Fellow FishDuck.com writer Darren Perkins did a terrific job of covering the Pac-12 2023/24 bowl games. Here’s a take on the seven bowl games that will be contested among seven ‘New B1G’ teams versus seven ‘New SEC‘ teams in the postseason; the final season of the Pac-12. In all, 13 of 18 B1G teams, 72% of the conference, and 11 of 16 SEC teams, 69% of that conference, are going bowling.
A 70% representation of 24 out of 34 Power 2 teams playing in the post-season is a nice showing. You can bet that SEC Commish Greg Sankey, Paul Finebaum, and Mickey Mouse will be watching these seven bowl games with special interest. Ditto B1G Commish Tony Petitti, Joel Klatt, and Bobby Murdoch.
(All broadcast times below are Pacific Time. CFB = College Football. OO = Opt Out. Portal = Transfer Portal.)
ROSE BOWL – 1/1/24 – 2 PM – ESPN
No.1 MICHIGAN -1.5 vs. No. 4 ALABAMA. This game features the Bluest of CFB Blue Bloods.
The winningest program in CFB history, Michigan, 1002 wins, vs. the team with the most success in CFB in the modern era, Alabama. Alabama is No. 2 in all-time CFB wins with 965 victories, while this will be Michigan’s 21st Rose Bowl appearance. The Wolverines are 8 -12 losing in its last Rose Bowl appearance to USC in 2007, 32-18. Alabama is 5-1-1 in Rose Bowl games. The Alabama Fight Song references winning the Rose Bowl.
As head coach of the Crimson Tide, Nick Saban is 16-6 in bowl games and has won six CFB championships. At Michigan, head coach (who is not suspended for the Rose Bowl) Jim Harbaugh, is 1-6 in bowl games and 0-2 in Playoff games. In the B1G this season, Michigan did not face a dual-threat QB close to the ability of Bama QB Jalen Milroe. It’s defense finished No. 2 in the country; Bama’s defense finished No. 18, but Michigan did not play against offenses of the quality that Bama played including the Tide playing, and defeating the top-ranked offense, that of LSU.
In the first season of the Playoff, Bama was ranked No. 1 and lost in the Sugar Bowl to No. 4 Ohio State. In the final season of the Final 4, I see the Tide turning in 2024, with No. 4 Bama upsetting No. 1 Michigan, and advancing to the title game in Houston.
SUGAR BOWL – 1/1/24 – 5:30 PM – ESPN
No. 2 WASHINGTON +4 vs. No. 3. TEXAS
A battle between B1G and SEC newbies for the right to play for the CFB Championship. At a lower level, UW coach Kalen DeBoer has played for, and won titles, while Texas coach Steve Sarkisian has not done so. This is a rematch of last season’s Alamo game that UW won 27-20. So coming into this game it’s DeBoer One, Sark Zip.
For UW to win this game, Michael Penix, Jr. has to play far better than he did in the 2022 bowl game where he was often inaccurate with his throws. And UW was helped out in that game by Texas WRs playing with Hands of Teflon dropping numerous passes, including what should have been two TD passes. UW has an elite passing attack, and Texas behind QB Quinn Ewers, the leader in the clubhouse for the 2024 Heisman, is not far behind. Both UW and Texas have struggled on pass defense.
I think the game goes Over the 64.5 points and UW wins a thrilling close game to advance to its third Playoff game (in 2016 UW lost to Bama in the Peach Bowl) down south in Dixie.
COTTON BOWL – 12/29 – 2 PM – ESPN
No. 7. OHIO STATE +2.5 vs. No. 9. MISSOURI
Ohio State fell to No. 1 Michigan for the 3rd season in a row to finish 11-1. Mizzou finished 10-2 losing a home game to No. 13 LSU and ‘tween the Hedges to No. 6. Georgia. There is little doubt that Mizzou comes into the Cotton Bowl fired up to beat one of CFB’s Bluest Blue Bloods. The Buckeyes will be without starting QB Kyle McCord, who is a Portal OO. But there is good news for tOSU on the OO front, as all six draft-eligible Juniors are suiting up for this game. Heisman finalist Marv Harrison is still considering whether to play or OO.
I think this shows want-to on the part of the Ohio State team. I think the excellent Buckeyes D holds down a very good Mizzu O just enough to cover and win the game.
PEACH BOWL – 12/30 – 9 AM – ESPN 2
No. 10. PENN STATE vs. No. 11 OLE MISS
Fitting that a couple of ‘always a bridesmaid and never the bride’ teams are playing on the Deuce. Both teams went 10-2 in 2023, with both losing the two critical tests. PSU to Michigan and Ohio State. Ole Miss to Alabama and Georgia. No Bad Losses here.
PSU’s James Franklin is 12-25 vs, Top-25 teams, and 4-4 in bowl games at Penn State. Lane Kiffin in his time at Ole Miss is 4-7 vs. Top-25 teams, and 1-2 coaching the Rebels in bowl games. Not a lot to choose from here.
In its best game of the season, PSU shut out O-challenged No. 17 Iowa, 31-0. In its best game of 2023, Ole Miss defeated LSU 55 – 49. How ’bout dem SEC D’s! I don’t think that PSU with an anemic passing game can put up enough points to win this game.
MUSIC CITY BOWL – 12/30 – 11 AM – ABC
MARYLAND +2.5 vs. AUBURN
I see this game as a tossup so I’m going with the team with the Best QB. Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa is the all-time B1G leader in career passing yards, and will be unleashed by coach Mike Locksley in this game. The Terps will fly, and not crawl to a victory.
R-QUEST BOWL – 1/1/24 – 9 AM -ESPN 2
WISCONSIN +10.5 vs. No. 13 LSU
This is the kind of matchup that happens when a conference sends its three top teams to NY6 bowls. (Five teams including Oregon and UW.) In a similar situation in 2022, LSU defeated B1G W champ Purdue 63-14. Even if Jayden Daniels becomes the first Heisman winner to OO, this will be the SEC coming with a big beatdown of a B1G team.
CHEEZE-IT BOWL – 1/1/24 – 10 AM – ABC
No. 17 IOWA +7.5 vs. No. 21 TENNESSEE
Thank you Mickey, for putting this game on network TV opposite the Ducks game on cable TV. (Talk about insult to G5 injury) Tennessee is SEC overrated, while the Iowa O is a ZERO. But I think Iowa’s 4th ranked D, and incredible grit bring home a win to Iowa City.
So, I think the B1G earns the Candy Bar, 4-3. Do you agree? Let me know in the only Oregon football forum-with-decorum.
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Screenshot from CBS Sports Video
Jon Joseph grew up in Boston, Massachusetts but has been blessed to have lived long enough in the west to have exorcised all east coast bias. He played football in college and has passionately followed the game for seven decades. A retired corporate attorney Jon has lectured across the country and published numerous articles on banking and gaming law. Now a resident of Aiken South Carolina, Jon follows college football across the nation with a focus on the Conference of Champions and the Ducks.
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