All eyes will be on the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl when the national semifinals take place December 31.
These two games, featuring Michigan State and Alabama in the Cotton Bowl and Oklahoma and undefeated Clemson in the Orange Bowl, should both be stellar matchups, and two of the highlights of the bowl season.
Once again, college football fans will have a plethora of interconference matchups to consider for their handicapping pleasure. Longtime college football bettors realize that some of the more obscure bowls may actually present the best betting opportunities, while some of the bigger matchups may just be too difficult to come up with a winner.
Nevertheless, we will offer picks on all 40 bowl games and go into detail on two of them.
|2015 College Football Bowl Schedule|
|New Mexico Bowl||Dec. 19||Arizona vs. New Mexico||Arizona -11.5||New Mexico|
|Las Vegas Bowl||Dec. 19||BYU vs. Utah||Utah -3||Utah|
|Camellia Bowl||Dec. 19||Ohio vs. Appalachian State||Appalachian State -9||Appalachian State|
|Cure Bowl||Dec. 19||San Jose State vs. Georgia State||San Jose State -4||San Jose state|
|New Orleans Bowl||Dec. 19||Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech||Arkansas State -1||Louisiana State|
|Miami Beach Bowl||Dec. 21||Western Kentucky vs. South Florida||Western Kentucky -3||Western Kentucky|
|Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Dec. 22||Akron vs. Utah State||Utah State -6.5||Utah State|
|Boca Raton Bowl||Dec. 22||Toledo vs. Temple||Temple -1||Toledo|
|Poinsettia Bowl||Dec. 23||Boise State vs. Northern Illinois||Boise State -8||Northern Illinois|
|GoDaddy Bowl||Dec. 23||Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green||Bowling Green -7||Georgia Southenr|
|Popeyes Bahamas Bowl||Dec. 24||Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan||Western Michigan -3||Western Michigan|
|Hawai'i Bowl||Dec. 24||San Diego State vs. Cincinnati||Cincinnati -1||San Diego State|
|St. Petersburg Bowl||Dec. 26||Connecticut vs. Marshall||Marshall -4.5||Marshall|
|Sun Bowl||Dec. 26||Miami vs. Washington State||Washington State -1.5||Washington State|
|Heart of Dallas Bowl||Dec. 26||Washington vs. Southern Miss||Washington -8.5||Southern Miss|
|Pinstripe Bowl||Dec. 26||Indiana vs. Duke||Indiana -2||Duke|
|Independence Bowl||Dec. 26||Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech -15||Tulsa|
|Foster Farms Bowl||Dec. 26||UCLA vs. Nebraska||UCLA -6.5||UCLA|
|Military Bowl||Dec. 28||Pitt vs. Navy||Navy -5||Navy|
|Quick Lane Bowl||Dec. 28||Central Michigan vs. Minnesota||Minnesota -6||Minnesota|
|Armed Forces Bowl||Dec. 29||Air Force vs. California||California -6.5||Air Force|
|Russell Athletic Bowl||Dec. 29||North Carolina vs. Baylor||Baylor -3.5||North Carolina|
|Arizona Bowl||Dec. 29||Nevada vs. Colorado State||Colorado State -3.5||Colorado State|
|Texas Bowl||Dec. 29||LSU vs. Texas Tech||LSU -7.5||LSU|
|Birmingham Bowl||Dec. 30||Auburn vs. Memphis||Auburn -2.5||Memphis|
|Belk Bowl||Dec. 30||NC State vs. Mississippi State||Mississippi State -7||North Carolina State|
|Music City Bowl||Dec. 30||Texas A&M vs. Louisville||Texas A&M -2.5||Louisville|
|Holiday Bowl||Dec. 30||USC vs. Wisconsin||USC -3||USC|
|Peach Bowl||Dec. 31||Houston vs. Florida State||Florida State -7||Houston|
|Orange Bowl||Dec. 31||Oklahoma vs. Clemson||Oklahoma -3||Clemson|
|Cotton Bowl Classic||Dec. 31||Michigan State vs. Alabama||Alabama -9.5||Michigan State|
|Outback Bowl||Jan. 1||Northwestern vs. Tennessee||Tennessee -9||Northwestern|
|Citrus Bowl||Jan. 1||Michigan vs. Florida||Michigan -3.5||Michigan|
|Fiesta Bowl||Jan. 1||Notre Dame vs. Ohio State||Ohio State -6.5||Notre Dame|
|Rose Bowl||Jan. 1||Iowa vs. Stanford||Stanford -6.5||Iowa|
|Sugar Bowl||Jan. 1||Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss||Oklahoma State -7||Ole Miss|
|Taxslayer Bowl||Jan. 2||Penn State vs. Georgia||Georgia -7||Georgia|
|Liberty Bowl||Jan. 2||Kansas State vs. Arkansas||Arkansas -13||Kansas State|
|Alamo Bowl||Jan. 2||Oregon vs. TCU||TCU -2||Oregon|
|Cactus Bowl||Jan. 2||West Virginia vs. Arizona State||Arizona State -2.5||Arizona State|
|Vegas Insider; Silverman selections|
LSU vs. Texas Tech
Just a little over a week ago, Les Miles was supposed to be on his way out at LSU. However, he led his team to a 19-7 win over Texas A&M in the regular-season finale, and that was apparently enough to save his job.
That's good news for the Tigers, who should be in a positive state when they take on Texas Tech as 7.5-point favorites, according to Vegas Insider.
The Tigers are going to unleash running back Leonard Fournette on the Red Raiders, and he should have a huge day against Texas Tech's soft defense. Fournette rushed for 1,741 yards an 18 TDs this year, while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Quarterback Brandon Harris is not a star, but he threw for 1,904 yards with a 12-5 TD-interception ratio.
Texas Tech is led by big-play quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who threw for 4,283 yards while firing 32 TD passes. Wide receiver Jakeem Grant caught 80-1,143-7 and was his No. 1 receiver.
The Red Raiders have the firepower to stay in this game for more than 30 minutes, but look for the Tigers to play some defense in the second half and pull away for a 45-31 victory.
Michigan State vs. Alabama
The Michigan State Spartans earned their way into the national semifinals by playing a remarkably tough schedule and managing to win all of their most demanding games.
The Spartans opened the season with a key victory over Oregon, and then found a way to beat Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State on the road. While they needed quite a bit of good fortune to beat the Wolverines on a final-play, special-teams mishap by the Wolverines, they outplayed the Buckeyes in Columbus.
The Spartans also won the Big Ten Championship Game over Iowa in dramatic fashion with a game-winning, 22-play TD drive.
The Spartans have a big-play passing game with quarterback Connor Cook, who threw for 2,921 yards with a 24-5 TD-interception ratio. However, he appeared to be limited by his late-season shoulder injury in the win over Iowa.
Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge excels at making the tough catch in traffic, while Macgarrett Kings and R.J. Shelton are also solid targets. Running backs LJ Scott, Gerald Holmes and Madre London are capable of sapping the will from opposing defenses.
Alabama is all about strength, power and hard-hitting play. The Florida Gators were able to contain Alabama for most of the first half in the SEC Championships Game, but Alabama took the game over over in the second half with running back Derrick Henry doing most of the damage.
Henry ran past legendary running back Herschel Walker this season, and he has gained 1,986 yards which makes him a solid Heisman candidate. Quarterback Jake Coker has emerged as an excellent quarterback for head coach Nick Saban. In addition to throwing for 2,489 yards and completing 65.7 percent of his passes, Coker has thrown 24 TD passes.
This will be an epic battle between two hard-hitting and physical football teams. This game will be about effective blocking and tackling, and not about deception.
Give the slightest of edges to Alabama, and they should come away with a 24-21 victory. That means Michigan State should easily cover the 9.5-point spread.