Fellow ‘Cats fans, bored Northwestern students on winter break and degenerate gamblers alike: welcome to bowl season. Most people regard mid-late December as holiday season, but to Matt and me, this is the finest part of the season from the greatest sport, college football. Follow along as we continue our quest to help you make money and take down the big bad wolf that is Las Vegas.
Avery Zimmerman: 12-11
Matt Albert: 11-12
We’re not doing too well, but that’s okay, ‘cause we’re having fun. Only two bowl games truly “matter”, and those are the two college football playoff games. This year, the Cotton Bowl features Clemson and Notre Dame, while the Orange Bowl pits Oklahoma against Alabama. Without further ado, let’s pick em’.
Clemson (-12) vs. Notre Dame: Cotton Bowl
Avery: Clemson — Somehow, Clemson has flown under the radar this year, but it has been an absolute force. It has won each of its last eight contests by 20 points or more, and Trevor Lawrence has established himself as an elite quarterback. Throughout the season, Notre Dame has feasted on weaker competition and ground its way through tougher competition. Outside of a quality win over Michigan in the first week of the season, Notre Dame didn’t truly face any elite competition. Sure, they had a tough game in Evanston, but is Northwestern really a quality team, especially at home? Its win over Syracuse came against a backup quarterback, and outside of that, the Fighting Irish haven’t faced a ranked foe. Maybe Notre Dame’s performance against Alabama in 2013 is misguiding my judgement here, but I can’t see Notre Dame competing.
Matt: Clemson — We all have seen the true colors of this Irish team, and before I finish my pick I’d like to offer a trigger warning to any Irish fans who are reading this. I understand why they made it in, but honestly they were not the 3rd best team in the country, nor even top 5. To me this shouldn’t be close, the disparity in ability should be enough to push Clemson to the finals. There is very little doubt in my mind that the Tigers dominate the game, prove Notre Dame as the fraud they are (and lessen the chances of independent’s being taken in the future without playing a legit schedule) and send Clemson to the National Championship again.
Alabama (-14) vs. Oklahoma: Orange Bowl
Avery: Oklahoma — Alabama is a great team, and I do think that it’ll win, but 14 points is a lot for Kyler Murray and the most prolific offense in the country. Much has been made about the Oklahoma defense, but it held its own against an excellent Texas offense in the Big 12 Championship. While I can’t see Oklahoma finding enough stops in this battle to earn a victory, I can see the Sooners keeping it within two scores throughout the contest. Or Alabama runs riot, one of the two.
Matt: Oklahoma — Ya know what, even though all logical parts of my brain point to Alabama winning and covering, sometimes the absolutely ridiculous happens. BOOMER SOONER. It’s as simple as that. 14 is a lot and I’ve sort of gone cold so I’m fading myself and taking OU.
***Bonus LSU (-7) vs. UCF: Fiesta Bowl***