The Pre-New Year’s Six Bowls

On the eve of New Year’s Eve, we’re treated to some really exciting bowl matchups. This group of six (hereby referred to as the Pre-New Year’s Six) features teams that have won conference championships and gone to a national title game in the past few years. So before you get too caught up in New Year’s Eve parties, resolutions, and the new College Football playoff, make sure you tune in to the pre-New Year’s Six games (can I trade mark that?). They are as follows:

Pre-New Year’s Six Bowls

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Nashville, TN, December 30, 2014, 3:00 PM ET, ESPN
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5) vs. LSU Tigers (8-4)

Notre Dame started with a remarkable 7-1 record before losing the final four games of the year. At the risk of saying the weirdest sentence ever uttered on Last Word On Sports: I bet Brian Kelly’s rear end is feeling quite warm lately. Their wins over Michigan and Stanford looked impressive early in the year, but both teams ended up unranked. Other than Stanford (who didn’t have a good year), the Irish didn’t beat another ranked team all season. The Irish came into 2014 with one of the most difficult schedules, and while most of the teams they played are going bowling, they didn’t deliver. Notre Dame’s defense is ranked 85th in points against.

Altheaux the Tigers have a near identical record, they play in a much tougher conference than Notre Dame (LOL). They have quality wins (Wisconsin and Ole Miss) as well as quality losses (Mississippi State, Auburn, and Alabama). And, where Notre Dame has one of the worst scoring defenses in the nation as pointed out above, LSU ranks third in that same category. Moving on to offense… neither team is particularly prolific on this side of the ball. Golson is a much more accurate passer than Anthony Jennings, including his passes to members of the other team. He has twice as many interceptions as Jennings this year.

Prediction: LSU victory despite predictable terrible calls by the refs

Belk Bowl, Charlotte, NC, December 30, 2014, 6:30 PM ET, ESPN
Georgia Bulldogs (9-3) vs. Louisville Cardinals (9-3)

It needs to be said that Georgia has had some bad luck this year. It started with former quarterback Aaron Murray’s brother being on the Bachelorette, and ended with Todd Gurley’s NCAA rules violation/suspension and subsequent ACL tear. However, the Bulldogs were fortunate to have a more than competent replacement in Nick Chubb. Georgia finished the season with a 9-3 record and came in second in the SEC East. Their losses were to a ranked South Carolina team (perplexing), Florida (I’m sorry, what?), and a solid Georgia Tech team. Honestly, I don’t know a lot about their quarterback, which is probably because the running corps has been so dominant.

Louisville has a great defense. They rank 18th nationally in point allowed. This team lost three games by a total of 19 points this year. Aside from the Virginia loss, the Cardinals were defeated by teams who had lost three total games. The offense is a big bag of “meh”, which will likely be their downfall.

Prediction: Georgia wins.

And let’s be real: I’m excited about this bowl because I’m GOING to this bowl! I will be live-tweeting the experience, so follow me on the Twitter for some great updates.

Foster Farms Bowl, Santa Clara, CA, December 30, 2014, 10:00 PM ET, ESPN
Maryland Terrapins (7-5) vs. Stanford Cardinal (7-5)

I’ve written a more in-depth preview of the Foster Farms bowl here, so I won’t rehash it in this space. Head over there to see my comparison of wins and losses, the quarterbacks, the running game, and other miscellany.

Prediction: Statistically, Stanford should blow this one out of the water.

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