College FootballNCAA

NCAAF College Football Playoff & Bowl Predictions


The NCAAF 2017 regular season has come to a close, and the playoffs are just around the corner. We will be going over the top match-ups of these bowl games, and giving our predictions for each game.

Capitol One Orange Bowl : #6 Wisconsin Badgers VS #10 Miami Hurricanes

Elsio’s Take: I believe Wisconsin will take the win in this game by a score of 28-14. Wisconsin is an elite team on both sides of the ball, and they’ll be playing angry after losing a chance to the playoffs in one game to conference rival #5 Ohio State. Miami may pull the “turnover chain” out a few times, but Wisconsin will force a few turnovers of their own.

I think a notable disadvantage Miami has, based upon watching them this year, is that their offensive line does not protect quarterback Malik Rosier. Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator, Jim Leonhard, should be able to expose Miami’s offensive line and put pressure on Rosier. I wouldn’t be shocked if this turns out to be a low-scoring game.

Kaleb’s Take: It’s all about the U! Well, through the first ten weeks at least. Miami looked primed for a top-four spot after starting out hot and never letting their foot off the gas, but that was until un-ranked Pitt came along and hit the Canes from behind. Following that loss the next week, they took another devastating loss to #1 ranked Clemson 38-3 in the ACC Championship game.

Although Elsio does make a good case for Wisconsin playing angry, I could say the same for Miami, after dropping their last two contests. Miami’s offensive weapons are explosive, as they contain: wide receivers Braxton Berrios and Ahmmon Richards, and dynamic running back Travis Homer.

The defense has also proven to be a force not to be taken lightly, forcing 17 interceptions and collecting 44 sacks on the year. This defense is the strong suit of the battle, and these are the kinds of games I love to watch. I’ve got Miami taking this game 20-16 in a defensive chess match that could go either way.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: #12 UCF Knights VS #7 Auburn Tigers

Elsio’s Take: I have Auburn in this game for one reason, and that’s their quality of schedule. UCF went undefeated, and ended up ranked #12, but their best games up to this point have been facing #19 Memphis (three times) and #23 South Florida (once). Auburn had a very tough schedule, and only lost two regular season games, as well as the SEC Title game against #3 Georgia. Auburn’s best wins came against two #1 ranked teams in the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide, and those wins are worth more than all of UCF’s wins combined.

Jarrett Stidhim looks like a star for Auburn, and has a lot of weapons surrounding him, including star back Kerryone Johnson, and leading wide receiver Ryan Davis. Auburn should bludgeon UCF 56-7.

Kaleb’s Take: If you had told me Auburn would beat both #1 ranked Georgia and #1 ranked Alabama, I’d have said you were out of your mind. But, that is why they are ranked #7 in the nation, despite a SEC Championship game loss. Auburn never hid from the competition, and kept winning. Three losses aren’t going to get you in the top four, and had they won one or two more games, we’d be seeing them in the NCAAF playoffs.

On the other side of the ball, you have the UCF Knights. They were quite the surprise this year, going undefeated, but still only ranking at #12 due to the lesser competition they had played. It’s a fair evaluation, as the team only played against four ranked opponents (#19 Memphis, three times, and #23 South Florida, once) and won all of these games in dominant fashion.

Although UCF has proven to be a team on the rise, they still haven’t played a formidable opponent. Auburn is that formidable opponent. I have Auburn taking this in an offensive shootout by a score of 55-23. The UCF defense hasn’t played a top ten offense so far, and that’s exactly what Auburn specializes in. The Tigers should be able to take the Peach Bowl trophy home and prove that they are a team to look out for in 2018.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #8 USC Trojans VS #5 Ohio State Buckeyes

Elsio’s Take: I’m taking Ohio State in this game, but it won’t be an easy win. Especially for a team that still feels they should be in the playoffs, and may not be as focused on the task at hand. USC has a very valuable quarterback in Sam Darnold, but he hasn’t looked as good this year. Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, on the other hand, has made some very clutch plays, and has stepped up as a proven leader. This has directly impacted his draft stock positively, and he has become Ohio State’s all time leader in wins.

Ohio State’s defense has looked solid this year, forcing turnovers often throughout the season, which has resulted in keeping their defense well-rested. I see this being a close game between two teams who seem like they could’ve made the playoffs, but just didn’t have their seasons together at the end. I have the Buckeyes winning by a score of 45-42.

Kaleb’s Take: I think that this is a prime opportunity for USC quarterback Sam Darnold to show NFL Scouts just how great of a talent he will be this upcoming draft. Ohio State is playing angry, and are the first team out of the playoffs, after winning the Big Ten Conference Title game. This could be the best match-up out of all of these bowl games, if all goes according to plan.

Ohio State are the favorites coming into this game, and even based on how slow-paced this USC team was during the regular season, I’m still taking the Trojans in this contest. I predict an upset because much like the story of the Trojan Horse, the element of surprise will be the deciding factor. I think Ohio State will underestimate this fairly young team, expecting to doze them over, and send a message to the committee, but USC will be more than ready to play up to the competition. I do think Ohio State will come out with plenty of fire power, led behind quarterback J.T Barret and a stout defense, but I think the USC Trojans take this one by a score of 35-27.

Playstation Fiesta Bowl : #11 Washington Huskies VS #9 Penn State Nittany Lions

Elsio’s Take: This is a game of two teams who found some glory last year, with Washington entering the top four, and Penn State being a notable snub. Penn State went on to lose a close game to USC in the Rose Bowl, and Washington got blown out by Alabama in the semi-finals. This will be an interesting game, but Penn State has a key advantage, and his name is Saquon Barkley. Penn State is the more complete team, and I have them winning in a game that could go down as an instant classic: 28-21.

Kaleb’s Take: It’d be an understatement to say Saquon Barkley has been good this year. After being snubbed, I could see Barkley having possibly his best game of the year leaving his collegiate career on a good note. He has 41 rushing touchdowns during his career with Penn State, and 3,706 rushing yards. Also, he is a great multi-purpose back, getting north of 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, receiving-wise. On the other side of the ball, Penn State has a fierce pass rush led by Shareef Miller (4.5 sacks) and Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda (3.5 Sacks). Penn State also has a formidable secondary led by Amani Oruwairye, who had a team-high four interceptions on the season. On the other sideline, Washington has a very solid team. Their offense, led by quarterback Jake Browning, threw for 18 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions, and is their main reason for success this year. Washington leans to their running back Myles Gaskin, who rushed for 1,282 yards and 19 touchdowns. Their defense is fairly spread out, and look to be a solid force against this Barkley-led Penn State offense. Washington’s strength of schedule is a bit spotty though, only playing two ranked opponents in #15 Stanford (a game in which they lost, 30-22) and #21 Washington State (where they won 41-14). I think the game will come down to which offense has the better day, and Barkley has my vote to take these Nittany Lions to a victory, by a score of 42-40, in what should be a great match-up.

NCAAF College Football Playoffs:

Rose Bowl: #2 Oklahoma Sooners VS #3 Georgia Bulldogs

Elsio’s Take: I have Oklahoma beating the Georgia Bulldogs in a hotly contested semi-final. Baker Mayfield is a senior, and this is his last shot at a national title, and you’d best believe the Heisman hopeful is ready to take it. Oklahoma has looked rock solid against ranked opponents. No matter how highly or lowly ranked, they had struggles with un-ranked opponents, but it won’t be an issue against the Bulldogs. All of Georgia’s wins were blowouts, but this team only beat three ranked teams, as compared to Oklahoma’s four, and one more game of high competition can make a team infinitely more prepared. Look for running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to have a big game for the Bulldogs, as well as Jake Fromm and top receivers Javon Wims and Isaac Nauta. However, Oklahoma has some weapons of their own, Baker Mayfield, a solid running back in Rodney Anderson, and two 900 yard receivers in Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. Georgia’s defense totaled ten interceptions for the year, but they never played a guy quite like Mayfield. Oklahoma didn’t force many turnovers this season, but pressured quarterbacks into taking sacks. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led the way with eight sacks. This could be a shootout, or a defensive duel, but I’m leaning towards a shootout with a final score of Oklahoma 63 – Georgia 56.

Kaleb’s Take: It’s hard to go against any of these guys. Georgia had an amazing season staying at #1 for the majority of the season (until losing to #7 Auburn, of course). They are led by star back Nick Chubb, who has 1,175 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns on the year. On the other side, you have Heisman finalist Baker Mayfield, who is touted to be the best quarterback in college football. Both of these teams have proven to be elite on both sides of the ball, as Georgia’s defense has forced ten interceptions, and forcing 27 sacks. Oklahoma has also proven to be as stout as anybody on defense, forcing 22 sacks (eight by star senior Ogbonnia Okoronkwo). This has the make up to be a classic playoff game, and I’m taking Baker Mayfield and the Sooners in a tight, high-scoring match-up of 45-42.

All-State Sugar Bowl: #1 Clemson Tigers VS #4 Alabama Crimson Tide

Elsio’s Take: I have the Crimson Tide winning this grudge match, that many thought would take place for the National Title, and not in the semi finals. Bama, for the first time in awhile, didn’t look like the best team in the nation, but Nick Saban will light a major fire under his team. Their defense may be banged up, but they still have valuable play-makers, and if that dangerous pass rush can get to Kelly Bryant and throw him off, that’s all they’ll need. The Crimson Tide have a fantastic secondary and solid linebackers. I see a low scoring game with these two great defenses, even though both offenses have play-makers. Bama wins 14-10.

Kaleb’s Take: Clemson has been an almost unstoppable force throughout the course of this regular season, and their #1 ranking is enough to say that they’ve earned the spot. After a hot start by their conference rival Miami Hurricanes, it seemed that Clemson was going to be the odd man out. But then in the ACC Conference championship, QB Kelly Bryant took advantage of the Hurricanes, and beat them in convincing fashion, 38-3. I think that Bama has hit a brick wall, and with their depleted defense, they will continue to struggle. Bama quarterback Jalen Hurts will be under duress all game long from this Clemson pass rush, who collected a staggering 43 sacks on the year. This rematch will be a fun one to watch, and I’ve got Clemson taking this one 24-21, in a game that will grab the attention of all football fans alike.

College Football Playoff National Championship : TBD VS TBD

Elsio’s Take: I have Oklahoma winning it all, and Baker Mayfield going out on top. Clemson may not have been able to take advantage of Alabama’s banged up defense, but Oklahoma will. Mayfield has two receivers with close to 1,000 yards, and a rock solid running back at his disposal. Jalen Hurts will be pressured a lot and may have to make a lot of plays with his feet, or be prepared to make a lot of throws on the run. Bama will need to hold Oklahoma’s pass rush, especially Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, to have a chance. I have this game ending with the Sooners on top of the Crimson Tide, 21-17.

Kaleb’s Take: I also have Oklahoma winning, but over Clemson. I think Mayfield will be able to keep Clemson’s defense on their heels, and their running back Sony Michel will be the biggest force for the Oklahoma offense. On the other side of things, I think Oklahoma’s offensive line will be able to give Mayfield enough time to make good decisions and create holes for Michel. However, I don’t think Clemson will go down without a fight. This championship game will come down to the wire, and I think it will be an amazing contest for any sports fan to enjoy. I have Oklahoma winning 35-30, with Baker Mayfield solidifying his college football legacy.

Photo Credit:

Want more? Subscribe to The Athletes Hub YouTube page for a variety of sports debate.


Related Articles

One Comment

  1. Browning is the main reason for Washington’s success? Well, you can now discount anything you read on this site. If you watch any UW football, you’d know Browning has had a down year and all of a single 4th quarter comeback in his career.

    It’s the defense that’s the reason for success and Browning has almost next to nothing to do with it. Nice lazy research, site I’ve never heard of.

Back to top button