Cheez-It Bowl: #21 Oklahoma State vs. #18 Miami
Tuesday, December 29th 4:30 PM CT, ESPN
The Cheez-It Bowl has a great matchup this year as the only ranked vs. ranked game featuring a Big 12 team outside of the New Year’s Six bowls. #21 Oklahoma State (7-3) had disappointment this season in their hopes of reaching the conference championship game. The final nail in the coffin came with a loss to TCU, which OSU followed up with a thrashing of a depleted Baylor squad. #18 Miami (8-2) had a decent slew of close wins but had two blow out losses. One was a 42-17 loss to Clemson early in the Hurricanes’ season. The other came to North Carolina in the last game they played, where they lost 62-26. I think Oklahoma State has the edge given the way both teams have been playing. Oklahoma State is a one point favorite, so this game is basically a toss up. I’ll take the Cowboys.
38-34 Oklahoma State
Valero Alamo Bowl: #20 Texas vs. Colorado
Tuesday, December 29th 8:00 PM CT, ESPN
Similar to Oklahoma State, #20 Texas (6-3) is licking its wounds after it missed out on the Big 12 Championship in a year many predicted them to make it. They now battle Colorado (4-1), who was undefeated until they lost 38-21 to Utah in their final regular season game. Colorado played no ranked teams this season. I think the extra games and level of competition Texas has played in comparison to Colorado gives them the edge here, as the Longhorns are favored by 9 points.
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: #6 Oklahoma vs. #7 Florida
Wednesday, December 30th 7:00 PM CT, ESPN
Big 12 Champions #6 Oklahoma (8-2) just missed out on the college football playoff, but they will now have to regroup to play #7 Florida (8-3). The Sooners have looked electric, winning 7 games in a row up to this point. Florida, on the other hand, lost to a bad LSU team and then lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship (granted, they did hang around with Alabama who at this point seems to clearly be the best team in the country). Florida are 2.5 point favorites, but I like the Sooners here given how prolific they’ve looked offensively and their improvements on the defensive side of the ball. This will also be a great quarterback battle to watch between OU’s Spencer Rattler and Florida’s Kyle Trask.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Army
Thursday, December 31st 3:00 PM CT, ESPN
West Virginia (5-4) had a season marked by good defense, bad offense, and a slew of COVID issues down the stretch. Their last win came November 14th, they had two games against OU postponed, and they suffered a blowout loss to Iowa State in the last game they played. Army (9-2) has plenty of wins against average teams but lost their only game against a ranked team (Cincinnati) as well as losing to Tulane. I think the WVU defense can handle the Army option attack for the most part, but I’m not sure the Mountaineer’s offense will be able to distance itself from Army enough. West Virginia is a 7 point favorite, but I think I like Army to sneak a win in here.
Mercari Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Arkansas
Thursday, December 31st 7:00 PM CT, ESPN
After starting 1-3, TCU (6-4) did a great job turning its season around down the stretch. They face off against Arkansas (3-7) who would have clearly missed a bowl game any other year. With the Horned Frogs winning 5 of their last 6 games, they have a lot of momentum coming into this game. Arkansas only beat Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Tennessee this season and their most recent game against Alabama saw them lose in a blowout, 52-3. I like the Horned Frogs here. TCU is a 4 point favorite over Arkansas.
PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: #10 Iowa State vs. #25 Oregon
Saturday, January 2nd 3:00 PM CT, ESPN
#10 Iowa State (8-3) had one of its best seasons in program history, making it to the Big 12 Championship (and eventually losing to OU). They are now rewarded with an NY6 bowl game against Pac-12 Champions #25 Oregon (4-2). The way that Oregon won the Pac-12 is actually fairly bizarre, as they made the championship game only because Washington couldn’t play in the game due to COVID. They then beat USC. Iowa State is favored by 4.5 points, with their most recent game being a close loss to OU. Oregon started the season well, before losing to Oregon State and Cal back-to-back. The win against USC certainly salvaged the season well, but I’m not sure Oregon has the defensive strength to bottle Iowa State’s electric running back Breece Hall like Oklahoma was able to.
35-31 Iowa State