The teams have been selected and the College Football Playoff odds have been posted. Now all that’s left is to handicap the games and get excited once the calendar flips to 2018. The New Year’s Day bowls will be headlined by the national title playoff semifinals with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Let’s take a closer look at both matchups.

 

Rose Bowl Odds: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Georgia Bulldogs (-1.5)

On New Year’s Day, the Georgia Bulldogs (12-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) will take on the Oklahoma Sooners (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS) in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Led by Heisman winning quarterback, Baker Mayfield, the Sooners beat TCU 41-17 to win the Big 12 title. Throughout the season, Mayfield threw for 4,340 yards, 41 touchdowns and five interceptions for the Sooners. Oklahoma enters the Rose Bowl game with a dangerous offense that led the country in total yards (7,583). They’re very balanced too, as they had three running backs with at least 500 yards.

The SEC-winning Bulldogs also have three running backs with at least 500 yards, but Nick Chubb led the team with 1,175 yards. The Bulldogs have the edge on defense as they were fourth in the country in total defense, including second in passing yards allowed. However, they haven’t faced a quarterback like Mayfield, so that will be an interesting matchup.

The Sooners were 58th in total defense, including 41st in rushing defense. They’re going to have to slow down Georgia’s ground game and make quarterback Jake Fromm prove that he can beat them.

 

Sugar Bowl Odds: Alabama Crimson Tide (-2.5) vs. Clemson Tigers

In a rematch of last year’s National Championship game, the Sugar Bowl matchup in New Orleans will pit the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) against the No. 1 Clemson Tigers (12-1). The Crimson Tide didn’t even make it to the SEC title game, losing to Auburn in their regular season finale. However, they were the No. 1 team in the country and the favourite according to the National Championship odds for basically the entire season. That helped their cause with the voters.

The Crimson Tide finished second in the nation in total defense. Their offense is led by a three-headed rushing attack powered by quarterback Jalen Hurts and running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough. The passing attack faltered when they fell behind in Auburn and you can bet that Clemson noticed.

Meanwhile, the Tigers won the ACC title and were sixth in the nation in total defense. On offense, quarterback Kelly Bryant proved to be a solid successor to Deshaun Watson. The only game that Clemson lost was when he was knocked out with a concussion.

These two teams have played in the last two national title games. Alabama won 45-40 in 2016, and Clemson got their revenge in 2017 with a 35-31 victory. The completion of the trilogy is one of the most anticipated games of the bowl season.

 

*Odds as of December 22, 2017