Canceled bowls everywhere. The Holiday Bowl was canceled almost at kickoff time. The Fenway Bowl was canceled (who wanted to see a football game in Fenway Park anyway?). The Arizona Bowl, another useless football-in-a-baseball-stadium-just-for-the-fun-of-it game, had a $350,000 payout. When “The U” landed in El Paso for the $4.3 million Sun Bowl, they found out they were yet another team with too many COVID kids. The next day, Boise State pulls out of the Arizona Bowl. Central Michigan, Boise’s opponent, jumps to take Miami’s spot in the much richer Sun Bowl. Some science nerd or humanities surveyor is going to get the next project funded thanks to this increased payout. Nicely done. On to this week’s (much bigger) bowl matchups.

12/31/2021   

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Wake Forest (10-3) vs. Rutgers – Texas A&M also had a COVID outbreak that forced them to withdraw. Wake Forest, having had one of the 5 best seasons in program history, was not about to accept a forfeit. They made a bunch of calls and ended up bringing in… 5-7 Rutgers. Greg Schiano is back there after flopping in the NFL and hanging around for a few years. They seem to be trending slightly up, but the only offenses they have seen on this level are Ohio State and Michigan. They’ll hang around, but there’s not enough to pull the upset. Wake Forest 27, The State University of New Jersey 20

Tony the Tiger Bowl, El Paso, Central Michigan (8-4) vs. Wash. State (7-5) – As outlined above, Central Michigan managed to go from a $350,000 bowl to a $4.3 million bowl. Even if they get blown out, it’s a big victory for the school. The Pac 12 is a step up in competition from the MAC, which will probably hurt them. Still, you gotta love how they maneuvered this mess. WSU 23, CMU 20

Cotton Bowl, Arlington TX, (1) Alabama vs. (4) Cincinnati – There are many people who are so sick of ‘Bama, Clempson, and Ohio State dominating the playoff games that they really want to find a way for Cincy to pull the mammoth upset. Right now, in my view, the only true miracle of the season is Texas A&M managing to beat ‘Bama. I would dearly love the upset as well, but I just can’t rid myself of the vision of my Auburn fan worst-case scenario coming to fruition again. The Evil Empire 31, Cincinnati 20

Orange Bowl, Miami, (2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia – Those same feelings about Cincy are present around Michigan as well. Once again, my inner Auburn fan refuses to believe that I will be spared of yet another game between the 2 teams Auburn hates the most. Big Ol’ Hairy Dawgs 19, Mee-she-gan 10

01/01/2022

Outback Bowl, Tampa, Penn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4) – Both of these teams had two completely different seasons within this 1 season. I think the Hogs have a little more offensively. Pigs 23 Penn State 17

Fiesta Bowl, Glendale AZ, (5) Notre Dame vs. (9) Oklahoma State – The Irish have a new coach after the old one fled for LSU and told his bosses through text. The new coach is the former defensive coordinator, who the team absolutely loves. They should be very highly motivated and probably have a little more in the tank than Mike Gundy’s squad, who have been inconsistent in big games. Irish 24, Cowboys 14

Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Iowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3) – Kentucky should already have 10 wins, but the refs were pretty much wearing Rocky Top Orange in that last SEC game. The big surprise this year has been Kentucky’s offense, which continues to improve under Mark Stoops. Iowa wilted under a suffocating defense in the B1G title game. Shouldn’t be as big of a problem here, although I don’t think they have the firepower needed to take down Kentucky. Briars 30 I-o-way 20

Rose   Bowl, Pasadena CA, (6) Ohio State vs. (11) Utah – I’d take OSU by 30, except have the team has opted out. This is another one with a track meet feel. I think OSU pulls it out late. Fightin’ Nuts 37, Utes 30

Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, (7) Baylor vs. (8) Ole Miss – This should be a lot of fun. One of the country’s best defenses tries to shut down one of the best offenses. I’m sure it will go down to the wire. In the end, I’m giving the nod to the defense. Baylor 23, Misipi 20

01/04/2022   

Texas Bowl, Houston, Kansas State (7-5) vs. LSU (6-6) – It still mystifies me why there is always one 4th-tier bowl game played between the New Year’s bowls and the national championship. The only reason to watch this one is to see if Brian Kelly is coaching and what they might do. They’ll probably do just enough. LSU 24, KSU 13            

Last week’s record: 9-4

Season: 117-44

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