All posts by dnols11

College Football Realignment

College football is a wonderful creature. College football is that beautiful girl you meet at the bar, who tugs on your heart strings from every which way until you’ve fallen in love. She teases you and leads you on so you think it’s serious, and then she crushes your soul every freaking time. But that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it?

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Congratulations to Clemson on a tremendous season, what an incredible last drive Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense went on to seal the victory and defeat the almighty Crimson Tide.

The college football playoff is a wonderful part of the game, and I believe having a 4 team playoff is the best way to go about it. Eight teams would water down the competition to a slight degree. Don’t get me wrong I would love an 8 team playoff as well, but that beautiful Ohio State-Michigan game we all enjoyed earlier this year would be for nothing, because both teams would be in. I think 4 teams is perfect, but the only way to always ensure the 4 most deserving teams get in is to have conference expansion, and a split between college football’s FBS programs.

The Power 4 is my solution. Now I cannot credit this name as my own, I’ve seen it online in other places, but the alignment and process is entirely my own thinking, so be nice should you disagree. The Power 4 will consist of 4 conferences, each in which will have one champion, if you win the conference you go to the Playoff, pretty simple right? No ifs ands or buts about it either, you win your championship game you get to play for a national title. There will be no more “well they won head to head and had a tougher schedule and blah blah blah”. This new playoff is for champions only.

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So the 4 new conferences will consist of the North, Southeast, Midwest, and West; separated into separate divisions with the Northeast and Great Lakes in the North, the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic in the Southeast, the North and the South in the Midwest, and the North and the South in the West. You win your division you play in the conference championship game. You win the conference championship game you play in the playoff. Plain and simple. Of course we keep ranking teams 1-25, that’s half the reason college football is so cool, but in reality it can mean nothing now.

How do we realign the now Power 5 and condense it to a Power 4? Well every conference will have 18 teams, with 9 in each division. You play every team in your division, which will be 8 games. Your other 4 opponents are 1 team from each of the other 3 conferences, and one non Power 4 team. That way everyone has as level as a playing field as you can get. No more Baylor schedule will exist.

Power 4:

4 division winners play for the CFP.

But there’s a buy in system… whichever team finishes last in their respective half of the division gets kicked out for a year. All conferences have 9 teams annually, with a 10th being rotated in to sub out the 9th place team. They can stay so long as they don’t finish 9th. Example, say Boston College goes 0-8 in North play and finishes in 9th; they are replaced the following season by the team that finishes in first in the lower level of the division 1 format. I don’t exactly know what teams and how many will be in this but the conferences almost imitate the Power 4 and each divisions winner replaces the last place team from that year in the Power 4. It’s confusing but it makes sense.

The hardest part of all this is how the hell is this actually going to happen? And what teams get into each conference, and which teams sits out first, and how do we get other teams in the country that don’t make it into these conferences into the lower level conferences? Well, I’m still unsure, but I know this system could work with the right scientists working their best to make it happen. Here’s my idea for the 4 conferences, and the teams I think should be in each. The teams in parentheses are teams I think should be considered as the 10th school in each division:

Southeast:

Atlantic:

Clemson

South Carolina

North Carolina

NCST

Wake Forest

Duke

Tennessee

Louisville

Kentucky

(Vanderbilt/Western Kentucky)

Gulf Coast:

Florida

Florida St

Miami

Alabama

Auburn

Ole Miss

Miss St

Georgia

Georgia Tech

(USF/UCF/FAU/FIU)

West:

North:

Washington

Washington St

Oregon

Oregon St

Boise St

Stanford

California

Wyoming

Nevada

(Hawaii/SJST)

South:

UCLA

USC

Arizona

Arizona St

San Diego St

Colorado

Colorado St

Utah

BYU

(Fresno St/Utah St/UNLV/AirForce)

Midwest:

South:

Texas

Texas A&M

Texas Tech

TCU

Houston

Baylor

LSU

Arkansas

Louisiana Tech

(Rice/TxSt/ArkSt/Tulane/UTSA)

North:

Oklahoma

Oklahoma St

Nebraska

Missouri

Kansas

Kansas St

Iowa

Iowa St

Memphis

(Tulsa/NorthDakotaSt)

North:

Great Lakes:

Minnesota

Wisconsin

Michigan

Michigan St.

Illinois

Northwestern

Indiana

Notre Dame

Ohio St

(Purdue/Cincy/Toledo/WMich/CMich)

Northeast:

Pittsburgh

Penn St

West Virginia

Maryland

Boston College

Rutgers

Syracuse

Virginia Tech

Virginia

(Connecticut/Temple/Army/Navy)

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But what about the bowl games? To hell with the semifinal games taking up “bowl games”. The Rose Bowl will no longer ever be a national semifinal, it will always be a regular New Years Day bowl game between the highest ranked Pacific team to not make the playoffs, and the highest ranked North team to not make the playoffs. Make sense? It should.

The Sugar Bowl is between the highest ranked Midwest team to not make the playoffs, and the highest ranked Southeast team to not make the playoffs.

The Orange Bowl is the second highest Southeast team to not make the playoffs and the second highest North team to not make the playoffs.

The Fiesta Bowl is the second highest Pacific team to not make the playoffs , and the second highest Midwest team to not make the playoffs.

Then the Peach Bowl and Cotton Bowl are left for at large teams, from these 4 conferences that would make the most enticing matchups for fans to watch. No criteria is needed besides the teams must be highly ranked and create enough hype for the game to be watched by millions.

So the national semifinals can still rotate between the 6 New Years Six bowl sites, but they won’t take the title of those respective bowl games. Instead of giving them Bowl names you call it “The National Semifinal brought to you by Dr. Pepper-Pasadena/Glendale/Arlington/Atlanta/New Orleans/Miami.”

Simple as can be as I see it.

 

 

 

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Wild Card Wisdom

Wild card weekend is finally here ladies and germs, and it could not come soon enough. Before we get this thing started, go Clemson. I bleed orange and purple and I should probably see a doctor because I have been losing sleep all week about a game that is not until Monday, but I digress, as usual. But back to the NFL since that is why you are reading this, you want to know my expert opinion on all 4 games this weekend. I am a perfect 256-0 on my predictions this year, so let me tell you who is going to win this weekend, when it really counts.

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Wild Card Saturday Houston Texans Toilet Bowl (Oakland @ Houston):

If you don’t have chills down your spine thinking about this game then you aren’t even a football fan and I hate you for that. If there’s one game to watch this weekend it is absolutely this matchup between the AFC South Champion Houston Texans and the number 5 seed Oakland Raiders. So we all know that if the Raiders have Derek Carr under center they are the heavy favorite and even a contender for the Super Bowl, but he is no longer. Carr goes down with a broken leg and now Connor Cook is tasked with leading the Raiders into the hostile, JJ Watt-less NRG Stadium. The Texans are starting a $72 million back up, Brock Osweiler. Brock gets paid, Brock plays like crap, Tom Savage gets hurt, Brock gets put back in, what a year. The AFC South is a joke. Kenan I am pretty sure you owe me something like $200 because you said Tennessee was going to be a wild card team. Think about that, you actually thought two AFC South teams were going to make the playoffs, TWO!!! Anyways, the Raiders are going to win because their defense is going to actually eat Mr. Osweiler. Raiders 24-6.

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Legion of Doom (Detroit @ Seattle):

Matt Stafford is going to lead the Detroit Lions into Seattle on Saturday night and put up numbers that have never been put up against the Seahawks. Stafford is lucky to finally have a running game that he can rely on slightly with Zach Zenner running absolutely wild the last few weeks. Call this one a hunch, I think its Detroit’s year to steal a playoff win. They have a sound defense to contain Russell Wilson, so I think they will get a huge victory to set up a big rematch against the Cowboys in Big D next weekend. Lions 31-21.

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Dolphinished (Miami @ Pittsburgh):

This one just kind of scares me. No way Miami wins this game. Matt Moore gets to play in the playoffs after Ryan Tannehill finally silenced the critics and lead the Dolphins to the playoffs. I am a Tannehill guy, I think he has potential to be very elite someday, but then he goes and gets purposefully hurt so he can always say he never got his shot in the playoffs, he knows they won’t win this game. Now to the Steelers, they are the Patriots biggest threat this postseason, on the AFC side of the bracket. Big Ben, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown are a terrifying trio. I hate Bell with all my guts, but he can ball like crazy. The Steel Curtain is no more, as their defense is nothing to reckon with so hopefully Brady will be able to pick them apart in the AFC Championship game. Steelers 42-17.

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Cheeseheads vs Addiheads (New York Giants @ Green Bay):

Everyone is making a big deal about Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz running off to Miami to party on a yacht and while drugs are present, but I say let them. I hate the Giants, and not because they beat the Pats in two Super Bowls. I actually don’t really mind Eli at all, it is 100% Odell’s fault for my hate of the G-Men. I say let them go party in Miami the week before a playoff game, all the more advantage for the opponent. That opponent is Green Bay, and they are hot right now. They had to finish undefeated to make the playoffs and they did just that. Aaron Rodgers is balling out of control right now, and he gets to play in front of an animated Lambeau crowd, Packers by a million.

Good luck to all the teams this weekend, may everyone have fun and no one get seriously hurt.

Week 14 Preview

College Football can finally take a backseat to the NFL this week as we only have the Army-Navy game to “enjoy”, and the selection of the Heiman trophy winner, should be Deshaun Watson, but I digress. The Kansas City Chiefs flexed a fat muscle on the Oakland Raiders Thursday night and are now in a first place tie with those said Raiders. The AFC West is by far the best AFC conference as they have a chance of getting three teams into the playoffs.

What teams and games should we be watching this week around the NFL? Buckle up amigos, we are going on a drive.

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Honkytonk Heroes (Denver Broncos @ Tennessee Titans):

Marcus Mariota is sneaky balling out for the Tennessee Titans this season, and he has the Titans at a very respectable 6-6 considering his team’s history. Also, 6-6 is also good enough to get into the playoffs in the AFC South, and this will be a huge test for the Titans this week. I like the Titans in this game for no reason other than I want them to win, and I like my chances of being right. DeMarco Murray is going to run the ball down the Broncos throats and have himself a 100 plus yard rushing day with two touchdowns. Titans are on a collision course to host a Wild Card game and get absolutely manhandled in that game by either Oakland or Kansa City, and I cannot wait. Titans 24-16.

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Philly Cheese-miSteak (Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles):

Remember when the Eagles were 5-0 and everyone was like wow the Eagles are nasty, well I was never convinced, and they have proved me correct. The Eagles are struggling but still have a chance, but not this week against the Washington *Racist Name*. Kirk Cousins is a bad man who really likes winning. Washington is going to get this win 31-17 and they are going to find themselves in a Wild Card game come playoff time.

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1-15 (Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns):

The Cleveland Browns would lose to Alabama in a game, no disrespect, but this week they are going to beat the Bengals and avoid the winless season. Robert Griffin III is back and he’s going to throw for like 450 and 4 touchdowns, and the Browns are going to shock the world big time in this one. I feel like Cleveland needs this, or their fans are just going to lose it even more. Browns suck, Bengals sucks, go Browns, 35-28.

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Foxboro Foe (Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots):

The Baltimore Ravens love beating the Patriots in big games, but don’t the Pats love beating the Ravens too? We have had some great playoff battles with the Ravens over the years, and nothing feels better than beating a team full of scums like Baltimore. I say “we” because my roots technically lie with the Patriots, but like I don’t really care anymore. I like Baltimore in this one, I feel like the Pats have been playing boring uninspired football, and maybe a loss to the Ravens will wake them up. Joe Flacco is an elite, someday to be Hall of Famer, Ravens 27-24.

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Giant Redemption (Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants):

This has potential to be the game of the year in the NFL. The Cowboys have one loss this season, and opening day loss at home to the Giants. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot are not going to let that happen again. I this game will go score for score and pound for pound but I think the difference is the Cowboys offensive line which will allow Zeke to run wild and Dak to find the boys downfield. I am all in on the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl this season so I like Dallas 38-31 in this game.

Week 13 Preview

How ‘bout them Cowboys!? Dak and Zeke are taking the league by storm and they are running away with the NFC East title. A huge road victory on Thursday night up in Minnesota has lifted the Boys to 11-1 on the season. I truthfully think they are the clear cut favorite to win the NFC crown and play in the Super Bowl.

With that being said, what other games this weekend should we be watching this weekend around the NFL? Let’s take a peak, shall we?

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Hotlanta Hiccup (Kansas City @ Atlanta):

The Kansas City Chiefs are sitting pretty for a wild card spot in this year’s playoffs, but this weekend they are heading down to the hip hop capital of the world to play the Dirty Birds at the Georgia Dome. The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a huge win over the Cardinals and I look for them to continue that success this week against the Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed over 300 passing yards in each of the last two games, and I see no reason to believe that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones won’t pick apart the KC secondary. Alex Smith is elite, but not elite enough this week ladies and gents, Falcons get the victory 38-24.

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Baltimore Blues (Miami @ Baltimore):

Miami is 7-4 and very much in the running for a wild card spot, while the Baltimore Ravens are 6-5 and are in first place in the AFC North, I look for that to change this Sunday. After a dismal 1-4 start, Miami has won 6 straight and are on a role. I believe Ryan Tannehill will lead the Fins into Baltimore and secure a huge win for Miami, and solidify their rise in the league. Jay Ajayi is running wild right now and he gets a chance to go up against the league’s best run defense, I cannot wait to see that matchup. Call it a hunch on this one, I just see the Dolphins snagging a much needed road victory this week, Fins 20-17.

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Lambeau Life-support (Houston @ Green Bay):

Green Bay is hanging on by a thread right now, and they are very much still alive in the NFC North race. The Vikings lost Thursday and the Lions have a tough task this week with the New Orleans offense, so the packers might be able to get into a second place tie by the end of the weekend. Houston has a great defense, no offense, so this poses as an interesting matchup. Aaron Rodgers needs to have a good game if the Packers are going to in this game, and I think he will, Packers 31-24.

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Steel City Showdown (New York Giants @ Pittsburgh):

The Giants are a sneaky 8-3 and are the only team that can say they beat the Cowboys this season, but they run into a Steelers team that is fighting for a division title with Baltimore. Huge bonus to the Steelers for being at home in this one. I love the Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr headline in this one, whoever scores more will be on the winning side, and for me that’s Pittsburgh. I think Big Ben and the steel curtain will shut Eli and OBJ down to take sole possession of first place in the AFC North this week. Steelers 35-23.

Quick Picks:

Detroit @ New Orleans: Detroit

LA @ New England: New England

Denver @ Jacksonville: Denver

Philadelphia @ Cincinnati: Cincinnati

San Francisco @ Chicago: San Francisco

Buffalo @ Oakland: Oakland

Washington @ Arizona: Arizona

Tampa Bay @ San Diego: Tampa Bay

Carolina @ Seattle: Seattle

Indianapolis @ New York Jets: Indianapolis

Concussion Chaos

Concussions are a growing concern in all sports, but to me personally, concussion problems in ice hockey hit home especially hard. Let me start this off by sharing my own story with you:

Senior year of high school, the Friday of February vacation, my team and I are finishing the regular season with a road game against Whitman-Hanson. The game matters, a win gets us the 4 seed in the South, a loss, the 5 seed. First period goes smoothly, I redirect a shot from the point off the post and into the back of the net, and we had an early 1-0 lead. Middle of the second, I chase a loose puck in our defensive zone, the puck is in the corner, almost on the goal line. I retrieve the puck, and that’s the last thing I can remember.

I was crushed from behind, right between the numbers, and I flew head first into the glass, where I laid motionless for several minutes. I vaguely remember getting helped off the ice, and I recall not being able to correctly answer the trainer’s questions on the bench. The ambulance arrived to get me to a hospital for further examination, and I felt weak, dizzy, nauseous, and afraid. I was lucky I wasn’t paralyzed by the hit, but I still experience massive headaches at random times to this day.

One concussion can open you up to many more. I cheated on my concussion baseline test to get myself back to playing hockey way sooner than I ever should have, but I did what I had to do. I got another concussion by someone simply bumping into me at a lacrosse practice two months later, and another by falling off the tube and into the water that summer. My headaches remind me constantly of those three occasions.

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Why do we bring this up? Bryan Bickell of the Carolina Hurricanes, you may remember him from the Chicago Blackhawks, he was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, popularly known as MS. MS is a demyelinating disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. Some of the symptoms of MS include: double vision, blindness, sore muscles, lack of sensation, poor coordination, and a shortened life expectancy. The biggest issue regarding MS is there is no cure.

MS can be hereditary, or come from a viral infection that damages the central nervous and immune systems, but many doctors believe that trauma to the head can also lead to MS.

Josh Harding, goalie for the Minnesota Wild at one time was also diagnosed with MS during the height of his playing career, he no longer is in the league. I am not saying that every player that gets a concussion will get MS, but it is something we need to think about, not only in hockey, but in all sports.

Concussion protocols are fortunately becoming stricter to protect players from returning to their sport too soon, but we have seen too many players fall from depression. Did concussions make Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Steve Montador kill themselves? I can’t answer that, but the facts state that Montador had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He knew he was going to die, he asked for his brain to be donated for research after his death, which is some very intense and scary stuff.

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I am a person who has suffered concussions, and now later in life I am seeing some clear side effects due to my incidents, but I don’t worry about the future too much. I want to see changes in not only hockey but all sports, to better protect players with safer play and safer gear.

We pray for Bryan Bickell to have a long and healthy life, and we pray that we can finally see a day where concussions will no longer ruin a person’s life.

 

NFL: Watch to Watch in Week 9

The NFL season is in full swing and the New England Patriots seem to be on their way to the AFC Championship game, while Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys have asserted themselves as the favorites in the NFC. Thursday night we saw the Atlanta Falcons take down the super good Tampa Bay Buccaneers…HA! Matty Ice and them Dirty Birds are on their way to an NFC South championship, but can they win the NFC? We’ll have to see what happens throughout the rest of the season.

But what about this week? What games should we focus on? And what teams are going to get those critical wins in such a short season?

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Minnesota Downfall (Detroit @ Minnesota):

Am I the only one that knew the Vikings weren’t for real? I can’t be. The Vikings have an amazing defense, but we all knew Sam Bradford couldn’t continue this charade for the duration of the season. On the other hand, the Detroit Lions are rolling. Matt Stafford is proving that he doesn’t need Megatron to be effective and get his team victories. I look for the Lions to win this game in a close one, and this will further reassure that the Vikings aren’t for real and that the NFC North still goes through Green Bay.

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Crab Cake Catastrophe (Pittsburgh @ Baltimore):

We all remember when Baltimore was 3-0, but we all knew that wouldn’t last either. Something about teams in purple starting off hot and falling off isn’t really too surprising anymore, unless it’s Clemson. Anyways, Ben Roethlisberger is still hurt, but I find Landry Jones to be a more than a capable backup considering he has Antonio Brown to throw too. Pittsburgh doesn’t have too much of a defense, but their offense is the only one that I think can challenge the almighty Patriots for the AFC crown. Steelers by 14 this weekend folks.

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Meadowland Meltdown (Eagles @ Giants):

Maybe there’s a little bit of bias in this one, but I’ll clear the air and say right now that I hate the New York Football Giants. Carson Wentz has been incredible thus far in his rookie season, and truthfully, I can’t say I’m surprised. He led North Dakota State to years of supremacy in the FCS and now he’s doing it against the big boys, good for you Mr. Wentz. I am a sneaky Eagles fan and I root for them often. But I do believe the Eags will get a huge division win this Sunday in New Jersey. Watch for Odell to have a huge game, but for Wentz to outmatch him.

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Optimistic Oakland (Broncos @ Raiders):

Oakland is going to win the AFC West, and that’s a guarantee. Derek Carr is having a standout year, and Amari Cooper is the best receiver in the NFL. Khalil Mack is a superstar, and Latavius Murray is a top 3 running back in the league. Raiders by 35 tomorrow night ladies and gents. Bet the house on that. Thanks for reading, happy football Sunday.

College Football Tricks and Treats

With October on its way out, it’s time to make way for November, and better yet, the first College Football Playoff rankings! October left us with plenty of trick and treats, but expect November to create even more pandemonium in the college football landscape.

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Saturday morning there were 9 undefeated teams in the country, by Sunday morning there were only 5 remaining, Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, Washington, and Western Michigan. Doomsday fell upon Nebraska, Boise St., Baylor, and West Virginia as they saw their untarnished records go down the drain into Satan’s pit. Washington, Clemson, and Michigan all found themselves in haunted houses on Saturday as all three of them traveled to divisional rivals and all survived relatively close games, if you were a fan of Clemson, like myself, then you were shaking from the second the tomahawk chop started well before the game did.

Tuesday presents the first college Football Playoff rankings, and there shouldn’t be too much to be scared about, this is a treat. The committee has 4 undefeated teams from 4 different power 5 conferences, and all 4 of them will appear in the initial top 4. After that it gets a little foggy. Ohio St will most likely be the first team out along with Louisville, but what the committee is thinking will remain a mystery until Tuesday evening.

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Some big games are coming up next weekend with Michigan and Alabama traveling to Iowa and LSU respectively. One of these two teams are going to lose, book it. I have no idea which one but something crazy is going to happen, and Iowa or LSU is going to walk away with a huge home upset.

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Western Michigan got the biggest treat this Halloween weekend with Boise State losing on a safety to unranked Wyoming. Now Western Michigan is the lone undefeated non-power 5 school, giving them the best shot to crash the New Year’s Six Bowl Games.

There should be no tricks in the rankings of college football, but there are. No one knows how the committee thinks, or why they rank the way they do, but it is such a treat to watch late in the season. The New Year’s Six Bowl Games are the ones you want to play in, especially the two National Semifinal games, which this year are the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl. The remaining 4 games include the Sugar, Cotton, Orange, and Rose Bowl.

What 12 teams will get to play in these 6 exclusive games? Well I have a treat for all of you and I can tell you exactly what 12 teams we will be watching this bowl season.

Peach Bowl (Playoff Semifinal): Alabama vs. Washington

Fiesta Bowl (Playoff Semifinal): Clemson vs. Michigan

Orange Bowl: Louisville vs. Texas A&M

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Oklahoma

Cotton Bowl: Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Colorado

Check back with me after conference championship week, I guarantee I am right, Happy Halloween!