It’s College Football Playoff time! As one of the most anticipated events of the year, the CFP is bound to be full of once in a lifetime performances, triple overtimes, upsets, and one champion. Whether you like to watch the Pac 12 try to gain some credibility as a super conference, or you want to see Lamar Jackson shred on the biggest stage, here are some of the more interesting and standout games to look forward to this Bowl Season.
Saturday, December 17
Las Vegas Bowl Presented by Geico – Houston vs. San Diego State
12:30 p.m., ABC – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas
New coach Major Applewhite and dual threat QB Greg Ward Jr. hope to conclude Houston’s season on a positive note after a relatively disappointing year. Doak Walker candidate Donnel Pumphrey (RB) will lead the Aztecs, continuing a record year of 2018 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
Friday, December 23
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion
10:00 a.m., ESPN – Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Looking for a great game of football in the beautiful Caribbean? The third annual Bahamas Bowl commences between the MAC and Conference USA teams. Expected to be one of the few sunny and warm games this winter.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl – Louisiana Tech vs. No. 25 Navy
1:30 p.m., ESPN – Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Dual threat QB Will Worth looks to clinch Navy’s first top 25 ranking to finish a season since 1978, after a fantastic year with an epic upset against #6 Houston, the first time Navy had beaten a top 10 team. Navy will have to rebound from a historic loss to Army (first in 15 years) that occurred on December 10.
Wednesday, December 28
Foster Farms Bowl – Indiana vs. No. 19 Utah
5:30 p.m., Fox – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
The only SF Bay Area game, the Foster Farms Bowl will match the BIG 10 against the Pac 12. Utah is coming off a great season, a runner-up in the Pac 12 South (only behind #9 Colorado), led by QB Troy Williams. Utah also has Ray Guy winner Mitch Wishnowsky, the best punter in college football.
Thursday, December 29
Valero Alamo Bowl – No. 12 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Colorado
6 p.m., ESPN – Alamodome, San Antonio
The first of the “bigger” bowl games, the Pac 12 faces off against the Big 12 in a matchup of powerhouses. Oklahoma State’s dynamic duo of QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington goes head to head with a solid Colorado frontline and secondary.
Friday, December 30
Hyundai Sun Bowl – No. 18 Stanford vs. North Carolina
11 a.m., CBS – Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
A hometown favorite, Stanford looks to tie up loose ends of a year well below preseason expectations. Can RB Christian McCaffrey replicate his record-breaking 2016 Rose Bowl performance? Will North Carolina stop a Stanford offense struggling to find a rhythm? QB Mitch Trubisky will lead the Tar Heels and look to continue his stellar season.
Capital One Orange Bowl – No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida State
5 p.m., ESPN – Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
One of two teams “snubbed” from the College Football Playoff, Michigan and Heisman runner-up DB Jabrill Peppers will be looking to prove the selection committee wrong. Featuring a defense with two All-Americans (Peppers and CB Jourdan Lewis), Jim Harbaugh has transformed the Blue program into a consistent contender. RB Dalvin Cook will be looking to continue an impressive year for FSU and bring the Seminoles a win after last year’s blowout loss against Houston.
Saturday, December 31
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville
8 a.m., ABC – Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Featuring the 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson (QB), Louisville will be looking to continue overpowering defenses with its All-American quarterback. With nearly 5,000 all-purpose yards and 51 total touchdowns, offense is not a problem for Louisville. It will come down to the Louisville defense, depending on if it can contain LSU better than LSU’s top 10 defense can slow down Jackson.
Monday, January 2
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic – No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
10 a.m., ESPN – AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Wisconsin has three losses this season, but only to top 10 teams. Seen at the beginning of the season as underdogs, the Badgers have fought their way to the Cotton Bowl with true freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Anchored by T.J. Watt (All-American LB), Wisconsin will put a tough defense against the exceptional Western Michigan Zach, Terrell-Corey Davis QB-WR duo. Terrell has led the Broncos to an undefeated season and Davis has nearly half of both Terrell’s 3376 passing yards and 32 touchdowns.
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual – No. 9 USC vs. No. 5 Penn State
2 p.m., ESPN – Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
On an eight-game winning streak, USC went from pretenders to contenders after a 26-13 win over #4 Washington in early November. However, the Trojans face the resilient Nittany Lions, champions of a stacked BIG 10 division looking to prove the haters wrong after a contended College Football Playoff snub. The game will be played in beautiful Pasadena at the Rose Bowl.
Allstate Sugar Bowl – No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma
5:30 p.m., ESPN – Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
The last of the non-playoff bowl games, Oklahoma’s two Heisman candidates (QB Baker Mayfield and WR Dede Westbrook) will look to connect and capitalize against a superb Auburn defense that averages only 15.6 points allowed. Coach Bob Stoops and the Sooners will want an impressive win after losing two consecutive bowl games to the Clemson Tigers.
College Football Playoff
Saturday, December 31
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama
12 p.m., ESPN – Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Purple Rain vs. the Crimson Tide. Coach Nick Saban has done it once again with Alabama, coaching a perfect season with the top defense and a very very good offense. Some may be sick of the “Roll Tide” chants and legacy Saban has created over the last decade, but Alabama has proven itself as the top contender. It will take perfect games from QB Jake Browning and WR John Ross of UW to beat the favorite, similar to the thrashing the team inflicted on Colorado in the Pac 12 Championship.
College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl – No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson
4 p.m., ESPN – University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Heisman runner-up Deshaun Watson (QB) and the Clemson Tigers seek to make it consecutive trips to the College Football Championship. Having lost only one game in an upset to Pitt, the offense comprising of Watson, RB Wayne Gallman, and WR Mike Williams will look to make an impressive statement against the top five defense of OSU. Urban Meyer will be looking for a second championship in three years, and OSU looks strong under the control of QB J.T. Barrett.
College Football Playoff National Championship
5 p.m., ESPN – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
The winners of the first two playoff games will play in Tampa, Florida, under the lights and hopefully not in the rain. May the best team beat Alabama.