College Football Playoffs and Bowl Projections

Matt Butler, Columnist

As November ends and December is upon us, the push and fight to make the college football playoffs begins. If you don’t make the playoffs, you’re more than likely to make some sort of bowl games. Here are my predictions for the college football playoff games and the top 5 bowl games.

College Football Playoffs

* Ranks are my prediction ranks at the end of the season


Champion- (1) Oklahoma*

Championship Bowl- (1) Oklahoma*, (3) Auburn* (1/8/18)

Sugar Bowl- (1) Oklahoma*, (4) Miami* (1/1/18)

Rose Bowl- (2) Wisconsin*, (3) Auburn* (1/1/18)


College Bowls

* Note: All rankings are based on the rankings on 11/30/17.


Peach Bowl- (8) Ohio State, (14) UCF (1/1/18)

Orange Bowl- (1) Clemson, (5) Alabama (12/30/17)

Fiesta Bowl- (10) USC, (11) TCU (12/30/17)

Cotton Bowl- (6) Georgia, (9) Penn St  (12/29/17)

Citrus Bowl- (15) Michigan State, South Carolina(1/1/18)


Sugar Bowl- (1) Clemson, (4) Alabama (1/1/18)

Why Bama will win…

Clemson. Bama. A repeat of the National Championship of last year. Look back to that game as a taste of what is to come this season. This year’s Sugar Bowl will be the equivalent to Rocky Balboa vs Apollo Creed. Back and forth, trading punches, just an absolute heavyweight bout. Alabama is my pick to get in the final knockout blow against this high-powered Clemson team; they spent the majority of the season at number one on all polls until their week 13 loss against Auburn showing the college football world Alabama can be beaten. Bama missed out on the SEC championship game and is going to come out with fire against Clemson. This is going to be the premier bowl game to watch this season.

Rose Bowl- (2) Oklahoma, (3) Georgia (1/1/18)
Why Oklahoma will win…

Boomer Sooner. These two words get every Oklahoma fan or player amped up. This Sooners team is under new reigns of head coach Lincoln Riley after 18 years in the Bob Stoops era. Oklahoma has been a team to watch out for and this is their second trip to the College Football Playoffs in three years. The sooners will roll into Pasadena behind their Heisman hopeful Baker Mayfield who has made his Heisman statement this year with an incredible season. Mayfield has gained over 4,000 yards through the air this season and passed for 41 touchdowns and rushed for 5. The Sooners not only have Baker, but their lineup contains stacks of weapons from speedster Marquise “Hollywood” Brown who has 981 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season, to rusher Rodney Anderson who’s had himself 14 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards in the 7 games, to the big target tight-end Mark Andrews who’s been Baker’s go to man throughout the season with over 900 yards receiving and 8 touchdowns.  Alongside an explosive offense the Sooners have a lock down defense. Week 2 this Sooners defense held Ohio State quarterback, J.T Barrett to 183 yards and no touchdowns and picked him off once to solidify the Sooners as a threat under Lincoln Riley. Oklahoma’s defense will be facing their toughest test this season when they square off against the third seed Georgia Bulldogs. This Oklahoma team is going to be a tough one for the Georgia Bulldogs to stop. But look for the Sooners to be heading to Atlanta to compete in the National Championship.

Cotton Bowl- (5) Ohio State, (8) USC (12/29/17)

Why Ohio State will win…

When it comes to Ohio State it’s not just Ohio State, it’s The Ohio State. When you look at the Buckeyes you see a powerhouse team. A lockdown defense with a incredible offense to boot. J.T. Barrett, behind Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, is the best quarterback in college football this season. Just shy of 3,000 yards on the season and 35 touchdowns, Barrett has a completion percentage of 64.7% which is one of the best percentages in all of football. A sure first round pick in next year’s draft, Barrett looks to lead the Buckeyes to a win against Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans in Dallas.

Orange Bowl- (6) Wisconsin, (10) Miami (12/30/17)

Why Miami will win…

This Hurricanes team is one of the most powerful teams in all of college football. At the beginning of the year they weren’t on many radars as a team to come out as strong as they did. By starting at number 18 in the AP Poll and working their way up to number 2 not only in the AP Poll but in the College Football Playoff rankings in week 13, they were a possible National Championship Contender. That was until their heartbreaking week 14 loss against non-ranked Pitt and their week 15 blowout loss against number 1 ranked Clemson in the ACC Championship game. The Miami Hurricanes defense was surrounded by all of college football and its fans due to a new type of motivation, the turnover chain. Introduced by Miami’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, this 5.5 pound, 36-inch behemoth of a necklace was given to defensive players to sport for a few snaps if he were to make a turnover thus creating the turnover chain. Miami’s defense is bound to stop Wisconsin’s high powered offense when these two clash in the orange bowl which happens to also be in Miami.

Fiesta Bowl- (9) Penn State, (11) Washington (12/30/17)

Why Penn State will win…

Since week one Penn State has been on the radar of all college teams when looking on who to watch out for. They climbed up the rankings to be ranked number two in AP Poll during week 9. However dropped down to number seven then down to sixteen after back-to-back losses against Ohio State and Michigan State. Not to mention having Heisman hopeful, Saquon Barkley, leading the offense with a powerful running game is a big help to compliment the arm of Trace McSorley who has over 3,000 yards passing and twenty six touchdowns on the year. Don’t be surprised if the Nittany Lion offense tears the Washington defense to pieces.

Peach Bowl- (7) Auburn, (12) UCF (1/1/18)

Why UCF will win…

With the department of UCF’s head coach, Scott Frost, looming at the end of the season this team has pride to play for. After leading the Knights to the only unbeaten record in the FCS, Frost accepted a job to be the head coach of the Nebraska Corn Huskers. UCF has both an explosive offense and defense, so look for them to upset the Auburn Tigers.

Citrus Bowl- (14) Notre Dame, (17) LSU (1/1/18)

Why LSU will win…

LSU is heading to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando looking to take care of business against number 14 Notre Dame. LSU has an offense that can blow up on any given play and their passing running game will be no match for this Notre Dame Defense. Besides an explosive offense they also have a shutdown defense with 11 interceptions on the season they are bound to shut down this Irish offense. Look for LSU to complete the upset against the Fighting Irish.