Free College Football Picks Today for New Year’s Six Bowl Games 2021

Free College Football Picks Today for New Year’s Six Bowl Games 2021
Thu 30th December 2021

Bowl season is finally here and gone in the blink of an eye. After four long months of regular season football. It has been a crazy up and down season for many teams and like usual we have had upsets left and right. 

Now it is time to finish off this long grueling season with joy for some and heartbreak for others as teams are going bowling. On tap for this week are some conference champions, conference runners ups and a few top 25 teams in action as we will find out who will play in the national championship game.

Don’t miss out on our preview of our College Football Picks for the five best games of this week’s schedule!

Thursday, December 30th

#12 Pittsburgh vs #10 Michigan State – 7pm ET

The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl is going to be one of the most interesting big-time bowl games of the year. As it features two teams nobody expected to be here when the season began. As the ACC champs, the Pitt Panthers will take on the Michigan State Spartans. 

Michael Lantz

Pittsburgh and Michigan State were two surprise New Year’s Six Bowl teams that were led by two players that weren’t on too many radars out of high school. Pittsburgh was led by Heisman candidate Kenny Pickett, who was the 738th ranked player in the nation coming out of high school. Fast forward four years, Pickett is leading the Pitt Panthers to a Peach Bowl berth, while throwing 42 touchdowns, and looking like a first-round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He’ll look to end this dream season on a high note, leading Pitt to a win over Big Ten juggernaut the Michigan State Spartans.

Michigan State we’re looking like a potential playoff team through their first eight games; they started 8-0 and beat eventual Big Ten champs the Michigan Wolverines. After their 37-33 win against the Wolverines, the team lost a shocker to Purdue 40-29, and then two weeks later they were smothered by Ohio State 56-7. It was definitely a cold ending to a great Spartans season, but they still are ranked #10 and looking to end the season ranked there or higher. The Spartans engine was running back Kenneth Walker III who had over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns. Much like Pickett, Walker III wasn’t a highly touted recruit coming out of high school as he wasn’t even in the top 1000 ranked players in the nation. This game features two-star players who’ve had an uphill battle to climb since the beginning of college, but I don’t entirely trust Michigan State’s ability to stop this high-powered Panthers offense. I’ll go with Pitt for the upset pick.

Michael’s College Football Pick: Pittsburgh (+116)

Tony Battalio

The first of the six New Year’s Six Bowl Games in 2021 is possibly the most surprising one of them all. As not many people expected these two schools to be anywhere close to as good as they were this season. Both Michigan State and Pittsburgh opened a lot of people’s eyes this year. Michigan State went on to finish 10-2 on the year and even-handed Michigan their only loss of the season up until this point. Led by Kenneth Walker the Third, the Spartans rushed their way into the Peach Bowl and now have a chance to cap off an 11 win season, which is unbelievable for a program that looked dead in the water a few years ago under Mark D’Antonio. 

The Pittsburgh Panthers are probably most people’s surprise team of the year. Led by 6th-year senior quarterback Kenny Pickett the Panthers are 11-2 and champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference coming into this game. Pickett himself has improved his draft stock x100 and is likely to be the first quarterback taken off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. The result of this game is up in the air. Since both teams’ best players won’t be involved. However, I have the Pittsburgh Panthers picking up the victory when the clock hits triple zeros in the Peach Bowl. 

Tony’s College Football Pick: Pittsburgh (+116)

Friday, December 31st

#4 Cincinnati vs #1 Alabama – 3:30pm ET

Game one of the College Football Playoff Semifinals is being played at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The American Conference Champions become the first group of five teams to ever play in the playoffs. As the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats take on the SEC Champions and reigning national champions Alabama Crimson Tide will look to make it yet another back-to-back. 

Michael Lantz

 It’s been a storybook season for the Cincinnati Bearcats, who went undefeated in the American Athletic Conference, earning them a berth in the College Football Playoff. Their reward? The #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, college football’s most dominant team for over ten years. Still, Cincinnati has had plenty of competitive opponents this year including Notre Dame and Houston, who they both beat by double digits. The Bearcats will come into this one with confidence and playmakers on both sides of the ball. On offense they’ve been led by quarterback Desmond Ridder who threw 30 touchdowns and ran for 6; running back Jerome Ford who scored 19 touchdowns on the ground; and defender Joel Dublanko who recorded 106 total tackles on the year. Those three and the entire Bearcats team will face their greatest challenge on Friday: the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Death, taxes, and Alabama football ranked number one; it’s becoming all too familiar. The Crimson Tide suffered a mid-season loss to Texas A&M, but they never lost their composure. They continued to find ways to win, earning them a trip to the SEC Championship where they took on the #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs and won 41-24. The Crimson Tide was led by Heisman winner Bryce Young and a plethora of Five-star talents across the board. Alabama thrives in these games and if Cincinnati wants any chance, they’ll have to play fearlessly and attack Alabama’s, at times, shaky defense. They have the players to do it, but I just don’t see the Crimson Tide losing to a nonpower five team in the playoffs. 

Michael’s College Football Pick: Alabama (-590)

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Tony Battalio

Cincinnati has finally broken the mold, as they have become the first group of five team to ever qualify for the College Football Playoffs. Now they will have a chance to prove they truly belong when they play the gatekeeper of college football over the last decade and a half. Cincinnati has certainly looked the part through their first 13 games this year as they even went into South Bend and beat Notre Dame, ending their home winning streak that was the longest active streak in college football at the time. They will give the Crimson Tide all they can handle in this one, so don’t pencil in Alabama as a lock for the win. 

The Alabama Crimson Tide has yet another chance to add another national title to their impressive collection under Nick Saban in this year’s playoffs. They have looked a lot more beatable this year, whereas in years past they haven’t. They do have a huge loss to Texas A&M coming into this game, and a couple of close calls most notably against rival Auburn. However, they dominated a Georgia team that many thought was the best in the country up until that point. As for the result of this contest, however, while I have the Crimson Tide winning in the end, I expect the Cincinnati Bearcats to cover the spread and make it closer than most people expect. 

Tony’s College Football Pick: Cincinnati +13.5 (-110)

#3 Georgia vs #2 Michigan – 7:30pm ET

Game two of the College Football Playoff Semifinals will be played at the Capital One Orange Bowl. As the SEC runner-ups, the Georgia Bulldogs will take on a team making their first playoff appearance, the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan finished the year at 12-1 and as Big Ten Champions. 

Michael Lantz

 The Georgia Bulldogs were cruising through this college football season until the final week when they lost the SEC Championship to their rivals the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama exposed the nation’s best defense, torching them for 42 points, but luckily the Bulldogs had zero losses before that game and were still given another shot at a national title ending the season ranked #3. They’ll have to face the Big Ten Champion Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan didn’t even start the season in the Top 25, in what many saw as a make-or-break season for coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh delivered, leading them to a 12-1 record which included a huge 42-27 win over their rivals the Ohio State Buckeyes, and annihilation of Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, winning 42-3. They’ll look to running back Hassan Haskins to run over this tough Georgia defense, as he recorded 20 touchdowns this year. On defense, they’ll look to Heisman candidate and potential first overall pick Aidan Hutchinson, who had 14 sacks this year.  This one should be a classic, and could truly go either way, but with two solid defenses, I’ll pick the under.

Michael’s College Football Pick: Under 45.5 (-115)

Tony Battalio

The Georgia Bulldogs were considered the best team in college football for about the first 13 weeks of the season. Then in the conference championship game, they ran into the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Alabama chewed them up and spit them out on their way to the SEC title. Despite the loss, Georgia still comes into this game with a 12-1 record on the season. This is their second-ever playoff appearance, last time they found themselves in the final four they lost a heartbreaker to Alabama in the national title game. Now they will be looking to find their way back to the title game again, but first, they will have to deal with a very good Michigan team.

The previously mentioned Michigan Wolverines or perhaps the surprise of the 2021 season. As they had less than a 1% chance to make the college football playoff when the season started. They had a chance of only 0.05% to make it all the way here according to ESPN. But they surprised everyone by going 12-1 and finally beating Ohio State on their way to a Big Ten Championship victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. They will be making their first-ever playoff appearance in this one. As for the result of this game, I expect the Wolverines to surprise everyone once again with a huge victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP Semifinals.

Tony’s College Football Pick: Michigan (+220)

Saturday, January 1st

#9 Oklahoma State vs #8 Notre Dame – 1pm ET

The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will be a highly anticipated match-up between Big 12 runner-ups Oklahoma State, who finished the season with a record of 11-2. Against a Notre Dame team that will be featuring the debut of Marcus Freeman as head football coach, they finished 11-1 this season. 

Michael Lantz

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish just missed the College Football Playoff this season, as they finished the year 11-1, with their lone loss being to their toughest opponent the Cincinnati Bearcats. Still, the Fighting Irish have a strong team that includes consistent quarterback play from Jack Coan who threw 20 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and had almost 68% completion percentage. On defense, they were led by JD Bertrand and his 93 tackles. The Fighting Irish will hope to end their season on a high as they take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl.

Like Notre Dame, Oklahoma State had its eyes set on a possible entrance into the College Football Playoff. They were 11-1 going into the Big 12 Championship, having won big games during the year against rivals Oklahoma and Baylor. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Baylor got revenge in the Championship Game, winning 21-16 and ending the Cowboy’s dream of winning a National Championship. They’ll look to put that loss behind them and focus on the Fiesta Bowl to end their season with 12 wins. They’ll rely heavily on dual-threat quarterback Spencer Sanders and lethal linebacker duo Malcolm Rodriguez and Devin Harper who had 118 and 85 tackles respectively. Oklahoma State will play under the fiery passion of coach Mike Gundy, whereas the Fighting Irish will debut under new head coach and former defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman who is a player favorite. Ultimately, Oklahoma State has more impressive talent on both sides of the ball and they’ve had to conquer a much harder schedule this year. I’ll pick them to take down the Fighting Irish. 

Michael’s College Football Pick: Oklahoma State (+116)

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Tony Battalio

This may perhaps be the best game of the early window. As both of these teams will have something to prove when they hit the field on New Year’s Day. Oklahoma State came mere inches short of being the Big 12 Champion and occupying a playoff spot. They finished the season with an incredible 11-2 record and with a huge win over Bedlam rival the Oklahoma Sooners. Now they will look for another statement win in the Fiesta Bowl over a fantastic 11-1 Notre Dame team that likely came just one upset loss in the last week of the year from a playoff spot themselves. 

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are the biggest mystery coming into this final stretch of this Bowl season. As immediately following the end of the regular season they lost their head coach when Brian Kelly bolted for LSU. Now they will be led into this one by up and comer Marcus Freeman and the buzz around the program hasn’t been this high in a long time. Find out on the field if the buzz will be lived up to as they will be without arguably their best two players in Kyren Williams and Kyle Hamilton as they have both declared for the draft. Notre Dame hasn’t had the best history in big bowl games recently but I believe that is something that will change in this game as I have the fighting Irish picking up their first major bowl win in almost 30 years. 

Tony’s College Football Pick: Notre Dame (-142)

#11 Utah vs #6 Ohio State – 5pm ET

This is the Rose Bowl game presented by Capital One Venture X. This Rose Bowl game is going to be a good one, as the PAC 12 Champions meet the Ohio State Buckeyes in Pasadena. Utah finished the season with a record of 10-3, while the Buckeyes finished with a record of 10-2 on the year. 

Michael Lantz

 The Ohio State Buckeyes were one game away from making the College Football Playoff. After they destroyed number 11 Michigan State 56-7, all they had to do was beat the Michigan Wolverines, a team they’ve bullied for the last decade. Unfortunately, their luck ran out as they were beaten by Michigan 42-27, and were sent to the Rose Bowl as opposed to the National Semifinal. They’ll hope to end the season with a big win in Pasadena, as they face a Utah team that went on a hot streak to end the season.

On October 23rd, the Utah Utes were 4-3 and looked like they were headed for the middle of the Pac-12. Then, they went on a six-game win streak to end the season, beating Oregon twice along the way, including in the Pac-12 Championship. Now they’ll look to carry their momentum into their first-ever Rose Bowl appearance. The Utes are anchored by running back Tavion Thomas, who had 20 touchdowns on the ground this year. On the defensive front, they were propelled by linebacker Devin Lloyd who had 107 tackles and 8 sacks. Lloyd will be ever-important as this Utah team will have to try and slow down the Buckeyes star quarterback CJ Stroud, who threw 38 touchdowns this season. Utah’s confidence is at a high, and this Buckeyes team lost to the same Oregon team that the Utes wiped the floor with this year. Still, the Buckeyes are used to this big stage and Stroud will be the toughest opponent the Utes will have faced this year. I’ll go with the Buckeyes to squeeze out a win here. 

Michael’s College Football Pick: Ohio State (-194)

Tony Battalio

The Utah Utes are coming into this game as the Pacific 12 Conference Champion after winning a second game over the Oregon Ducks. What makes this game unique is the fact that Oregon is a common opponent for both Utah and Ohio State, as the Buckeyes lost a game in week 2 to the Ducks, while as previously mentioned Utah beat Oregon twice this season. Utah finished the season with a 10-3 record on the season. If a few more plays would’ve gone Utah’s way they would likely be 13-0 or 12-1 and be playing in the college football playoff this season. Their three losses on the season came to fellow in-state school BYU, Mountain West runner up San Diego State, and fellow Pac12 school Oregon State. 

The Ohio State Buckeyes did not play in the Big Ten Championship for the first time in several years. After losing their last Big Ten Conference game of the season to rivals Michigan they find themselves in the Rose Bowl because Michigan is in the College Football Playoff. That’s a hard pill for any Buckeye to swallow, so they will surely be motivated heading into this game with Utah. However, even with a 10-2 season they still feel like they didn’t do enough. With several opt-outs for the Buckeyes, I don’t think they can do enough to win this one either, which is why I have the Utah Utes picking up the victory in the “Granddaddy Of Them All” in Pasadena. 

Tony’s College Football Pick: Utah (+156) 

#7 Baylor vs #8 Ole Miss – 8:45pm ET

The Allstate Sugar Bowl is being played between Big Twelve Champion Baylor and Ole Miss. Baylor finished the season with an 11-2 record and a huge last-second win over Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game. While Ole Miss finished the year with a record of 10-2. 

Michael Lantz

 The Baylor Bears were thrilled to capture a Big 12 Championship in head coach David Aranda’s second season at the helm. The Bear’s offense was propelled by running back Abram Smith who had over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this year. While they were led by quarterback Blake Shapen in the Big 12 Championship, the team will turn back to the man who quarterbacked for most of the season in Gerry Bohanon, who was injured for that matchup. For their final game of the 2021 season, they face an Ole Miss team that was plenty of fun to watch this year.

The Ole Miss Rebels were led on offense by quarterback Matt Corral, who threw 20 touchdowns and had over a 68% completion percentage. On defense, they have an absolute sack machine in Sam Williams, who recorded 12.5 of them on the season. The Rebels were 10-2 and were able to put up some big points against almost every opponent this year. Their only losses came against Alabama and an upset loss to Auburn. In this matchup of two teams that exceeded expectations, I’ll go with veteran coach Lane Kiffin to beat out up-and-comer Aranda in what should be a thrilling game.

Michael’s College Football Pick: Ole Miss (-118)

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Tony Battalio

This one is going to be an all-out dog fight between two very fast, very good teams. This will be a top ten battle between the number eight ranked team in the country and the number ten ranked team in the country. Baylor comes into this one on a high note as in their last game they won the Big 12 Championship with a last-second goal-line stand over Oklahoma State. While Baylor avenged their loss to the Cowboys earlier in the year, the upset loss to TCU is what likely kept them out of the college football playoff this season. However, they still managed to put together a great season, with wins over BYU, and Oklahoma. 

The Ole Miss Rebels also put together a fantastic season, they finished the year with a record of 10-2, one of those losses coming to a playoff team, Alabama. Ole Miss finished the year on a four-game winning streak, including a win over rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. As for the result of this game, I have Ole Miss picking up their fifth straight victory to end the season. It will be a nice ending to a beat season for Lane Kiffin’s Rebels, as it will allow them to build some momentum going into next season. 

Tony’s College Football Pick: Ole Miss (-118)

*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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