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New Year’s Day bowl games open thread

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 01 SEC Championship Game - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Greetings, Raider Nation! I hope you’re all up bright and early without any hangovers because there’s some football to be played today. There are five games on tap today with some of the best matchups of the bowl season, including the Grandaddy of them All.

First up at 9 AM Pacific on ESPN2 is the Outback Bowl from Tampa, featuring Iowa against Mississippi State. Both these teams have tremendous defenses, could we see another low-scoring game?

At 10 AM on ESPN is the Playstation Fiesta Bowl between LSU and UCF. The Knights are unbeaten over the last four years and have been making noise about being allowed into the playoffs. They trounced Auburm last year in their bowl game and get another shot at a quality SEC team this postseason. Can they make their case to be one of the big boys?

Also at 10 AM on ABC is the VRBO Citrus Bowl between Kentucky and Penn State. Kentucky features OLB Josh Allen, who has been rocketing up draft boards. He will look to sack Penn State QB Trace McSorley, who will be playing his last game for the Nittany Lions.

At 2 PM on ESPN is the Rose Bowl, which pits Ohio Steak against washington. The Huskies and Buckeyes both rolled in their respective conference championship games, but both had their eyes on the Playoff this season and this can’t be what they were hoping for. We’ll get our first look at the Buckeyes without newly retired coach Urban Meyer, who plans to teach an ethics and leadership course in Columbus next year and I am not making that up.

ESPN brings us the final game of the day, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, at 5:45 PM between Georgia and Texas. The Bulldogs made the mistake of injuring Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the SEC title game, and then Jalen Hurts destroyed them by himself. One wonders whom Texas has on their bench behind QB Sam Ehlinger. Perhaps backup quarterback Yince Voung will make his presence felt. In any case, Georgia QB Jake Fromm will have to deal with a pretty good Texas defense, and Georgia’s defensive line will have their hands full with a powerful Texas running game.

Happy New Year and enjoy all the bowls today!