The college football season has once again delivered some top-tier match-ups for the bowl season.
In addition to the four College Football Playoff qualifiers, another eight teams will get the opportunity to shine in front of a national audience with all eyes on them. Here’s a look at each matchup leading up to the national championship game on Jan. 13, 2020.
Dec. 28 — Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Penn State (10-2) vs. Memphis (12-1)
The Big Ten’s Nittany Lions will matchup with the American Athletic Conference’s Tigers in the bowl season’s annual David vs. Goliath matchup. Penn State recently signed head coach James Franklin to a new six-year deal, while Memphis’ Mike Norvell just agreed to take over a struggling Florida State program.
It will be interesting to see if the coaching change has any affect on the Tigers’ upset hopes.
Dec. 28 — Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (CFP semifinal): No. 1 LSU (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1)
LSU’s offense has been the talk of the nation thanks to quarterback Joe Burrow and passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who was hired away from the New Orleans Saints to revamp LSU’s aerial attack. The result has been nothing short of incredible, as the once-plodding Tigers rank second in the country in passing yardage.
Jalen Hurts will get another chance to lead his team to a title this postseason after transferring from Alabama to OU. However, the Sooners seemed more lucky than deserving of the opportunity, as they had to survive a close battle with Baylor in the Big 12 championship despite the Bears losing their top two QBs to injury.
Dec. 28 — Playstation Fiesta Bowl (CFP semifinal): No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) vs. No. 3 Clemson (13-0)
The resurgent Buckeyes are back in the CFP thanks to two of the biggest breakout stars of the season — QB Justin Fields and DE Chase Young. Fields has accounted for an incredible 50 touchdowns by himself, while Young has registered 16.5 sacks heading into the postseason.
The Tigers are the defending national champs and may feel a bit underappreciated given their No. 3 overall seed. Head coach Dabo Swinney’s squad is still loaded with NFL-caliber talent and is led by QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, WRs Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins, LB Isaiah Simmons and S K’Von Wallace.
Dec. 30 — Capital One Orange Bowl: Florida (10-2) vs. Virginia (9-4)
The Gators are back in the public eye following an uphill climb out of mediocrity. Head coach Dan Mullen helped Florida finish second in the SEC West this season. Standout cornerback CJ Henderson has announced he’ll sit out in order to prepare for the NFL Draft, but no other Gators are expected to sit.
The Cavaliers get a nice consolation prize after being bludgeoned 62-17 by Clemson in the ACC championship. Virginia, which is led by dual threat QB Bryce Perkins, will look to gain back some more respect on a national level in this one.
Jan. 1, 2020 — Rose Bowl: Oregon (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (10-3)
The Ducks blitzed Utah in the Pac-12 championship, which sent the Utes into the Alamo Bowl, where they’ll meet Texas. QB Justin Herbert still leads an exciting air raid style offense for Oregon, and the Ducks will once again try to prove they’re more than just a finesse team from the West Coast.
The Badgers looked as though they’d caught Ohio State by surprise in the Big 10 title game, but the Buckeyes stormed back to topple Wisconsin. Still, a berth in the Rose Bowl is always something to be proud of, and RB Jonathan Taylor has his sights set on bringing a trophy back to chilly Madison following the program’s 10th appearance all-time in Pasadena.
Jan. 1, 2020 — Allstate Sugar Bowl: Georgia (11-2) vs. Baylor (11-2)
The Bulldogs get a shot to atone for last season’s dud against the Longhorns, while Matt Rhule and the Bears will try to give their fanbase a huge victory following a remarkable comeback season.
Georgia has enjoyed yet another solid year under head coach Kirby Smart. Junior QB Jake Fromm may have fallen off the radar in terms of the most talked-about signal callers in college football, but a big game in New Orleans could change all that. Just ask Sam Ehlinger.
Meanwhile, Baylor will hope to welcome back QB Charlie Brewer following an unfortunate injury in the Big 12 championship. Brewer, a Lake Travis alum, has been sensational for the Bears in 2019. The junior comes into the Sugar Bowl having thrown for 2,950 yards and 20 TDs and rushed for another 545 yards and 10 scores.
Jan. 13, 2020 — CFP National Championship: TBD vs. TBD
No one is yet 100% certain who will end up playing for all the marbles at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, but Longhorn fans will have a clear favorite: anybody but OU.
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