2020-12-31 09:52

The next wave of Bowls went by.
One Bowl was called off, because of a virus spike at Missouri.
The Music City Bowl was canceled, instantly.
Looks like they were not able or willing to look for a replacement.
I know a team in Alabama looking for a Bowl spot, but likely a CUSA team was out of question here.

Cheez-It Bowl
#21 Oklahoma State vs #18 Miami

If you are a Cowboys fan, this was a great game for you.
Oklahoma started strong, lead by 3 scores after the 1st quarter, then they led Miami crawl back to 21-19 slowly until mid of 3rd quarter.
Now you get likely the chills, since OSU sometimes just let those games slip away, but not this time.
They went ahead further again with FG, then a TD and Miami tried to catch up, but were unable to stop the Cowboys so even Miami came close with the final score of 37-34 mid of the 4th quarter they just could not make this comeback click.
As Cowboys fan you did likely bite your nails off in those last few minutes, but your team won.
Jacks BOWL Score: 8-3

Tuesday, December 29
Valero Alamo Bowl
#20 Texas vs Colorado

This was all Texas and then some.
The closest Colorado came for a win was right at the start of the game and during the 1st half they were withing 1 score sometimes and at halftime.
But Texas did never look like they would lose this.
The final score is 55-23.
Texas had over 300 yards in passing and rushing each!
Jacks BOWL Score: 9-3

Wednesday, December 30
Duke's Mayo Bowl
Wake Forest vs Wisconsin

Both teams had their ups and downs, but over time, the Wake Forest downs did cost them the game.
Wake Forest started strong and led 14:0, Wisconsin did answer and at the half it was tied at 14.
Later in the 3rd it was tied at 21, when Wake Forests QB did throw an INT and Wisconsin scored, the Deacons QB did throw an INT again and the Badgers scored again and that cycle did continue until the Badgers led 42-21 (one Wisconsin drive ended with a missed FG).
That were 4 INTs in a row.
Wake Forest did correct the score to the final numbers in garbage time to 42:28.
Jacks BOWL Score: 10-3

Wednesday, December 30
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
#7 Florida vs #6 Oklahoma

Well, I did not adjust my pick, but should have, since Florida was down by a lot of players thanks to Covid-19.
Still they decided to play (which is likely a bad decision regarding the virus threat) and got blown out by Oklahoma 55-20 with never really having a chance and always behind.
I hope both teams will not suffer a post-bowl-virus-peak.
Jacks BOWL Score: 10-4

So that was it for those Bowl and the next wave is coming, and it is a big one.

Thursday, December 31
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
#24 Tulsa vs Mississippi State

@Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
This is played on the field of the SMU Mustangs and the bowl is alive since 2003.
It was planned for this season to pair a PAC12-team vs a SEC team, but the PAC12 had too less teams available, so Tulsa from the American was selected.
It does face a Mississippi State team under new management and the 1st season did not go too well.
They went 3-7 and did not really look like the pass happy teams Mike Leach does usually create.
But it's his 1st season there, and he was successful in every city he had coached so far, likely to make them play over the usually expectations.
Mississippi State actually had such a coach before with Dan Mullen (now Floridas HC) and took some dive with his replacement.
Still Leachs record is worse than his predecessor was fired for, so next season the crowd will look for improvements, otherwise Leach will have to go, likely.
The reality is, the university got a bit spoiled by Mullens success and want to keep this, but inside a SEC where teams like Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and LSU are way ahead of reputation and funding, MSU is just not in position to get the coaches and players regularly to challenge those guys.
All-time record of MSU is negative. See ....
OK, my guess here long term is, give Leach the chance, and he builds a winner, but for the bowl ....
Tulsa had a great season, did almost win the conference and finished 6-2.
The betting line is Tulsa -2.5.
I pick the Bulldogs as winner in this.
The Hurricanes are a good team, but given the preparation time and SEC talent, I think Tulsa will have a hard time stopping the Air Raid offense.
Still, I expect a close game.
Bulldogs win.

Thursday, December 31
Offerpad Arizona Bowl
Ball State vs #22 San José State

@Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
This exists since 2015 and is played in the stadium of the Arizona Wildcats.
It features exactly what it should, MAC vs MWC.
And we have the MAC Champ vs the MWC Champ and from my point of view that does already hint the outcome.
The MAC is not a stinker conference, they play entertaining football, but they are not in the same league as the Mountain West.
So Ball State (6-1) will have a very tough game ahead of them.
And they face the perfect Spartans, who were one of the most surprising teams of the season, winning all (7-0), beating even the high profile Boise State.
No wonder SJSU is favored by 9.5 points, which is still quite low, I would have guessed it would be double-digit.
This could become an offense firework, but Ball State will need some luck to win here.
Spartans win.

Thursday, December 31
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
West Virginia vs Army

@Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
Welcome to the home field of the Memphis Tigers.
This bowl is played since 1959.
Initially this was planned to be West Virginia (5-4) of the Big12 vs Tennessee from the SEC, but the Vols got too many Covid-19 cases on the team, so they had to pull out and Army, who were still puzzled at that time there were left out of a bowl (9-2) were selected as replacement.
The Mountaineers are favored by 7.0 points.
The Black Knights won many games, unfortunate for them most of them were against bad teams or let's say, teams from weaker conferences.
WVU won against TCU and Kansas State and lost against Texas by 4.
Not saying they are a big lock here to win, no, but they are favored for a reason, and they might get through the Army defense like a warm knife hits warm butter.
Army did allow against slightly stronger teams a lot of points, so here against West Virginia ... they might get simply outscored.
I think they will have a hard time scoring enough to stay in the game.
Mountaineers win.

Thursday, December 31
Mercari Texas Bowl
Arkansas vs TCU

@NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Since 2006 this bowl exists and is played in the home stadium of the Houston Texans.
It's a Big12 vs SEC bowl, and we have 2 mid level teams facing off against each other.
With a 6-4 record this is a better record than TCU had last year, but it's far from the regular double-digit wins the program had under the same coach in the years before.
The program did struggle a bit in the 1st few years inside the Big12, but won the conference and a division after some time, but since 2018 they seemed to be a bit cursed.
Maybe they will flourish again next season, this season they did start bad and became better.
They do face an Arkansas Team, which had much better seasons a long time ago and which finished 3-7 under its new HC this season.
The last great season was 2011, which is 5 coaches away from now, including the coach then and now.
It's no surprise TCU did get the favorite role by 4.5 points.
Only one thing is clear, Arkansas will not go down without a fight, if they go down at all.
They did stay in the game for most of their losses, so don't expect TCU to win big here, unless the Razorbacks are so down by their losing streak they will only show up physically.
I'm torn between the TCU which had a good run and a rebuilding Arkansas Team which might get an upset done by a motivating new HC.
But given the fact that TCUs HC has a very good Bowl record, I pick the Horned Frogs as a winner.
Horned Frogs win.

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

@Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
This college football playoffs at-large vs at-large bowl is played since 1968 and is played now inside the new home of the Atlanta Falcons.
It does feature this season the game between one of the at-large teams from the power 5 conference vs the best ranked team from group of 5 conference.
It's not common that the group of 5 team is higher ranked than the power 5 team, but can happen.
Cincinnati did dream of a shot that the semis, but their schedule was too soft and the reputation inside the power 5 teams was too big, I guess.
Another reason they need to expand the playoffs at some point.
The Bearcats won the American conference with a 9-0 record and do face a Georgia team, which did fall behind Florida inside their division and finished 7-2, losing only to later division winner Florida and SEC Champ Alabama.
I'm a bit of surprised the betting line is only Georgia -7.0, I would have made that double-digit, likely 2 scores.
The Bearcats did play very well the whole season, but I'm confident they have a hard time playing Georgia.
For nerds 2 stats, 1st is, 2 American team have played in this CFP bowl and both won.
The 2nd is, the power 5 vs group of 5 matchup is since establishing the CFP 3-3.
I think this will actually a blowout, but you never know.
Bulldogs win.

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

@Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
And the likely last bowl this season in Orlando, the biggest.
The Citrus bowl was established in 1947 and does feature a SEC team vs a Big10 team.
We got Auburn, which had an OK season (6-4), which was still not enough to keep the coach, so they will come under interims coaching.
They found already the HC for next season, so this will be a strange situation for players and coaches.
And we have the Big10-Championship losers Northwestern (6-2), who played very well, but were unable to pull the ultimate upset.
Some say Ohio State is well overrated, which would mean Northwestern is also a bit overrated maybe, since they did almost beat Ohio State.
Some see Ohio State at the right place (likely all Buckeyes fans) and Northwestern might be a great matchup here.
Auburn is actually the 3.5 points underdog here, and I'm willing to go that path, too, because of the circumstances and their bad play in the last few games.
But never underestimate interims coaches, having nothing to lose.
We might see something special, or we see some lets-get-over-this. Don't know.
Overall should Northwestern be in better position to play, with something to prove and no after-the-season-all-change-shadow cast over them. So ....
Wildcats win.

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

@AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The 1st semi-final of the College Football Playoffs and normally this would be played in California, but thanks to the visitors regulations and Covid-19, it was clear no-one would be allowed to attend the game, not even family members, so the bowl guys did break with the tradition and shifted the Rose Bowl, the oldest bowl of all, into Jerry's Cowboys temple.
The Rose Bowl exists since 1902.
This year they should have renamed it to Cemetery bowl, since it will be Notre Dames burial.
Alabama did look perfect throughout the season (11-0), they won the SEC by a mile, and they face a Notre Dame team (10-1) which did lose the ACC Championship game by 24 points against Clemson.
The Crimson Tide did score 49.7 points per game, basically all against SEC teams.
Notre Dame made 35.2 against ACC teams.
Wanna bet on the betting line?
Alabama -20.0!
And you know what?
I think Alabama will crush that.
Crimson Tide win.

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

@Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Much better Semi-Final-matchup, still quite clear, at least for me.
The Sugar Bowl host this 2nd semi, and it is alive since 1935.
Ohio State (6-0) is the Big10-Champ and has a lot to prove from my point of view.
Their championship game was not really dominant, and I think they are not TOP4 this season, but with so few games and no inter-conference games, it's hard to tell.
So they face Clemson (10-1) and likely they are well rested and at full strength as they were when they won the ACC.
They did look like TOP4 and that since loss might be a result of the backup-QB-situation at that time, who knows.
No wonder they are 7.0 point favorites in this game and I think they will crush that line, too.
If Ohio State pulls this upset, it would be a huge surprise.
Tigers win.

'Til next time

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