The implementation of the College Football Playoff was supposed to resolve questions that used to regularly arise about which teams were the best. In some ways, however, the 2016 bowl season is raising more questions than ever.
In a huge twist of irony, Ohio State was selected to face Clemson in the playoff, yet the Buckeyes didn’t even make it to their conference championship game. As a result, some analysts are questioning how a team that doesn’t win its conference can contend for the national championship.
It’s a reasonable query.
This season is a perfect example of why Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” With plenty of drama remaining in the 2016 bowl season, college football fans aren’t going to want to miss any of the upcoming action. One way to make sure to catch every game is with CenturyLink’s Prism TV System with multiview and watch-and-record options.
An unexpected season
Going into this year, no one predicted Oregon would be at the bottom of the Pac-12 or that UCLA would fail to qualify for a bowl game. Prior to the season, AthlonSports.com projected Oregon as the third team in the North division with an 8-4 record. It also picked UCLA to win the South with a 9-4 record. The site projected Washington and UCLA would play for the title. Of course, virtually every sports guru predicted Colorado would be at the bottom of the league — again.
Instead, Washington and Colorado faced off for the Pac-12 crown. By virtue of their win, the Huskies are headed to the Peach Bowl (Dec. 31, ESPN) to face off against top-seed Alabama as part of the College Football Playoff.
Other key games
Rose Bowl, Jan. 2, ESPN
USC overcame a slow start to end up in this game against the Big Ten champs, Penn State. This should be a great contest.
Fiesta Bowl, Dec. 31, ESPN
This game is one of two semifinal games for the College Football Playoff. Clemson and Ohio State both played in Glendale last year, but it wasn’t against each other. The Buckeyes took on Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and Clemson played Alabama in the National Championship.
Arizona Bowl, Dec. 30, ASN
The cadets of Air Force will face South Alabama. The prolific rushing attack of the Falcons is always entertaining. South Alabama’s Jaguars are playing in their second ever bowl game with a 6-6 record. Air Force is 8-4 and is riding the momentum of a five-game winning streak. Watch for the cadets to use their experience to win the contest.
Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29, ESPN
This game features two conference runners-up: Colorado against Oklahoma State. Both teams will be looking for redemption for their title losses. One of the better match-ups of the bowl season.
Cactus Bowl, Dec. 27, ESPN
Baylor and Boise State are the schools in this contest. A loss to Air Force kept Boise State from the Mountain West title game, but the Broncos still have 10 wins and great history. Baylor is 6-6 and in the middle of the Big 12 with a coaching staff on its way out. Even in a down year, Baylor still knows how to put up points.
Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 21, ESPN
This game will feature BYU and Wyoming. The Cougars and Cowboys each finished 8-4. BYU’s four losses came by a combined total of eight points against possibly its toughest schedule ever. Whether the opponent is Wyoming or another Mountain West Conference school, it will be an interesting contest against a familiar foe that used to be in the same conference.
It is unlikely that any of the year’s bowl games will see an epic upset like the 2003 Fiesta Bowl where Ohio State defeated Miami 31-24 in a double-overtime thriller. FootballNation.com ranks it as the second-biggest bowl game upset of all time. Miami had a 34-game winning streak before the Buckeyes pulled the upset.
Perhaps the greatest upset was the 2006 Rose Bowl where Texas defeated USC 41-38. The Trojans were coached by Pete Carroll and had two Heisman Trophy winners in Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Vince Young and the Longhorns snapped USC’s 34-game winning streak.
On the other hand, every year produces some unexpected results, and this year has already produced plenty of surprises. No wonder bowl season is so popular.
Make sure you have the best possible viewing experience for this year’s games with CenturyLink’s Prism TV.