Rose Bowl: It’s the 100th edition of college football’s greatest game. Who better to present it than VIZIO? Manball? MANBALL. Michigan State finished ahead of Stanford in the polls, which says about all you need to know about the polls. The Cardinal went 11-2 against arguably the nation’s toughest schedule. Stanford had eight Top 30 SRS wins, to Michigan State’s one. The Spartans have reached their first Rose Bowl since 1988. But, they will be playing without senior leader Max Bullough. The Big Ten has lost nine of its last 10 Rose Bowl appearances.
Fiesta Bowl: Opulence. This trophy has it. The Fiesta Bowl had to jump on the UCF grenade. Baylor gets $3.6m for playing in this one, which may just cover the travel expenses and unsold tickets. UCF, with tougher logistics, may end up seven figures in the red. UCF had seven one-score wins. Baylor beat five conference opponents by 20 or more points. The Bears are 16.5-point favorites. This may be the last college game for Blake Bortles, who looks set to be drafted too high in the first round.
B1G vs. SEC Challenge
Capital One Bowl: Steve Spurrier was in vintage form at media day. At pregame festivities he was a master of disguise. We’ll see how he does during the game. This may be the Big Ten’s best hope for a marquee win beyond Ohio State. Wisconsin has a potent rushing attack going against a young South Carolina front. The Gamecocks have a strong, consistent run defense facing a line that struggled against the better units the faced.
Outback Bowl: Iowa bounced back to 8-4 against a tough Big Ten schedule. LSU lost gut-wrenching field-goal games at Georgia and at Ole Miss to finish 9-3. LSU is starting freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings. He’s facing off against an Iowa defense that finished in the Top 10 in yards/play. With Miles gripping the hand break, this one could get very B1G very quickly. In true Schembechler fashion, the Mad Hatter has lost three of his last four bowl games.
Gator Bowl: A rematch from last year. Neither team is as good. Both teams finished 8-4. Georgia was devastated by injuries. Nebraska was fortunate to finish as strongly as they did. 4-0 in one-score games. No Wisconsin or Ohio State on the schedule. The Bulldogs have had key players suffer from a stomach virus. Expect turnovers. Georgia was 97th nationally in turnover margin. Nebraska was 121st.
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Because the Metroplex needed one more bowl game. UNLV vs. North Texas…anyone?…Bueller?…cool.