College football would be wise to expand the playoffs to eight teams. It would legitimize the college football regular season and postseason.
Anyway, the New Year’s Six and two additional bowl games highlighted below will feature plenty of direct competition between premier programs. And the National Championship game will be played on January 9th at 8:30 pm.
Many of the best prospects in the nation will have their final chance to woo NFL scouts while in uniform over the holiday weekend...
- Orange Bowl: Michigan vs Florida State, 12/30, 8:00 PM ET
Michigan fields a fierce defense led by pass rusher Taco Charleton, hybrid linebacker Jabrill Peppers and corner Jourdon Lewis. FSU will test their gap discipline with explosive running back Dalvin Cook. Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker is one to watch, as is the matchup between Wolvernies wideout Amara Darboh and man coverage specialist Marquez White.
- Citrus Bowl: LSU vs Louisville, 12/31, 11:00 AM ET
Ravens fans should keep an eye on LSU center Ethan Pocic, one of the best interior blocker in the class. The Cardinals have a pair of possible Day 2 defenders in edge rusher Devontae Fields and hybrid safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. LSU boasts a star studded defense, including reliable cornerback Tre’Davious White, playmaking safety Jamal Adams and 5-technique Davon Godchaux. Tigers junior wide receiver Malachi Dupree is flying under the radar, but could have a Stefon Diggs type rookie impact if he declares early.
- Peach Bowl: Washington vs Alabama, 12/31, 3:00 PM ET
Like most West Coast teams, the Huskies top players excel in the passing game. Receiver John Ross is among the best in the class at his position, as is free safety Budda Baker and Washington’s shutdown corner duo, Sidney Jones and Kevin King.
Per usual, Bama is loaded with first round prospects. Their upperclassmen who align most with the Ravens expected needs are defensive end Jonathan Allen, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, outside linebackers Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. The evaluation of Williams and Anderson will be interesting with the former possessing a much higher ceiling and the later guaranteeing the higher floor.
- Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State vs Clemson, 12/31, 7:00 PM ET
The Buckeyes bring some of the best interior offensive lineman in the country to the playoffs, senior center Pat Elflein and junior guard Billy Price look like rookie starters in the NFL. Curtis Samuel is an intriguing prospect who converted to slot receiver from running back, he has some of Steve Smith Sr.’s tenacity and elusiveness in his game. OSU is another team with a pair of NFL corners, Marshon Latimore and Gareon Conley are both coveted prospects.
Clemson might have the best receiving corps in the nation this season. Elite wideout Mike Williams will be picked very early, while Artavis Scott is a quality slot man in his own right. Smart center Jay Guillermo and lanky corner Cordrea Tankersley are reportedly rising up draft boards.
- Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin vs Western Michigan, 1/2, 1:00 AM ET
Neither of these teams put a ton of players in the pros, but Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk will be one of the first tackles drafted and the Broncos Corey Davis is a polished receiver with prototypical size.
- Outback Bowl: Florida vs Iowa, 1/2, 1:00 AM ET
This undercard bowl matchup will showcase possibly the three best cornerbacks across the college ranks. The Gators Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson are both big, physical athletes with sound technique. Either could form a Denver-esque shutdown trio with Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young. On the other side, Iowa cornerback Desmond King embodies what the Ravens look for in a first round pick - character, versatility and a proven, multi-season track record of production.
- Rose Bowl: USC vs Penn State, 1/2, 5:00 PM ET
The Trojans boast a likely top-25 playmaker on each side of the ball. Corner Adoree Jackson is electric with the ball in his hands in all three phases. JuJu Smith-Schuster has number one receiver potential. Despite winning the Big-10 championship, Penn State does not have much high end draft eligible talent beyond receiver Chris Godwin, who has had a big season with nine receiving scores.
- Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs Oklahoma, 1/2, 8:30 PM ET
Elite Auburn pass rusher Carl Lawson will hope to reach Baker Mayfield before he finds probable Day 2 receiver Dede Westbrook downfield. Sooners power back Samaje Perine against Tigers defensive tackle Montravius Adams will be another strength on strength battle.