Today marks the start of the College Football Playoff as both semifinals will take place this New Year’s Eve. Of course plenty of people will have their own plans given that it is New Year’s Eve and viewership is sure to drop but hey, it’s not like the point of a playoff is to make money from tv revenue? Surely, no.
In addition to the CFP Semifinals there are a few bowl games today, some good some bad.
CFP SEMIFINAL GAMES
Fiesta Bowl- #3 TCU vs. #2 Michigan (-7.5), 1 pm PT, ESPN
This was very close to being a matchup of undefeated teams before TCU lost in overtime to Kansas State in the all-purple Big 12 championship game. The Horned Frogs are led by ex-Cal coach Sonny Dykes who is in year one with TCU but engineered an even greater turnaround than Kalen DeBoer did at Washington. TCU is led by QB Max Duggan who finished 2nd in the Heisman voting throwing for 3,321 passing yards with 30 TDs and 4 INTs plus an extra 404 yards and 6 TDs on the ground. WR Quentin Johnson is a likely 1st round pick as he put up 903 receiving yards and 5 TDs despite battling injuries throughout the season.
Michigan was led by RB Blake Corum who finished 7th in the Heisman voting but is out for the season due to a knee injury. We’ll see if TCU can take advantage the same way that Washington did with Bijan Robinson out for Texas. Unlikely Texas though, Michigan has their backup running back available and Donovan Edwards was dynamic averaging 7.5 yards per carry on 117 attempts this season.
Fiesta Bowl- #4 Ohio State vs. #1 Georgia (-5.5), 5 pm PT, ESPN
The Bulldogs were right there with Washington in being extremely disappointed that USC lost to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game. Despite the Buckeyes getting killed at home by Michigan in the final week of the season, they’re pretty clearly the better team over USC based on every advanced metric out there. The passing attack with likely future 1st round picks QB C.J Stroud, WR Marvin Harrison Jr., and WR Emeka Egbuka (ouch) has the talent to potentially matchup with Georgia’s defense. Stroud was 3rd in the Heisman voting on the backs of those 2 receivers who like Odunze and McMillan for UW each eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in the regular season.
Georgia hasn’t been truly challenged in a game since last year’s SEC title game when they lost to Alabama. This year’s team is probably worse than last year’s but their defense still has so many future top draft picks on it that only the top 1% can possibly hope to score consistently. LSU in the SEC title game earlier this month was the only team to put up more than 22 points against the Bulldogs. Meanwhile Stetson Bennett didn’t deserve to finish 4th in the Heisman voting but is legitimately good and is at the helm of an offense with the best tight end in the country plus 3 running backs who put up over 500 rushing yards on 5+ yards per carry.
NON-CFP BOWL GAMES
Sugar Bowl- #9 Kansas State vs. #5 Alabama (-7.5), 9 am PT, ESPN
We’ll see whether Nick Saban is able to motivate the Tide to perform up to their standards despite not getting a CFP invite this year. He managed to get QB Bryce Young and Edge Will Anderson to play rather than opt out which means Bama has way more firepower. But playing Kansas State isn’t particularly fun and the Wildcats definitely have a shot given that Texas was this close to beating Alabama this season.
Music City Bowl- Kentucky vs. Iowa (-3), 9 am PT, ABC
This is an all-timer Sickos Bowl game. The over/under in this game is 31 which is the lowest for any game that basically anyone can find in the modern era. Both teams had very bad offenses and are missing their starting quarterbacks. If you’re watching this game it’s to stare at the trainwreck. But if you do so you’re liable to go blind. I don’t recommend it.