December 6, 2016
The http://collegefootballplayoff.com/selection-day">College Football Playoff matchups are set, and there is little argument that the four best teams made it in the playoffs. The University of Alabama, Clemson University, Ohio State University and the University of Washington are the http://www.espn.com/college-football/rankings">four teams playing for the championship.
There really aren’t any teams that can complain about being left out of the playoffs. If someone wanted to, he or she could make a small argument for Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan and the University of Oklahoma.
Personally, I have always favored an eight-team playoff. That means all the teams above would be in, and the University of Wisconsin or the University of Southern California would be the eighth team.
In most years, an eight-team playoff would include all the conference champions from the Power Five conferences and three at-large teams. It took years just to get to a playoff, and adding teams will take time.
Two schools from our state got bowl bids. Another blog post will break down these two games before the teams play them.
The University of Southern Mississippi received an invite to the http://www.southernmiss.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120416aab.html">R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and will face the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Mississippi State University, thanks to a high APR score, ended up in the http://hailstate.com/news/2016/12/4/football-mississippi-state-to-face-miami-oh-in-2016-st-petersburg-bowl.aspx">St. Petersburg Bowl against Miami University from Ohio.
USM earned the six wins for a bowl and will play on Dec. 17 in New Orleans. That is a short drive from Hattiesburg, so Southern Miss fans should help fill the Superdome up for this game.
MSU finished the regular season at 5-7 but is still in a bowl game. The Bulldogs will play the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, in sunny Florida. Miami went from 0-6, winning six straight games to make this bowl.
Besides the playoff games and teams from our state, http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/page/cfpbowls2016/2016-17-college-football-playoff-bowl-schedule">other bowls have good matchups. Here are the games I plan on making time to checkout.
The University of Houston and San Diego State University clash in the Las Vegas Bowl, which Geico will present on Dec. 17. Two Group of Five teams are exciting to watch, but this game loses some luster, as the Cougars head coach has left to take the same job at the University of Texas.
Boise State University will try to take down another Power Five team in Baylor University during the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl on Dec. 27. The Broncos normally play some inspired football against teams from the major conferences, but Baylor floundered down the stretch this year.
On Dec. 28 in the Russell Athletic Bowl, two former Big East teams, the University of West Virginia and the University of Miami in Florida, will battle. Now the Hurricanes are in the ACC, and the Mountaineers are in the Big 12.
Former Big 12 member Texas A&M University faces current Big 12 member Kansas State University. The Aggies are now in the SEC and need to win in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 to gain momentum going into next season.
Another matchup of former conference members is in store for the Valero Alamo Bowl when Oklahoma State University and the University of Colorado collide. This game, also on Dec. 28, features the Buffalos, which used to be in the Big 12, and the Cowboys are still in that conference.
The Capital One Orange Bowl features two college football blue bloods as the University of Michigan battles Florida State University on Dec. 30. The Wolverines feature http://sports.yahoo.com/news/5-heisman-trophy-finalists-revealed-000743357.html">Heisman Trophy finalist Jabrill Peppers, and the Seminoles are loaded with talent as well.
New Year’s Eve could feature the http://sports.yahoo.com/news/5-heisman-trophy-finalists-revealed-000743357.html">Heisman Trophy winner in Lamar Jackson of the University of Louisville against the great defense of Louisiana State University in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. It will be great to see if Jackson can put up huge numbers against a top defense, and it is Leonard Fournette’s final game as a Tiger.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 2 features Western Michigan University against the University of Wisconsin. Western Michigan looks to complete an undefeated season from the Group of Five, and the Badgers look to play spoiler.
Finally, USC takes on Penn State on Jan. 2 in the Rose Bowl game, which Northwestern Mutual will present. Seeing two college-football blue bloods battle in “The Granddaddy of Them All” is going to be worth the watch.