2023 Orange Bowl and Arizona Bowl Preview

December 30, 2023

Try to hold back the tears – the final two college football games of 2023 are upon us.

Pay attention to the broadcast channel for one of them, as it may surprise you.

Let’s check out the games that kick off late Saturday afternoon.

Capital One Orange Bowl

#6 Georgia vs. #5 Florida State (Saturday, 4 PM ET – ESPN)

On paper, this is a matchup you simply cannot miss. In reality, it’s the game that neither side wants to be playing. The laundry list of players opting out of this one is so long that it’s not even worth mentioning the key names. Though Florida State could become the first team since Central Florida in 2017 to finish the season unbeaten yet not win a national title, it more than feels like there is little motivation to do so. Were the Seminoles hosed? Maybe, but proving the doubters wrong wasn’t on Mike Norvell’s holiday wish list, it seems.

Although Georgia will be without so many of the guys that brought it to the brink of the CFP yet again, one player they will have is quarterback Carson Beck, who can officially use this game as preparation for a redemption tour in 2024. In the likelihood that it is, Beck can use this as an opportunity to create some connection to pieces that he would use for another run at the national title that won’t come this season. The fact that Georgia is hovering around a 20 point favorite tells you just about everything you need to know here. It could be a bloodbath.

Around The Corn’s Pick: 31-13 Georgia

Bowl Mania Confidence: 40 points

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Toledo vs. Wyoming (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET – The CW)

As Barstool continues to be viewed as a pesky competitor to the larger outfits in the sports media industry, the Arizona Bowl remains the only FBS postseason contest to be broadcast outside of the ESPN/ABC, FOX and CBS trio. This bowl game therefore continues to exist as something of a hidden gem, featuring #MACtion and the Mountain Best. Last year’s game came bow tied with a walk-off winner, and there is plenty to be excited about in this year’s matchup.

The running game should be the focal point of both offenses in this game, with Toledo forced to play without its usual starter at quarterback and top passer in the MAC, Dequan Finn (transfer portal). The Rockets will also be without the conference’s top rusher, Peny Boone, and will look to get a push up front for his backup Jacquez Stuart against a Cowboys run defense that was third best in the Mountain West this season. Wyoming didn’t incorporate the passing game into its attack much this season, but quarterback Andrew Peasley is dangerous with his legs and led the team with 7 rushing touchdowns. If Toledo can contain Peasley, it can win this game even without Finn and Boone, but that is a big ask.

Around The Corn’s Pick: 20-17 Toledo

Bowl Mania Confidence: 10 points

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