Movie Quote of the Day:
“Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy.”
– Tony Stark, Iron Man (2008)
Overall record: 109-55 (66.4%)
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No. 18 Houston (12-1) vs. No. 9 Florida State (10-2)
Line: FSU -7
I think this is an intriguing matchup even though it’s not getting much hype. Houston is a very good team and the Cougars are well coached. Tom Herman has done a great job of building a dynamic offense for Houston led by quarterback Greg Ward. Florida State’s defense has been carrying the Seminoles this season, ranking No. 16 in the country. The matchup to watch will be Florida State’s offense against Houston’s defense. Neither side is impressive on those sides of the ball, but this is where the game will be decided. Florida State’s defense is great, but Greg Ward will make plays for Houston. The Cougars will have to find a way to slow down Dalvin Cook to have a good chance of winning. Not many teams have been able to do that this season. I want to pick Houston to get the upset, but I like Jimbo Fisher as a head coach. I’m going with Florida State but Houston will keep it close.
Prediction: Florida State 34, Houston 28
Capital One Orange Bowl – College Football Playoff Semifinal No. 1
No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1) vs. No. 1 Clemson (13-0)
Sun Life Stadium
Line: OKLA -3.5
I used to think Clemson was the best team in the country. The Tigers looked like it prior to when the College Football Playoff rankings came out. This team has looked to be on cruise control in their last five games. Oklahoma has been the polar opposite. The Sooners have got better every week. Baker Mayfield has been exceptional for Oklahoma all season. The matchup of this game will be Clemson’s defense against Oklahoma’s offense. The Tigers have a top 10 defense, but they haven’t played an offense like Oklahoma. The Sooners’ defense is underrated. They have an exceptional pass rush led by linebacker Eric Striker and defensive end Charles Tapper. This tends to be a game where Oklahoma doesn’t show up to play but I think this Oklahoma team is different. Bob Stoops is the better coach. I like the Sooners in a high-scoring game and punch their ticket to Phoenix.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Clemson 33
Goodyear Cotton Bowl – College Football Playoff Semifinal No. 2
No. 3 Michigan State (12-1) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1)
Line: BAMA -10
The biggest question I have for this game: How is Michigan State a 10-point underdog? I don’t think the Spartans are getting enough credit. Both of these teams are similar. They like to establish the run game and play stout defense. The Spartans’ defense isn’t as great as it has been in the past, but it still ranks in the top 25 in the country. Alabama is a one-dimensional team led by Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry at running back. I think Michigan State has the ability to stack the box and dare Jacob Coker to beat them throwing the ball. Alabama also has an exceptional defense, but it hasn’t played a NFL-caliber quarterback all season. Michigan State’s Connor Cook is a future first-round draft pick. Michigan State has the ability to keep Alabama’s defense guessing by having a more balanced attack. I think Mike Dantonio will have the Spartans ready for this game. This will be a great game and I like Michigan State to move on to Phoenix.
Prediction: Michigan State 23, Alabama 20
Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl
No. 8 Notre Dame (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (11-1)
U of Phoenix Stadium
Line: OSU -6.5
This is probably the toughest game for me to pick. Which Ohio State team will show up? The team that has struggled all season, or the team that demolished Michigan? Like everyone else, I don’t know what to expect from the Buckeyes. I’ve said before that I think Notre Dame would’ve been a serious contender in the College Football Playoff if the Irish had been healthy. Ohio State has a ton of talent and those players have been eyeballing the NFL; some have already declared. I don’t think the Buckeyes have the right mindset for this game. I think this gives Notre Dame an edge because I think the Irish actually want to be in this bowl game. Despite all their injuries, Notre Dame was only five points away from having an undefeated season. I think Notre Dame surprises people and wins this game.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Ohio State 28
Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual
No. 6 Stanford (11-2) vs. No. 5 Iowa (12-1)
Line: STAN -6
This is another matchup of similar teams. Like in the Alabama-Michigan State matchup, these teams like to establish the run and play tough defense. Iowa was doubted all season and in the Big Ten Championship, its biggest game of the season, it came very close to winning. I’m sure the Hawkeyes didn’t expect that Michigan State would win the game off a nine-minute touchdown drive. Iowa proved the nation wrong that game and showed they were a good team. I honestly think Stanford is the best team that isn’t in the playoff. The Cardinal are talented and well coached. I think a brutal PAC-12 and out of conference schedule is what prevented Stanford from being in the playoff. I think the Hawkeyes are going to play pissed off after coming up short of winning the Big Ten and clinching a bid to the College Football Playoff. That being said, I think Stanford wins but I think Iowa will keep the game within the spread.
Prediction: Stanford 24, Iowa 23
Allstate Sugar Bowl
No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. No. 12 Ole Miss (9-3)
New Orleans, La.
Line: MISS -7.5
It’s the first meeting of the newly formed Sugar Bowl with Big 12-SEC bids. I used to think Oklahoma State had a great defense but it was torched in its final five games, giving up 216 total points compared to the 132 given up in its first seven games. Ole Miss has the capability to score points, but Chad Kelly had plenty of bad moments this season. The matchup to pay attention to is the Cowboys’ offense against the Rebels’ defense. Oklahoma State has a pretty good air attack led by quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington. Ole Miss has a great defense but has been inconsistent. Both of these teams are well coached and I think the Cowboys are the better team despite their skid in their final two games. I think this will be another great game and I’m going with Oklahoma State.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 37, Ole Miss 31
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