We’ve witnessed four exciting yet strange months of college football, and all of it has led us to the final day of the bowl season. The final two New Year’s Six bowl games will be contested with the Fiesta Bowl going ahead of the Orange Bowl on a four-game day preceding the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be played 10 days from now.
First in Glendale, No. 10 Iowa State will take on No. 25 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. The Cyclones will be looking to cap off arguably the best season in program history with a New Year’s Six victory despite falling short in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Ducks, meanwhile, won the Pac-12 Championship despite not even winning their own division. Welcome to 2020.
Then to close things out, No. 5 Texas A&M takes on No. 13 North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. The Aggies felt as though they should have been the final team in the College Football Playoff field and will look to take out some frustrations on a Tar Heels team that will be missing almost all of its offensive weapons from the regular season.
So what will go down Saturday, and which teams should you back over the course of the day? Our CBS Sports college football experts share their insights on the four games and offer their picks both against the spread and straight up. Click on the bowl game names below for a more detailed look at each matchup.
Gator Bowl: (23) NC State vs. Kentucky
Yes, even though NC State is ranked and Kentucky is 4-6, it’s the Wildcats favored in this game. How is that possible? Well, for one, public perception has a lot to do with it. When the general public looks at this game, they see an SEC team going against an ACC team that isn’t considered one of the conference’s elite programs, and that will push them to the SEC team. Now, I won’t lie. The fact that Kentucky is favored does cause me to wonder if there’s something the oddsmakers know that I don’t, but I’m going to ignore that inkling and go with common sense. Take the team that’s been better all season long. Pick: NC State +2.5 | NC State 24, Kentucky 20 — Tom Fornelli
Outback Bowl: (11) Indiana vs. Ole Miss
Grab the points, but you won’t need them because Ole Miss will win this game straight up. Even though Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah won’t be there, coach Lane Kiffin will have plenty up his sleeve and will want to put on a show on national TV with the college football world watching. Quarterback Matt Corral has moments of ineptitude, but that won’t happen now that he’s had a little bit more time to hone his craft. Pick: Ole Miss (+8.5) | Ole Miss 45, Indiana 42 — Barrett Sallee
Fiesta Bowl: (10) Iowa State vs. (25) Oregon
It’s true that Oregon is a little fresher than Iowa State coming into this game. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a factor that ends up becoming. But Iowa State is on the verge of having its best season ever with its most talented team ever. With the bitter taste of defeat from the Big 12 title game still in their mouths, the Cyclones find a way to close out the season on a positive note. Pick: Iowa State -4.5 | Iowa State 31, Oregon 24 — Ben Kercheval
Orange Bowl: (5) Texas A&M vs. (13) North Carolina
I understand that North Carolina is missing a ton here and its young defense will have its hands full with one of the best offensive lines in the country for Texas A&M, but last I checked, Sam Howell was still playing in this game and that means the backdoor will absolutely be open for the Tar Heels. I think the oddsmakers are dialed into this fact as well considering how little the spread has moved with the news of all the opt-outs, so give me Howell and the underdog Heels to make it exciting in the fourth quarter. Pick: North Carolina +7.5 | Texas A&M 31, North Carolina 25 — Chip Patterson