Depending upon who you listen to, either this year’s Fiesta Bowl match between Ohio State (13-0) and Clemson (13-0) is the true national championship or the championship will be decided on January 11, 2020 at the Superdome between two teams to be named later.
Our system says it’s the Fiesta Bowl since Ohio State and Clemson finished 1-2 in our final season rankings.
CBS Sports agrees.
Sports Illustrated does not.
That leads us to the inert compulsion to tell S.I. and others to go CFP-committee themselves. Instead, we’ll wait three weeks for results to expose the 40-watt analysts in 100-watt circuits.
Before this modern world—you know, the one of fake meat, cannabis for your pets, and facial distortion for your Snap-Chat—we had the BCS. Yes, it was disturbing enough to be called the “Big Confusion System” but at least the folks of Ohio State might have been voted into the final game and not have to putter with this ill-seeded semi-final thing.
Anyway, the Buckeyes are picked by our Index to win, 31-30. That is not a slam on Clemson because the Tigers were picked by our system to beat Alabama in last January’s final.
LSU (13-0) will sweep into the championship game with a double-digit win over Oklahoma (12-1). Our projections are for a 41-27 final.
In other bowl games involving ranked teams, #9 Alabama (10-2) should win the Citrus Bowl over #16 Michigan (9-3) by five points; #15 Auburn (9-3) is a 28-24 choice over #17 Minnesota (10-2) in the Outback Bowl; #5 Georgia (11-2) has an identical advantage over #20 Baylor (11-2) in the Sugar Bowl; and, #12 Penn State (10-2) is a precarious 33-28 choice over #13 Memphis (12-1) in the Cotton Bowl.
In the only predicted upset, our Index sees North Carolina (6-6) as a 31-24 choice to take down Temple (8-4) in the Quick Lane Bowl. .
If you’re looking to bet against the Vegas odds, look no farther than the Potato Bowl where Ohio (6-6) will beat the -7.5 spread against Nevada (7-5).
Keep an eye on the First Responder Bowl, not because Western Kentucky or Western Michigan are anything important, but to see if the game is even played. Last year’s FR Bowl was canceled because of lightning. Apparently, not even God wanted to see Boston College in a bowl game.
For PAC-12 bowl teams . . .
Arizona State (7-5) is a narrow choice over Florida State (6-6) with the caution that Florida State has been rising steadily since Willie Taggart was fired.
Illinois (6-6) has its first bowl game of the last half-decade and is expected to make the most of it in a 27-24 win over California (7-5) in the Redbox Bowl. The ball-hawking Fighting Illini will be more than gracious in accepting the ball from turnover-prone Cal. Oddsmakers prefer Cal by seven points.
The Holiday Bowl might be much the same as #18 Iowa (9-3) benefits from #23 USC (8-4) and it’s 114th ranking for lost turnovers. The Hawkeyes are projected to win 27-21.
No amount of new defensive coordinators will save Texas (7-5) from a 33-24 loss at the hands of #10 Utah (11-2) in the Alamo Bowl.
In the Cheez-it Bowl, #25 Air Force (10-2) will literally run Washington State’s (6-6) anemic defense ragged in a 31-28 win.
Oddsmakers favor #19 Wisconsin (10-3) by three over #6 Oregon (11-2) in the Rose Bowl but our system sees Oregon with greater momentum in a 35-27 Oregon win.
The rest of our 30 bowl predictions are shown below. (We published ten previous bowl predictions last week.)
Our bowl predictions last year were excellent, at least if compared to thumbless dart throwers in 40-watt arcades. Like the bowl-predicting marketplace in general, our accuracy dropped from the regular season. But, our off-season was filled with tests and recalibrations and we blissfully imagine we’ll nail all of this season’s bowl predictions.
To see all 30 of our bowl predictions, visit us here.