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Forecaster Frank's CFP Predictions and December 29th Bowls

2018 Belk Bowl

 

South Carolina 35 Virginia 20

South Carolina had a strong season playing in the SEC East. With a 7-5 record, the Gamecocks lost all five games against ranked opponents and went 7-0 against teams out of the Top 25. Virginia is an unranked team that has lost three of their last four games. However, two of those losses were in overtime. Jake Bentley had a great season for South Carolina, including putting up 35 points against the strong Clemson defense. The Cavaliers will have a tough time keeping up in this one.

Watchability factor: Jake Bentley is a solid quarterback and South Carolina is a strong team that could improve in the next few years. Virginia has some talent too and could make this one a close compelling game, but considering it is being played at the same time as the Peach Bowl you are better off watching Michigan and Florida.

2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl


Michigan 41 Florida 20

After getting embarrassed at the Horseshoe, Michigan needs to finish the season on a positive note. The Wolverines besides struggling against Ohio State has not played well in bowl games since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh, losing two their last two. Florida had a nice rebound season in their first season with coach Dan Mullen, going 9-3. Michigan has beaten the Gators regularly in recent years when they met including the 2016 Orange Bowl, they won 41-7. Look for this one to be a cakewalk for the Maze and Blue.

Watchability factor: The first of the so-called New Years Six Bowls, kicks off at high noon. Consider this one to be an appetizer for the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl, which will be a part of the College Football Playoff later in the day.

2018 Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl

 

Arkansas State 27 Nevada 16

Nevada has a strong season in the Mountain West Conference, going 7-5 after a 3-9 record in 2017. Arkansas State meanwhile posted an 8-4 record and was one of the top teams in the Sun Belt conference. The Red Wolves have considerably more talent as Ronheen Bingham is a legitimate pro prospect after posting nine sacks. Arkansas State also has the edge at quarterback with Justice Hansen completing two-thirds of his passes during the regular season. Look for Arkansas State to get control and win this one easily.

Watchability factor: None zero, zip. This bowl game is being played on the same day as the Semifinals and a good matchup between Michigan and Florida. Talk about poor planning.

2018 Good Year Cotton Bowl Classic


Notre Dame 24 Clemson 20

I would like to think Notre Dame can win this game and perform a miracle run to their first National Championship in 30 years. However, giving a realistic look at their matchup with Clemson and you see just how improbable that is. The Irish did a great job posting a 12-0 record and they played several quality teams along the way including Michigan. However, they have yet to meet a team with the athletes on both sides of the ball like Clemson has. The only hope that Notre Dame has of winning this game is for Ian Book to have a career day, and the Irish defense to shut down the Tigers versatile offense. Which is easier said than done, because both running back Travis Etienne and quarterback Trevor Lawrence is capable of breaking the game open. However, with three key players suspended the door has been opened for Notre Dame. Look for the Irish to take advantage and win the game in the fourth quarter and pull off the stunner.

Watchability Factor: This game actually matters as the winner goes on to play for the National Championship in Santa Clara on January 9th. Add in a talented Clemson team and the historic nature of Notre Dame looking to wake up the echoes and this is truly must-see TV.

2018 Capital One Orange Bowl

 

Alabama 61 Oklahoma 34

Alabama is just two wins away from a second National Championship and an unprecedented 18th overall. Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide have won five National titles in 11 years and seeking a sixth. The Tide have been in the National Championship Game each of the last three seasons, and this year’s Alabama team may be the best one yet. It was not until a National Championship rematch against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game that they were challenged, as they won each of their 12 regulars by at least 22 points. In the Heisman race, the only contest anyone in Alabama lost, Tua Tagovailoa finished behind Kyler Murray of Oklahoma. The Sooners were an offensive juggernaut this season, but their defense was severely lacking as they needed to win shootouts nearly every week. Winning a shootout is the only chance the Sooners have, but that means they have to put up at least 50 to have a shot and hope they can hold the Tide under 50. Both are likely not to happen.

Watchability Factor: The two most exciting players in the NCAA this season Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray together on the same field, with a trip to the National Championship on the line. Add in Alabama looking to win a second straight championship and you have a game that should be compelling until the Tide pull away.