New Year’s Day marks the final day for college bowl week. Bowl games featured include a bunch of teams that just missed competing in the college football playoff and are coming into these games mighty upset. Despite losing only a single game this season, Ohio State found itself ranked number 6 and on the outside looking in to the playoff. UCF fans can sympathize considering they haven’t lost a game since 2016. Regardless, at least we are about to get treated to some quality match-ups this New Year’s Day.
As always, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy the first day of the new year together.
No. 18 Mississippi State vs. Iowa
12:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
While the Bulldogs sport likely second-day prospect Elgton Jenkins at center, they have multiple prospects on defense. Safety Johnathan Abram loves to hit, but still has the athleticism to cover. Defensive end Montez Sweat and tackle Jeffrey Simmons are both likely first rounders, with both appearing to be equally as good facing the run as they are against the pass. The Hawkeyes are dependent on their two tight ends in the passing, Noah Fant, who will not being playing in this game, and T.J. Hockenson.
No. 11 LSU vs. No. 8 UCF
1:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
The Knights have a lower-round prospect in defensive tackle Trysten Hill, but most of the players worth watching play for the Tigers. In particular, linebacker Devin White is worth the price of admission even if his teammate, corner Andraez “Greedy” Williams, is skipping the bowl game. Both players could find themselves among the top ten in this Spring’s draft. Don’t ignore Foster Moreau though, as he’s part of a dying breed as a blocking tight end.
No. 14 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Penn State
1:00 p.m. Eastern, ABC
Teams ranked this highly are expected to have next-level prospects across the board, and that’s certainly true with Penn State and Kentucky. Nittany Lions tailback Miles Sanders isn’t the same caliber player as Saquon Barkley was, but he’s a decent prospect in his own right.
Corner Amani Oruwariye is a smart, ball-hawking player with very good size. The Wildcats have their own bell-cow back in Benny Snell and guard Bunchy Stallings will look to pave some lanes for him. The biggest draw of course will be with pass rusher Josh Allen, who may see himself selected within the first ten picks of the draft.
No. 9 Washington vs. No. 6 Ohio State
5:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
The presumed first pick of the draft, Buckeyes defensive end Nick Bosa, won’t be playing but Ohio State has plenty of prospects to keep your eyes on. It starts with quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who has yet to declare his intentions to enter the draft or return to school. Haskins is protected on the offensive line by tackle Isaiah Prince and guard Michael Jordan, with Jordan being the superior pro prospect. On defense, tackle Dre’Mont Jones may be the best interior pass rusher in the nation, with eight-and-a-half sacks on the year. The Huskies’ defense isn’t to be trifled with either, because they have cornerback Byron Murphy and safety Taylor Rapp patrolling the back end, and big Greg Gaines as their nose tackle ready to stuff any runs that come at him. Offensively, the two players most likely to make plays are versatile running back Myles Gaskin and tight end Drew Sample over the middle of the field.
No. 15 Texas vs. No. 5 Georgia
8:45 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
Texas football is back, thanks to a pair of huge receivers and their defense. Longhorns wideouts Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey are both massive targets who know how to use their size as an advantage. Their performance on defense starts with Charles Omenihu, a Senior Bowl invitee, and ends with cornerback Kris Boyd. Taking down the Bulldogs won’t be easy though, because of blue-collar players like D’Andre Walker on the edge. The Longhorns are helped out a bit by lock-down cornerback Deandre Baker’s decision to skip the game.