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The 20 things you’ll learn this play season

The 20 things you’ll learn this play season

11:39 PM ET

Some bowls meant nothing. Others (Orange and Cotton) will assistance establish this year’s inhabitant champion.

Some bowls symbol a finish for iconic coaches like Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer. Others underline skeleton coaching staffs with connoisseur assistants overseeing position groups.

Some bowls span teams with copiousness of motivation. Others span teams who would rather be anywhere else (Western Michigan and Middle Tennessee, who accommodate in a Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, have no such excuse).

What do bowls unequivocally reveal? What questions are truly answered? It’s always wily to remove decisive conclusions from bowls, given a countless variables involved.

As a 41-game play deteriorate kicks off Saturday with 6 games, here’s a gash during forecasting what we’ll learn, as good as some superlatives from a schedule.

Conference with many during stake: SEC. An underwhelming play opening final deteriorate (7-5 altogether though 2-5 by ranked teams) preceded a severe unchanging deteriorate this fall. The SEC has usually one top-10 group and arguably a weakest multiplication (East) among Power 5 conferences. Alabama can finish a SEC’s brief inhabitant pretension drought, though a stronger altogether display is pivotal as FPI favors all 10 SEC teams in their play matchups (Las Vegas favors all though Florida). If a SEC stumbles again, a continuous explain of being a nation’s tip discussion will ring vale entering subsequent season.

Most sparkling non-playoff or New Year’s Six game: TCU-Oregon in a Valero Alamo Bowl. If a Horned Frogs are healthy — quarterback Trevone Boykin should be and far-reaching receiver Josh Doctson could be — this one will be unequivocally fun. Arguably no group other than Oklahoma finished a deteriorate personification softened than Oregon, that won a final 6 games and averaged 48.6 points in a final five. Ducks quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. leads a republic in pass potency (179.6) and Boykin ranks second in sum offense (380.6 YPG).

Best particular matchup: Two defensive end-offensive tackle clashes should register on a Richter scale. Ohio State defensive finish Joey Bosa will face Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley in a BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl. Bosa, who also could play during defensive tackle given of Adolphus Washington‘s suspension, is No. 1 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board for a 2016 NFL breeze (he expected will skip his comparison season). Stanley is No. 9. The tip descent tackle on Kiper’s board, Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil (No. 6), will have his hands full with Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah in a Allstate Sugar Bowl. Ogbah ranks fourth nationally in sacks with 13.

Schlabach: Predictions as play deteriorate kicks off

The marathon play deteriorate starts Saturday, and here are a predictions, along with a reason to watch any game.

  • Mock draft: Fournette’s batch plummets

    If we could have any actor who will really be behind in college subsequent year, who would we take? Scouts Inc.’s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl collect from a best draft-ineligible players.

  • Quiz: What non-New Year’s Six play diversion are you?

    Take a ask and find out if one of a non-New Year’s Six play games best describes you.

  • Best conduct coaching matchup: Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly vs. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Both are mixed winners of inhabitant coaching awards, and both have won mixed inhabitant titles (Meyer has 3 in a FBS, Kelly has dual in Division II). Their offenses are consistently among a nation’s best, and they are a sum 14-5 in play games. Although both teams had inhabitant championship aspirations, Kelly guided Notre Dame by 9 season-ending injuries to starters. Meyer’s group rebounded from a sole reversal opposite Michigan State by thrashing Michigan in a Big House.

    Best partner coaching matchup: Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables vs. Oklahoma descent coordinator Lincoln Riley in a College Football Playoff Semifinal during a Capital One Orange Bowl. Both were finalists for this year’s Broyles Award (as a nation’s tip assistant), that went to Riley. Venables, an Oklahoma partner from 1999 to 2011, remade one of a nation’s best defenses this tumble after losing 8 starters. The 32-year-old Riley brought a Air Raid behind to Norman, and a Sooners arrange third nationally in both scoring and pass efficiency, with a thespian spike in rushing prolongation in a second half of a season.

    Best mentor-protégé matchup: Nick Saban vs. Mark Dantonio in a College Football Playoff Semifinal during a Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Saban has dominated his protégés, posting a 8-0 symbol opposite former assistants and winning any diversion by during slightest 14 points. Dantonio engrossed one of those beatings, as Michigan State fell to Alabama 49-7 in a 2011 Capital One Bowl. Michigan State has dramatically softened given then, and it has won some-more large games newly than a Tide. Dantonio also has a critical statistic of his own: His Spartans teams are 8-2 in their past 10 games opposite tip 10 opponents. Also value mentioning: Kansas State’s Bill Snyder and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema in a AutoZone Liberty Bowl. They both have Iowa/Hayden Fry roots and Bielema served as Snyder’s co-defensive coordinator in 2002-03.

    Best under-the-radar coaching matchup: San Diego State’s Rocky Long vs. Cincinnati’s Tommy Tuberville in a Hawai’i Bowl. Long sensitively guided a Aztecs to their initial undisguised discussion pretension given 1986. His invulnerability pale routinely manly Mountain West offenses, as San Diego State gave adult usually 11.2 points per diversion in joining play. SDSU presents a plea for Tuberville’s Bearcats, who arrange fifth nationally in yards per diversion (559.4) and fourth in flitting (373.1). Long and Tuberville have 262 career wins between them, nonetheless Tuberville has a large corner in play record (7-5 vs. 2-7).

    Coaches who need a win a most: West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen and Texas AM’s Kevin Sumlin. The friends and former colleagues — Holgorsen worked as Sumlin’s descent coordinator during Houston in 2008-09 — unexpected find themselves on unsure ground. Holgorsen, whose WVU career reached an peak 4 years ago with an Orange Bowl thrashing of Clemson, was a theme of rumblings after a Mountaineers fell to Kansas State in their regular-season finale. He could advantage from a win in a Motel 6 Cactus Bowl opposite Arizona State. Sumlin, who has found life after Johnny Manziel increasingly difficult, faces poignant questions after a new quarterback news. He could use a win opposite Louisville in a Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Others value mentioning here embody Penn State’s James Franklin (TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Georgia) and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (Birmingham Bowl vs. Memphis).

    Non-playoff matchup that could be a inhabitant semifinal subsequent season: Stanford vs. Iowa in a Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. Notre Dame-Ohio State could go here, too, though Stanford and Iowa both could be behind in inhabitant pretension row in 2016. Stanford has to reinstate quarterback Kevin Hogan, though it earnings energetic using back/returner Christian McCaffrey and will be some-more gifted in a secondary. Iowa will be some-more gifted on defense, earnings quarterback C.J. Beathard and advantages from a report though Ohio State or Michigan State and with a toughest games (Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern) during home.

    Biggest mismatch (team): Arkansas vs. Kansas State in a AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Hogs competence not have met preseason expectations, though they finished strong, winning 5 of their final 6 games, a sole detriment a 51-50 reversal to Mississippi State. Quarterback Brandon Allen ends an glorious comparison deteriorate (3,125 flitting yards) opposite a Kansas State invulnerability that ranks 119th in flitting yards authorised (283.1 YPG). The bigger emanate for a Wildcats is gripping adult on a scoreboard, as they’ve dealt with quarterback injuries all season. Arkansas thumped Texas 31-7 in final year’s Texas Bowl and could post a identical outcome in Memphis.

    Biggest mismatch (player): LSU using behind Leonard Fournette vs. Texas Tech’s run invulnerability in a AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. Although Fournette tumbled in a Heisman Trophy race, he still leads a republic in rushing normal (158.3 YPG). He should have small difficulty surpassing his normal opposite a Red Raiders, who arrange 125th nationally in rushing invulnerability (271.8 YPG). Texas Tech discharged 3 defensive assistants, including co-defensive coordinator/line manager Mike Smith, after a unchanging season. The Red Raiders are down a sum of 5 assistants entering a game.

    Teams that could use play as springboard to subsequent season: Tennessee and Washington. The Vols were in a identical mark final deteriorate and routed Iowa in a TaxSlayer Bowl. They didn’t mangle by this tumble though lapse a gifted patrol subsequent season. A signature win opposite No. 13 Northwestern in a Outback Bowl would set a good tinge for 2016. Washington won a final dual games by a sum measure of 97-17 and boasts a gifted beginner backfield of quarterback Jake Browning and using behind Myles Gaskin. The Huskies face a clever Southern Miss group in a Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.

    Player who could use play as showcase opportunity: Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg. The can’t-miss NFL awaiting missed utterly a bit this season, as Penn State ranked 101st in scoring offense and coordinator John Donovan was discharged after a unchanging season. The TaxSlayer Bowl opposite Georgia could be Hackenberg’s final diversion as a Nittany Lion, and if he moves on to a NFL — as many consider he will — it’s an critical event to finish strong. Hackenberg had one of his best performances in final season’s Pinstripe Bowl win opposite Boston College (371 flitting yards, 4 touchdowns).

    Team with many to gain, slightest to lose: Houston. Life is good for a Cougars, who won their initial discussion pretension given 2006, defended luminary manager Tom Herman and are headed to their biggest play diversion (Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl) given a 1985 Cotton. Plus, a Cougars could be even softened subsequent season, generally during a descent ability positions (star quarterback Greg Ward Jr. returns) and a defensive front 7 (star linebacker Steven Taylor also is back). An dissapoint of Florida State in Atlanta would stamp Houston as a top-10 group and an rising Group of 5 power. A detriment to a magnificently gifted Seminoles won’t do many to take a gleam off of a special season.

    Team with many to lose, slightest to gain: UCLA. The Bruins began a deteriorate with playoff aspirations, though pivotal injuries and infuriating craziness knocked them out of a Pac-12 championship mix. They finished adult 8-4 and fell all a approach to a Foster Farms Bowl, where they’ll take on 5-7 Nebraska. Normally, a play opposite a Huskers would paint a good event to tip a season. But this Nebraska group reached a play usually given there weren’t adequate 6-6 squads available. UCLA won’t assistance a form many with a win. A detriment would extend a beating into a offseason.

    Biggest furious card: Georgia. Who knows what to design from a Bulldogs during a TaxSlayer Bowl? They’ve mislaid their manager (Mark Richt), defensive coordinator (Jeremy Pruitt) and descent coordinator (Brian Schottenheimer). This week, halt manager Bryan McClendon announced a staff that reserved position groups to 3 connoisseur assistants, a executive of actor crew and a executive of recruiting. Were a members of R.E.M. and Samuel L. Jackson too bustling or something? Other coaching mysteries embody USC’s defensive staff, Texas Tech’s defensive staff and a GoDaddy Bowl, that will underline dual halt coaches (Georgia Southern’s Dell McGee and Bowling Green’s Brian Ward).

    Best Group of 5 matchup: Toledo vs. Temple in a Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. At times this season, both teams were in a brew for a New Year’s Six spot, and between them they have victories opposite Arkansas, Penn State, Memphis and Bowling Green. Coach Matt Campbell’s depart from Toledo takes something divided from a game, though both teams are clever defensively and both have gifted using backs in Jahad Thomas (Temple) and Kareem Hunt (Toledo).

    Rivalry watch: The playoff semifinals and matchups like Ohio State-Notre Dame shouldn’t miss intensity, though a one loyal adversary in this year’s bowls kicks off Saturday in Las Vegas. The Holy War between BYU and Utah resumes in Sin City as a teams accommodate in a Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Utah defensive lineman Viliseni Fauonuku, aware of BYU’s new reputation, got a pound speak started this week, observant Wednesday during a acquire reception: “BYU, y’all are a good team. But you’re a unwashed team. Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’.” BYU manager Bronco Mendenhall, operative his final diversion for a Cougars before vacating for Virginia, and Utah manager Kyle Whittingham vouch to keep a peace, though things should get exhilarated on a margin and in a stands during Sam Boyd Stadium. Buckle up.

    Big male touchdown watch: Gimmick plays are as large a partial of play tradition as cold swag and losing money, as a additional credentials time allows coaches to enhance their playbooks. Baylor’s 400-pound man, LaQuan McGowan, announced himself nationally with a touchdown opposite Michigan State in final year’s Cotton Bowl. McGowan is value examination again as Baylor, down to a third-string quarterback, will need to get artistic to keep gait with North Carolina in a Russell Athletic Bowl. Also keep an eye on Utah’s Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, a 320-pound defensive tackle who has 3 fail recoveries this deteriorate and a touchdown opposite Fresno State. Would Michigan State give Jack Allen another possibility after his touchdown opposite Penn State? It’s not as if anyone else can run on Alabama. Might as good give a 296-pound core a chance.

    Best play swag item: There are softened bowls than a Quick Lane Bowl and softened holiday destinations than downtown Detroit (getting better, though still not a Bahamas). There are softened altogether play present packages than a ones Central Michigan and Minnesota players will accept from a Quick Lane Bowl. But no singular present can tip a custom-made, life-size decal any actor will accept with his likeness. How cold is that!

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