College Football: New Year’s Day Preview

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Amidst the headache cures, college football’s bowl season revs up Friday with a handful of what should be good games to choose from.

The National Hangover Day action begins when the 7-5 Auburn Tigers and 8-4 Northwestern Wildcats meet in the Outback Bowl in Tampa (11 am Eastern, ESPN). AU started 5-0 this year, but lost five of its last seven games to finish in a tie for fourth place in the SEC West. NU, meanwhile, won its last three games to finish fourth in the Big 10.

As of Wednesday morning Oddsmaker.com is listing Auburn at -7.5 over Northwestern, with a total of 54. The Wildcats are also getting +260 on the Oddsmaker.com moneyline, with the Tigers giving -320.

In another Big 10/SEC matchup just up I-4 in Orlando, the 9-3 Louisiana State Tigers take on the 10-2 Penn State Nittany Lions in the Capital One Bowl (1 E, ABC). LSU lost three tough SEC games this season, and placed second in the SEC West. PSU lost to only Iowa and Ohio State, finishing third in the Big 10.

Oddsmaker.com is chalking the Lions at -2.5, with a total of 44. Penn State is also giving -135 on the moneyline, with the Tigers getting +115 as the underdogs.

Just up the road in Jacksonville we get the last Bowden Bowl, also known as the Gator Bowl, matching Coach Bowden’s 6-6 Florida State Seminoles against one of his former teams, the 9-3 West Virginia Mountaineers (1 E, CBS). FSU won four of its last six games to finish third in the ACC’s Atlantic Division and get outgoing Coach Bowden one final bowl bid. On the other side of this matchup, WVU won its final two games to finish second in the Big East.

Oddsmaker.com is listing West Virginia at -2.5 over Florida State, with a total of 60.5. The ‘Noles are also getting +120 on the moneyline, with the Mountaineers giving -140.

The New Year’s Day action then moves westward to Pasadena for the Granddaddy of ’em all, the Rose Bowl, pitting the 10-2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. the 10-2 Oregon Ducks (4:30 E, ABC). OSU won the Big 10 this season, the fifth straight year they’ve owned at least a share of that title. But they haven’t played in the Rose Bowl since 1997. OU, meanwhile, won the Pac-10 championship and is playing in its first Rose Bowl since 1995.

The high-powered Ducks are listed at -4 over the defensive-minded Buckeyes at Oddsmaker.com, with a total of 50.5. Oregon is also giving -175 on the moneyline, with Ohio State getting +155 to win outright.

And in Friday’s nightcap the 12-0 Cincinnati Bearcats, minus their head coach, tangle with the 12-1 Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans (8:30 E, Fox). The Bearcats won the Big East and went undefeated, although three of their last four wins came by two, three, and one point. On the other side, the defending national champion Gators topped the polls all season long, but got upset by Alabama in the SEC championship game.

Oddsmaker.com is listing Florida at -12.5 over Cincinnati, with a total of 57. The Gators are also giving -550 on the moneyline, with the ‘Cats getting +425.

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