Happy New Year! As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
Friday, January 1
11:00: Northwestern vs. Auburn (Outback Bowl @ Tampa, FL; ESPN): Well, I would ordinarily say I’m surprised by this matchup – I didn’t think NU had much of a chance of going to a New Year’s Day bowl, and like everyone else I was surprised when Auburn got picked to go to this game. Auburn will probably take advantage of Northwestern’s QB Kafka’s general ennui to pull ahead and win this game.
Previous meetings: I’m not entirely surprised, but it’s still a little weird that these teams have never met, despite playing football since 1892 and 1902, respectively.
Last bowl game: Northwestern lost to Mizzou 30-23 in last year’s Alamo Bowl. Auburn was last seen in the Chick-fil-a Bowl in 2007, where they beat the Orange and Purple Tigers 23-20.
- Florida State vs. West Virginia (Gator Bowl @ Jacksonville, FL; CBS): FSU may come out and punch WVU in the mouth, but after that I just don’t think this version of FSU has the defense to be able to keep up with West Virginia’s offense. Could be high scoring, though.
Previous meetings: The 1981/82 and 2004/2005 Gator Bowls, both of which FSU won.
Last bowl game: FSU decisively won last year’s Champs Sports Bowl over Wisconsin, 42-13, and some of you may recall Pat White rallying WVU to last year’s 31-30 win over UNC in the Car Care Bowl.
- Louisiana State vs. Pennsylvania State (Capital One Bowl @ Orlando, FL; ABC): I just checked, and apparently I did pick LSU for this game, and I have to say three glasses of champagne are making me question why. I’m guessing LSU’s general incompetence at managing a football game will be counter-balanced by the fact that Penn State lost to the only two good teams they played all year and have been massively overrated since.
Previous meeting: The only other meeting between these two was the 1974 Orange Bowl, which Penn State won 16-9.
Last bowl game: It says here LSU won last year’s Chick-fil-a Bowl 38-3 over Georgia Tech, which is funny because I can’t seem to remember that at all. I guess the site’s just wrong. Anyway, Penn State lost last year’s Rose Bowl 38-24 to USC.
5:00: Ohio State vs. Oregon (Rose Bowl @ Pasadena, CA; ABC): Ohio State has managed to perform better since being upset by Purdue, but I still think this offense isn’t really where it should be. Oregon, meanwhile, is firing on all cylinders and I frankly don’t think they will have many problems scoring on Ohio State here.
Previous meetings: These two teams’ first meeting was actually the 1957/58 Rose Bowl, which Ohio State won. In fact, Ohio State has won all of the games in this series, the last contest being a regular season matchup in 1987. Overall, OSU is 7-0.
Last bowl game: Ohio State lost to Texas in the Fiesta Bowl last year, 24-21. (As you probably know by now, even with OSU’s general run of success as of late, they haven’t made it to Pasadena since 1996/1997.) Oregon beat Oklahoma State in last year’s Holiday Bowl 42-31.
8:00: Florida vs. Cincinnati (Sugar Bowl @ New Orleans, LA; FOX): I still expect this game to be reasonably close, though when I originally did my predictions I think Brian Kelly was still at Cincy and UF had no particular reason to rally around their coach after what could only be called a disappointing season for the Gators. Circumstances have changed, and I think Florida will still win, but probably by more than three.
Previous meeting: The only previous meeting was a 48-17 Florida win back in 1984.
Last bowl game: Florida won last year’s BCS Title Game over Oklahoma 24-14. Cincinnati lost to VPI in the Orange Bowl 20-7.
Corrections Dept.: Apologies to the Air Force defense, which apparently had the best pass defense in the country and showed it off in their win over Missou.