Today is a great day.
Why, you ask? Because A) It’s Saturday, Dec. 16, which means B) IT’S OFFICIALLY BOWL SEASON!
With bowl season upon us, I thought I would count down the five bowl matchups I am most looking forward to, not counting the College Football Playoff matchups. With that said, let’s dive right in.
5) Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Wyoming (Dec. 22, 4 p.m., ESPN)
This is a biased pick, but I am a CMU grad and can’t help but include my Chippewas.
But here’s where things can get fun for U-M fans — Chippewa quarterback and former Wolverine Shane Morris is making his final collegiate start. In the other corner is Wyoming quarterback and NFL-bound Josh Allen. It’s unclear whether or not Allen will play (due to injury and/or the potential to sit out for guaranteed NFL money).
CMU’s offense has been exciting to watch this year with young running back Jonathan Ward and next year’s quarterback Tony Poljan occasionally coming in to play tight end/receiver. Whether Allen plays or not, this should be a fun game to watch (for me at least).
4) Alamo Bowl: Stanford vs. TCU (Dec. 28, 9 p.m., ESPN)
For some reason, TCU always participates in amazing bowl games. Last year, it was a close one-score Liberty Bowl loss against Georgia. Two years ago was the insane 47-41 victory against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl...which so happens to be the Horned Frogs’ bowl game this year.
Stanford, meanwhile, has relied heavily on Heisman-finalist running back Bryce Love all season, even on a banged up ankle. It will be interesting to see Love go up against TCU’s No. 4 ranked rushing defense, as the Horned Frogs allow just 99.8 rushing yards per game. Love averages 151.7 rushing yards per game. Something’s gotta give.
This isn’t a NY6 bowl game, but the matchup feels like one. This should be an awesome game to watch.
3) Fiesta Bowl: Penn State vs. Washington (Dec. 30, 4 p.m., ESPN)
Speaking of NY6 bowl matchups, this is one of the two on this list that I am really looking forward to.
This is a really unique game. Both teams have lethal offenses, but both also have pretty good defenses; Penn State has the 20th ranked total defense in the country while Washington has the 5th ranked total defense.
I am also really looking forward to Saquon Barkley declaring for the NFL after this game so he doesn’t torch Michigan anymore. Speaking of Michigan...
2) Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina (Jan. 1, noon, ESPN2)
It would have been wrong if I did not include U-M.
I’m looking forward to this game for a few reasons. First and foremost, Brandon Peters. I am curious to see how he plays. This will be the toughest defense he’s played all season — other than Wisconsin, but he didn’t make it through the entire game — and will be his first game action in a month and a half.
The QB competition for next year essentially starts in this game for Peters, so he has a great chance to get a leg up in that competition against Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey.
I’m also excited for this one because it’s one final chance to see all these guys play before the spring game, and then before the beginning of the season. It’s going to be a long offseason, but at least we get this last game before that truly begins.
1) Cotton Bowl: Ohio State vs. USC (Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Me picking the Buckeyes as my favorite bowl matchup is about as unbiased as it’s going to get.
But seriously, how could you not look forward to this game? Two storied programs that have not met since 1990; two teams that were in the playoff discussion for most of the season; two conference champions; two teams with great rushing games; one team with a dominant NFL-bound QB like Sam Darnold and the other team with...14th-year senior J.T. Barrett. This is going to be a fantastic game.
What is the bowl game you are most looking forward to this bowl season? Sound off in the comments and join in on the discussion!