New Year’s Six Bowl Game Previews

After months of controversy and debate, the final four teams are set to play in this year’s College Football Playoff. #1 Georgia will play #4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl, and #2 Michigan will play #3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Debate

Coming out of Conference Championship Weekend, there were realistically six teams that still had a chance even if it was very small. Those teams were Georgia, Michigan, TCU, USC, Ohio State, and Alabama. The Committee chose Georgia, Michigan, TCU, and Ohio State in that order. And that order sparked lots of controversy. TCU was number three going into the BIG12 Championship, proceeded to lose to a three loss Kansas State team, and got into the Playoff at number three. The argument that Ohio State should have jumped TCU is valid in my opinion, as we all know who would be favored if the two teams played at a neutral site. I think the only reason the Committee didn’t swap Ohio State and TCU is because they wanted to set the stage for a possible Ohio State and Michigan National Championship. The counter argument here is if that’s the case, why not guarantee the matchup in the first round? The answer is that ESPN could reach ridiculous viewership numbers on a Michigan and Ohio State rematch in the National Championship, and that possibility is a risk worth taking. In simpler terms, the answer is money. Another effect of swapping Ohio State and TCU would have been a practical bye for Georgia to the National Championship. Georgia is the strongest of the four teams, and TCU is the weakest. By setting up a Georgia and Ohio State game in the first round, we will have two more competitive games, and the potential for a Ohio State and Michigan National Championship.

The New Year’s Six Bowl Games
Peach Bowl(CFP Semifinal)
#1 Georgia vs. #4 Ohio State
December 31st, 8 PM ET

This year’s Peach Bowl will mark the second all-time meeting between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Out of the three teams that Georgia could face, most can agree that Ohio State poses the biggest threat due to their stacked WR room, and star quarterback C.J. Stroud. Ohio State probably got a boost of confidence when LSU threw for 500 yards against the Georgia secondary in the SEC Championship game. Another key factor here is that when this game is played, Ohio State will have not played since Nov. 26, when they got slaughtered by Michigan at home. Ohio State will be healthy, and they will be ready to play for 60 minutes. Given that the game is in Atlanta, the crowd will certainly be in Georgia’s favor. I think this game is going to be a shootout, and whoever reaches 40 first will win.
Prediction: #1 Georgia 45 vs. #4 Ohio State 35

Fiesta Bowl (CFP Semifinal)
#2 Michigan vs. #3 TCU
December 31st, 4 PM ET

This year’s Fiesta Bowl is one of the more intriguing Playoff games since the four team Playoff was introduced. On one hand, you get undefeated Michigan who barely survived Illinois, but absolutely slaughtered every other opponent, including then number two Ohio State at home. They cruised to victory in the BIG10 Championship game versus Purdue, and now they are 13-0 and the number two seed in the Playoff. Their opponent, the TCU Horned Frogs, went 5-7 last year, failing to qualify for a bowl game. Their head coach retired, and they hired Sonny Dykes. In his first season, the Horned Frogs went undefeated in the regular season, despite quite a few close calls. They lost the BIG12 Championship game to three-loss Kansas State in overtime, but didn’t drop in the rankings, staying at number three. This is going to be one of those games that no one really knows what to expect. Some think Michigan will win by three scores, others think that TCU can pull off the upset. The determining factor is going to be if TCU can stop the Michigan rushing game, which is one of, if not the best, in the country., If TCU can do that, they’ll likely have to score 30 against the number three defense in the country. Given those conditions, I think TCU will keep it close for a half, with a Michigan turnover or two keeping them around. The Michigan ground game will overwhelm the TCU defensive front in the second half, and lead UM to a fairly comfortable win.
Prediction: #2 Michigan 34 vs. #3 TCU 17

Orange Bowl
#6 Tennessee vs. #10 Clemson

December 30th, 8 PM ET

These are two teams in uncharted territory, one making their first New Year’s Six bowl game appearance in the CFP era, and the other missing out on the Playoffs for only the third time in the Playoff era. Both are starting different quarterbacks then the ones that started for them in the regular season, and both of those quarterbacks have ridiculous natural talent.


Tennessee, has Joe Milton III, who led Tennessee to a 56-0 victory over Vanderbilt in their regular season finale. Meanwhile, Clemson has five star recruit Cade Klubnik, who shined off the bench in Clemson’s 39-10 thrashing of North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. These two teams playing against each other screams shootout, and that is what I’m leaning towards. It could go either way, and it will come down to who scores the most, which is what most games come down too, but you get the point.

Prediction: #6 Tennessee 42 vs. #10 Clemson 43

Cotton Bowl Classic
#14 Tulane vs. #8 USC
January 2nd, 1 PM ET

This year’s Cotton Bowl Classic will feature the highest ranked group of five champion USC. This team was Playoff bound if they beat Utah in the PAC12 Championship game, . but came up short, so they had to settle for the Cotton Bowl. Probable Heisman Winner, USC quarterback Caleb Williams, is questionable for this game due to a significant hamstring injury in the PAC12 Championship. If he plays, USC wins comfortably, if he doesn’t then we probably have a very competitive game, and I would say 50-50. Tulane should be able to score points on the horrid USC defense that seemingly doesn’t know how to tackle week after week, and USC should be able to score tons of points as well, with or without Caleb Williams.

Prediction: #14 Tulane 34 vs. #8 USC 45

Sugar Bowl
#5 Alabama vs. #11 Kansas State
December 31st, 12 PM ET

This year’s Sugar Bowl features the first team out of the Playoff, and a three loss BIG12 Champion. This is going to be a really interesting game, and will give us our first look at the 2023 Tide. The Tide have tons of players that have either hit the portal, declared for the draft, or are injured. So the Alabama team that plays in this Sugar Bowl is going to have a lot of youngsters and new faces. Momentum is another big factor in this game, as Kansas State is riding high with a BIG12 Trophy, and Alabama feels like they got robbed after not making the Playoff. I think it’ll be one of the most competitive games of the bowl slate, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a one or two point win either way.
Prediction: #5 Alabama 30 vs #11 Kansas State 33

Rose Bowl
#9 Penn St. vs. #7 Utah
January 2nd, 5 PM ET

This year, in the prestigious Rose Bowl, we have a 10-2 Penn State team, who’s losses came to Ohio State and Michigan, and a three loss PAC 12 champion Utah team. Utah played in the Rose Bowl last year as well, in one of the all time great Rose Bowls against Ohio State. For Penn State, this is an important game, as it will be the 45th, yes 45th, and final start for quarterback Sean Clifford in a Penn State uniform. A win would also have them finish the season 11-2, with a potential top five ranking if some of the top teams lose. It will also be the last start for Utah quarterback Cam Rising, who has led Utah to consecutive PAC12 Championship victories and Rose Bowl’s. This is going to be a bully ball game, a game where the team that wins the line of scrimmage will win the game.
Prediction: #9 Penn St. 30 vs. #7 Utah 37