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Fourth & Long: Your New Year’s Day Guide to College Football

Happy New Year everyone! Is anything better than sitting on your couch watching college football all day, after a long New Year’s Eve? In my opinion, no, there is nothing better. Today and tomorrow are filled with great college football games to welcome in the New Year. This is your Fourth & Long official guide to college football on New Year’s Day.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: (9) Georgia vs (8) Cinicinnati at Mercedes Benz Stadium Noon ET

  • Clearly this game has already started, and we have what looks like a good game in Atlanta. Cincinnati and quarterback took a 14-10 lead into half-time. Both quarterbacks in this game, JT Daniels for Georgia and Desmond Ridder for Cincinnati, are playing well enough where either team could pull out the victory. Cincinnati came out of the locker room and withing seconds struck again. On the second play after the half-time kickoff, Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford burst through the offensive line and scampered for a 79-yard touchdown run, to give Cincinnati a 21-10 lead. The two teams traded three and outs, until Cincinnati fumbled with 14 minutes to go in the game. Georgia took that turnover and turned it into points very quickly. Daniels hit tight end John FitzPatrick for 16 yards and then tailback Zamir White ran it into the end zone from nine yards out to make the score 21-16. Georgia failed on its two point try. leaving Cincinnati with a five point lead.
  • Cincinnati just punted the rock back to Georgia who will have it on their own 25 yard line for a first and ten. If Cincinnati can get a stop here, they can then dictate the clock, and possibly pull out a victory. However, breaking news, Georgia just hit a long wide receiver screen to get the ball to Cincinnati’s 33. However, with Georgia driving, I don’t know if Cincinnati can keep them off the board. Final Score Prediction: (8) Cincinnati 24 (9) Georgia 23

Vrbo Citrus Bowl: Auburn vs (14) Northwestern at Camping World Stadium in Orlando at 1PM ET

  • This game is also already under way. Auburn got out to an early six point lead on the back of field goals by kicker Anders Carlson. However, in the second quarter, Northwestern got two touchdown passes from quarterback Peyton Ramsey to John Raine and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman to take the lead 14-6, which the Wildcats carried into half-time.
  • There is now about eight minutes left in the game, with Northwestern still leading 14-6. After forcing Auburn into a three and out, Northwestern got the ball and also went three and out. Auburn is driving right now behind quarterback Bo Nix. However, Bo Nix has been horrible in his career away from Jordan-Hare Stadium. I expect them to score another field goal, but on the next Northwestern possession they will score and ride their defense out the rest of the game to win. Final Score Prediction: (14) Northwestern 24 Auburn 19

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One: (1) Alabama vs (4) Notre Dame at AT&T Stadium in Arlington at 4 PM ET

  • Ah we finally have our first semi-final to predict. On paper, this should be an easy Alabama victory, but that’s why they don’t play the game on paper. Alabama is coached by the legendary Nick Saban, and this might be his best offense he’s had in Tuscaloosa during his tenure. The offense is really a three headed unstoppable monster in Heisman contenders wide receiver Devonta Smith and quarterback Mac Jones. They are accompanied by stud running back Najee Harris. In ESPN’s win probability predictor, they give Alabama and 80.8% chance to win. However, there defense can be scored on. Cornerback Patrick Surtain II and linebacker Dylan Moses lead a very beatable Alabama defense. On the other sideline, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, coached by Brian Kelly, have a great defense led by Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who has caused havoc on every team the Irish have played.
  • For Notre Dame to keep this game close and maybe even pull out the huge upset, the defense needs to play it’s best game of the season, and quarterback Ian Book needs to play the best game of his life, which is unlikely, but a possibility. In the end, I expect Notre Dame’s defense to keep the game kind of close until half-time and then Alabama will come out and dominate the second half fairly easily. Final Score Prediction: (1) Alabama 52 (4) Notre Dame 27

Allstate Sugar Bowl: (2) Clemson vs (3) Ohio State at Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans at 8 PM ET

  • Vengeance: punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong. Ohio State and Clemson are back to play against one another, after a great game in the Fiesta Bowl Semi-Final a year ago. In 2020, Ohio State jumped out to an early lead and too a 16-14 lead into halftime. However, the momentum changed during the second quarter after slot corner, Shaun Wade, hit Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who lowered his shoulder pads, making it look like Wade hit him helmet-to-helmet, was ejected after review*. Clemson then reeled off 21 straight points to take a 21-16 lead at the end of the third quarter. However, Justin Fields, Ohio State quarterback, led the Buckeyes on a drive that ended with a touchdown pass, to take the lead back 23-21. Trevor Lawrence marched right back down the field on the ensuing possession and hit running back Travis Etienne for a 34-yard touchdown pass. Clemson went for two and got it, extending their late fourth quarter lead to 29-23. Justin Fields drove the Buckeyes down to the Clemson 23. On the next play, with 37 seconds to play, Fields and receiver Chris Olave mis-read the defense and Olave cut inside while Fields threw it outside, and it was picked off by Clemson defensive back Nolan Turner, all but ending the game right there.
  • This year’s match-up is quite different than the meeting played last year. Clemson is coming in off of an ACC Championship game performance where they dominated (4) Notre Dame in all facets of the game. Ohio State comes into the game hobbling. Quarterback Justin Fields is listed as probable, but he will play after spraining his thumb in the Big Ten Championship. It is likely that Chris Olave and Baron Browning will play after missing the conference championship due to COVID. The Tigers have multiple players out indefinitely, but there are some key question marks surrounding receivers Ty Herbstreit and Drew Swinney, along with super sophomore defensive edge player Xavier Thomas.
  • I expect to see a tough first half for both teams as they look to get their heads into the game after the layoff. I also expect the game to be close going into half-time. However, in the end, Fields will orchestrate a 70 yard touchdown drive in just under two minutes to give the Buckeyes the huge upset over Dabo Swinney and the Tigers. Final Score Prediction: (3) Ohio State 38 (2) Clemson 34
Ohio State Sugar Bowl Trailer
Ohio State: Vengeance

Well, there you have it folks, the ultimate guide to college football today and tonight. Being from Ohio, and the fact that I love upsets, it would be awesome to see (4) Notre Dame take on (3) Ohio State for the National Championship. However, (1) Alabama is just too good, so look for the (1) Tide to take on the (3) Buckeyes at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on January 11th!

Follow Me on Twitter: @BrownlojCLE

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