Who Ya Got? New Year’s Day Predictions

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Badger Of Honor co-editors, Taylor Johnson and Doug Etten, along with staff writer Danny Zillmer, give you their New Year’s Day Predictions for one of their FAVORITE football days of the year. With six Bowl games highlighting the day of action, it’s quite possibly the BEST day for football fans to find their recliner, saddle up the remote control and take a day off. Here are our picks, first, Taylor Johnson.

GATOR BOWL: Nebraska vs. 22 Georgia – These two teams meet once again as last year Georgia defeated Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. It’s also a matchup of two teams who failed to meet expectations this season, mainly due to injury. Both teams will be without their starting quarterbacks as Aaron Murray tore his ACL in second to last game and Taylor Martinez has been hampered by a variety of different injuries all year long. I think the Bulldogs are just too much for this Nebraska team; Georgia 34 Nebraska 24

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: UNLV vs. North Texas – I honestly do not know much about these two teams. Researching them however I found out two interesting facts. This is the Runnin Rebels first bowl game in 13 years and first outside the city of Las Vegas since 1984. I wasn’t even born yet. North Texas is in its 100th year of football, something I never would have guessed. They also make their first bowl appearance in some time, not since 2004 have they played in the post season. Strictly going by their schedules, I’m giving the edge to North Texas; North Texas 31 UNLV 20

OUTBACK BOWL: Iowa vs. 16 LSU – One of the games I’m really looking forward to this bowl season. LSU comes in with backup quarterback Anthony Jennings due to starter Zach Mettenberger’s season ending torn ACL. Not quite sure what to expect from Jennings as this will be his first full game and it’s on a big stage. With that said the Tigers will be relying heavily on running back Jeremy Hill. Iowa on the other hand has put together a nice running attack of their own this year, including quarterback Jake Rudock. In fact they have multiple people they can hand the ball off to and it will be up to the Tigers defense to stop them. I don’t think they’re able to and I think Iowa’s defense is too much for LSU and their freshman quarterback; UPSET ALERT – Iowa 24 LSU 17

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: 19 Wisconsin vs. 9 South Carolina – This is also one of the better matchups of the day in what I consider one of the best non-BCS games. These teams have two of the better defenses in the country and it will be interesting to see which team is able to attack the other’s defense efficiently. Wisconsin has one of the best offenses on the ground in Melvin Gordon and James White, but I believe it will be quarterback Joel Stave who will have to have a big game against Jadeveon Clowney and that Gamecocks defense for the Badgers to have a chance. On the other hand, the Badgers and their stout defense must slow down quarterback Connor Shaw both in the air and on the ground. Two great defenses going up against each other, this should be a classic game on New Years Day; UPSET ALERT – Wisconsin 20 South Carolina 17

ROSE BOWL: 5 Stanford vs. 4 Michigan State – If you think the Capital One Bowl provides a great matchup, this one far and away is the best game onJanuary 1st. Two great defenses going head to head in a classic B1G vs. Pac-12 matchup. Running back Jeremy Langford and quarterback Connor Cook have played well for the Spartans this season and they must play almost perfect against a tough Stanford defense led by Shayne Skov who leads the team in tackles with 91. On the other side Stanford is led by running back Tyler Gaffney, who is 8th in the nation in rushing yards (1,613) and 5th in the nation in rushing touchdowns (20) as well. The absence of linebacker Max Bullough for the Spartans will be a big void that Mark Dantonio will have to somehow fill; Stanford 24 Michigan State 17

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: 15 UCF vs. 6 Baylor – Not a big fan of this matchup because I believe this could end up being a huge blow out for Baylor. Yes they both come in with 11-1 records, but honestly will UCF be able to slow down Baylor? Somehow someway UCF will have to stop Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty and his 30 touchdowns through the air and 11 scores on the ground. Although Blake Bottles’ numbers are nothing to scoff at (3,280 yards and 22 touchdowns), Baylor will be just way too tough to handle. I don’t see this one staying close at all; Baylor 47 UCF 23

And up next, our staff writer, Danny Zillmer’s Picks

GATOR BOWL: Nebraska vs. 22 Georgia  I think Nebraska’s defense will hold Georgia’s offense in check as they overwhelm backup qb Hutson Mason; Nebraska 24 Georgia 21

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: UNLV vs. North Texas – North Texas has too stout of a defense or UNLV to get anything going; North Texas 27 UNLV 10


OUTBACK BOWL: Iowa vs. 16 LSU – LSU will overpower Iowa with their running game from the beginning; LSU 31 Iowa 14

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: 19 Wisconsin vs. 9 South Carolina – Wisconsin will establish the run early and then Stave’s play-action will be the difference. Clowney no sacks, Connor Shaw three passing touchdowns; Wisconsin 35 South Carolina 31

ROSE BOWL: 5 Stanford vs. 4 Michigan State – Defensive battle will come down to a late field goal. Both squads will punt a lot; Stanford 17 MSU 14

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: 15 UCF vs. 6 Baylor – No contest, Baylor will begin to run away as the third quarter unfolds; Baylor 45 UCF 24

Last but not least, co-editor Doug Etten’s picks

GATOR BOWL: Nebraska vs. 22 Georgia – Two opposing styles with this match-up. Georgia is built for scoring points, but without their starting quarterback I feel it hurts them a bit more in this match-up. Taylor Martinez is the linch pin that holds the Huskers offense in place, and without him I really think they struggle scoring points. This could be an interview for head coach Bo Pelini. His antics have landed him on the hot seat and a poor performance likely signals the end to his run at the helm. If you’re looking for a sexy bowl game, look elsewhere; Nebraska 10 Georgia 20

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL: UNLV vs. North Texas – IF there is one thing I’ve learned about watching, or watching very little of UNLV football, it’s that they always seem to play well when everyone thinks they won’t. Maybe they have a little bit of that “west coast” chip on their shoulder coming in against a more talented North Texas team, and it works; UNLV 37 North Texas 28

OUTBACK BOWL: Iowa vs. 16 LSU – Sorry Hawkeyes, Les Miles wins big games. And quite frankly, I just don’t know if your stingy defense is able to go toe-to-toe with some of the best offensive lineman in the country. We saw it first hand during the regular season run as Wisconsin wore you down, it happens again today; Iowa 16 LSU 34

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: 19 Wisconsin vs. 9 South Carolina – It’s hard to put this game on paper and say who has an advantage. Conner Shaw is a plus for the Gamecocks. He’s head-and-shoulder above that of Joel Stave, but behind Stave are two 1,000 yard rushers with something to prove, and let’s not forget about that No. 4 coming around the end a time or two. Borland is a beast and it’ll show. Wisconsin I think opens some eyes and quiets a few critcs in this one, going away; Wisconsin 42 South Carolina 24

ROSE BOWL: 5 Stanford vs. 4 Michigan State – This for me is the matchup of the day and the one game that will be on the highlight reels. Simply put, New Years Day is all about the Rose Bowl. It’s the biggest game on the biggest stage in college football that’s NOT called the National Title game. Michigan State has proven themeselves time-and-time again when everyone’s counted them out. Their building a pretty stingy reputation about themselves, similar to their opponent in this game. I think a special teams touchdown comes into play in this one. Though it’s not likely to be Alabama vs Auburn all over again; Stanford 35 Michigan State 38

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL: 15 UCF vs. 6 Baylor – Two QB’s who know how to lead an offense usually means the first one to flinch, loses. Baylor’s defense is just too tested for big games and I predict a pick-six makes the difference in this one, early. Baylor wins, easily; UCF 17 Baylor 38