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Published: Dec. 29, 2015 at 01:06 p.m.

Predictions for top 10 college football bowl games

We're getting into the real meat of the bowl schedule, with 10 bowl games featuring ranked teams facing each other. This includes the second annual College Football Playoff, which is prominently featured here.

CFB 24/7 experts Gil Brandt, Bucky Brooks, Charles Davis, Chase Goodbread, Daniel Jeremiah, Chad Reuter and Lance Zierlein have provided their predictions for each game.

MORE FROM CFB 24/7:
» 2015 bowl game schedule
» Photos: Best of the bowls
» 2016 NFL Draft order and team needs
» Tracking underclassmen draft intentions

10 Photos Total

  • <b>Update:</b> Tennessee 45, Northwestern 6
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> Can Northwestern’s defense, which ranks No. 11 in the nation and allows just 310 yards per game, contain Josh Dobbs? The Volunteers’ dual-threat quarterback is athletic enough to keep the chains moving even when his protection struggles.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Northwestern RB Justin Jackson vs. Tennessee LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Tennessee, 24-17
<br>Brooks: Tennessee, 28-24
<br>Davis: Tennessee, 30-28
<br>Goodbread: Tennessee, 28-17
<br>Jeremiah: Tennessee, 24-21
<br>Reuter: Northwestern, 28-27
<br>Zierlein: Tennessee, 23-17 10

    Associated Press/USA TODAY Sports

    10. Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Tennessee

    Update: Tennessee 45, Northwestern 6
    Key storyline: Can Northwestern’s defense, which ranks No. 11 in the nation and allows just 310 yards per game, contain Josh Dobbs? The Volunteers’ dual-threat quarterback is athletic enough to keep the chains moving even when his protection struggles.
    Matchup to watch: Northwestern RB Justin Jackson vs. Tennessee LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Tennessee, 24-17
    Brooks: Tennessee, 28-24
    Davis: Tennessee, 30-28
    Goodbread: Tennessee, 28-17
    Jeremiah: Tennessee, 24-21
    Reuter: Northwestern, 28-27
    Zierlein: Tennessee, 23-17

  • <b>UPDATE:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000612255/article/baylor-rushing-attack-dominates-russell-athletic-bowl" target="new">Baylor 49, North Carolina 38</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> Baylor is still without its top two quarterbacks due to injury (as well as top RB Shock Linwood and top WR Corey Coleman), but with nearly a month to prepare for this game, the Bears' offense shouldn’t look as disjointed as it did at the end of the regular season.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> North Carolina OL Landon Turner vs. Baylor DL Andrew Billings. 
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Baylor, 40-37
<br>Brooks: North Carolina, 38-35
<br>Davis: Baylor, 38-36
<br>Goodbread: Baylor, 30-20
<br>Jeremiah: North Carolina, 34-27
<br>Reuter: North Carolina, 34-31
<br>Zierlein: North Carolina, 31-21 9

    Associated Press

    9. Russell Athletic Bowl: North Carolina vs. Baylor

    UPDATE: Baylor 49, North Carolina 38
    Key storyline: Baylor is still without its top two quarterbacks due to injury (as well as top RB Shock Linwood and top WR Corey Coleman), but with nearly a month to prepare for this game, the Bears' offense shouldn’t look as disjointed as it did at the end of the regular season.
    Matchup to watch: North Carolina OL Landon Turner vs. Baylor DL Andrew Billings.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Baylor, 40-37
    Brooks: North Carolina, 38-35
    Davis: Baylor, 38-36
    Goodbread: Baylor, 30-20
    Jeremiah: North Carolina, 34-27
    Reuter: North Carolina, 34-31
    Zierlein: North Carolina, 31-21

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613526/article/jim-harbaugh-closes-first-season-at-michigan-with-10th-win" target="new">Michigan 41, Florida 7</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> Michigan’s defense should have its way with a Florida offense that struggled mightily late in the season. The Gators' defense, however, has the talent to maintain a close, low-scoring game.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Michigan RB De’Veon Smith vs. Florida LB Antonio Morrison.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Florida, 17-16
<br>Brooks: Michigan, 17-13
<br>Davis: Michigan, 24-10
<br>Goodbread: Michigan, 28-10
<br>Jeremiah: Michigan, 21-17
<br>Reuter: Michigan, 24-17
<br>Zierlein: Michigan, 27-17 8

    Associated Press

    8. Citrus Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida

    Update: Michigan 41, Florida 7
    Key storyline: Michigan’s defense should have its way with a Florida offense that struggled mightily late in the season. The Gators' defense, however, has the talent to maintain a close, low-scoring game.
    Matchup to watch: Michigan RB De’Veon Smith vs. Florida LB Antonio Morrison.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Florida, 17-16
    Brooks: Michigan, 17-13
    Davis: Michigan, 24-10
    Goodbread: Michigan, 28-10
    Jeremiah: Michigan, 21-17
    Reuter: Michigan, 24-17
    Zierlein: Michigan, 27-17

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613154/article/fsus-jalen-ramsey-displays-unique-talents-at-defensive-back">Houston 38, Florida State 24</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> Will the Seminoles be properly motivated for a game against a Group of Five opponent just a year after being in the College Football Playoff? They’d better be, because the Cougars will treat this like a Super Bowl.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Houston CB William Jackson III vs. Florida State WR Kermit Whitfield.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b>
<br>Brandt: Florida State, 34-21
<br>Brooks: Florida State, 28-27
<br>Davis: Florida State, 33-32
<br>Goodbread: Florida State, 27-13
<br>Jeremiah: Florida State, 34-21
<br>Reuter: Florida State, 31-24
<br>Zierlein: Florida State, 28-20 7

    Associated Press/USA TODAY Sports

    7. Peach Bowl: Houston vs. Florida State

    Update: Houston 38, Florida State 24
    Key storyline: Will the Seminoles be properly motivated for a game against a Group of Five opponent just a year after being in the College Football Playoff? They’d better be, because the Cougars will treat this like a Super Bowl.
    Matchup to watch: Houston CB William Jackson III vs. Florida State WR Kermit Whitfield.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Florida State, 34-21
    Brooks: Florida State, 28-27
    Davis: Florida State, 33-32
    Goodbread: Florida State, 27-13
    Jeremiah: Florida State, 34-21
    Reuter: Florida State, 31-24
    Zierlein: Florida State, 28-20

  • <b>Details:</b> Saturday, 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN (at Alamodome, San Antonio) 
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> Is there any doubt this will be an offensive shootout? Both teams will take as many offensive snaps as possible and have plenty of offensive weapons, even with TCU star receiver Josh Doctson out with a wrist injury. Expect 150-plus offensive snaps and a combined score than could approach 100 points.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Oregon DL DeForest Buckner vs. TCU OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Oregon, 36-32
<br>Brooks: Oregon, 55-52
<br>Davis: TCU, 49-46
<br>Goodbread: Oregon, 38-35
<br>Jeremiah: Oregon, 42-28
<br>Reuter: Oregon, 51-48
<br>Zierlein: TCU, 31-30 6

    Associated Press

    6. Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. TCU

    Details: Saturday, 6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN (at Alamodome, San Antonio)
    Key storyline: Is there any doubt this will be an offensive shootout? Both teams will take as many offensive snaps as possible and have plenty of offensive weapons, even with TCU star receiver Josh Doctson out with a wrist injury. Expect 150-plus offensive snaps and a combined score than could approach 100 points.
    Matchup to watch: Oregon DL DeForest Buckner vs. TCU OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Oregon, 36-32
    Brooks: Oregon, 55-52
    Davis: TCU, 49-46
    Goodbread: Oregon, 38-35
    Jeremiah: Oregon, 42-28
    Reuter: Oregon, 51-48
    Zierlein: TCU, 31-30

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613630/article/chad-kelly-lights-up-oklahoma-state-in-sugar-bowl-win" target="new">Ole Miss 48, Oklahoma State 20</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> A year after getting embarrassed by TCU in the Peach Bowl, Ole Miss gets another shot at a Big 12 team with perhaps a lesson learned. There will be no excuse for the Rebels to come out flat.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah vs. Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil.  
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Ole Miss, 40-28
<br>Brooks: Oklahoma State, 30-27
<br>Davis: Ole Miss, 44-41
<br>Goodbread: Oklahoma State, 44-31
<br>Jeremiah: Ole Miss, 28-21
<br>Reuter: Ole Miss, 38-35
<br>Zierlein: Ole Miss, 38-31 5

    Associated Press/NFL

    5. Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss

    Update: Ole Miss 48, Oklahoma State 20
    Key storyline: A year after getting embarrassed by TCU in the Peach Bowl, Ole Miss gets another shot at a Big 12 team with perhaps a lesson learned. There will be no excuse for the Rebels to come out flat.
    Matchup to watch: Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah vs. Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Ole Miss, 40-28
    Brooks: Oklahoma State, 30-27
    Davis: Ole Miss, 44-41
    Goodbread: Oklahoma State, 44-31
    Jeremiah: Ole Miss, 28-21
    Reuter: Ole Miss, 38-35
    Zierlein: Ole Miss, 38-31

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613605/article/christian-mccaffrey-breaks-stanford-rose-bowl-records-in-romp">Stanford 45, Iowa 16</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> After just missing the College Football Playoff, Iowa’s consolation prize isn’t a bad one: the program’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1991. These two ground-control teams will play a field-position game and take few chances.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Stanford OL Kyle Murphy vs. Iowa LB Josey Jewell.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Stanford, 28-25
<br>Brooks: Stanford, 24-10
<br>Davis: Stanford, 27-20
<br>Goodbread: Stanford, 24-17
<br>Jeremiah: Stanford, 28-24
<br>Reuter: Stanford, 28-24
<br>Zierlein: Stanford, 28-14 4

    Associated Press/USA TODAY Sports

    4. Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Iowa

    Update: Stanford 45, Iowa 16
    Key storyline: After just missing the College Football Playoff, Iowa’s consolation prize isn’t a bad one: the program’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1991. These two ground-control teams will play a field-position game and take few chances.
    Matchup to watch: Stanford OL Kyle Murphy vs. Iowa LB Josey Jewell.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Stanford, 28-25
    Brooks: Stanford, 24-10
    Davis: Stanford, 27-20
    Goodbread: Stanford, 24-17
    Jeremiah: Stanford, 28-24
    Reuter: Stanford, 28-24
    Zierlein: Stanford, 28-14

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613522/article/ezekiel-elliott-leads-ohio-state-past-notre-dame-in-fiesta-bowl" target="new">Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> There won’t be more talent on the line of scrimmage in any other bowl game this season. Of particular interest will be the battle, featuring at least half a dozen NFL draft prospects, between the Fighting Irish offensive line and the Buckeyes' defensive front.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley vs. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Ohio State, 34-27
<br>Brooks: Notre Dame, 31-30
<br>Davis: Ohio State, 42-28
<br>Goodbread: Ohio State, 35-20
<br>Jeremiah: Ohio State, 31-28
<br>Reuter: Ohio State, 27-21
<br>Zierlein: Notre Dame, 24-23 3

    Associated Press

    3. Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State

    Update: Ohio State 44, Notre Dame 28
    Key storyline: There won’t be more talent on the line of scrimmage in any other bowl game this season. Of particular interest will be the battle, featuring at least half a dozen NFL draft prospects, between the Fighting Irish offensive line and the Buckeyes' defensive front.
    Matchup to watch: Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley vs. Ohio State DE Joey Bosa.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Ohio State, 34-27
    Brooks: Notre Dame, 31-30
    Davis: Ohio State, 42-28
    Goodbread: Ohio State, 35-20
    Jeremiah: Ohio State, 31-28
    Reuter: Ohio State, 27-21
    Zierlein: Notre Dame, 24-23

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613284/article/watsonled-clemson-knocks-off-oklahoma-will-play-for-title">Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> Expect a high-scoring affair between two offenses that operate at a fast pace and create explosive plays. Quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield improvise on broken plays exceptionally well. The winner advances to the national title game.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> CB Mackensie Alexander vs. WR Sterling Shepard. 
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Oklahoma, 38-28
<br>Brooks: Clemson, 34-31
<br>Davis: Oklahoma, 40-35
<br>Goodbread: Clemson, 40-31
<br>Jeremiah: Oklahoma, 34-31
<br>Reuter: Clemson, 38-34
<br>Zierlein: Clemson, 34-28 2

    NFL/USA TODAY Sports

    2. Orange Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Clemson

    Update: Clemson 37, Oklahoma 17
    Key storyline: Expect a high-scoring affair between two offenses that operate at a fast pace and create explosive plays. Quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield improvise on broken plays exceptionally well. The winner advances to the national title game.
    Matchup to watch: CB Mackensie Alexander vs. WR Sterling Shepard.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Oklahoma, 38-28
    Brooks: Clemson, 34-31
    Davis: Oklahoma, 40-35
    Goodbread: Clemson, 40-31
    Jeremiah: Oklahoma, 34-31
    Reuter: Clemson, 38-34
    Zierlein: Clemson, 34-28

  • <b>Update:</b> <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000613416/article/connor-cook-ineffective-against-alabama-defense" target="new">Alabama 38, Michigan State 0</a>
<br><b>Key storyline:</b> The Spartans' defense will commit heavily to stopping Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. So have others, however, with limited success. If Henry can be held to less than 100 yards, the score should be tight in this playoff battle.
<br><b>Matchup to watch:</b> Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun vs. Alabama OT Cam Robinson.
<br><br><b>Game picks:</b> 
<br>Brandt: Alabama, 24-13
<br>Brooks: Michigan State, 24-17
<br>Davis: Alabama, 21-20
<br>Goodbread: Alabama, 24-16
<br>Jeremiah: Alabama, 28-14
<br>Reuter: Alabama, 27-24
<br>Zierlein: Alabama, 21-17 1

    1. Cotton Bowl: Michigan State vs. Alabama

    Update: Alabama 38, Michigan State 0
    Key storyline: The Spartans' defense will commit heavily to stopping Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. So have others, however, with limited success. If Henry can be held to less than 100 yards, the score should be tight in this playoff battle.
    Matchup to watch: Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun vs. Alabama OT Cam Robinson.

    Game picks:
    Brandt: Alabama, 24-13
    Brooks: Michigan State, 24-17
    Davis: Alabama, 21-20
    Goodbread: Alabama, 24-16
    Jeremiah: Alabama, 28-14
    Reuter: Alabama, 27-24
    Zierlein: Alabama, 21-17