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New Years Bowls Open Thread

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NCAA Football: Pac-12 Conference Championship-Oregon vs Utah Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Years everybody!

We begin the new decade with a slate of solid bowl matchups leading up to the game that really matters (well, relatively speaking).

Things get started at 1:00 Athens standard time with the VRBO Citrus Bowl pitting the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Michigan Wolverines on ABC. I’m sort of looking forward to this one to see not who wins but who loses. Both Jim Harbaugh and Nick Saban are way more fun that way.

Also at 1:00 Minnesota and Auburn square off in the Outback Bowl on ESPN. Call me crazy, but I suspect the Fightin’ Flecks may come out fired up and give the Plainsmen all they want. All this is just a prelude to PJ Fleck being named the head coach at Southern Cal in December 2020. This is a dream deferred, not a dream denied. Maybe he can throw Gus an analyst job.

Then it’s the Grandaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl featuring Oregon and Wisconsin. These two teams each had a realistic shot at the College Football Playoff at one point this season, and this one sets up as a physical contest that should be reasonably competitive.

Side note: while he’ll have to replace QB Justin Herbert, Mario Cristobal is building a really impressive team in Eugene. If he keeps pulling top recruits out of California and the rest of the west (especially on the lines of scrimmage) he will have the Ducks dominating the PAC 12 and squarely in playoff contention. Obviously we’ll be back with a separate thread/threads for the Sugar Bowl. Until then...

Go ‘Dawgs!!!