And, while Dallas is a long way from Pasadena, Calif., the Buckeyes will carry an 11-2 record into their game against USC, also 11-2, in a classic Mid-west vs. Penn State is 16-4-1 ATS in its last 21 games while Wisconsin is 4-1 ATS in its past five and 8-1 SU in its previous nine after a loss. While the action in the coming days will help decide the national champion for this year, it will also mean that the season is over and we have to wait until the start of September for most teams to play again. Then the sixth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers take on the 10th-ranked Miami Hurricanes as 4.5-point favorites in the Orange Bowl.
Before those big bowl games kick off though, there are three other key matchups featuring Top 10 teams starting on Friday. These three teams will try to make statements as betting favorites this weekend. Friday's Cotton Bowl will look like a good, old-fashioned Rose Bowl game, which has traditionally pitted the Big Ten champ against the Pac-12 victor. The 12th-ranked Central Florida Knights will attempt to complete a flawless season by handing the Tigers their second consecutive loss, something that seems unlikely as 9.5-point underdogs in the Peach Bowl.
And, while there will be no area representative in Monday's semifinals at the Rose and Sugar bowls, those games will at least set the stage for the January 8 national championship game in Atlanta.
For some fans in our region, the bowl season lost a great deal of importance on Dec 3, when the pairings for the College Football Playoff were revealed and we learned that Ohio State had been denied a spot in the four-team tournament.
Oklahoma and Clemson don't find themselves as underdogs very often.