After getting the four teams pretty much everyone knew would make the College Football Playoff, we now know what other teams will get a shot to play in the four other New Year’s bowls.
The field was announced shortly after Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington learned their fates. While the matchups feature teams that were shoo-ins for big bowls, they still bring some excitement to the table along with a solid amount of Big Ten tradition.
In case you missed it, here are the matchups for each of the four games.
- Orange Bowl: Michigan/Florida State
- Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin/Western Michigan
- Rose Bowl: USC/Penn State
- Sugar Bowl: Auburn/Oklahoma
At first glance, it’s hard to dislike any of these matchups. Let’s take a look at each of them, starting with the Orange Bowl.
Though it seems like the Wolverines are head and shoulders above the Seminoles, this will be a solid coaching matchup. This is Jim Harbaugh’s first big-time bowl game as the head coach of his alma mater. And Jimbo Fisher is no stranger to these sorts of games. And with Florida State playing in its home state, I expect the Noles to be ready to play and put up a solid fight against a Michigan team that might still be upset about missing the playoff.
Now, it’s onto the Cotton Bowl. First off, without any context, this matchup screams of a September non-conference matchup that would be on at noon ET on the Big Ten Network. But with the Broncos going 13-0 and looking impressive while doing it, this matchup makes perfect sense.
Another oddity is the fact that these campuses are playing thousands of miles away in Dallas while the two campuses are about 300 miles apart. Either way, these two teams will certainly bring plenty of excitement to the table. This is Western Michigan’s first time on a major bowl stage while the Badgers bring a solid fan base wherever they go.
Now, the Rose Bowl. As someone who grew up in Big Ten country, this matchup is always exciting. And this matchup seems to be another solid one. The only thing there is to worry about is whether the Nittany Lions will be upset about missing the Playoff and lay an egg.
But based off of Penn State coach James Franklins’ post-rankings reveal interview with ESPN, I expect Franklin’s squad to be ready to go. Just don’t repeat 2009, OK, Penn State?
Finally, let’s take a look at the Sugar Bowl. Both of these teams started slow but ended up impressing later on. The Sooners appear to be the better of the two. Plus, Bob Stoops and Oklahoma love beating SEC teams in New Orleans. Just look at the 2014 game between the Sooners and Alabama. We can only hope Alabama mom fan makes a repeat appearance.
Overall, this is a very solid slate of games. And despite controversy on some believing their favorite team is out of the College Football Playoff when they deserved to, there is plenty of reason to spend some time on your couch watching those games.