Bowl Games supercharge college football season

Tristan Hughes ’19, Business & Ad Manager

Back in 1902, there was only one bowl game, the Rose Bowl. Since then, 40 more bowl games have been added. Among these 41 games, the biggest six of them are played on New Year’s which are called the New Year’s Six (NY6). These big bowl games are the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Peach Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl.

Each year, the top four football teams in the nation compete in the college football playoffs. The one and four seed teams face off in one bowl game, and the two and three seeds faceoff in another. The NY6 games all rotate to be the semi-final bowl games each year. The winners of each then face off in the college football national championship. The four NY6 games that are not part of the playoffs in any given year are filled by the next best eight college football teams.

This year, the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl have the pleasure of hosting the college football playoff semi-finals.

The Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1)

This year, the Big 12 Champion team, Oklahoma, has won the pleasure of being annihilated by the unstoppable SEC champions, Alabama. Alabama is undeniably the best team in college football. With an impressive undefeated season, they won their games by an average of 33.1 points. The only team that came close to taking down the titan that is Alabama was Georgia in the SEC championship. This is not to say that Oklahoma has absolutely no chance though. They have come out on top, in big fashion, in the majority of their games this year. Led by Heisman trophy finalist,  junior quarterback Kyler Murray, the Sooners offense is averaging 8.9 yards a play. Without a doubt, this will be one of the best postseason games this year.

The Cotton Bowl:  No. 2 Clemson (13-0) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0)

On the other side of the College football playoffs is the two seed Clemson Tigers facing off against the three-seed Notre Dame. Both of these teams have had fantastic seasons, ending undefeated. Clemson did so in a decisive manner, winning the majority of their games by 20 points or more. Notre Dame had much closer games throughout their season, but beat some great programs like (7) Michigan. This game will likely be much closer than the Orange Bowl as these two teams seem to be a more appropriate matchup for one another. The Cotton Bowl will definately be one to watch.

The Sugar Bowl: Texas (9-4) vs. Georgia  (11-2)

These two teams could not make the cut for the playoffs but definitely deserve recognition for their great seasons. The Texas Longhorns were the second best team in the Big-12. They took a tough loss to Oklahoma in the PAC-12 title game, but they are still a force to be reckoned with. Despite their 9-4 record, they are a strong team with a powerful offense led by junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Georgia on the other hand, was the only team that came close to taking down the powerhouse Alabama. Only losing to the giant by seven points, Georgia is a favorite to win the Sugar Bowl. This game will be an interesting matchup between two great offenses.

The Fiesta Bowl: UCF (12-0) vs. LSU (9-3)

In this years Fiesta Bowl, there is a good matchup between the undefeated University of Central Florida (UCF) and Louisiana State University (LSU). UCF had another fantastic season, putting up big numbers against their opponents. Led by junior quarterback Mckenzie Milton, UCF is looking for their third NY6 bowl win in the last five years. LSU has had a great season beating big names like (5) Georgia by 20 points. The LSU tigers are continuing their now 18-year streak of bowl game appearances. These two teams are a great matchup, and the game could go either way.

The Rose Bowl: Ohio State (12-1) vs. Washington (10-3)

The Rose Bowl this year is between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Washington Huskies. Ohio State has had another impressive year, falling only to the Purdue Boilermakers. Led by their retiring head coach, Urban Meyer, the team hopes to win one more bowl game with their legendary head coach. The Buckeyes had a very on and off season but managed to come out on top in all but one, including a huge win against the University of Michigan 62-39. The Huskies had a surprisingly impressive season, failing to come out on top only three times. Even though this game will likely end in a Buckeye victory, it will be a riveting broadcast  to watch.

The Peach Bowl: Michigan (10-2) vs. Florida (9-3)

The last of the NY6 games, the Peach Bowl, features the Michigan Wolverines and the Florida Gators. Michigan had a great season this year led by head coach Jim Harbaugh. They had a disappointing loss to Ohio State late in the season; however, the team has been rock solid all year long. Harbaugh, on the topic of bouncing back after losing to Ohio State, said, “We’ve overcome every adversity and nothing changes. It just means the work isn’t done.Michigan has lost their last two bowl game appearances, but hopes to turn that around this year. The Florida Gators have had a solid season this year beating difficult teams like LSU. They have a solid defensive line up and hope to shut down the Wolverine offense this Peach Bowl.

The RedBox Bowl: Michigan State (7-5) vs. Oregon (8-4)

This year Michigan State had a disappointing season, winning only seven of their games, landing them in the RedBox bowl against Oregon. They hope to close out this season on a positive note with a bowl game win against the Ducks. Oregon, on the other hand, had a decent season winning eight games and losing four. This game is a toss-up between these two teams and will be an interesting game to watch. The RedBox bowl will air at 3 p.m on Dec. 31

Bowl games have been a staple of American culture for close to a century. The top college football teams face off in epic fashion to finish off their season. As sports enthusiast senior and hockey player Connor Hudgens said, “No matter what college team you root for, these games are among the most exciting of the year.”
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

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