Bowl Games 2016-17: TV Schedule, Live-Stream Info, Predictions for Top Matchups
With so much focus on the controversy surrounding the College Football Playoff spots, it is sometimes easy to forget there are actual games to be played.
Sure, Penn State and its fans were probably disappointed when the Nittany Lions weren’t included in the four-team bracket, but that shouldn’t take away from its thrilling comeback in the Big Ten Championship Game. It also shouldn’t diminish the fact this program has bounced back from serious sanctions and will play in the Rose Bowl against USC.
While the eyes of the college football world will be largely trained on playoff showdowns pitting Alabama against Washington and Clemson against Ohio State, there is plenty of intrigue in all the New Year’s Six games.
With that in mind, here is a look at the full broadcast schedule and predictions for the marquee contests of the 2016-17 bowl season.
New Year’s Six Bowl Games Bowl Game Date Time (ET) Matchup TV Live Stream Predicted Winner Orange Bowl Dec. 30 8 p.m. Florida State vs. Michigan ESPN WatchESPN Michigan Peach Bowl (CFP) Dec. 31 3 p.m. Alabama vs Washington ESPN WatchESPN Alabama Fiesta Bowl (CFP) Dec. 31 7 p.m. Ohio State vs. Clemson ESPN WatchESPN Ohio State Cotton Bowl Jan. 2 1 p.m. Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan ESPN WatchESPN Wisconsin Rose Bowl Jan. 2 5 p.m. Penn State vs. USC ESPN WatchESPN USC Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 8:30 p.m. Oklahoma vs. Auburn ESPN WatchESPN Oklahoma Schedule Source: ESPN.com
Full bowl schedule with TV info available atESPN.com. Live streams are available on WatchESPN.
Previews and Predictions
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Michigan
Many wrote off the Florida State Seminoles after a 63-20 loss to Louisville, but they won six of their final seven games and handled SEC East champion Florida with ease.
Both Florida State and Michigan were on the wrong end of narrow defeats throughout the year. The Seminoles lost to North Carolina by two and Clemson by three, while the Wolverines dropped a game on a last-second field goal to Iowa and another in double overtime to arch-rival Ohio State.
Motivation could be a factor with the Wolverines remaining in CFP discussion throughout the season until the final ranking release. What’s more, the Seminoles are playing in their home state with a chance to complete their turnaround after the September loss to the Cardinals.
However, the thought here is coach Jim Harbaugh puts a defensive game plan in place to stymie Florida State’s offense.
Motivation wasn’t a factor in last season’s bowl game for Michigan even after a loss to the Buckeyes (it beat Florida 41-7), and it won’t be this time with a defense that finished second in the nation in points (12.5) and yards (253) allowed per game.
Prediction: Michigan 27, Florida State 16
Peach Bowl (CFP): Alabama vs. Washington
Washington deserves plenty of credit for what has been an incredible turnaround under coach Chris Petersen. In just his third season with the program, the Huskies finished 12-1 as Pac-12 champions and earned a playoff date with the marquee program in the sport.
This is a Washington program that had more zero- (2008) and one-win seasons (2004) than double-digit-win seasons from 2001-15. Quarterback Jake Browning and a defense that finished eighth in the country in points allowed per game (17.2) will serve as the underdog darlings for those looking for a team to cheer for in the CFP.
However, that support won’t be enough against the defending champions.
Alabama’s defense finished first in the nation in points, yards and rushing yards allowed per game this season and completely overwhelmed the majority of its opponents. It throttled the one team that beat Washington this year (USC), 52-6, and will prove too much for the Huskies.
Prediction: Alabama 24, Washington 13
Fiesta Bowl (CFP): Clemson vs. Ohio State
For a quarterback matchup, it doesn’t get much better than Clemson’s Deshaun Watson against Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett. The offensive leaders can extend plays with their legs, find receivers downfield and pick up yardage on designed runs when the game is hanging in the balance.
However, Watson has the disadvantage of going up against a stout Buckeyes secondary that features a number of future NFL players.
Ohio State was fifth in the country in passing yards allowed per game (164.5) and fourth in interceptions (19). Safety Malik Hooker tallied six interceptions by himself and ran three of them back for scores, while cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore shut down opposing receivers on the outside.
According toJosh Liskiewitz of Pro Football Focus, Conley’s opposing quarterback rating of 19.8 was second-best in the country, while Lattimore’s 29.0 was fourth-best. The Ohio State secondary will slow Watson just enough in the fourth quarter to earn the narrow win.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Clemson 31
Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan
Like Michigan, motivation could be a factor for Wisconsin. It was beating Penn State 28-7 in the Big Ten Championship entertainment news philippines Game before it collapsed down the stretch and cost itself a conference title and consideration for the CFP.
The Badgers have made a habit of losing heartbreakers to quality opponents on their schedule this season with a seven-point loss to Michigan, seven-point defeat to Penn State and another in overtime to Ohio State.
If Western Michigan adds to that list of heartbreak, it will be the third time this season the Broncos beat a Big Ten opponent. They already prevailed against Northwestern and Illinois on the way to an undefeated campaign.
While Western Michigan deserves recognition for advancing this far as the only team outside of the Crimson Tide with an unblemished record, the magic will end against Wisconsin’s defense. The Badgers were fourth in the nation in points allowed per game (15.5), andT. J. Watt (yes, J.J.’s younger brother) will wreak havoc on the Western Michigan backfield.
Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Western Michigan 14
Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. USCJoe Robbins/Getty Images
The Rose Bowl pits two of the hottest teams in the nation against each other with Penn State closing its season with nine straight wins after a 2-2 start and USC ending with eight consecutive victories after a 1-3 start.
The Nittany Lions have arguably the best win in all of college football this season with their 24-21 victory over Ohio State and are likely still riding high after their dramatic comeback against Wisconsin. Head coach James Franklin discussed his team’s mindset on ESPN’s CFP selection show Sunday(h/t Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports):
Our guys would have obviously loved to have been in the playoff, but they’re also excited about the opportunity to play in a big bowl game.
We’ve had a great year — I’m really proud of our guys. Yeah, they would have loved to have been in the playoffs, but we’re still very, very appreciative and honored for the opportunities that we have.
The problem for Penn State is the fact they are set to meet a buzzsaw in USC.
The Trojans caught fire after switching to quarterback Sam Darnold, and all but one (a four-point win over Colorado) of those eight straight wins came by double digits. They beat playoff-bound Washington by 13 during that stretch.
Darnold will stake USC to an early lead, and the same defense that held Pac-12 Championship Game participants Washington and Colorado to 13 and 17 points, respectively, will close the door on Penn State’s Rose Bowl title hopes.
Prediction: USC 31, Penn State 20
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Auburn
It isn’t very often the Sugar Bowl’s SEC tie-in comes back to harm the quality of the game, but this season was an exception.
The powerhouse Crimson Tide were not part of the equation with a playoff spot, which left the Sugar Bowl with the remaining mediocrity thatpermeated the league. Every SEC team not named Alabama lost at least four games, and Auburn feels like something of a consolation pick because no other squad came through down the stretch.
The Tigers will not be able to slow quarterback Baker Mayfield (3,669 passing yards, 143 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns) or wide receiver Dede Westbrook (1,465 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns).
Oklahoma scored at least 34 points in each of its nine straight wins to finish the season and will continue that pattern against an Auburn team that lost its last two SEC games by a combined score of 43-19.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35, Auburn 17