Picking the Winner of Every New Year's Day Bowl Game
New Year’s Day brings resolutions, new hopes and more than a few champagne headaches. It also brings the best single day of college football all season.
New Year's is a stacked day with six games on the schedule, two of which are BCS games. This is a look at the games and the predicted winner for each contest.
As you prepare to live out the first day of your New Year’s resolution, grab your black-eyed peas, sit back and enjoy as the action unfolds. With this lineup, it is sure to be a great day of football.
TAXSLAYER.com Gator Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern
12 p.m. ET/ESPN2
The Gator Bowl is one of the most intriguing matchups of the New Year’s Day lineup.
Northwestern will try to earn its first bowl win since the 1949 season against a Bulldogs team that is going for its sixth consecutive bowl win.
Mississippi State started the year on a roll, winning seven straight before losing to Alabama. The Bulldogs struggled after that, however, losing three of their last four games, including a big loss to rival Ole Miss in their final regular-season game.
Northwestern started the season hot as well, winning five straight before losing to Penn State. The Wildcats finished with nine wins and in third place in the Big Ten Legends Division.
The Bulldogs have faced a tougher schedule, but Northwestern has more momentum going into the game.
The key will be whether the Bulldogs defense can stop Northwestern's run-dominated, two-quarterback system and force the pass. If Northwestern is forced to throw, Mississippi State will force turnovers and win handily.
Prediction: Mississippi State by 7
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State
12 p.m. ET/ESPNU
After losing five straight games in the middle of the season, including a heartbreaking overtime loss to Ohio State, Purdue crept into the Heart of Dallas Bowl with a 6-6 record.
Because the Big Ten was having a down year, the Boilermakers were able to win three straight and earn bowl eligibility.
The Cowboys battled through a moderately tough Big 12 schedule. This could easily be a nine-win team, but an overtime loss to Oklahoma and a close loss to Baylor to end the regular season gave them a 7-5 record and landed them in Dallas.
Purdue is going to struggle to contain Oklahoma State's high-powered attack, which is No. 5 in the FBS in total offense. This should be a big win for the Cowboys.
Prediction: Oklahoma State by 14
Capital One Bowl
Georgia vs. Nebraska
1 p.m. ET/ABC
Georgia and Nebraska fell into the consolation-game slot after they lost in the SEC and Big Ten Conference title games to end the year.
Nebraska was embarrassed by Wisconsin, while Georgia lost in devastating fashion to Alabama. Both teams are looking for redemption, but Georgia appears poised to make the jump into the winner's circle.
With nose guard John Jenkins being ruled ineligible for the game just days ago, Georgia should be concerned about stopping the Nebraska rushing attack. If the Cornhuskers can move the ball on the ground against the Bulldogs, they will have a great shot at a win.
Georgia will have to have a big day from its star linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree to earn the win.
Prediction: Georgia by 4
South Carolina vs. Michigan
1 p.m. ET/ESPN
South Carolina and Michigan are set to square off in Tampa. Both teams will be looking to their defense to help them walk away with the win.
Michigan is No. 10 in total defense in the country, and South Carolina is No. 11. Neither team has been very explosive or consistent on offense, so this should be a low-scoring contest.
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw will need to have a selective day through the air, not taking a lot of chances against the No. 2-ranked Wolverines pass defense. Michigan is holding its opponents to 155 passing yards a game.
Look for the ground game to be emphasized by both teams, and for Denard Robinson to have a big day from the running back position for the Wolverines.
Prediction: Michigan by 3
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
Wisconsin vs. Stanford
5 p.m. ET/ESPN
Stanford had an amazing season in 2012 that concluded with a Pac-12 title and two consecutive wins over a nine-win UCLA team.
The Cardinal struggled to find offensive consistency until freshman Kevin Hogan became the starting QB in November and led them to seven straight wins.
Wisconsin had a very Badgers-like season, losing five games, but all were within reach when time ticked off the clock.
The Badgers finished with a big win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Title game, putting 70 on the Cornhuskers defense.
Both teams will be looking for big wins, but the Stanford defense will be too much for the Badgers offense to handle. Hogan will guide the Cardinal offense carefully, and the defense will earn them the Rose Bowl win.
Prediction: Stanford by 3
Discover Orange Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State
8:30 p.m. ET/ESPN
The Discover Orange Bowl is this year's host of the non-automatic qualifying school as Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois will take on ACC champion Florida State.
The Seminoles are the easy pick as the historical power, but the Huskies are led by Jordan Lynch, one of the nation's most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks.
The Seminoles play stingy defense. But this won’t be an easy win for Florida State, even though the Seminoles are No. 2 in the FBS in total defense and No. 5 against the run.
The Huskies have the No. 9 rushing and No. 9 scoring offense in the country.
This will be a chess match that may end with an upset win for the Huskies.
Prediction: Florida State by 7