While most of the attention in college football has centered around the programs that got into the four-team playoff, the ones that missed out didn’t get a bad consolation prize.
They were awarded with premiere bowl games on New Year’s Day or a couple of days before.
Squads that were ranked in the top 4 of the CFP, but fell out after upsets or losses in conference championships will face each other in games such as the Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.
In some cases those match-ups might be more interesting to bettors than the two CFP semifinal games.
There are 38 contests beginning Dec. 16 and running all the way until Jan. 1. Below are some of the better games and their odds.
Four Marquee Bowl Games
Cotton Bowl Ohio State vs. USC Dec. 29
If anyone has a complaint with the selection committee it is No. 5 Ohio State. They won the Big 10 Conference Championship but were passed over in favor of Alabama. They will face a resurging No. 8 USC, who defeated Stanford in the Pac 12 Conference Championship. The Buckeyes are favored by 7 points with an over/under of 64.
Orange Bowl Wisconsin vs. Miami Dec. 30
These are two teams that spent a cup of coffee in the CFP but were knocked out before the final vote. The No. 10 Hurricanes were upset by Pitt and the No. 6 Badgers lost to OSU in the Big 10 Conference Championship. Wisconsin is a 6 1/2-point pick with an over/under of 45.
Fiesta Bowl Penn State vs. Washington Dec. 30
Both flamed out early in the race for the final four. The No. 9 Nittany Lions had back-to-back losses and the No. 11 Huskies had an embarrassing defeat to Arizona State, in addition to losing to Stanford. Penn State is favored by 3 with an over/under of 55.
Peach Bowl Auburn vs. University of Central Florida Jan. 1
The most intriguing of the four bowl games, it could either provide an upset or a blow out by the favorite. The No. 7 Tigers were whispered to be one of the best teams in the country before they lost the SEC Championship to Georgia. The No. 12 Knights are the only undefeated team in the Top 25 and will play a major conference team. They are 10-point underdogs and the over/under is 67.
Best of the Rest
Some of the contests will be hard pressed to find interested viewers beyond the fans of the two schools, but there are some out there that are worth plopping in front of the television for. The first night of bowl games on Dec. 16 has the Las Vegas Bowl pitting Boise State against Oregon.
It is always entertaining to see how a smaller conference plays against a team from a major conference. The Ducks are 7 ½-point favorites with an over/under of 59.
The Alamo Bowl on Dec.28 will have teams that challenged to be in the Top 10 before fading away. Stanford, with Heisman candidate Bryce Love, will take on TCU. The Cardinal are getting 2 ½ points and the over/under is 47.
The best of the other bowl games might be Notre Dame against LSU in the Citrus on New Year’s Day. The Fighting Irish was another team that challenged to be in the CFP before getting walloped by Miami. Can the Tigers do the same? LSU is a 3-point selection and the over/under is 51.