The college football season is over, but for the traditional Army vs. Navy game. Bowls have been slotted. Here are the five best games not affiliated with the College Football Playoff.
Orange Bowl: No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida State
Michigan should have won the Big Ten but did not take care of business. FSU was not quite as good as Clemson and quit against Louisville. Two big-time college football brands. Two big-time coaches. Two big-time rosters with NFL-bound players. Not a lot of history between them. Only two meetings ever. This is the first in the last 25 years.
Citrus Bowl: No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville
Two capable, talented, but ultimately disappointing teams. Bobby Petrino against his former SEC foe. Lamar Jackson against LSU’s defense. Charismatic CEO Coach O against an elite game-planning head coach. The outcome is uncertain. There are reasons to tune in.
Music City Bowl: Nebraska vs. No. 21 Tennessee
Nebraska and Tennessee are two explosive, erratic teams that deployed little in the way of “game control.” The Cornhuskers have to regroup after getting tattooed by Ohio State and Iowa at season’s end. The Vols, appointment viewing all season, must overcome costing themselves a Sugar Bowl trip by losing to South Carolina and Vandy. Should be fun.
Alamo Bowl: No. 12 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Colorado
Both Oklahoma State and Colorado were good, but not that good. Both are lingering around the Top 15 because there’s no one else to put there. One will remain. Both teams can spring big plays and put up points. The Alamo Bowl tends to produce shootouts.
Bahamas Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion
With 80 teams reaching bowl play, it’s hard to find situations where “reaching a bowl game” means something. We have no idea what the football spectacle will be like. But, Eastern Michigan got here after students and faculty asked for the team to be disbanded. Old Dominion got here with a program that began in 2009. Visiting the Bahamas is far better than Shreveport or Detroit.