The Selection Committee had some tough choices to make for their latest batch of New Year’s Six bowl games. Some of the teams involved will be very disappointed they didn’t earn a Top-4 seed and a shot at the National Championship. Others will be very happy to play in a major bowl game. Here’s a look at the four “Committee” games leading up to the CFP semifinals.
Cotton Bowl: No. 8 USC Trojans vs. No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes
Friday, December 29, 8:30 PM ET on ESPN
The College Football Playoff odds looked promising for Ohio State (11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS) after they won the Big Ten title, but instead, the Committee put the Alabama Crimson Tide in at No. 4. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for the Buckeyes. As for the Trojans (11-2 SU, 3-9-1 ATS), they’ve fallen short of expectations this year, but USC will be playing in their second New Year’s Six game for second-year head coach Clay Helton. The Cotton Bowl odds at press time have Ohio State pegged as a 7-point favorite at AT&T Stadium in Arlington with a total of 65.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 11 Washington Huskies vs. No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions
Friday, December 30, 4 PM ET on ESPN
After reaching the CFP semifinals last year, the Huskies (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS) took a step back in the Pac-12. Now they’re 3-point underdogs against Penn State (10-2 SU, 7-4-1 ATS), who were running the table before back-to-back road losses to Ohio State and Michigan State. There’s a total of 55 points on the bowl game odds for this matchup; Washington has one of the best defenses in college football, while both participants have struggled on special teams – although playing indoors at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale should help in that department.
Orange Bowl: No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 10 Miami Hurricanes
Saturday, December 30, 8 PM ET on ESPN
The Badgers (12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS) drew the short straw this year. They were undefeated before dropping the Big Ten title game to Ohio State, and now they have to play the Hurricanes (10-2 SU, 5-7 ATS) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Wisconsin is still a 7-point favorite on the Orange Bowl odds board with a total of 45, but this could be a let-down game after coming so close to a CFP berth.
Peach Bowl: No. 12 UCF Knights vs. No. 7 Auburn Tigers
Monday, January 1, 12:30 PM ET on ESPN
Speaking of let-downs, Auburn (10-3 SU, 6-5-2 ATS) was riding high after beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl, but their playoff chances went up in smoke when they lost the SEC title game to Georgia. Meanwhile, the Knights went undefeated in the AAC, and they’ll be motivated to prove their worth as 10-point underdogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Peach Bowl odds also feature a fat total of 67 points for this matchup, with UCF (OVER 8-4) providing one of the best offenses in the nation – and a substandard defense for a New Year’s Six game.