Live sporting events have now become attached to every holiday. The NFL has always owned Thanksgiving, the NBA has taken over Christmas Day, and the MLB is part of all our summer holidays. The suits that run college football knew they needed to move their sport to a holiday to maximize views and interest. As of last year, they have moved their best Bowl games from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve.
There will be eight total bowl games played on Saturday December 31st and Monday January 2nd. Two of the four games played on December 31st will national semifinal games, one at 3:00 PM and the other at 7:00. Here is a prediction of who will play in these New Year’s Eve day games.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Game: SEC vs. Big Ten/ACC/ND at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
TaxSlayer Bowl: SEC vs. Big Ten/ACC/ND at EverBank Field, Jacksonville Florida
With the Outback Bowl and Sugar Bowl required to include one of the top SEC teams, as well at the Cotton Bowl featuring two at-large bids, the two bowl games that feature SEC teams will likely not be the cream of the crop in the SEC. The Rose Bowl and Outback Bowl will also feature top Big Ten teams, so the same factor comes in play as well. With LSU falling apart I think they will end up in one of these games.
Notre Dame will not be worthy of these games, so they can be crossed out. Baring a catastrophe, Clemson will be in a semifinal game, and Louisville will either be in the semifinal or Cotton Bowl. This likely leaves either Florida State, Miami, or North Carolina as the possible SEC teams, and a team like Wisconsin, Penn State, or Iowa as a possible Big Ten candidate.
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Game: LSU vs. Miami (P.S. how gross does the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Game sound? How does that get approved?)
TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia vs. North Carolina (week one rematch!)
Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl: at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Fiesta Bowl: at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
It is pretty obvious who the four best teams in the country are: Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, and Clemson. The SEC is never easy to predict a champion, but Alabama is by far the best team. After Clemson beat Louisville, they will be the favorite to win the ACC and head back to the semifinals once again. Michigan and Ohio State will essentially play a playoff game in their last game of the season, as the loser could possibly be bumped out of the playoff picture.
Depending on how other teams finish out, the loser can still be considered a top four team if the game is close. For dramatic purposes, let’s say the Buckeyes wipe the floors with the Wolverines, and kicks Michigan out of the semifinal picture.
It has not been determined which game will feature the #1 vs. #4 matchup and the #2 vs. #3 matchup, but there are the projected matchups:
#1 Alabama vs. #4 Louisville
#2 Ohio State vs. #3 Clemson