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New Years Bowl Games

It’s New Year’s day and #Bowlmania continues with 4 amazing games on tap. @SportsfanaticMB takes you through the games and the best #devy and #NFLDraft prospects to watch.

If you’re not too hungover Friday morning from celebrating the new year, which let’s be honest, we all can’t wait to get here. There will be four great bowl games to satiate your appetite for football leading in the weekend. This is the last chance for devy players to give their coaches one last snapshot of their game before the off-season comes, and it’s one last shot for NFL draft hopefuls to leave an impression on scouts. Here I will discuss all the top devy and NFL draft prospects in each of the four games.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

www.wikipedia.com

Georgia (7-2) vs Cincinnati (9-0)- Fri 01/01

Cincinnati comes into this game with one of the best Group of 5 school resumes. The Bearcats will come into this game with a chip on their shoulder carrying the weight of the Group of 5 schools looking to upset a big named opponent.

Georgia struggled with quarterback early on this season but seemed to have found the signal-caller in JT Daniels. In his three starts, he’s put the team on his back and has made Georgia look like a competent offense, making most fans wonder why he wasn’t starting sooner.

Both of these teams are built on their defense and running games. Cincinnati with the #1 ranked defense in college, followed by Georgia right behind them at #2. Both of these teams are coming in riding hot, and this should be one of the better games of the weekend. I’m taking Cincinnati to upset Georgia. Cincinnati wins 28-27 over Georgia.

Cincinnati Bearcats

Desmond Ridder (Junior)- QB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’4
  • Weight- 215
  • Number- #9

Ridder is a very intriguing prospect that is starting to get more buzz. A dual-threat quarterback with a cannon for an arm. Makes plays in and out of the pocket and continues to keep his eyes downfield. Ridder flashes brilliance in tight-window throws and deep ball placement but lacks consistency throwing the deep ball. I believe Ridder will enter the draft and likely secure second or third-round draft capital.

Georgia Bulldogs

JT Daniels (Rs-Sophomore)- QB, Devy, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’3
  • Weight- 210
  • Number- #18

Daniels has only been able to play in three games so far this season but has changed the entire look of this offense. Daniels has shown he can make some great anticipation throws and has great deep ball accuracy. He can enter the draft this year, but I think after missing most of last season and not playing much in 2020, he’ll return to school. If he does enter the draft, I’m not sure where he would go, likely around or after the fourth round.

Zamir White (Sophomore)- RB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’0
  • Weight- 215
  • Number- #3

White is a very good and explosive athlete with excellent speed, agility, and balance. He has a physical running style in the run game and is very good due to his instinctive feel and vision. He has very good feet and vision for cutback lanes and will run through arm tackles. White has had back to back ACL injuries and has the ability to enter the draft this year. I think he likely will. He has some scouts and evaluators who believe in what he has done this year. He could end up with decent draft capital and has the ability to be a good back at the NFL level.

George Pickens (Sophomore)- WR, Devy

  • Height- 6’3
  • Weight- 190
  • Number- #1

Pickens was a wide receiver coming into the year that many were excited to see as we saw flashes of brilliance last year. He was hurt by below-average quarterback play earlier in the year. Yet we’ve seen his most productive games this year since JT Daniels was inserted at the quarterback position. Pickens is an explosive athlete that has the size-speed combo you want in an alpha wide receiver. He catches the ball at multiple catch points. Going up against the defense with Daniels is going to be a fun game to watch.

Vrbo Citrus Bowl

wholeninesports.com

Auburn (6-4) vs Northwestern (6-2)- Fri 01/01

This could end up being just as good as the other games on Friday. Northwestern pushed Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship and has found success the past few seasons. Northwestern comes in with a legit defense but an underwhelming offense. They will need to turn the ball over if they want to stay in this game.

Auburn comes in with not quite as good a defense and really only a slightly better offense. Bo Nix will have to bring his best effort and not turn the ball over to try and outduel this very good Northwestern defense.

These two teams played last in 2010 in the Outback Bowl when Auburn won in overtime over Northwestern. I see the Wildcats reversing that game this year. I think both teams will keep it close as the defenses will likely rule this game. Auburn will dominate in yards and plays but not put up enough points to pull away. Northwestern gets a field goal late and stops Auburn on their final drive for the win. Northwestern wins 24-21.

Auburn

Bo Nix (Sophomore)- QB, Devy

  • Height- 6’2
  • Weight- 213
  • Number- #10

Nix had some up and down moments last year as a true freshman, but we hoped he’d take a step forward this year after seeing him step up in big games. This year has been much like last year in up and down performances by Nix. Northwestern has a very good secondary, so this should be another good test for Nix. He has all the tools to be a quarterback at the next level, but he just hasn’t shown the consistency. I’ll be interested to see how he does against this defense.

Tank Bigsby (Freshman)- RB, Devy

  • Height- 6’0
  • Weight- 204
  • Number- #4

Tank Bigsby is in the argument for the most exciting running backs in college at the moment and one of the best in 2023. Bigsby is an explosive one-cut runner with incredible vision. He posses great contact balance and is rarely brought to the ground by one defender. He’s an asset in the receiving game as well. Bigsby is one of the more exciting young up and coming running backs.

Seth Williams (Junior)- WR, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’3
  • Weight- 211
  • Number- #18

Much like his quarterback Williams has had an up and down season. When Nix struggles to get the ball down the field, Williams has struggled to produce. Williams has the prototypical size and skill set to be an โ€œXโ€ in the NFL. A natural hands catcher with strong hands who is fearless when catching slants over the middle and is very good in contested catch situations.

Anthony Schwartz (Junior)- WR, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’0
  • Weight- 179
  • Number- #1

Schwartz is the deep threat for the Tigers offense and is one of the more exciting players to watch. He is an excellent athlete in terms of his combination of agility, speed, and toughness. He has good tracking ability and soft hands to catch deep balls. Schwartz is a true homerun threat every time he touches the ball, making him extremely fun to watch.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capitol One- CFP Semifinal

www.wikipedia.com

Notre Dame (10-1) vs Alabama (11-0)- Fri 01/01

Notre Dame joined the ACC this season due to Covid. They rolled through their schedule to an undefeated season heading into the ACC Championship game against Clemson. With a blowout loss to Clemson, Notre Dame still found it’s way into the playoffs. Unfortunately, they end up against the juggernaut that is Alabama. Despite this, I think most of the pressure is off the Fighting Irish, as they aren’t expected to win this game. Their run defense has been good all season long, and they will have to be if they expect to slow down Najee Harris. They will need to force pressure on Mac Jones to try and force him to make mistakes. If Notre Dame’s defense can force a couple of stops, they might have a chance to win this.

Alabama comes into the game with the best offense in college football. They are the presumptive favorites. Not just to win this game but win the National Championship. Alabama’s defense has been challenged this year, and I do expect them to be challenged at times against this Notre Dame offense. However, you could argue Alabama’s offense is one of the best units they’ve had in quite a while. They will, on paper, play the best defense they’ve played all season. If Alabama can keep their offense rolling on all cylinders, they should win this game.

I don’t expect this to be a blowout like last time when these two teams met in the 2013 National Championship. Notre Dame will rely heavily on their defense early, and I think will stay in this game. However, Alabama is just too good and will pull away late. Alabama wins the Rose Bowl game 42-28.

Notre Dame

Kyren Williams (Sophomore)- RB, Devy

  • Height- 5’9
  • Weight- 204
  • Number- #23

Kyren Williams emerged this year as the lead running back for the Irish and has been downright fantastic. He’s proven to be a threat in the receiving game. He’s a tough downhill runner with enough wiggle to make defenders miss. He shows good vision and the speed to take runs to the house. Williams will be key in the rushing and receiving game if Notre Dame has any shot of beating Alabama.

Michael Mayer (Freshman)- TE, Devy

  • Height- 6’5
  • Weight- 235
  • Number- #87

Michael Mayer has been not just one of the best tight ends of the 2023 class but already looks to be one of the country’s best tight ends. He’s shown great playmaking ability, great hands, and good route running already. He has been Book’s safety valve when under pressure. Much like Williams, Mayer will have to come up big if Notre Dame wants any shot to win this game.

Alabama

Mac Jones (Junior)- QB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’2
  • Weight- 214
  • Number- #10

Mac Jones wasn’t even the secured starter early in the off-season. He won the job and hasn’t looked back. In fact, he’s played so well he’s worked his way into round one draft capital. His ball placement is highly consistent when throwing to the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. Jones possesses great and consistent mechanics, enabling him to be on time and anticipate during quick throws. Mac will be the driving force behind Alabama’s championship run.

Najee Harris (Senior)- RB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’2
  • Weight- 230
  • Number- #22

Harris returned for his senior year to raise his draft capital and compete for a National Championship. Well, he’s completed the draft capital question, now he’s on his way to try and win a National Championship. Harris runs with power and a purpose every time he touches the ball. He has great vision and patience and enough lateral speed to make defenders miss when needed. It takes him some time to hit top speed. He is also an underrated receiver. He should be the first running back drafted and will be huge during their championship run.

DeVonta Smith (Senior)- WR, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’1
  • Weight- 175
  • Number- #6

Smith also returned for his senior year, and he’s been one of if not the best receiver in college football this year. Reliable receiver with soft hands in all areas of the field. There’s no fear of entering traffic. Rarely drops a routine catch. Smith is the most complete wide receiver in this class and has zero faults in his game.

John Metchie (Sophomore)- WR, Devy

  • Height- 6’0
  • Weight- 195
  • Number- #8

Metchie, a sophomore coming into 2020, was stuck behind Waddle and Smith on the depth chart. Even though he played as a true freshman last season, he didn’t do much to stand out. With Waddle out with an injury, Metchie has stepped up and looked like another Waddle out there on the field. He has the talent and ability to make plays opposite of Smith and be the best wide receiver for Alabama going into 2021. A smart player who consistently finds holes in defensive coverages. Already one of the better route runners in college, and his YAC ability after the catch is truly fun to watch.

Allstate Sugar Bowl- CFP Semifinal

www.wikipedia.com

Ohio State (6-0) vs Clemson (10-1)- Fri 01/01

This is the game Ohio State has wanted since their brutal last play loss in this matchup last year. Ohio State comes in after a very weird season. Only playing in six games and only playing in back to back weeks once this season. Top offensive and defensive players have been in an out all season due to Covid, yet Ohio State believes they can win this game. They will need to rely heavily on their offense and specifically Justin Fields to have a near-perfect game. Can the Buckeyes get their defense to step up enough to limit the explosiveness of the Clemson offense? The Buckeyes’ biggest key will be not settling for field goals in the red-zone like they did last season.

Clemson has had another amazing season behind Trevor Lawrence. Having lost one regular-season game this year in overtime to Notre Dame, a game in which Lawrence was out due to Covid. They avenged that loss by blowing out Notre Dame in the ACC Championship game. Clemson isn’t the same team they were last year as they are a little bit less explosive on offense and defense. Yet, they still have the weapons on both sides to help contain the Buckeyes. Clemson will need to rely on their defense to bring pressure on Fields and see if they can force him to make mistakes, as we’ve seen him do at times this year. Lawrence will need to take over this game against a bend but don’t break Buckeyes defense.

Many were hoping for a Lawrence vs. Fields rematch, and we have it. This game, much like last year, will likely be the game of the playoffs. I expect this to be a very close game as both team’s strengths and weaknesses can be exploited by the opposite teams. Ohio State lost the game on the last pass of the game last year. I do think that is reversed this season. Buckeyes pull off the upset and win it on the final drive of the game. Buckeyes 31-28.

Ohio State

Justin Fields (Junior)- QB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’3
  • Weight- 228
  • Number- #1

Fields hasn’t been having a great year this season. Yet we shouldn’t forget the year he had last year. With the Big Ten games getting canceled and the conference starting late, Fields and the Buckeyes never really got a chance to play and/or practice consistently. He’s one of the more accurate quarterbacks in college football, has power and accuracy in his throws to all three levels of the field. He can use his legs to extend plays or create positive yards on his own. Fields is a natural passer with clean mechanics. Fields will likely be the second quarterback off the board in 21.

Master Teague (Rs-Sophomore)- RB, Devy, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 5’11
  • Weight- 225
  • Number- #33

Master Teague looked to benefit the most from Dobbins departure to the NFL last year. However, an Achilles injury looked to have cost him the season in spring training. With the Big Ten postponing the start of the season, Teague was able to get back in time to play this year and has looked great in most of his games. Impressive physical skills jump off the screen at you when you watch Teague play. He’s got explosive short-area burst and pairs that suddenness with an angry running style. He challenges timid tacklers and will tear through arm tackles without losing much momentum at all.

Trey Sermon (Senior)- RB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’1
  • Weight- 215
  • Number- #8

Trey Sermon transferred from Oklahoma in the off-season and, after the Teague injury, looked poised to come in and take the starting running back for the Buckeyes. However, the postponement of the season allowed Teague to get healthy. Teague, more often than not, was the starter and looked better in the offense. Teague suffered an injury in the Big Ten Championship Game, which allowed Trey Sermon to run for a Championship game record of 331 rushing yards in a single game. A dynamic runner between the tackles thanks to his aggressive running style, body control to twist and contort off of contact, and lower body strengthโ€”one of the more physical and powerful runners in this class.

Chris Olave (Junior)- WR, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’1
  • Weight- 188
  • Number- #2

Olave, the number one receiver for the Buckeyes, missed the Big Ten Championship game due to Covid protocols. He likely will be back for the playoff game on Friday. Olave has had another great season for the Buckeyes as he looks to try and help reverse the narrative on the loss the Buckeyes suffered last year in this same game. He has great body control and some of the best sideline skills of a wide receiver in this draft. Olave offers good burst, and although his long-speed doesn’t appear as though it will blow anyone out of the water, he has little issue with separation thanks to suddenness in change of direction scenarios.

Garrett Wilson (Sophomore)- WR, Devy

  • Height- 6’0
  • Weight- 193
  • Number- #5

Garrett Wilson, a true freshman last year, shined at times and looked to be the receiver to watch moving forward. In the off-season, Wilson was moved to the slot wide receiver position for the Buckeyes and proved to be a great fit in that role. Wilson has sure and soft hands at the catch point. He has incredible body control and attacks the ball at the high point. He makes incredible highlight catches.

Clemson

Trevor Lawrence (Junior)- QB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 6’6
  • Weight- 220
  • Number- #16

Trevor Lawrence is the presumptive number one pick in the coming NFL draft. One of the highest-rated quarterbacks since Andrew Luck. He won the National Championship as a freshman and is looking to be the first quarterback to play in the title game in three straight years. He always keeps his eyes down the field and makes subtle moves within the pocket to avoid rushers and find throwing windows. Demonstrates good poise and comfort under pressure. Has terrific size, athleticism, and arm talent. Does well to read coverages and continually finds the weak spots.

Travis Etienne (Senior)- RB, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 5’10
  • Weight- 210
  • Number- #9

Travis Etienne came back for his senior year as he wanted to try and win another National Championship. Etienne has continued to be one of the nation’s best running backs, and nothing this year and showed us any differently. He has game-changing burst and acceleration. Big play threat that can take it the distance at any point. Destroys any and all pursuit angles.

Amari Rodgers (Senior)- WR, NFL Prospect

  • Height- 5’10
  • Weight- 210
  • Number- #3

Rodgers, the slot wide receiver for the Tigers, was mostly overshadowed last year by Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins. With Ross out due to injury and Higgins in the NFL, it’s been Rodgers time to shine. He’s been their best receiver all season and now will get the chance to shine on the big stage. He is a slot receiver that is built more like a running back. He has found success with manufactured touches, using his physicality and decisiveness to work after the catch. Rodgers consistently finds the weakness in zone defenses and exploits them to make himself available to his quarterback.

Thank you for checking out our New Years day bowl game article. Continue to check back as we will have coverage of every bowl game during bowl season. For all of my devy content you can follow me on twitter @SportsfanaticMB, and on my podcast the Devy Debate and Fantasy Football Roundtable.

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