The College Football Playoff has finally arrived! After a month of preparation, I’m excited to see how the games pan out.
Here’s a general overview of what to expect in the NY6 games on New Years Day.
Washington vs. Ohio State (-6.5) O/57.5
This game marks the end of an era for the Buckeyes, the Urban Era.
Under Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have enjoyed success the likes of which very few programs have ever experienced. 82 wins in 7 seasons, a national title, and perennial title contenders. His players love him, and will certainly be fired up to send him off with a blaze of glory. The bettors know this as well, as the game has been bet up from -4 to -6.5.
The next man up, is the current offensive coordinator Ryan Day. He has run the offense to perfection this year, while also developing Heisman finalist, Dwayne Haskins. Look for the Buckeyes to spread the field and attack the Huskies with a high-powered air attack.
On the flip side, Washington enters the game off a nice performance in the Pac-12 championship game. Their X-factor is senior RB, Miles Gaskin. Feeding him the ball will be key for Washington to win this game, against an Ohio State defense that has struggled at times against the run this year.
In addition to Gaskin, the Huskies also boast one of the Nation’s best secondaries. Led by future early-round picks, CB Byron Murphy, and Safety Taylor Rapp.
In the end, the inspired Buckeyes will be too much for Washington. Urban will enjoy one last hoorah before handing the keys to Ryan Day.
Pound Ohio State and the over.
LSU vs. UCF (+7.5) U/56
This is one of the more intriguing matchups of the entire bowl season.
One one hand, you have UCF. The “defending national champs” some may say. The storyline. The underdog.
What they have done in the past 2 years has been undeniably impressive. Undefeated for 2 years including a win vs. an SEC team. They can validate it all with a win against LSU on Jan. 1st.
UCF will have a glimpse into its future today, as they start redshirt freshman Darriel Mack Jr. at quarterback. He replaces long-time starter McKenzie Milton after he suffered a gruesome leg injury in the final regular season game.
LSU is led by transfer quarterback Joe Burrow. Their defense has been stifling throughout the entire season.
The real key to the game though, is if LSU can show up excited to play. That is what got Auburn last year, the disappointment of missing the playoff. UCF will undoubtedly show up inspired. In fact, I would argue this game could drastically change the college football landscape for next season. If UCF wins, the will have got unbeaten for 2 years. 2 SEC bowl wins. That warrants serious consideration for the playoff if they run the table next year.
I think UCF will show up inspired, and will leave Arizona with a big bowl win under their belt.
Texas vs. Georgia (-11) O/59.5
It’s truly the “What could have been” game for both of these teams.
On one hand you have Texas. Tom Herman has done a sensational job bringing the Longhorns back into national relevance in just bios second year. They come off a Big 12 Title game loss to Oklahoma. And, it they didn’t drop game 1 to Maryland back in September, the Big 12 Title game would have essentially been another playoff game.
On the other, we have Georgia. This is a team coming off a heart-breaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Title game. They gave Bama the biggest, toughest challenge of the year. Many even argued they should be in the playoff regardless.
For Texas to win this game, they will need to give QB Sam Ehlinger enough time to deliver strikes from the pocket. He is very good at evading pressure, but it can lead him into bad decisions and turnovers.
Another key matchup will Texas’ dynamic WR combination of Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson vs. Georgia’s secondary. The Bulldogs will be without star CornerBack Deandre Baker as he sits out for the NFL Draft.
Georgia QB Justin Fields is a big storyline as well. He is one of the highest rated QB’s ever coming out of his school, and this will likely be his last game sporting the Bulldog uniform. Many Bulldog Fans are anxious to see if he sees the field, in a last ditch effort to make him stay.
In the end, Georgia will show up with more to lose. They will attempt to send a message to the committee, and show why they should have been in the playoff.
I know 11 is a big spread, but I think they will cover, and cover easily. Take the over as well.