Chipper’s College Football Picks: Bowl Season


Graphic by Ryan McCrary

Thomas Smith and Ryan McCrary

Quick Lane Bowl

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5)

Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6)

Smith: Georgia Tech

This game will mark the end of an era at Georgia Tech, with head coach Paul Johnson and his triple-option offense retiring. Georgia Tech’s offense has been explosive all season. The Yellow Jackets, who are number one in the nation in rushing, have averaged 35.6 points per game. Senior quarterback Taquon Marshall should have a great game against a lackluster Minnesota defense. The Golden Gophers’ defense is 76th in the nation in rushing yards given up and will have to play a great game to beat the top rushing attack. Tech wins by double digits.

Georgia Tech 35 Minnesota 21

McCrary: Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech will play with lots of emotion as they go out in battle for the last time with head coach Paul Johnson before he retires. The Yellow Jackets lead the nation in rushing yards per game with 334.9 yards. Minnesota isn’t great at defending the run, so they will struggle to stop the high powered triple option offense of Georgia Tech. I think the Yellow Jackets get the job done.

Georgia Tech 31 Minnesota 17


Music City Bowl

Auburn Tigers (7-5)

Purdue Boilermakers (6-6)

Smith: Auburn

Auburn has been extremely disappointing this season and Purdue hasn’t been any better. The Tigers started out ranked #9 in the preseason and got as high as #7. After their mid-season loss to Mississippi State, their season fell apart. Jarrett Stidham, who was once regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in this draft class, must play mistake-free football for the Tigers to move to eight wins. Purdue has one of the best players in college football in true-freshman receiver Rondale Moore. The Auburn secondary will have to be on their A-game against quarterback David Blough and the speedy Moore. If Stidham can limit the turnovers and the Tigers get the run game going, they will come out of this one victorious.

Auburn 31 Purdue 27

McCrary: Auburn

As an Auburn fan, I have watched this team go from championship contenders to being flat out pathetic. Auburn has arguably the worst offensive line and secondary in the country. The Tigers’ offense has been beyond dysfunctional this season, and I believe their struggles will continue against Purdue. However, I expect Auburn’s defensive line, which is one of the best in the country,  to put pressure on the Boilermakers. There are too many playmakers on Auburn’s team for them to not have some level of success in this game. This will be a close contest, but I believe Auburn comes out victorious… somehow.

Auburn 27 Purdue 21


Citrus Bowl

#12 Penn State Nittany Lions (9-3)

#14 Kentucky Wildcats (9-3)

Smith: Penn State

This should be an interesting game. Penn State has one of the most dynamic offenses in college football and Kentucky has one of the most fierce defenses in college football. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley has had a fairly good season, mostly in the run game. The Nittany Lion offense obviously hasn’t been the same without New York Giants’ rookie phenom running back Saquon Barkley, but their production hasn’t dropped off that much. They have a very good run defense as well, which will make it even harder for the run-oriented Wildcats to get a W. If the Kentucky defense can get the stops it needs and Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. plays well, then Kentucky will pull it out, but I don’t see that happening. Penn State wins a low-scoring close one.

Penn State 17 Kentucky 14

McCrary: Kentucky

Penn State has struggled recently against above average running backs. They allowed Karan Higdon and Jonathan Taylor to rush for 132 and 185 yards respectively. They could struggle going up against the Wildcats’ star running back, Benny Snell. A huge part of the Nittany Lions’ success has been running back Miles Sanders stellar play. However he could struggle against Kentucky’s 22nd ranked total defense. I’m going with the SEC team in this matchup

Kentucky 20 Penn State 14


Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

#7 Michigan Wolverines (10-2)

#10 Florida Gators (9-3)

Smith: Michigan

The Wolverines are a top 5 team in my opinion. Their only two losses are to #3 Notre Dame and #6 Ohio State. Their defense is phenomenal and their offense can put up points. Quarterback Shea Patterson will have to play very well against a talented Gator defense. Quarterback Feleipe Franks and Florida’s running game will not be able to move the ball against an incredible Michigan D. Michigan should win big.

Michigan 38 Florida 20

McCrary: Michigan

Michigan had a phenomenal season this year. They have the best defense in the country and shouldn’t struggle to stop Florida’s offense. The Wolverines have the #1 total defense and #17 pass defense in the country. They should have very little trouble going up against Gator quarterback Feleipe Franks. Michigan may lose if they struggle to run the ball effectively, but I’m taking the Wolverines to finish their season strong.

Michigan 31 Florida 13


Playstation Fiesta Bowl

#8 UCF Golden Knights (12-0)

#11 LSU Tigers (9-3)

Smith: LSU

While UCF backup QB Darriel Mack Jr. had an incredible performance against Memphis, he’s never seen anything like this elite LSU defense. While top cornerback prospect Greedy Williams is sitting this one out, the Tigers’ D has more than enough talent to overwhelm UCF. That talent starts with linebacker Devin White. White has been freaky good this season with his ability to fill gaps and play excellent coverage. He will be influential in stopping running back Greg McCrae and the dual-threat Mack Jr. As long as LSU quarterback Joe Burrow takes care of the football, the Tigers should win pretty handily.

LSU 34 UCF 10

McCrary: LSU

This isn’t Memphis, UCF. This is LSU, and they will give UCF an extremely tough challenge in this game. UCF quarterback, Darriel Mack Jr., hasn’t seen an elite defense like LSU’s this season. LSU will miss their top cornerback, Greedy Williams, in this game, but I still think they have enough talent on defense to stop UCF’s high octane offense. The Golden Knights will be crushed at the hands of the LSU Tigers

LSU 28 UCF 13


Rose Bowl

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1)

#9 Washington Huskies (10-3)

Smith: Ohio State

The Buckeyes’ loss to Purdue ultimately kept them out of the playoffs, but the Rose Bowl will be a good way for legendary coach Urban Meyer to finish his Ohio State career. Meyer announced his retirement on December 4th, but will still coach the Buckeyes in his first Rose Bowl appearance. The Washington secondary has been phenomenal this season ranking 20th in the nation in passing defense and will face a big test in Heisman finalist Dwayne Haskins. The Buckeyes QB has thrown for a league high 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns. The silver and scarlet defense should be able to stop a Huskies’ offense that hasn’t impressed. Ohio State sends Urban Meyer out with a bang.

Ohio State 27 Washington 17

McCrary: Ohio State

Ohio State quarterback and Heisman finalist, Dwayne Haskins, has be phenomenal this season. Haskins stepped up late this season, putting up over 400 total yards and 6 touchdowns against Michigan. He has played himself into consideration for the Heisman, and he’s the main reason Ohio State is in the position they’re in right now. The Buckeyes are facing a tremendous Washington secondary and will have to play well to put up points. However; I don’t think Washington can go head to head with Ohio States’ offense which puts up 43.5 points per game. Their quarterback, Jake Browning, and running back, Myles Gaskin, have underperformed this season, and they will have to play out of their minds to beat the Buckeyes.

Ohio State 27 Washington 17


Allstate Sugar Bowl

#5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2)

#15 Texas Longhorns (9-4)

Smith: Georgia

In my opinion Georgia is the 3rd best team in the country (that doesn’t mean they should be in the playoffs). While the Texas offense is good, they won’t be able to keep up with this incredible Bulldogs team. The UGA offense is averaging 39.2 points per game and is only giving up an average of 18.5 points per game. Their average margin of victory is 20 points and I don’t expect that to change against a weak Texas D. Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift will have incredible games.

Georgia 45 Texas 24

McCrary: Georgia

Georgia is the 2nd best team in the country and will try to prove that they should be in the playoff. Texas, ranked 36th in rush defense, is pretty good against the run, but they will have a hard time containing Bulldog running back, D’andre Swift. Georgia will shine on offense and shutdown the Texas Longhorns.

Georgia 35 Texas 17


Capital One Orange Bowl (CFP Semifinal)

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0)

#4 Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

Smith: Alabama

The two best offenses in the country face off in Miami. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, their defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed. Alabama’s defense will do enough to stop the Sooners’ high powered offense. The Crimson Tide defense is one of the best in the nation, but will have their hands full trying to stop Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. The Heisman winner has been electric through the air and on foot. He has accounted for 4,945 total yards and 51 touchdowns. If Bama struggles like they did against Georgia, they will have a hard time, but I don’t see that happening. Bama wins big.

Alabama 59 Oklahoma 38

McCrary: Alabama

I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS GAME! The amount of scoring that will take place is going to be insane. Alabama will blow out Oklahoma because the Sooner’s defensive is horrendous. Oklahoma’s defense has more holes than swiss cheese. The Crimson Tide can score 60 if they want to. Alabama will make enough stops on defense to win this game. Now I don’t know if they can contain Heisman winner Kyler Murray, but they can definitely stop Oklahoma enough to put up an insane amount of touchdowns on Oklahoma. I just don’t see Kyler Murray being able to overcome his team’s defensive woes to beat Alabama.

Alabama 56 Oklahoma 28


Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (CFP Semifinal)

#2 Clemson Tigers (13-0)

#3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0)

Smith: Clemson

The Clemson offense has never faced a defense as talented as Notre Dame’s. The Fighting Irish defense is one of the top units in the nation. True freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence will face his first true test in his biggest game of the season. If Lawrence doesn’t play well, Clemson still has three quality running backs in Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster, and Adam Choice. Notre Dame will have to pick their poison in this one. This Notre Dame offense is not equipped to keep up with Clemson.

Clemson 35 Notre Dame 23

McCrary: Clemson

Notre Dame is a good balanced team. They have thrived on defense this year, ranking 19th in total defense. However, I don’t see them being able to make enough plays on the offensive end to beat Clemson. Clemson is the 2nd best team in the nation, and they have dominated the competition. They have scored 35+ points in their last three games. However, this game is going to be closer than people think.

Clemson 28 Notre Dame 21


CFP National Championship

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0)

#2 Clemson Tigers (14-0)

Smith: Alabama

As much as it pains me to say, Alabama is a better team than Clemson. While Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne have been special, Alabama will keep on rollin’. It will be a very fun duel between two phenomenal underclassmen in Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa. While I think it will be a close contest, Alabama edges the Tigers out with a slightly better defense. The Tide will win their 6th National Championship under Coach Saban.

Alabama 37 Clemson 34

McCrary: Alabama

Clemson has a tendency to start games extremely slow. If they do that in this game, they will lose by 20+. Both teams are extremely talented, but I don’t think that Clemson, led by true freshman Trevor Lawrence, is truly ready to beat this Alabama juggernaut. This will be an exciting game, but Tua and the Tide will be too tough for Clemson to handle. *redneck voice* ROLL TIDE ROLL!

Alabama 31 Clemson 24