New Year's Week College Football Bowl Game Upset Picks

New Year’s Week College Football Bowl Game Upset Picks

My final College Football Bowl Game Upset Picks of the season include two of the biggest bowl games this week. One of the upsets occurs in the Orange Bowl, one of two CFP Semifinal games on Thursday, Dec. 31. The other upset takes place in the Rose Bowl where No. 6 Stanford battles No. 7 Iowa. The final upset is in the Outback Bowl where No. 12 Northwestern takes on Tennessee. Both the Rose Bowl and the Outback Bowl take place on Friday, Jan. 1. Remember, all picks are straight up against the moneyline bets.

New Year’s Week College Football Bowl Game Upset Picks

What: Capital One Orange Bowl
Who: No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) at No. 1 Clemson Tigers (13-0)
When: Thursday, December 31, 2015
Kickoff: 4:00 PM ET 
Where: Miami, FL
Stadium: Sun Life Stadium
Spread: Oklahoma -4
Moneyline: Oklahoma -175 vs Clemson +155
Game Total: 65
Watch: ESPN
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Oklahoma vs Clemson

Analysis: It feels like the Selection Committee is begging for an Oklahoma versus Alabama National Championship. Why else move Oklahoma to No. 4 and put Michigan State to No. 3? In any case, Oklahoma shouldn’t be favored by 4 points. Sure, the Sooners have been on a roll winning their final 7 games and covering in 6 out of those 7 games. But, the Sooners beat Baylor and TCU when both teams were without their starting quarterbacks and Oklahoma barely beat TCU 30 to 29.

Clemson was horrible against the spread when going 6 and 7. The Tigers, though, had to face some very good teams like Florida State and Notre Dame this season. Those two teams are much better than any one team that Oklahoma faced during its entire season. Expect Clemson to win this game straight up.  

Pick: Clemson 

What: Outback Bowl
Who: No. 13 Northwestern Wildcats (10-2) at No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers (8-4)
When: Friday, January 1, 2016
Kickoff: 12:00 PM ET 
Where: Tampa, FL
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
Spread: Tennessee -7.5
Moneyline: Northwestern +265 vs Tennessee -325
Game Total: 45
Watch: ESPN 2
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Northwestern vs Tennessee

Analysis: The love for Tennessee doesn’t seem warranted. The Volunteers did finish the season winning 5 games in a row. But, look who the Vols beat? Kentucky 52 to 21, South Carolina 27 to 24, North Texas 24 to 0, Missouri 19 to 8 and Vanderbilt 53 to 28.

Northwestern won their last 4 games to end the regular season. One of the wins was a terrific 13 to 7 road victory over the very good Wisconsin Badgers. The Wildcats also held Illinois, a team with a decent offense, to only 14 points in a 24 to 14 win on Nov. 28. Northwestern’s D allows 16.4 points and 310.5 total yards per game while Tennessee’s only chances of winning this is to outscore Northwestern. Go with the team with the better defense.   

Pick: Northwestern

What: Rose Bowl Game Pres. By Northwestern Mutual
Who: No. 6 Stanford Cardinal (11-2) at No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes (12-1)
When: Friday, January 1, 2016
Kickoff: 5:00 PM ET 
Where: Pasadena, CA
Stadium: Rose Bowl
Spread: Stanford -6
Moneyline: Stanford -275 vs Iowa +215
Game Total: 53
Watch: ESPN
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Stanford vs Iowa

Analysis: Stanford faces Iowa in the 2016 Rose Bowl this Friday. The Cardinal had a great season losing only to Northwestern and Oregon. Stanford beat USC twice, UCLA, Notre Dame, California, Washington and Washington State. No doubt, the Cardinal record is more impressive than Iowa’s.

But, Iowa has one of the top coaches in all of college football roaming their sidelines. That’s Kirk Ferentz who is one of the few coaches that is able to game plan for each Iowa opponent from week to week. Ferentz beat Minnesota 40 to 35 by running and gunning with the Gophers. He almost pulled off the upset over Michigan State in a 13 to 16 loss by playing a defensive, ball control game. Ferentz will have the perfect game plan to stop Stanford’s awesome Christian McCaffrey.

Pick: Iowa