By Chris Carlson
The bowl season has returned as we make are way to Saturday’s National Semifinals and find out who will meet in the Championship on January 7th. Bowl matchups are hard to predict and betting on them can be frustrating. The long gap in time between games can expose some offensive systems. Coaching and suspension play an important role as well. Let’s hope this bowl season goes out with a loud and obnoxious bang.
#1 Alabama vs. #4 Oklahoma: As if Alabama needed another reason to be motivated to win yet another National Championship. Sooners signal caller Kyler Murray winning the Heisman Trophy only adds more fire to the eternal flame burning inside of the best program in the country. Point blank, Alabama is just a better overall team then Oklahoma and it will take a small miracle to erase something that seems already written in stone.
Not only does the Crimson Tide’s offensive output equal to the Oklahoma juggernaut, Alabama’s defense put’s OU’s ‘D’ to shame. Early turnovers that lead to touchdowns is a must for Oklahoma to win this uphill climb along with Tua showing flashbacks of the SEC title game versus Georgia is the only way the Sooners stand a chance.
The Pick: Alabama 44 Oklahoma 27
#2 Clemson vs. #3 Notre Dame: The Clemson Tigers return to familiar territory only one victory away for a trip to the National Title. The Irish return to prominence is centered on the switch to QB Ian Book and the return of a quality defense. This hack-of-a-scribe fully expects the Irish will fight tooth and nail well into the second half. Clemson’s talent advantage and big game experience throughout their roster will make up for suspended defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence. This season Notre Dame had a knack for pulling out close games by finishing strong so no one should count them out. Clemson’s ball control running game mixed with deep shots will be too much to handle for Notre Dame.
The Pick: Clemson 34 Notre Dame 24
Under The Radar
#6 Ohio State vs. #9 Washington: Both of these squads probably wanted to keep playing football instead of waiting to face one another, consider the way each team closed the season. The Buckeyes limped in to their matchup against Michigan but somehow smoked the Wolverines. The Huskies dropped a game to Auburn and looked like an underachiever well into the season but still managed to right the ship by taking the Pac-12 crown. Urban Meyer’s exit from coaching will be the determining factor and ultimately the motivation to put Ohio State over the hump.
The Pick: Ohio State 34 Washington 30
#14 Kentucky will ground and pound the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions in to submission spoiling Penn State’s QB Trace McSorley last start.
#24 Iowa State #13 Washington State: Las Vegas has this one close so pay attention to this Big-12 vs. Pac-12 burner. The Cyclones defense is good enough to contain the Cougar’s offense especially with the extra bowl game practices. WSU can’t be happy with the way their sensational season came to an abrupt ending.
#17 Utah vs. #22 Northwestern: The Utes under Coach Wittingham are an astonishing 11-1 during bowl season but Northwestern won’t be a pushover, so look for this Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup to be a throwback-bruiser.
Against The Spread
#15 Texas is rightfully so the underdog against #5 Georgia but the Longhorns will cover those 13-points in a closer than expected loss.
#22 Northwestern may not beat #17 Utah but they will cover as a 7-point underdog.
Take it to the bank Stanford will defeat Pittsburgh by more than 5.5 points.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio