2015 Outback Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl Previews

December 31, 2014

Similar to last year, I have limited time to write this article before the ball drops for the new year.

So, we’ll have abbreviated previews for the New Year’s Day bowl games. I’m sure that you won’t mind.

Additionally, I’ll have a combined recap post for the December 30th and 31st bowl games.

Let’s take a look at the games taking place on the first day of 2015.

Outback Bowl

#19 Auburn vs. #18 Wisconsin (Thursday, 12 PM ET – ESPN2)

Auburn’s rush defense has looked good enough to at least contain Melvin Gordon, but it will be interesting to see if the Tigers are interested in playing in this one. If they are, this will be an entertaining game. If not, the Badgers will control the ball and Gordon will go out with a bang.

I have the Tigers for 29 points in Bowl Mania.

My Pick: 38-35 Auburn

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

#5 Baylor vs. #8 Michigan State (Thursday, 12:30 PM ET – ESPN)

Your move, Baylor. TCU made its statement in the Peach Bowl this afternoon and if Baylor wants to join the conversation about teams that should have made the playoff, a convincing win in this game is necessary. That will be difficult. The Spartans allow fewer than 200 yards passing per game and have had the most trouble with mobile quarterbacks, something that Bryce Petty is not.

Although the Bears should be motivated after seeing TCU’s result, I think that the Spartans will play typical Big Ten football and stifle the Baylor offense. I have the Spartans for 6 points in this one.

My Pick: 34-33 Michigan State

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

#25 Minnesota vs. #16 Missouri (Thursday, 1 PM ET – ABC)

This may not be the most anticipated game of the day, but both of these teams are ranked and appear to be evenly matched. Two solid running backs in Missouri’s Russell Hansbrough and Minnesota’s David Cobb will be on display, but both teams have a decent run defense. So this one is simple: the team with the better back wins.

Both on this day and in general, I’m going to go with Cobb. I have Minnesota in a close one for 8 points.

My Pick: 28-24 Minnesota

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual

#3 Florida State vs. #2 Oregon (Thursday, 5 PM ET – ESPN)

This is it. The first game of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Oregon looked terrific in the Pac-12 title game and Florida State slipped by Georgia Tech in the ACC decider, but that means little now. Oregon needs to establish itself in the passing game and the Seminoles have to find a way to keep Mariota off the field.

I’m not going to say much about this game because enough has been written. All I’m telling you is that I have Oregon for 37 points.

My Pick: 37-28 Oregon

Allstate Sugar Bowl

#4 Ohio State vs. #1 Alabama (Thursday, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN)

The Buckeyes were one of the biggest underdogs of the bowl season before any of the games had begun – and Alabama is still favored by nine points. After watching some of the other SEC teams in action over the past two weeks, Ole Miss in particular, the Crimson Tide should be a bit worried. The Buckeyes have talent all over the field on offense and Cardale Jones may simply be tasked with throwing the ball up and letting his athletes do the work.

Alabama has struggled against mobile quarterbacks this season and Ohio State is tough against the run. This game should be closer than a nine point spread. I still have the Crimson Tide for 22 points, but this will be an exciting game. Also, as a Buckeye alum I’m rooting against my pick.

My Pick: 35-31 Alabama

If you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. You can also like Around The Corn’s Facebook page or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two days before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

– K. Becks

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