Notre Dame’s foes have gone 5-4 thus far in their bowls, with only Georgia remaining to play. Taking a quick look at those results is a completist’s curse, much like the last three seasons of “The Big Bang Theory.” After spending the fall previewing and recapping the weeks of Temple, Michigan State and Stanford, it only makes sense to take a look at how they finished. If having spent half a decade watching Sheldon antagonize everyone around him, wasting a few more Thursday nights waiting for his demise is understandable, though not quite reasonable.
Do keep in mind, as it comes to seeing things through to their finish, closing New Year’s Eve strong may inhibit an Irish fan’s ability to see the end of Notre Dame’s season. The drunk tank will not have a TV showing the Citrus Bowl come Monday at 1 p.m. ET (ABC). Watching horizontally from your couch would be preferable in every conceivable regard, even if the local ride-sharing service charged a surge rate.
Temple (7-6): The Owls beat Florida International 28-3 in the Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 19. Temple’s defense supported a balanced offensive attack by forcing three turnovers.
Georgia (12-1): The Bulldogs meet Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on Monday at 5 p.m. ET (ESPN). Remember the brief moments when it seemed distinctly possible the Irish could be in the “Granddaddy of them all”? That was a nice few weeks of dreaming about New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles.
Georgia is favored by 2.5 points with a combined point total over/under of 60, hinting at a 31-29 –esque finish.
Boston College (7-6): The Eagles fell to Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl 27-20 on Wednesday. Freshman running back A.J. Dillon gained 157 yards on 32 carries, scoring one touchdown. This loss notwithstanding, Boston College finished 2017 as a team on the upswing — and Dillon’s class year should be noted; he will still be with the Eagles when they visit Notre Dame in 2019.
Michigan State (10-3): The Spartans blew past Washington State 42-17 in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday. The dominating performance solidified the verdict of Mark Dantonio’s team having fully rebounded from its lackluster 2016.
USC (11-3): The Trojans lost to Ohio State 24-7 in the Rose Bowl on Friday. USC’s offense and junior quarterback Sam Darnold had no trouble moving the ball, gaining 413 total yards with 356 through the air, but four turnovers were too much to overcome.
North Carolina State (9-4): Senior quarterback Ryan Finley led the Wolfpack to a 52-31 victory over Arizona State in the Sun Bowl on Friday. Finley threw for 318 yards and a touchdown by completing 24 of 29 passes, the last marks of a good season that was oh-so-very close to great.
Wake Forest (8-5): Notre Dame faces the Demon Deacons again in 2018, and buckle up for that one. If Wake Forest can replace outgoing senior quarterback John Wolford, its offense may be ready to utterly bust loose.
Wolford threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns on 32-of-49 passing in a 55-52 victory over Texas A&M in Friday’s Belk Bowl. Junior running back Matt Colburn rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. For that matter, the Deacons raced up-and-down the field sans standout sophomore receiver Greg Dortch.
Miami (FL) (10-3): Despite the Orange Bowl taking place at Hard Rock Stadium, the Hurricanes could not keep up with Wisconsin on Saturday, falling 34-24. Some version of a “Turnover Chain” joke feels appropriate here, given Miami lost three turnovers to the Badgers.
Navy (7-6): The Midshipmen never gave Virginia a chance, winning Thursday’s Military Bowl 49-7. Navy rushed for 452 yards while the Cavaliers gained all of 30.
Stanford (9-5): The Cardinal covered the spread, for anyone tracking such things, but could not beat TCU in the Alamo Bowl on Thursday. The Horned Frogs won 39-37 despite Stanford junior running back Bryce Love rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in possibly/likely his collegiate finale.