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December 27, 2016
By Will Karmin, North Shore Country Day
As Winter Break settles in, so does the best season in all of sports:college football bowl season! With 42 different bowl games taking place that started December 17, there should be plenty of football to entertain you throughout winter break. There is sure to be an endless stream of upsets,heartbreaks,surprises along with shock and exhilaration. While there are 42 bowl games, this article will feature predictions on the Pinstripe Bowl and the New Year’s six bowl games.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Wednesday, December 28 2:00 PM (EST)
Yankee Stadium, New York NY
#23 Pittsburgh (ACC) Vs Northwestern (B10)
86% of ESPN Bowl Mania participants have chosen Pittsburgh (Pitt) to win. While this is a huge number, it is mainly because of Pitt’s fanbase significantly outnumbering Northwestern’s. The spread only started at Pitt -3. Pitt finished the season 8-4, with impressive wins over both Penn State (#5) and Clemson (#2). They beat teams by torching them with their dynamic offense. They average 42.3 PPG and have an explosive quarterback in Nathan Peterman and running back, James Conner. On the other side, Northwestern finished the season 6-6. With the best win coming at Iowa. Northwestern started the season slow with losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State, but NU has started to pick up the slack. They have a dynamic trio on offense with Clayton Thorson, Justin Jackson, and Austin Carr. Northwestern also has a stout defense featuring Anthony Walker, Ifeadi Odenigbo and Godwin Igwebuike. Though I am impartial to Northwestern, NU will beat Pitt and finish the season on a much higher note than it began.
Prediction: Northwestern 31, Pittsburgh 28
Rose Bowl Game
Monday, January 2 5:00 PM (EST)
Rose Bowl, Pasadena CA
#9 USC (PAC-12) Vs #5 Penn State (B10)
The 2017 Rose Bowl is one of the best bowl games as it features two NCAA powerhouses, USC and Penn State. These are two of the hottest teams in all of college football as USC has won 8 consecutive games while Penn State has won 9 straight. USC is led by QB Sam Arnold, Cornerbacks, Adoree’ Jackson and Iman Marshall, and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster. They have beaten #4 Washington, #10 Colorado and Notre Dame, which is never an easy task. Penn State, on the other hand, is led by QB Trace Mcsorley, RB Saquon Barkley and WR DaeSean Hamilton. Their nine straight wins consist of #3 Ohio State and #8 Wisconsin. Penn State is riding on cloud nine right now, but look for USC to stack the box and force Trace Mcsorley to throw into USC’s shutdown cornerbacks. USC will win this game, and I will not be surprised if they win big.
Prediction: USC 28, Penn State 20
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Monday, January 2 8:30 PM (EST)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans LA
Auburn (#14) vs Oklahoma (#7)
The Sugar Bowl features an intriguing matchup as Gus Malzahn’s terrifying Auburn defense will be tested with Oklahoma’s incredible offense. Oklahoma’s offense features the best trio at QB,RB and WR in the nation. With Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Dede Westbrook, not many teams are able to stop this offense. Auburn certainly will not be able to stop it.
Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Auburn 17
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Monday, January 2 1:00 PM (EST)
AT&T Stadium, Arlington TX
Western Michigan (#15) vs Wisconsin (#8)
The Cotton Bowl is an interesting matchup as Wisconsin (10-3) faces Western Michigan (13-0). Wisconsin does not have very much offense, as they have a lacking pass game (that is generous to say the least), but a very good running back in Corey Clement. Wisconsin’s defense is what really makes this team as it is a top five defense in the country. Western Michigan has a great QB-WR combo in Zach Terrell and Corey Davis. Western Michigan has beaten one bowl eligible team in a power conference, Northwestern on a controversial finish with Northwestern’s offense rolled by Wisconsin.
Prediction: Wisconsin 28, Western Michigan 10
Capital One Orange Bowl
Friday, December 30 8:00 PM (EST)
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami FL
Michigan (#6) vs Florida State (#11)
The Orange Bowl consists of two traditional NCAA powerhouses with Michigan and Florida State. Michigan won its first ten games of the season with wins over #8 and #10 Wisconsin and Colorado, respectively. They then hit a bump in the road when they lost a “trap game” to Iowa on the road and then lost a heartbreaker at Ohio State. Michigan is led with a defense that is comprised of ten seniors, with the only junior being Jabrill Peppers. This could very well be the best defense in college football. On the other hand, Florida State is led by running back Dalvin Cook and freshman quarterback, Deondre Francois. Michigan believes the Wolverines should have made the college football playoff: they will come out angry.
Prediction: Michigan 27, Florida State 10
Playstation Fiesta Bowl
Saturday, December 31 7:00 PM (EST)
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale AZ
Ohio State (#2) Vs. Clemson (#3)
Ohio State comes off a huge win versus Michigan to face off against a Clemson team that just beat Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship. The two quarterbacks in this game are among the best in all of college football as J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), and Deshaun Watson (Clemson) will go toe to toe. This game will be high scoring, and potentially the best game of the bowl season. In the end, Ohio State’s defense will make enough plays, and while J.T. Barrett will struggle throwing the ball against a ferocious Clemson secondary, look for Barrett to beat Clemson by getting yhr bulk of his yards running the ball. Ohio State will plan designed runs for Barrett, and this in the end should be enough to set up a shot to win the title.
Prediction: Ohio State 45, Clemson 38
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Saturday, December 31 3:00 PM (EST)
Georgia Dome, Atlanta GA
Alabama (#1) Vs Washington (#4)
This playoff game is projected to be a blowout, and I agree. Alabama has had a historically dominant season as the Crimson Tide has overpowered opponents on all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. The team is led by freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts, receiver Calvin Ridley and defensive end, Jonathan Allen. Washington, led by sensational quarterback Jake Browning, has had a very respectable season, as the team has had just one loss. There was much controversy over who should have claimed the fourth seed of the playoffs. Washington may have had the best resume over Michigan and Penn State, but many project that Washington will have the worst chance of the three to defeat Alabama. Washington is the sixteen point underdog, and I will be impressed if the team can keep it that close. Roll Tide
Prediction: Alabama 38, Washington 17
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