Saturday, Dec. 31
No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville
11 a.m., ABC
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
If you have time prior to your New Year’s Eve/College Football Playoff plans, definitely check this one out. Louisville was the media’s darling throughout the season, and were salivated over with the hopes Heisman winner Lamar Jackson would lead the Cardinals to the playoffs. LSU, on the other hand, dropped out of the top five immediately after losing to Wisconsin in week one and would ultimately fire coach Les Miles a few weeks later. The Tigers did find its footing on offense under interim and now-permanent head coach Ed Orgeron, while Louisville’s offense began to slump once defenses figured out how to neutralize Jackson’s ground attack and force him to stay in the pocket.
Prediction: LSU- 38, Louisville- 30
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
11 a.m., ESPN
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.
In case the Citrus Bowl turns out to be lopsided, this will at least serve as a backup to lead into the playoffs. After the wheels came apart in 2015 for Georgia Tech, they have fought back to respectability, while it’s always an accomplishment for Kentucky to make its way to bowl eligibility in the SEC.
Prediction: Georgia Tech- 31, Kentucky- 21
College Football Playoff semifinal- Peach Bowl
No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama
3 p.m., ESPN
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Alabama has been crowned as the nation’s number one team with a bullet in 2016 after annihilating the SEC all season as well as USC in week one. Washington hasn’t been given much of a chance, but have proven great in all three phases of the game. This game has the feel of the Huskies keeping things even going into the third quarter before Alabama’s defense takes control and helps the Tide take control.
Prediction: Alabama- 41, Washington- 20
College Football Playoff semifinal- Fiesta Bowl
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson
7 p.m., ESPN
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
This game has been widely declared as the best of the bowl season, and should live up to its billing. Both teams have the ability to look like potential national champions at times, yet each have been inconsistent on offense in certain weeks that forced them to squeak by less-than-stellar competition. Both also have had recent postseason success and now how to handle themselves in big moments- Ohio State came out of nowhere in 2014 to ultimately win the national championship with upsets over Alabama and Oregon, while Clemson was a few plays away from taking down the Crimson Tide in last season’s national title game.
Prediction: Ohio State- 31, Clemson- 28
Monday, Jan. 2
No. 17 Florida vs. Iowa
1 p.m., ABC
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
This seems destined to be the lowest scoring game of the bowl schedule. Florida continues to have one of the nation’s best defenses each year while struggling to put up points. Iowa seemed to be destined for a disappointing season until turning things around in November with upsets against Michigan and Nebraska.
Prediction: Iowa- 16, Florida 13
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
1 p.m., ESPN
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Western Michigan will try to finish the season undefeated as one of the best MAC teams in recent memory. It won’t be an easy task against Wisconsin, which has the nation’s best defense outside of Tuscaloosa. Western Michigan’s high-flying offense may find some production against the Badgers, but probably don’t have the defense necessary to pull off an upset of this level.
Prediction: Wisconsin- 38, Western Michigan- 20
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
No. 9 USC vs. No. 5 Penn State
5 p.m., ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
You all know what’s up. Check out the full preview and prediction here.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma
8:30 p.m., ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
All in all, a pretty good nightcap to wrap things up until the national championship game on Jan. 9. Both teams played their best football down the stretch to redeem themselves after a 1-2 start. This could turn out to be a back-and-forth affair, with Auburn moving the ball on the ground while Baker Mayfield and the Sooners light things up with a strong aerial attack.
Prediction: Oklahoma- 42, Auburn- 34