Orange Bowl Preview

The wait is finally over, New Year’s Eve has come, and every sports fan should know that the second College Football Playoff is here. Clemson the imgres-5number one team in the country faces off against number four Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, winner advances to the National Championship. In my opinion this is the better game out of the two semi-finals. We are all going to witness a fantastic quarterback battle, the best we have seen since last year’s Rose Bowl between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston. According to the Heisman voters, Deshaun Watson of Clemson, and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, are the top two quarterbacks in the country. Clemson has had a dream undefeated season, and completely got rid of that word they all hate, “Clemsoning” I guess the new definition of “Clemsoning” is going undefeated, winning a conference championship, and beating Notre Dame. The Tigers have constantly been the best team in the country.
Ever since Oklahoma’s bad loss to rival Texas, no one has been playing better ball then they have. Baker Mayfield has channeled his inner Johnny Football, and has created magic. Mayfield is one of the most excitingimgres-6 players to watch, and he always makes something out of nothing. The Sooners are going to have to get their run game going. Sophomore running back, Samaje Perine needs to have a game. Clemson’s defense is the most physical defense the Sooners have faced all year.
I believe that this will be one of the greatest games of the year, but Clemson’s defense will force a crucial turnover late, and Clemson will win the Orange Bowl, and advance to the National Championship.
Prediction: Clemson 43, Oklahoma 42
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CHICK-FIL-A Peach Bowl Preview

The Peach Bowl is the first New Year’s Six bowl game, and it will not disappoint. Tom Herman has nothing short then sensational in his first season as a head coach. Greg Ward Jr. is one of the most explosive players imgres-4 2in the country. Ward Jr. gives opposing defensive coordinators nightmares. He is so hard to defend because he can beat you with his arm and his legs. Ward Jr. of course is the leading passer for the Cougars, but he is also the leading rusher. He has rushed for 1,041 yards as a quarterback. Florida State has had a pretty good post Jameis Winston year. The Seminoles season has been highlighted by Dalvin Cook’s incredible run. Cook has rushed for 1,658 yards and 18 touchdowns. Cook has really carried the team on his shoulders this year. If it wasn’t for a block kick returned for a touchdown and a close loss to #1 Clemson, we would be talking back-to-back playoff berths for Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles.
Many people believe this will be a high scoring affair because of both explosive offenses, but don’t be surprised if we see the defenses make a big impact in this ball game. Not too many people have watched this images-1Houston team, and I am telling those people to tune in to ESPN, at 11:00 am CT, on New Year’s eve. This is a great football team and I believe that they will prove it. Florida State’s defense has their hands full against Greg Ward Jr. and the Cougar offense. Houston has some big boys on the defensive side of the football, and they are legit. Dalvin Cook will get his yards, but I believe Houston will slow him down and quarterback, Sean Maguire beat them through the air. This game will be a nail bitter, but in the end Greg Ward Jr. will make a few more plays and Houston will shock Noles nation, and upset Florida State. I just hope Tom Herman shows up to the Georgia Dome with his new grill.
Prediction: Houston 38, Florida State 31

Belk Bowl Preview

The Belk Bowl is the first time this bowl season we will see a matchup between two great senior quarterbacks. Dak Prescott and Jacoby Brissett have been the saviors of their programs. Both these quarterbacks have brought their two struggling programs back from the dead. I am so excited to see these talented players square off. Mississippi State has a strong defense and they are expected to shutdown Brissett and the NC State offense. I disagree, Brissett has a feel for SEC defenses during his brief time as a Florida Gator. Prescott has had a wonderful career and is the greatest quarterback in Mississippi State history, but I think Jacoby Brissett and the North Carolina State Wolfpack will out duel him.

Prediction: NC State 31, Miss State 28

Advocare V100 Texas Bowl Preview

The first half of the season LSU was running over anyone in their way, the legend of Leonard Fournette was growing, and then they ran into Alabama. Ever since that dreadful night in Tuscaloosa, the Tigers season has gone down the drain. Texas Tech has had an up and down year, but their quarterback Patrick Mahomes has quietly had a great year. The Red Raiders were a tipped pass away from upsetting TCU earlier this year, and it seems like they have not been able to rebound form that moment. Early on in the year they beat Arkansas, a team who plays a similar game to LSU, and Arkansas also blew out the Tigers. Texas Tech will get their points on imgres-1the board, but their defense ranks the worst in the country against the run. That smells trouble against the most talented running back in the county Leonard Fournette. Fournette will run wild on this weak Tech defense and the Tigers will win a surprisingly close game.
Prediction: LSU 32, Texas Tech 28

Russell Athletic Bowl Preview

The Russell Athletic bowl is a matchup between North Carolina, who came out of nowhere and had a surprising year vs Baylor, a team who had national title dreams this season. Baylor’s season has been riddled with imagesinjury at the quarterback position. Starter Seth Russell broke his neck against Iowa State, and second string QB Jarrett Stidham’s season came to an end with an ankle injury. That gives sophomore Chris Johnson the starting role in this exciting bowl matchup. On Baylor’s official roster, Johnson is labeled as a WR/QB, but he looked very impressive in the Bears win vs Oklahoma State. One of the bright spots this year for Baylor has been the play of star WR Corey Coleman, but Coleman is out for the Russell Athletic Bowl.
On the other hand, North Carolina has had something close to a dream season. Senior quarterback, Marquise Williams has been incredible. I truly believe he did not get enough Heisman trophy talk. Williams has shredded every defense he faced, including Clemson. Tailback Elijah Hood has also imgresbeen sensational. Hood has added a physical element to this high-powered offense. Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik has been the best assistant coach hire of the year. Chizik took a historically bad defense a year ago, and made them into a physical tough defense. Although the UNC’s defense has drastically improved, this will still be an offensive shootout. Baylor is known for their up-tempo offense and will score a lot, but I do not think Chris Johnson with out his biggest weapon will be able to keep up with Marquise Williams in his last game wearing Carolina Blue.
Prediction: North Carolina 54, Baylor 40

College GameDay & The Big 10 Championship Game

An outside viewer would think the Big 10 Championship game was incredibly boring this year, but trust me from a first hand experience this was the most exciting football game I have been to. To put this into context, I also had the opportunity to go to the all time 4ef0997d-90f5-4729-8668-63d8a49a8fac_19581_CUSTOMclassic 2010 BCS National Championship between Oregon and Auburn where Cam Newton broke the heart of all my fellow Duck fans. The excitement surrounding the city of Indianapolis, the the host city for the Big 10 Championship, was unbelievable. Everywhere you went, you would hear “Go Hawks” or “ Go Green, Go White”. As a life long Michigan fan, I have never hated to hear two phrases in a week, except of course  “O-H-I-O”. This whole experience was so memorable for me, and that is why I am here to share it with you guys.

To start, my mom and I woke up at the crack of dawn to be in the front row of my favoriteIMG_7200 show, ESPN College GameDay. As anti-Finebaum and SEC signs filled the mob of the students and fans, the show was ready to go. Coach Corso played to the crowd, while Kirk Herbstreit was a trooper, as all of the Iowa and Sparty fans were not too kind to the former Buckeye. Hearing Tom Rinaldi touch the crowd with his powerful stories, seeing Des show off his dance moves during commercial breaks, and watching Chris Fallica, “The Bear” power down the famous flaming hot shrimp cocktail from St. Elmo Steak IMG_7198House, were all highlights of Gameday. My favorite moment from being at GameDay was when Heisman Trophy Winner, and one of my role models Desmond Howard saluted at me because of my Michigan hat. College Gameday was awesome, and I know someday that I will be at the desk as an analyst.

IMG_7223After Gameday I headed to the Big 10 fan fest, where I met former Michigan State, and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive back, Darqueze Dennard. Dennard was not a fan of my Michigan shirt, as you can see in the picture he put a green sweatshirt to cover the maize and blue. Dennard asked me how old I was, when I told him I was 16, he said there was still time for me change into a Spartan. Although it was cool meeting Darqueze, I still bleed maize, blue and khaki. I wish Darqueze and the Bengals lots of luck as they head to the playoffs.

Fan fest came to an end, and I was off to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Hawkeyes came out to their signature “Back in Black” and the stadium was electric. It was crazy how many more Iowa fans there were, I really think the whole state of Iowa was in the Stadium. The defenses dominated the entire game. It was like watching the steel curtain vs the ‘85 Chicago Bears. I have never heard a stadium get as loud as it did when Trevaun Smith broke free for a long touchdown to put the Hawkeyes on top.images-1 Sparty responded with a nine minute game winning drive, it was remarkable to see. This game was one for the ages and I had the time of my life. I’m really hoping that this was the first of many Big 10 Championship games that I will attend and I’m also hoping that I’ll see the streets of Indy flooded with maize and blue as well as hear the phrase “Go Blue”.

Championship Weekend

Championship Weekend is among us, the final tickets will be punched for the College Football Playoff. This weekend is what makes college football so great. Here’s my preview for the games:

SEC Championship: Florida vs Alabama

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are in a familiar place, one win away from their ultimatederrick-henry-090615-getty-ftrjpg_rdyvlucn46ytzbxewpt84mu7 goal. The Florida Gators have overachieved this year, but ever since the Will Grier suspension their offense has been stagnant. No one is giving the Gators a chance in this game,eventhough their defense has been incredible. I believe Derrick Henry will have trouble throughout the first half, but break free in the second. I have a feeling Florida will keep it close, but the Tide will roll in the second half and pull away.

Prediction: Alabama 27 Florida 13

Pac 12 Championship: USC vs Stanford 

imagesIt seemed like the Pac 12 was down and out when Vernon Adams and the Ducks shocked Stanford in the Farm. If chaos breaks out the Cardinal will be in the best shape to sneak up the polls and jump into the playoff spot. USC has quietly put a nice season together and their high powered offense will give David Shaw’s defense some troubles. This will be a shootout, but Stanford will once again show that they are the best team in the Golden State.

Prediction: Stanford 38 USC 34

Big Ten Championship: Iowa vs Michigan State

The Big Ten Championship by far has the most stakes, and is a match up of two old 635821737144069337-IOW-1031-iowa-fb-vs-maryland-25school, smash mouth, classic Big 10 football teams. Iowa and Michigan State are both so well coached and they make very little mistakes. The Hawkeyes have had a dream season, the have been the Cinderella of College Football. If Sparty controls the line and gets their run game going, it will be a long day for the Hawkeyes. If Michigan State’s experienced offensive line fails to show up, and gets themselves in third and long, the Spartans are in trouble. I believe Desmond King will have a day, and the Hawkeyes will be on their way to a playoff game. I will be at the game and hope for an incredible matchup.

ACC Championship: North Carolina vs Clemson 

deshaun-watson-092714-getty-ftrjpg_17g122zxqtm1v1u5pp0uggfsd2This is the best game of the day, and probably the best quarterback matchup this year. Both Marquise Williams and Deshaun Watson have had the best seasons of their careers. UNC is the hottest team in the country, and Clemson has been persistently great this year. This will be a track meet, and I believe will come down to who has the ball last. UNC has put together a great year, but Clemson has too much talent and will somehow find a way to win this game.

Prediction: Clemson 58 North Carolina 55