Which college football teams will be victorious on New Year’s weekend?
After a roller-coaster ride known as the college football season, we’ve finally arrived at the CFB playoffs, and four other bowl games that we hope to be competitive. We decided that there would be no better way for Multiplicity Media to kickoff our written football coverage than to share the talents of our college football experts (and a special guest). Check out what our experts predict the final score will be for each New Year’s Six Bowl game.
Experts: Maxwell (Maxweezy) Millington, Alexa (Lexi) Wester, Greg Waddell, Andrew Whitney.
Shoutout to our special guest contributor Bobby Howard (@BobbyHowardOK) of the Schooner Pod and College Football Weekly, Wednesdays on Spotify Greenroom.
Peach Bowl – Dec. 30th, 7 p.m. ESPN, Atlanta, GA
(11) Michigan State vs. (13) Pittsburgh
Maxweezy: Kenneth Walker III and Kenny Pickett were two of the most dazzling players in College Football this season; it’s too bad neither will be playing as both have opted-out for the NFL Draft. Pitt’s offensive coordinator Mark Whipple moved on to Nebraska, so it’s fair to question if the Panthers will still be effective against Michigan State’s below-average defense.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Michigan State 17.
Bobby: Who needs their offensive star more: Michigan State or Pitt? As far as I’m concerned, Kenny Pickett is the difference between the Panthers being a middle-of-the-road ACC team and being a conference champion. Without Pickett, Pitt just won’t be able to exploit MSU’s weaknesses enough to get the win.
Score Prediction: Michigan State 23, Pittsburgh 10.
Lexi: Michigan State was picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten this year before Mel Tucker worked the transfer portal and found the best RB in the league in Kenneth Walker III. They surpassed expectations and even though Walker won’t be participating, MSU getting back Jalen Nailor who has been out since the Michigan game adds an additional offensive weapon for Payton Thorne. Pitt not having Heisman trophy finalist Pickett throwing bombs on a weak secondary gives this game a little more competition between these two teams.
Score Prediction: Michigan State 38, Pittsburgh 17.
Greg: Michigan State’s major weakness (pass defense) would have been exploited with Kenny Pickett…without him, who knows? What I do know is Payton Thorne can still score the football and this is a Pitt defense that gave up 38 points to both Virginia and Miami, and 44 points to Western Michigan. Give me the Spartans.
Score Prediction: Michigan State 34, Pittsburgh 17.
Andrew: I have often referred to Pitt as ‘Pitt-Sand’; trapped in an interminable mire of their own doing, and prostrate on the altar of the 8-5 season, we are all of us deeply concerned now that a dusted visage of Pat Narduzzi is emerging from some god forsaken maw. Thanks to the playoffs, two Heisman finalists would rather get their rings in the mail – Pickett and Walker – and this has thrown estimations askew. Pickett would probably have thrown for over 300, and yet their defense should be able to contain an MSU offense that may, ironically, look like they are using a walker. Give me a terrible game, and thus I shall bask.
Score Prediction: Michigan State 26, Pittsburgh 23.
Fiesta Bowl – Jan. 1st, 1 p.m. ESPN, Glendale, AZ
(5) Notre Dame vs. (9) Oklahoma State
Maxweezy: No. 5 Notre Dame will face No. 9 Oklahoma State for the first time ever in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The Fighting Irish have gone 0-3 in New Year’s Six Bowls since 2013 and they’ll be playing under new head coach Marcus Freeman minus opt-outs Kyle Hamilton and Kyren Williams. Oklahoma State is essentially playing without a defensive coordinator following Jim Knowles’ departure for the Buckeyes. Both teams have something to prove.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma State 23, Notre Dame 20.
Bobby: While we all know the Irish have been atrocious in major bowls (Kansas has a BCS or NY6 win, Notre Dame has none), I feel like this is the year they finally break through. The promotion of Marcus Freeman to head coach has energized that program, and I think that carries over into the bowl. The Pokes are a solid team, but Notre Dame’s advantage in sheer talent carries the day here.
Score Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Oklahoma State 28.
Lexi: It’s known that Notre Dame notoriously fails in big games in the postseason, given they have zero wins within the BCS or NY6 bowls. That being said, the way Oklahoma State was exposed in their conference championship game, on top of losing Knowles to OSU shortly after matched with Notre Dame getting rid of Brian Kelly and replacing him with players coach Marcus Freeman, leads me to believe they pull this win off in an easy fashion.
Score Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Oklahoma State 14.
Greg: Two entirely intangible things are clouding my pick here but I can’t get past them: Brian Kelly is gone and Notre Dame will be motivated, and Oklahoma State should have been in the playoffs but their running back couldn’t get the edge on a play where HE HAD THE EDGE. Give me the team in the “F you ex-coach” spot.
Score Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Oklahoma State 21.
Andrew: Brian Jelly – Er, Kelly (Sorry, his purple complexion when assailing his players often leaves me prone to a Freudian slip) just abandoned his team on the cusp of a playoff berth so he can fake a southern accent. Oklahoma State was one yard away from a playoff like 19 times. Does the Mullet inspire, or has it gone up in fire? And does the hiring of a young, relatable coach result in the Irish ‘rallying’ together to play against a deflated OK State team? I don’t know.
Score Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Oklahoma State 23.
Rose Bowl – Jan. 1st, 5 p.m. ESPN, Pasadena, CA
(7) Ohio State vs. (10) Utah
Maxweezy: Utah will be playing in its first Rose Bowl against Ohio State who has made its third Rose Bowl in the Ryan Day era. As expected, the Buckeyes have had several opt-outs including star wideouts Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. The Utes twice obliterated the same Oregon team that beat Ohio State in Columbus. Could this mean Utah will beat the Buckeyes? Score Prediction: Ohio State 35, Utah 24.
Bobby: I had a whole piece written about how Ohio State gets up for these games and would win regardless of their many opt-outs. Then, I saw Utah’s Rose Bowl helmets, and I am rethinking everything because of these beauties. The Utes are good and gritty enough to get this win, and I think I am convinced that they simply care more than the Buckeyes. Plus, teams that add the rose to their helmet logo just don’t lose. Score Prediction: Utah 42, Ohio State 31.
Lexi: Let’s be honest. Michigan broke the Buckeyes. Ever since that loss on November 27th, their team, fanbase, and culture have taken a massive hit. Given the news of additional key pieces to this OSU team foregoing the Rose Bowl, I think Utah pulls away, no problem. I was taking the Utes regardless because like I said, something happened when they lost to Michigan and I think Day is going to have his hands full this off-season, building things back up after two consecutive losses to finish the 2021 season. Score Prediction: Utah 45, Ohio State 28.
Greg: There’s something up with this Ohio State team. Not sure if you’ve heard but they lost to Michigan and the Buckeyes don’t really do that. Behind the scenes it was more than just a loss, this was a team that didn’t seem to be up for a big rivalry game and now half their best players are out. Utah will be up for this, they smoked Oregon twice and even if you can’t name one Utah player, they don’t care.
Score Prediction: Utah 30, Ohio State 21.
Andrew: Does the ghost of Rural Kroger haunt this Buckeyes team? Since his departure, we haven’t seen Mr. Day assemble a competent defense. This bodes poorly, as Utah can replicate the attack plan of the teams who gave OSU trouble this season. The Buckeyes must be disappointed; and I see their players opting out – of the freakin’ Rose Bowl – as evidence that they had grander designs on their postseason than botany. An unmotivated Buckeye team falls victim to a physical attack from a Utes team that sees the Rose Bowl as a destination, not a relegation.
Score Prediction: Utah 37, Ohio State 33.
Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1st, 8:45 p.m. ESPN, New Orleans, LA
(8) Ole Miss vs. (6) Baylor
Maxweezy: In a battle of great defense vs. great offense, the Baylor Bears will try to spoil the sendoff of 2022 NFL Draft prospect Matt Corral and the Ole Miss Rebels. Baylor feels like a team that’s happy to be here while Ole Miss playing in this game means the program and head coach Lane Kiffin exceeded preseason expectations. It’ll be interesting to see how many of each team’s fans show up as Ole Miss and Baylor are almost equidistant to New Orleans.
Score Prediction: Baylor 33, Ole Miss 28.
Bobby: Sure, it may be safe to assume Lane Kiffin might be coaching this game with a head splitting hangover after several days on Bourbon Street, but I don’t see this Baylor team spoiling the farewell party for Matt Corral and OC Jeff Lebby. Dave Aranda’s defense might be ironclad in the Big 12, but this Ole Miss offense is used to playing bigger and meaner in the SEC West. Give me the Rebels here.
Score Prediction: Ole Miss 35, Baylor 23.
Lexi: The Lane Kiffin/Matt Corral bromance is a nice story but I think the toughness from this Baylor team is going to prove to be too much for them. Baylor wins this one with their defense. Also, I’d take the under on this game as neither team has hit the over in their last three games.
Score Prediction: Baylor 24, Ole Miss 20.
Greg: Matt Corral is the fun splashy player here, but I think Baylor is the tougher (and better) football team.
Score Prediction: Baylor 41, Ole Miss 30.
Andrew: Corral? Corralled. Ole Miss stutters against competent defensive units. I have little faith in their ability to withstand a disciplined and physical unit as Dave Aranda has constructed. His bald head will shine to the heavens. Ole Miss has yet to find their inner warrior, and Baylor will deign to make this game combative and destructive. Coming off the momentum of a fabulous season, a coach affirming his loyalty to his players, and the Big 12 championship, Baylor will conquer, and Ole will Miss again. Score Prediction: Baylor 36, Ole Miss 30.
College Football Playoff
Cotton Bowl – Dec. 31st, 3:30 p.m. ESPN, Arlington, TX
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Cincinnati
Maxweezy: Congrats to Cincinnati for being the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff. Their reward? Facing Nick Saban and an Alabama team that just beat the brakes off of Georgia and now officially has a Heisman Trophy winner at QB. Score Prediction: Alabama 45, Cincinnati 17.
Bobby: While I like Cincy and I admit that the Tide have their flaws, it is a cardinal sin to bet against a Nick Saban team with a month to prepare. Add the fact that AT&T Stadium is Bryant Denny West at this point and I think it may be safe to say we’ll have a blowout on our hands.
Score Prediction: Alabama 55, Cincinnati 13.
Lexi: Luke Fickell and the Bearcats have been impressive going undefeated this season and being the first Group of Five in history to be featured in the playoffs. As great as a fairytale as it has been, I think the clock strikes midnight for this Cinderella team against Bama. Saban has been on a tear since losing to A&M and he isn’t about to allow his legacy to show a loss to a Group of Five in the playoffs. Pretty cut and dry, unfortunately.
Score Prediction: Alabama 52, Cincinnati 14.
Greg: Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this. Don’t overthink this! Score Prediction: Alabama 70, Cincinnati 6.
Andrew: Thrice struck, toll the chime; it was 3 in the morning. My mom was not around to tuck me in, so I decided to go enjoy a Tobacco on the porch. It was here I saw a bullet red, tail spiked and quickly sped; then past the rabbit flew, slight and quick, and thusly slew. And in the same way a rabbit’s only chance is the folly of the fox, so too is Cincinnati reliant on Bama feeling slow and off – and, to state fairly, this they have done numerous times this season. But Saban has never overseen a post season debacle. It doesn’t start now.
Score Prediction: Alabama Fox, Cincinnati Rabbit.
Orange Bowl – Dec 31st 7:30 p.m. ESPN, Miami, FL
(2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia
Maxweezy: Georgia, you had one job. The Bulldogs had a chance to prove they truly were the best team in the country and fumbled the bag in Atlanta. Michigan, with the exception of the Michigan State loss, has stepped up in Jim Harbaugh’s seventh season by finally beating Ohio State and winning the Big 10.
Score Prediction: Michigan 21, Georgia 13.
Bobby: Michigan has broken through barrier after barrier this season. Can they smash their way through another and reach the mountaintop? Unfortunately, I think the dream season ends here. Georgia is a better team than what we saw a month ago in Atlanta, and will be more than ready for one of the hottest teams in the country. It’ll be a great game, but the UGA rush defense will prove to be too much for the Wolverine offense to get moving.
Score Prediction: Georgia 27, Michigan 10.
Lexi: The nation thought it was over for this Michigan team when they fell to top-10 Tucker and the Spartans in EL on October 30th but the grit these Wolverines have, has been unmatched ever since. Throwing the monkey off their back by beating the Buckeyes to a pulp and getting that Big Ten Championship trophy has Harbaugh and these guys motivated to go for it all. Georgia’s defense will be the best Michigan has faced and with boasting a flashy QB, I think the score stays low and the defense with the best in-game adjustments wins it.
Score Prediction: Michigan 24, Georgia 14.
Greg: For the first time all season I am capable of admitting I was wrong about Michigan, this team is different. Different from past Michigan teams that is. I’m still not sure they are “win a game against the SEC we all collectively agreed was THE BEST TEAM IN THE COUNTRY as little as three weeks ago” different, but that’s what’s exciting here. My hottest take, both Stetson Bennett and Cade McNamara will put up numbers. This isn’t a “which QB won’t lose their team the game” game, it’s a “which QB will win it for them.” Score Prediction: Georgia 41, Michigan 38.
Andrew: We’ve never seen Michigan like this. At least, not since maybe 1997. They have imbued into us a paranoid tension when we watch; how are they to collapse now? And yet, even the broken clock strikes true twice a day. It seems apropos that on the day we observe clocks more than any other, Michigan could find for themselves a better time. Stetson Bennet – who sounds like an off-brand barbecue sauce – struggles under pressure. Michigan will provide it. Georgia cannot help but consider the dread of victory bringing them back into Saban’s maw. Michigan is unburdened.
Score Prediction: Michigan 29, Georgia 26.