It’s time for teams to go bowling. We’re already in the thick of the bowl schedule as it all builds to the New Year’s Day matchups. The Kickoff will publish our wrap up issue on January 10th, but Editor Tommy Duff shared some thoughts ahead of that.
“The most interesting matchup that is not in the College Football Playoff is USC vs. Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29th,” Duff said. “OSU feels like they deserved to be in the playoff, but USC has just as strong of an argument, also going 11-2 during the regular season, and they lost against a stronger team than Iowa.”
Boise State, Troy, Georgia State, Marshall, and Middle Tennessee have all won their bowls so far and are looking ahead to next season. The Kickoff listed the complete bowl schedule (with our Kickoff Power Rankings) in Issue 16, out Dec. 11th.
Duff said the post-season is generally more difficult to predict this year.
“The Orange Bowl Winner will be whoever has any motivation left between Miami and Wisconsin. (They are) two teams in playoff contention all year that fell apart in the final week,” Duff said. “I think Auburn should win against UCF, which is losing their head coach. I expect LSU to win against Notre Dame, which is overmatched.”
“Regarding the College Football Playoffs, can a Big XII offense take care of business against a defense as talented as Georgia’s? I think they can, but UGA has the potential to give Baker Mayfield problems,” Duff said. “Of course, the marquee matchup is the third playoff meeting between Bama and Clemson. Clemson was playing better towards the end of the year, but Bama should be much healthier and is still the team to beat.”
If Georgia prevails in the Rose Bowl and Alabama beats Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, producing an All-SEC national championship game, Duff said experience points to Alabama winning. “If Oklahoma beats Georgia, then I think they will beat Bama,” he said.
In addition to winning the Heisman, Baker Mayfield led several of the stats this season, including percentage of completed passes, efficiency rating, total yards per play, and being responsible for touchdowns at 46. He was also named to the 2017 Kickoff All American team, along with Sooners Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown, and Obgonnia Okoronkwo. These ingredients combine for a potent threat to Clemson defending its national title if the two teams should go head-to-head.
“As we close our 67th season in publication, we would like to thank all of our corporate and individual subscribers for continuing to support The Kickoff,” Duff said. “It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to share your excitement for the sport of college football every fall. College football is not only a game; it’s a cultural pastime shared throughout the United States, and we are truly blessed to spend Saturdays with you. We look forward to seeing you in 2018. We wish you a safe and happy holidays!”
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