The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

College football bowl preview

Florida State will play in the Fiesta Bowl after being robbed of a chance at the championship. (Photo courtesy of ESPN)

In the last three days, the tumultuous world of college football has heard the words “screwed, biased, travesty, injustice” echo consistently after the bowl slate was announced Sunday night. This announcement included one of the most stunning omissions from the College Football Playoff we’ve ever seen.

Florida State became the first ever Power Five team to go undefeated in its conference and then not be given a chance to play for the championship as one-loss conference champions Texas and Alabama were included in the final four alongside undefeated Michigan and Washington. This omission has been universally panned by everyone who lives outside of the Montgomery-Birmingham metroplex for completely disincentivizing the act of winning all the games on your schedule, as the selection committee just throws the SEC champion in the playoff anyway.

With that being said, here is this year’s preview for the top bowl games of the year and my predictions for the winners.

Rose Bowl: #1 Michigan vs. #4 Alabama

At the beginning of the year, questions abounded about coach Nick Saban and Alabama. Are they over the hill? Is Saban washed? It certainly looked like it early on with a loss to Texas at home and a close victory over a lowly USF. However, Alabama has come on strong in the latter half of the season. Quarterback Jalen Millroe might have been the best player in college football in the second half of the year and his receiving core might be the best they have had since 2020.

Michigan has been an immovable force in the Big Ten all year. Whatever has been thrown in its path, be it a recruiting scandal, a cheating scandal or head coach Jim Harbaugh not being allowed to coach the majority of its games, Michigan has weathered all the storms and has returned to the college football playoff, this time with hopes of actually winning.

Predicted Winner: Michigan

Sugar Bowl: #2 Washington vs. #3 Texas

Texas began the season stronger than any team in the sport with a week two road win over powerhouse Alabama. Since then, the Longhorns have struggled at times with their quarterback getting hurt mid-season. However, outside of one loss to Oklahoma, Texas has looked like the juggernaut of the Big 12 all year.

Led by Heisman finalist Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies have silenced all of their critics on the way to their second appearance in the playoff. This game will have a ton of points as both offenses are the strong points of their teams, so it will come down to who can stop the other team the most.

Predicted Winner: Texas

Cotton Bowl: #7 Ohio State vs. #9 Missouri 

This game will pit a team that did not fulfill expectations against a team that far exceeded them. Ohio State lost to Michigan for the third straight year, and this time, it cost the Buckeyes a chance at the playoff. Questions are starting to arise because they seemingly do not have a lot of weaknesses but have never been able to put it together under Ryan Day. Missouri has been the Cinderella story of college football this season and has a chance to pull off one more miracle against one of the best teams in football.

Predicted winner: Ohio State

Peach Bowl: #10 Penn State vs. #11 Ole Miss

The matchup is going to be fun, if not to just watch two of the most charismatic coaches duke it out. Penn State had a playoff-worthy defense this year, while Ole Miss had the same on offense, but neither was able to click on the opposite side of the ball to get the job done. It will come down to whether or not Penn State can score on the Ole Miss defense, because if it can, the Nittany Lions have a strong chance to win their second-straight New Year’s Six bowl.

Predicted winner: Penn State

Orange Bowl: #5 Florida State vs. #6 Georgia

In a matchup of the most unfortunate teams in college football, Georgia was the #1 ranked team all year until a loss to Alabama in the SEC championship eliminated it from the playoff, while Florida State suffered an injustice the likes of which we have never seen in the playoff era. Georgia is a far better team than Florida State, especially with the Seminoles working with their second-string quarterback, so the best thing Florida State could do is boycott the game, forcing ESPN to talk about how they got screwed while losing money on the lack of viewers.

Predicted winner: Georgia

Fiesta Bowl: #8 Oregon vs. #21 Liberty

This is the consolation bowl for Oregon after narrowly losing to Washington twice during the regular season. It is a strong team led by senior quarterback Bo Nix who has started more games than anyone else in college football. Dan Lanning is one of the brightest stars in coaching, but he is matched up against another in Liberty’s Jamey Chadwell.

Predicted winner: Oregon

Championship prediction: Michigan

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About the Contributor
Charlie Berman, Sports Editor
VAP, TRELL, KEHD (cheast, stew, help)

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