Tis' the most wonderful time of the year for college football: Bowl season. The biggest bowl games outside of the college football playoffs take place this weekend with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Chic Fil A Peach Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl all kicking off. Here's how each matchup looks.
ONE37pm's College Football Bowl Games Preview and Predictions
All State Sugar Bowl: (7) Baylor vs. (8) Ole Miss
The Baylor Bears are traditionally known for their high-flying passing attack and putting up major numbers in the points column. The 2021 Bears run the ball effectively and play hard-nosed defense. Baylor running back Abram Smith has 1,400 yards rushing, averages 6.2 yards per carry, and has 12 touchdowns on the ground.
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and company have been putting up a ridiculous 500 yards per game and averaging 35.9 points per game. Coral has cooled off this season after looking like a Heisman front-runner early on, but he's still had a good season with over 30 total touchdowns. This game will likely come down to whether or not Baylor's defense can stop the Rebels offense. Baylor's only given up 19.2 points per game to the Rebels' 25 per game. In the end, Baylor comes out on top by controlling the clock with their run game.
Baylor 30, Ole Miss 27
Chic fil A Peach Bowl: (10) Michigan State vs. (12) Pitt
Both the Michigan State Spartans and the Pittsburgh Panthers have been pleasant surprises this past season.
The Spartans spent most of their season relying on elite running back Kenneth Walker III, while Pitt spent most of their season depending on Heisman candidate quarterback Kenny Pickett. Both Walker and Pickett have opted out, and neither will appear in the bowl game. The Spartans defense is giving up 25.7 points per game, while Pitt is letting up only 23.1. With each team's best player missing, Pitt is potentially the better team on paper. However, without Pickett, there's a slight chance they'll beat a team like Michigan State. It'll be close, but expect Michigan State to edge out Pitt.
Michigan State 26, Pitt 23
Playstation Fiesta Bowl (5) Notre Dame vs. (9) Oklahoma State
Notre Dame and Oklahoma State were both so close to making the college football playoffs but will instead face one another in what's expected to be a great game. Unfortunately for the Fighting Irish, running back Kyren Williams and safety Kyle Hamilton won't be present for the game. Luckily for the Irish defense, they've played plenty of games without all-star safety Hamilton. Oklahoma State comes in with one of the best defenses in the entire country, surrendering only 273 yards per game and a hair under 17 points per game. The Irish defense isn't far behind as they're only giving up 18.3 points per game. This game likely comes down to which team can get something positive going offensively. The Irish being without Williams will prove monumental, and quarterback Jack Coan will have to step up big time in his absence. Oklahoma State's run game has been good, with Jaylen Warren having over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. However, their quarterback play has been awful, which will be the difference in the game.
Notre Dame 24, Oklahoma State 19
Rose Bowl (6) Ohio State vs. (11) Utah
Ohio State has a host of players that have chosen to opt-out of the Rose Bowl on Saturday, including ace wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Both defenses give up a shade under 20 points per game. On the other hand, Ohio State has the best offense in the country, averaging 500+ yards and 45 points per game, while Utah is putting up 35.5 points per game. This game comes down to which team can stop the run better because both teams have elite run games. In the end, the absences of Wilson and Olave prove to be too much.
Utah 30, Ohio State 27