NCAA College Football Bowl Week 4 Picks - Early Games

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NCAA College Football Bowl Week 4 Early Games

All times Eastern

Click here for late games.

NCAA Bowl Picks Week 1: Rick: 7-3; Coin: 7-3
NCAA Bowl Picks Week 2: Rick: 4-5; Coin: 5-4
NCAA Bowl Picks Week 3: Rick: 4-4-1; Coin: 4-4-1
CFP SemiFinals: Rick: 0-2; Coin: 0-2
Cumulative: Rick: 122-113-3; Coin: 126-110-3

Wednesday, January 1

Outback Bowl
1:00 pm #14 Michigan vs #13 Alabama (-7, 58 1/2) - This ought to be fun, if only to see the various expressions on Alabama head coach Nick Saban's face throughout the contest. Rarely in his reign over the Crimson Tie has his team been ranked so lowly. It's an outrage, say the Tide faithful.

Alabama lost just twice this season, to LSU, 46-41, and at Auburn, an arch-rival which once again made a big play when it mattered most, defeating the Tide, 48-45. Both times, there were glaring deficiencies on defense. Will 9-3 Michigan be able to capitalize? While the Wolverines are on the same level as Alabama defensively, maybe even better (Alabama allowed 18.8 ppg; Michigan, 19.5), they're no match offensively. Michigan averaged 33.2 ppg, whereas the Crimson Tide put up 48.3, second nationally. even though they'll be without Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones has filled in admirably and will have many more reps to add to his reportoire.

So, even if Alabama isn't playing for the national championship, they're likely a much better team than Michigan and they should win this one going away.

Coin Flip: Alabama

Prediction: Crimson Tide 42 Wolverines 31

VRBO Citrus Bowl
1:00 pm #18 Minnesota vs. #12 Auburn (-7, 53 1/2) - The Golden Gophers had a fantastic season, finishing up 10-2, after losing two of their final three games, at Iowa, 23-19, and against Wisconsin, 38-17. Both losses were expected, acceptable. While the Gophers vied for the Big Ten West, the Auburn Tigers were plotting their assault on Alabama, finishing up a 9-3 season with a 48-45 victory over their arch-nemesis.

Of Auburn's three losses, none of them were embarrassments. At Florida, the Gators chomped on them, 24-13. At LSU, the home team survived, 23-20. Against Georgia, the Bulldogs prevailed, 21-14. Few teams, if any, had a tougher schedule than the Auburn Tigers. They beat Oregon and Texas A&M. In total, they played six ranked foes and beat three of them. That's why they're favored by a touchdown and their quality will get them the victory.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Prediction: Tigers 34 Golden Gophers 17

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
5:00 pm #6 Oregon vs. #8 Wisconsin (-3, 51 1/2) - Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor is going to have to earn his yardage against the Ducks. Oregon has the best defense coming out of the PAC-12, and they are the conference champions. Two losses on the season came in their opener - a 27-21 loss to Auburn - and late in the season, when they were stunned by Arizona State, 31-28. The Ducks bounced back to defeat Oregon State the following week, 24-10, and easily dispatched Utah in the championship, 37-15, just below their season's average allowed, 15.7 per game.

Champions of the Big Ten West, the Badgers lost twice to Ohio State, once during the regular season, 38-7, and again in the conference championship, 34-21.Their only other loss was a 24-23 upset at Illinois in mid-October. In a game that could go either way, it's good to know the Big Ten has an edge over the PAC-12 in bowl games the last three years. Also, Wisconsin's defense registered four shutouts during the regular season and no team other than Ohio State scored more than 24 points against them.

Coin Flip: Oregon

Prediction: Badgers 30 Ducks 21

Allstate Sugar Bowl
8:45 pm #5 Georgia (-6, 41) vs. #7 Baylor - It's basically Georgia's defense against Baylor's offense in this SEC - Big 12 showcase. The Bears scored 35.2 points per game to go 11-2, while allowing 19.3, which isn't too shabby coming out of the offense-happy Big 12. Baylor's only problem all season was one team: Oklahoma. The Sooners beat them during the regular season, 34-31, and again in the conference championship, 30-23, in overtime.

Georgia's defense was top-notch, allowing 12.5 points per game, but the offense struggled at times, still managing 31.2 on average. A mid-season, 20-17 loss to South Carolina and a rather convincing, 37-10 defeat at the hands of Joe Barrow and LSU were their only deficiencies. They're probably good enough to keep Baylor somewhat in check, but they may not be motivated enough after coming within a win of making the national championship playoff.

Coin Flip: Georgia

Prediction: Bears 31 Bulldogs 28

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