Now that you’ve had some time to digest the College Football Playoff semifinal matchups — No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (Peach Bowl) and No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson (Fiesta Bowl) — the rest of the New Year’s Six bowl games were unveiled by the CFP selection committee.
Here they are:
Cotton Bowl: No. 10 Penn State (10-2) vs. No. 17 Memphis (12-1)
Location: Arlington, Texas | Date: Dec. 28 | Time: Noon | TV: ESPN
Memphis emerged as the highest-ranked Group of Five champion after besting Cincinnati in the AAC championship game on Saturday. It marked the third consecutive season the Tigers played for the AAC title, but they lost to UCF the last two years. This time, however, Memphis scored a late touchdown to clinch the school’s first outright conference championship since 1969. However, it is not clear if Memphis will have head coach Mike Norvell on the sideline for this game. Norvell was announced as the new coach of Florida State on Sunday and he was noncommittal about whether he will coach the Tigers one final time.
Because Wisconsin was ranked ahead of Penn State in the final CFP rankings, the Badgers went to the Rose Bowl and Penn State fell to the Cotton Bowl as an at-large bid. Penn State opened the season with eight straight wins, including over ranked Iowa and Michigan teams. But the undefeated streak ended at Minnesota on Nov. 9. Still, PSU had a chance to win the Big Ten East but a comeback effort came up short in a 28-17 loss to Ohio State in Columbus. This appearance will be Penn State’s third New Year’s Six bowl game in the past four seasons, all under James Franklin.
Orange Bowl: No. 9 Florida (10-2) vs. No. 24 Virginia (9-4)
Location: Miami Gardens, Fla. | Date: Dec. 30 | Time: 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Florida had another excellent season under Dan Mullen. The Gators are now 20-5 in Mullen’s two seasons and are now headed to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 2001. Florida opened the 2019 season with a 6-0 record, lost to No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge and dropped the Cocktail Party to Georgia in a game that ultimately decided the SEC East. The Gators rebounded from that loss to win three straight down the stretch and can now get to 11 wins in a season for the first time since 2012.
With Clemson back in the College Football Playoff, Virginia gets the nod as the next highest-ranked ACC team. The Cavaliers won their first-ever ACC Coastal title by beating rival Virginia Tech in a game that snapped a 15-game losing streak in the series. Bronco Mendenhall has rebuilt the program over his four years in Charlottesville, going 2-10 in his first season. Virginia, which was blown out by Clemson in the ACC title game, now has the chance to reach the 10-win mark for the first time since 1989 while playing in its first New Year’s Six bowl game.
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Oregon (11-2) vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3)
Location: Pasadena, Calif. | Date: Jan. 1 | Time: 5 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Oregon was an upset loss to Arizona State away from potentially being in the College Football Playoff. That loss pushed the Ducks out of the CFP conversation, but they were able to rebound in a big way by upsetting No. 5 Utah in Friday night’s Pac-12 title game. The win gave Oregon its first conference title since 2014 and will send the Ducks to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2014 CFP semifinal victory over Florida State. Oregon now has a 20-6 record in two seasons under Mario Cristobal.
Wisconsin finished the season playing at a very high level. The Badgers started the year 6-0, but dropped back-to-back games to Illinois and Ohio State in October. From there, Wisconsin closed out the regular season by winning four straight, including a 38-17 road win over No. 8 Minnesota to clinch the Big Ten West. That set up a Big Ten title game rematch with Ohio State. The Badgers surprisingly jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead, but the Buckeyes stormed back to win 34-21. Still, the performance against Ohio State was enough to keep Wisconsin above Penn State in the rankings, sealing the program’s first spot in the Rose Bowl since the 2012 season.
Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Georgia (11-2) vs. No. 7 Baylor (11-2)
Location: New Orleans | Date: Jan. 1 | Time: 8:45 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Georgia could have clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff with a win over LSU in the SEC title game on Saturday, but the Bulldogs were thoroughly outplayed in a 37-10 loss. As a result, Georgia dropped from the No. 4 spot and will now play in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans for a second straight season. Last season, a dejected Georgia team that narrowly missed the playoff lost to Texas. Will Georgia be more motivated this time around?
Like Georgia, Baylor entered the weekend with a chance of reaching the College Football Playoff. But the Bears dropped the Big 12 championship game to Oklahoma in overtime, opening the door for the Sooners to reach the CFP. Baylor is in just its third season under Matt Rhule, who has done a fantastic job reviving the program from the aftermath of scandal at the university. The Bears opened the year 9-0, but blew a big lead against Oklahoma on Nov. 16. They closed out the regular season with two more wins, but could not beat OU in the rematch. Baylor, playing in its first CFP-affiliated bowl since 2014, should still be plenty motivated playing in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 1957.
Full College Football Playoff rankings
2. Ohio State
10. Penn State
15. Notre Dame
19. Boise State
20. Appalachian State
25. Oklahoma State
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