the biggest weakness of Clemson on that day, the defensive backs.
Maybe Clemson did look all season so great, because their D-line did pressure the QBs so much that the D-backs had an easy game over the weekend.
And Ohio State took that away and punched it right into their face.
The Buckeyes did win basically in the 2nd quarter, winning that one 21-0.
The rest of the game was more or less equal game, but that quarter was all Ohio State and no Clemson at all.
So, Ohio State will face Alabama in the Championship game. Good luck for that.
Jacks BOWL Score: 15-6

Now let's get into the last few Bowls coming, including the National Championship game.

Saturday, January 2
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
#23 NC State vs Kentucky

@TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
This bowl is played on the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was established in 1946 and does usually field SEC vs either Big10 or ACC, depended on the year.
Last year it was Big10, this season ACC, which resulted in this, for me not so thrilling, matchup.
NC State had an 8-3 season, but did clearly against all better teams inside the ACC.
Kentucky did much worse than last year and finished 4-6, hence in a regular year, they wouldn't be bowling at all.
Still Kentucky is favored by 2.5 points, which from my point of view reflects a) the weak ACC beside the 2 teams in the playoffs, and b) is likely based on the fact that Kentucky often did not lose with a high margin against the big SEC teams.
I'm a bit torn here, willing to give NC State a bit of credit winning so many games and not always against very weak teams, but Kentucky should at least play on the same level, if all goes well.
Still ... I think I pick the underdog.
Wolfpack win.

Saturday, January 2
Outback Bowl
Ole Miss vs #11 Indiana

@Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Played in the home stadium of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this bowl exists since 1986.
It's another Big10 vs SEC bowl.
Should be named the drive-up-the-scoreboard-bowl, with 2 high scoring teams facing off against each other.
Ole Miss finished 4-5 under new HC Kiffin and scored 40.7 points against the SEC teams, while Indiana finished 6-1 and scored 30.1 (I thought it would be more in average).
The betting line is Indiana -8.5, which is too much, from my point of view.
The Biggest thread is likely that Ole Miss can't stop the Indiana offense, but since they can score a lot, this might get well compensated.
I'm willing to give Kiffin here the nod, since I expect the team to be motivated, and they did hold their own against the best of the SEC, so why should they not stay in the game against the Hoosiers, who did challenge Ohio State, sure, but lost there also.
Rebels win.

Saturday, January 2
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
#25 Oregon vs #10 Iowa State

State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
The Bowl exists since 1971 and is played in the home site of the Arizona Cardinals.
It's part of the College Football playoffs rotation, this season having 2 at-large teams against each other.
This season they have the Big12-Championship loser Iowa State (8-3) against the PAC12-Champ Oregon (4-2).
An interesting matchup, which might become an entertaining game, give both teams offense and defense power.
Iowa State did almost beat Oklahoma twice, but their comeback try felt short in the Championship game, so I expect a team willing to play here.
Oregon did not win their division, but won against USC the PAC12, which is unknown regarding the estimation of strength, since the PAC12 did not play inter-conference games.
We might see a blowout, we might see a close game.
The Cyclones are favored by 4.5 points.
I hope for a close game and do favor also Iowa State.
Cyclones win.

Saturday, January 2
Capital One Orange Bowl
#5 Texas A&M vs #13 North Carolina

@Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Another CFP-bowl, featuring at-large vs at-large.
The Orange-bowl itself exists since 1935 and is played inside the stadium of the Miami Dolphins.
It does feature a quite lame matchup, but maybe UNC will surprise me big time.
Why do I say that?
Texas A&M did only lose to Alabama during the season and has an 8-1 record, falling short a playoff spot thanks to Ohio States and Notre Dames lobby or the need to have more conferences inside the playoffs.
Because from my point of view OSU did not look like a clear #4. But fine, A&M is at #5 and does now face North Carolina, which did finish 3rd inside the ACC, behind playoff teams Clemson and Notre Dame, with a record of 7-3.
They lost 3 times, against Florida State (which had a BAD season), Virginia and Notre Dame.
So a team losing only against that perfect Alabama team does play a team losing many times against mid level teams (and Notre Dame, yes).
Betting line for Texas A&M is surprisingly for me only -7.5. I would have guessed -14.0+.
Well, UNC is capable of playing strong against favored teams, so maybe they can pull an upset here, but I doubt it.
Aggies win.

Monday, January 11
CFP National Championship pres. by AT&T
#3 Ohio State vs #1 Alabama

@Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
So here we are with Alabama facing off against Ohio State.
Ohio State now 7-0 as Big10 Champ, while Alabama now is 12-0 as SEC Champ.
Since creating this kind of format for the 2013 season onward, both teams never met in this final.
Ohio State won it against Oregon in the 1st installment of that game, then came the big Alabama/Clemson dominance, with Alabama playing in all games but 1 since then (2-2) and the same for Clemson (also 2-2),
And both teams did also not meet in the National Championship game in the predecessor competition, the BCS.
The betting line is right now Alabama -7.5.
For me Alabama is clearly the favorite as well, since they did beat every team they played so far with great success.
The closest threat was the SEC Championship game, won by 6 points.
Now comes Ohio State, who did struggle against Indiana (won by 7 points) and Northwestern (won by 12 points, coming from behind).
That Clemson-game was impressive, no doubt and yes, it looks like the Committee did put them right into the TOP4.
But I doubt they will win this game.
If they do, they have a season to remember.
Crimson Tide win.

'Til next time

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