Bowl season has officially kicked off and the action will ramp up as we approach New Year’s Day and the National Championship. While there are a lot of games to look at, along with the College Football Playoff odds, we’re going to focus on four games that feature teams ranked in the Top 12.
Cotton Bowl Odds: USC Trojans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (-7)
The No. 8 USC Trojans (11-2) and the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2) have the biggest qualms about missing out on the Playoff. Led by quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones II, the Trojans won the Pac-12 31-28. The Buckeyes also won their conference title (Big Ten), but they underachieved this season with losses to Oklahoma and Iowa. The last time these two teams met, USC swept a home-and-home in 2008 and 2009.
Orange Bowl Odds: Wisconsin Badgers (-7) vs. Miami Hurricanes
The No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers (12-1) take on the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes (10-2) in a matchup of conference championship losers. The Badgers lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game while the Hurricanes lost to Clemson in the ACC title game. Despite the losses, both teams own top-rated defenses, as the Badgers are third in points allowed and the Hurricanes are tied for 20th in the same category.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is third in the country with 1,847 yards and leads the Badgers’ conservative offense. The Badgers don’t make many mistakes, but the Hurricanes – who feasted off of turnovers this season – will look to bait them into one or two.
Fiesta Bowl Odds: Washington Huskies vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (-3)
The No. 12 Washington Huskies (10-2) will play the No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) in Phoenix in the Fiesta Bowl. The Huskies finished second in the Pac-12 North, while the Nittany Lions finished second in the Big Ten East. Even though both teams have competent offenses, this could be a defensive showdown. Penn State was seventh in points allowed, while The Huskies were sixth.
Peach Bowl Odds: Central Florida Knights vs. Auburn Tigers (-10)
The No. 10 Central Florida Knights (12-0) went undefeated in winning the American Athletic Conference, but a lack of quality opponents kept them out of the College Football Playoff conversation. As for the No. 7 Auburn Tigers (10-3), they lost to Georgia in the SEC title game and probably would have went to the Playoff had they won. Central Florida was fifth in the country in total offense, and they’ll take on a defense that was 10th in points against. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham passed for 2,827 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions, while running back Kerryon Johnson ran for 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns.
*Odds as of December 21, 2017