College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowl matchups revealed
Now that you've had some time to digest the two semifinals of the College Football Playoffs - No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (Rose Bowl) and No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State (Sugar Bowl) - The the remaining six bowl games of the new year were presented by the CFP selection committee.
Here you are:
Cotton Bowl: No. 6 Oklahoma versus No. 7 Florida
Location: Arlington, Texas | Date: December 30th | Time: 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN
It was a big surprise that Oklahoma lost their first two Big 12 games to Kansas State and Iowa State earlier this year. But the Sooners then managed to bounce back significantly by winning their next seven games. They got some of their top players back from suspension along the way, and freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler has settled into his role. It all culminated in a 27:21 win over Iowa State in the Big 12 title game, OU's sixth consecutive conference championship. Oklahoma have played in the CFP for the past three seasons but will settle for a New Year's Six Bowl in 2020.
Florida played Alabama to the wire in the SEC title game but fell between 52 and 46. It was a hell of a performance by the Gators, but they weren't a realistic contender for the CFP as they unexpectedly faced a understaffed LSU the week before. Team lost. That loss earned Florida two losses, the other to Texas A&M on October 10th. After that defeat, Florida won six games in a row and showed a heavy offense with Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. Pitts, a surefire first-round pick, won't play this bowl game after signing up for the draft.
Peach Bowl: No. 8 Cincinnati vs. No. 9 Georgia
Location: Atlanta | Date: January 1st | Time: 12:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Cincinnati became the top-ranked Group of Five champion after their last second win over Tulsa in Saturday's AAC championship game. The win kept Cincinnati's unbeaten season alive, but UC wasn't particularly loved by the CFP selection committee. Instead, the Bearcats will head to a major bowl game for the first time since the two-year course they played at the Orange and Sugar Bowls in 2008 and 2009. Luke Fickell should also have his team very motivated and fearful to prove that it should be ranked higher.
Georgia's streak of three consecutive SEC East titles was canceled in 2020, but the Bulldogs were still spinning in a solid season. UGA's only two losses went to Alabama and Florida, although neither game was very close. Offensively, Georgia looked much better in the second half of the season after JT Daniels was added to the lineup at the quarterback. Daniels, a transfer from USC, gave UGA a much-needed downfield dimension for its offense. If he can keep that up in the bowl game, UGA fans will feel revived in the off-season.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder throws a pass during the first half of the American Athletic Conference NCAA college football game against Tulsa on Saturday, December 19, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo / Aaron Doster)
Fiesta Bowl: No. 25 Oregon versus No. 10 Iowa State
Location: Glendale, Ariz. | Date: January 2nd | Time: 4 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Due to COVID-19 issues in Washington’s program, Oregon was able to represent the Pac-12 North in the conference championship game against USC. The ducks counted and took a 31:24 victory. Oregon started the year 3-0 but lost their last two regular season games on the road to Oregon State and Cal. The Ducks looked a lot better against USC, especially on defense, and now have back-to-back Pac-12 championships. Last year they won the Rose Bowl. This year they landed in yet another New Year's Six Bowl game.
Iowa State had one of the best seasons of all time in 2020, but couldn't top it off with a Big 12 title. ISU won the regular season title of the Big 12, but had the chance to win a conference championship for the first time in over 100 years. The ISU almost made a big comeback against Oklahoma on Saturday. ISU was lagging around the clock at halftime but had a last-minute chance to win the game and lost 27-21. Still, it's a big deal for Matt Campbell's program to have this in a bowl game Caliber to play.
Orange Bowl: No. 5 Texas A&M versus No. 13 North Carolina
Location: Miami Gardens, Fla. | Date: January 2nd | Time: 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Texas A&M opened the year with a nondescript win over Vanderbilt and was then blown out by Alabama at 52:24. The Aggies haven't lost since then. They picked up seven consecutive SEC victories and were 8-1 on Sunday, but ended up in 5th place just behind Notre Dame. The Aggies feel they have a legitimate argument for the CFP. Instead, Jimbo Fisher's group is leaving for the first time since moving from BCS to a New Year's six bowl game. The last time A&M played on a similar stage was against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in 2012.
With Clemson and Notre Dame in the college football playoffs, North Carolina can go to a Big Bowl game as the next highest team in the ACC. The Tar Heels shook off bad losses against Florida State and Virginia by winning four of their last four games. The main win came on the road against Miami. Miami was ahead of UNC in the CFP rankings, but UNC beat Hurricanes 62-26, setting up an absurd 554 rushing yards. Now the Tar Heels can put their powerful offensive against the Texas A&M defenses to the test.
Final College Football Playoffs Top 25 Ranking
3. Ohio State
4. Notre Dame
5. Texas A & M.
10. Iowa State
12. Carolina Coast
13. North Carolina
21. Oklahoma State
22. State of San Jose
23. NC status
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