In almost no time, the pomp and/or circumstance of games brought to you by Vizio, Tostitos, Discover and Allstate will unfold in stadiums and on televisions (hopefully made by Vizio!) everywhere.
Instead of arguing with your friends, coworkers and local sports radio hosts, I’ve taken the time to neatly outline exactly what to expect from each game, so that you can save all that arguing time and put it toward something useful like taking a nap or making a sandwich (or both). Yes, I’m THAT generous.
Rose Bowl (Oregon vs. Wisconsin—January 2nd—Pasadena, CA)
• After early Wisconsin success on the ground, Oregon will slowly stand up to the Badgers’ rushing attack, and Kirk Herbstreit will openly wonder if Bret Bielema and Co. are panicking as they start to throw entirely more than usual.
• Oregon CB Terrence Mitchell will bite on a filthy double move by Wisconsin WR Nick Toon. The Badger will calmly stroll into an end zone shortly thereafter.
• Either OLB Josh Kaddu or DE Dion Jordan (both wearing green and yellow and T1000 liquid metal) will separate Russell Wilson from the football he’s holding. An animated GIF image will be online within minutes.
• A dejected, flush Bret Bielema will say something akin to, “What are you supposed to do when that guy gets a crease? I guess just pray.” He could be talking about one of four different Ducks.
• Oregon wins 38-27 and Chip Kelly’s satisfied smirk will last well into spring ball.
Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma St vs. Stanford—January 2nd—Glendale, AZ)
• All eyes will be on Stanford QB Andrew Luck, but the best thing he’ll do all night is continually hand it to Cardinal RB Stepfan Taylor, who will pick up chunks of yards (and poorly maintained stadium grass), five and six at a time before breaking a 40-plus yarder.
• The Oklahoma State linebacking corps will do an admirable job staying with the Stanford tight end triumvirate…for a quarter or two. After that, expect ends Coby Fleener and Levine Toilolo to pull off one of the bigger celebratory jumping back bumps the University of Phoenix Stadium has ever seen.
• Justin Blackmon will make an egregiously difficult catch while crossing the back of the end zone. On the next drive, he’ll drop something far more open and easy. It’s just his way.
• The difference for Oklahoma State will be its running game, as RB Joseph Randle ends up over 100 yards and fellow back Jeremy Smith drops a casual 92.
• Oklahoma State beats Stanford 31-20 and becomes “What if…” darlings for about 14 hours.
Sugar Bowl (Virginia Tech vs. Michigan—Jan 3rd—New Orleans, LA)
• Michigan QB Denard Robinson will float a ball (throwing off of his back foot) well short of a receiver, and it will fall helplessly into the arms of an awaiting Hokie. No, this one wasn’t me going out on a limb, but we’re just starting out.
• Virginia Tech’s defense and special teams will continually put the offense in favorable spots on the field, but Logan Thomas won’t convert key third downs. It’ll be threes instead of sixes early.
• The Nard Dog will have a touchdown run of 40 yards or greater. I think we all already secretly know this.
• Tech RB David Wilson will be the subject of all sorts of sentences that sound similar to, “Jeez, he’s basically their entire offense, and the Wolverines still can’t really stop him.”
• Michigan wins 27-24 and Brady Hoke almost avoids a Gatorade bath. Almost.
Orange Bowl (Clemson vs. West Virginia—January 4th—Miami, FL)
• Clemson will have more success early running straight at West Virginia instead of testing the edges. Two quick Clemson touchdowns will be the pudding.
• West Virginia will get a big scoring or major field-changing return from Tavon Austin. It’s simply his way.
• If he doesn’t find the end zone during his field-changing return, West Virginia will fail to get more than three points on that drive. It’s simply their way.
• Sammy Watkins will turn a shorter routine route into a longer holy-crap-what-just-happened play. It happens to be his way.
• Clemson wins 31-24 because somebody has to blow this game, and West Virginia has found too many different ways to do so this season not to take their blowability lightly.