It’s College Football Playoff day, but first, Happy New Year. Second, there are three excellent games before the big guys take the stage. Here are the final thoughts and investment advice for the Outback, Peach and Citrus Bowls.
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Outback, Peach and Citrus Bowls Final Thoughts & Investment Advice
They’re the games before THE games, but they’re going to take on a life of their own.
UCF gets its shot to prove its for real. Michigan gets to try completing a perfect bowl season for the Big Ten. Notre Dame has a shot to overcome a rough finish to the season. The College Football Playoff games are the reason you’re waking up, but these will be strong, too.
For all the games, this is all just for spits, giggles, and entertainment purposes only. However, just in case you dabble …
No pressure or anything, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. Lose to South Carolina, and you’re going to be what everyone is talking about when it comes to the Big Ten bowl season.
The conference is unbeaten so far, but this might be the biggest layup of the bunch. In all the other games, the Big Ten was relatively even, or in the case of Purdue vs. Arizona, the underdog. In the Citrus Bowl, the Wolverines are supposed to beat South Carolina.
This Gamecock team has a way of dragging teams down to its level, but … nope.
Michigan’s defense will rise up and rock with the time off to rest up, QB Brandon Peters is back, and the Big Ten will finish the post-season perfect.
That the line went down from Michigan -8 to 7.5 makes it that much better.
There’s a chance the Wolverine defense shuts down USC cold, but still, like the over on the 42.
– Citrus Bowl Preview
The Group of Fiver teams have shown up huge so far in the College Football Playoff era. Boise State took down Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl to kick things off after the 2014 season, Houston beat Florida State in the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach, and Western Michigan gave Wisconsin all it could handle in last year’s Cotton.
And UCF is better than those last three GOFers.
This now becomes a referendum on Auburn more than UCF, though.
Unlike the last three teams that faced the Group of Five champs, Auburn was on the cusp of the College Football Playoff. All it had to do was beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and it would’ve been in.
This is still the team that beat Georgia. This is still the team that beat Alabama. This is still the team that pushed Clemson on the road.
UCF is still the team that beat … Memphis? Maryland? FIU?
It’s a common phrase throughout this season: “If (team) shows up … ”
Auburn will care – especially after last year’s bowl clunker to Oklahoma – and most importantly, it’ll be healthy.
This might be America’s shot to really and truly dive into UCF, and this has been an amazing team, but the Tiger offense is about to go off, and the defensive front will make life impossible for McKenzie Milton and company.
The energy will be there from the UCF crowd, but Auburn will be too good in the fourth quarter.
I’m not happy about it because the number is massive, but you’re not wrong thinking Auburn -10.5. The total should be around 67, so stay away from the 67.5 number – that’s a coin-flip.
– Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Preview
Bowls might occasionally be their own self-contained entities, but the way Notre Dame closed out the season is a problem going into the Citrus Bowl vs. LSU.
And Derrius Guice will be the bigger problem.
Granted, Notre Dame was able to beat LSU in the 2014 Music City Bowl when Leonard Fournette went off for 143 yards and two scores, but this is a much, much different scenario.
Notre Dame has the rushing talent to rip through LSU if it’s not sharp on the Arden Key-less defensive front, but this is going to be about Guice taking off on the Irish D.
It’s a pride game for both sides – the season’s narrative will be defined by what happens in this.
Don’t go heavy here, but LSU should be more than a field goal better than the Irish in shows should a relatively low-scoring game. The 51.5 might be a wee bit too high.
– Citrus Bowl Preview
And Finally …
It’s hard to look too much into bowl games and read anything into other ones, but if Auburn and LSU absolutely steamroll through their respective games, that Alabama -3 might look better and better if you want to get in late.