College football playoffs, bowls feature interesting combinations

Ohio+State+Buckeyes+running+back+J.K.+Dobbins+%282%29+looks+for+yards+against+Wisconsin+Badgers+linebacker+T.J.+Edwards+%2853%29+in+the+second+quarter%2C+Saturday%2C+December+2%2C+2017.

Tribune News Service

Ohio State Buckeyes running back J.K. Dobbins (2) looks for yards against Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Edwards (53) in the second quarter, Saturday, December 2, 2017.

Boh Suh, Staff Writer

Utah’s loss to Oregon along with LSU’s domination of Georgia made it easier for the college playoff selection committee to pick their top four teams than previous years.

Now, it is going to be exciting bowl season!

I am glad that Wisconsin made it to the Rose Bowl again. I remember talking to some people a few weeks ago after Wisconsin was two games behind Minnesota in Big Ten West and telling them that the Badgers still had a chance for the Rose Bowl and even a college playoff spot.

No. 1 LSU (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1), my pick: LSU – It will be a high scoring game, and LSU’s dominance is unbelievable. As long as LSU does not take this game lightly, they should have no problem. The issue with Oklahoma is the defense, although they did improve.

No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) vs. No. 3 Clemson (13-0), my pick: Ohio State – Ohio State struggled against Wisconsin in the first half of the Big Ten Championship game, but they dominated in the second half and won by 13 points. Ohio State has faced quality opponents including Cincinnati, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

On the other hand, Clemson hasn’t had any opponents challenging them all season along (except against UNC for some reason), and this may be the problem for Clemson. Can they suddenly adjust from playing against Virginia to Ohio State?

No. 5 Georgia (11-2) vs.  No. 7 Baylor (11-2), my pick: Georgia – Both teams were very close to making the college playoff this year, and it is the battle of who has more motivation. Georgia has faced competitive teams including Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, and LSU while Baylor has faced Oklahoma State, Oklahoma (twice), and Texas. It will be a closer game, but I think Georgia will pull it off.

No. 6 Oregon (11-2) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3), my pick: Wisconsin (with my heart!) – As I mentioned last time, I cannot be objective when it comes down to Wisconsin. I cannot root against them even if they were playing against Ohio State. A trip to Rose Bowl is not uncommon for Wisconsin in the past few years, but they have not won a single game at Pasadena, California. Oregon’s offense vs Wisconsin’s defense. This game will be very interesting.

No. 9 Florida (10-2) vs. No. 24 Virginia (9-4), my pick: Florida – Florida’s playoff chance was long gone after losing against Georgia at home, but don’t underestimate their dominance. Florida is much better than any of the teams Virginia faced except for Clemson.

No. 10 Penn State (10-2) vs. No. 17 Memphis (12-1), my pick: Penn State – Memphis has a phenomenal season this year by beating SMU and Cincinnati. Penn State’s chance for the playoff shattered after the loss against Ohio State. However, they had the last regular season against Rutgers at home to recover. Now, they should be ready to play.

No. 11 Utah (11-2) vs. Texas (7-5), my pick: Texas – There is a difference between playing for college playoff and Rose Bowl. And, there is even a bigger difference between playing for Rose Bowl and Alamo Bowl. Can Utah find motivation? The good news is that Texas is having a disappointing season as well.

No. 12 Auburn (9-3) vs. No. 18 Minnesota (10-2), my pick: Auburn – Minnesota’s dream to make it to the playoff got crushed after the loss against Wisconsin. On the other hand, Auburn’s last game was beating their rival Alabama, and knocking them off from the playoff completely. The momentum is shifted drastically for each team to the opposite direction.

No. 13 Alabama (10-2) vs. No. 14 Michigan (9-3), my pick: Alabama – Even though Alabama lost against LSU and Auburn, they are one of the best teams in the nation. It is devastating for Alabama not to play for the college playoff this year, but the team has too much talent.

No. 15 Notre Dame (10-2) vs. Iowa State (7-5), my pick: Notre Dame – After the loss against Michigan, Notre Dame has been fantastic. Iowa State has one good win against Texas. Notre Dame should handle this game easily.

No. 16 Iowa (9-3) vs. No. 22 USC (8-4), my pick: Iowa – This game is very difficult for me to tell because Iowa tends to struggle with away games. This Holiday Bowl game will be in San Diego, California. Therefore, USC has a big advantage over Iowa. However, Iowa is a great team and I think Iowa can pull it off.

No. 19 Boise State (12-1) vs. Washington (7-5), my pick: Washington – I remember Washington always representing Pac 12. They are much better than what the record shows, as their losses come within 10 points or fewer.

No. 20 Appalachian State (12-1) vs. UAB (9-4), my pick: Appalachian State – It is not the prettiest way to finish the regular season (loss to FAU by 49-6) for UAB. They struggle in road games. Now, will playing at neutral field for UAB help?

No. 21 Cincinnati (10-3) vs. Boston College (6-6), my pick: Cincinnati – It was devastating for Cincinnati to lose twice against Memphis to lose a chance to play at the Cotton Bowl. I usually predict the opponent in this situation, but Boston College has not shown the capability to win against a good team.

No. 23 Navy (9-2) vs. Kansas State (8-4), my pick: Kansas State – Navy’s defense has been struggling in the past three weeks (52, 28, and 41 points) and Kansas State has allowed much fewer points in the past three weeks. This will be a high scoring game.

No. 25 Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5), my pick: Texas A&M – It is true that Texas A&M have five losses, but they come from No. 1 LSU, No. 3 Clemson, No. 5 Georgia, No. 12 Auburn, and No. 13 Alabama. We all know that Alabama and Auburn are much better than their rankings, so basically all the losses come from the nation’s top-notch teams. I think Oklahoma State sounds much less intimidating those five teams.