Home I Latest News I NCAA Bowl Games Preview
If you are a fan of college football, the month of December is a real treat! There are 40 scheduled Bowl Games, beginning December 15th and ending the first week of January, 2019. Forty games in just a little over 3 weeks! You will be spoiled for choice this holiday season. Let’s take a look at a few of the high profile matchups in our NCAA Bowl Games Preview.
Though the regular season is finished, the National Champion has not been determined. That is where Bowl Games come in. NCAA Division I Football adopted the Bowl Game Playoff System in 2014. The top 4 teams play in a single elimination playoff bracket. This year, the semifinals will be the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl, played on the same day. The 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship kicks off January 7th in Santa Clara, California.
This is the 83rd edition of the Cotton Bowl Classic and this year we will see #2 ranked Clemson of the ACC against 3rd ranked Notre Dame, an FBS independent. It will be played on December 29th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Both teams are undefeated this year and both are hungry for that national title. It’s the first time two undefeated teams have met in the Cotton Bowl Classic since 1948.
The 13-0 Clemson Tigers are coming into the matchup as the clear favorites, with a 12.5 point edge at Bet365. In fact, most people are saying they are going to steamroll Notre Dame. Clemson had a fairly easy schedule this season, but they are hot with the ball in their possession, rated #1 in rushing offense. Notre Dame (12-0) has had to battle since the beginning of the season, overtaking some big schools in the process. Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, and Syracuse, all ranked colleges, fell to the Fighting Irish during the regular season.
The over/under is set at 55. Keep in mind that in eight of Clemson’s 13 victories this season, they scored more that 40 points. Led by true freshman quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, Clemson has recorded more touchdowns this year than ever before in school history.
Clemson is also the more experienced team, having won the National Championship in 2016. And last season, in their third straight invitation to the College Football Playoffs, they lost the Sugar Bowl to Alabama. Most players on this squad have been in at least one playoff game.
On the other side of the ball, this is the first ever CFP appearance for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Keep you eye on Tigers RB Travis Etienne, ACC Player of the Year, ACC Offensive Player of the Year, and 1st Team All ACC. At 19 years old, Etienne has been tearing up the field with a regular season that boasted 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns. To put that into perspective, Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin (RB) and Chase Claypool (WR), have a combined total of 1,744 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Both teams’ quarterbacks aren’t the original starters, as they both had to take over the position mid season. They’ve stepped up to the challenge and we should see an exciting game with these two at the helm. The Irish will be relying on Ian Book, a junior QB in his third year.
The other semifinal game pits #1 Alabama Crimson Tide of the SEC against #4 Oklahoma Sooners from the Big 12 in the 85th edition of the Orange Bowl. It will be the second bowl game of the day, starting at 8pm from the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
As defending National Champions, the Crimson Tide is looking to make it two in a row. But Heisman Trophy winner, Sooner’s QB Kyler Murray, will not go down without a fight in what could be his final collegiate football game of his career. Murray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics to play professional baseball.
Alabama is going in with a 13-0 undefeated record. Oklahoma is 12-1, losing only to Texas the beginning of October. They went on to win 8 straight games and got some sweet redemption by beating them when it counted in the Big 12 Championship game.
This is Alabama’s fifth consecutive CFP appearance and the third for the Sooners. Both teams have played in the Orange Bowl, however, Alabama’s last time was in 1999. Oklahoma lost to Clemson in the Orange Bowl in 2015.
The Crimson Tide are the favorites, with a 14 point advantage according to Bet365. They are expecting a rip roaring scoring contest, as the over/under is set at 77.5. These two QB’s will definitely be keeping the game interesting. Murry put up 4053 yards with 40 touchdowns this year, while Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa was in the hunt for the Heisman but was edged out by Murray. Tagovailoa had 3353 yards for 37 touchdowns this season. During the SEC Championship game, the sophomore sustained a high ankle sprain the required surgery. Will he be back in playing form for the 29th?
Since this game will probably be a QB duel, having a strong defense is key. Keep an eye out for some big plays on defense from Bama DT Quinnen Williams. Williams tallied 66 tackles, 8 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss this year.
Oklahoma will be looking for some big stops against that explosive Alabama offense. The seek and destroy duo of Curtis Bolton and Kenneth Murray will be the main lines of defense. Bolton racked up 130 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss, while Murray made 140 stops and 12 tackles for loss. Both had four sacks on the season.
These games should be packed with action so you don’t want to miss a minute! Check out our complete live streaming guide to see where to watch the Cotton Bowl and the Orange Bowl.
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