The 2020 college football season hasn’t been normal, but one thing that remains intact is the bowl season. No real surprises with the College Football Playoff pairings announced of Sunday afternoon.
No. 1 Alabama (11-0) will face No. 4 Notre Dame (11-1) in the Rose Bowl that was moved from Pasadena, Calif. to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on New Year’s Day (5 p.m. ET/ TV: ESPN). It’s the first of the two semifinal games followed by No. 2 Clemson (10-1) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (6-0) in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl (8 p.m. ET/ TV: ESPN).
Dabo Swinney and the Tigers picked up a sixth-straight ACC Championship with a 34-10 win over Notre Dame at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday night. Clemson is now 39-2 over the past three seasons with back-to-back appearances in the National Championship. Trevor Lawrence is considered to be a Heisman candidate with 2,753 passing yards, 22 TD’s, 4 INT’s; and 7 rushing TD’s after missing two games due to COVID-19.
Clemson is not the only team from the Carolinas who made a New Year’s Six bowl game. Perhaps what’s slated to be one of the best match-up’s during this bowl season will be the Orange Bowl between No. 13 North Carolina (8-3) and No. 5 Texas A&M (8-1). The Aggies were kept out of competing for a national championship despite boasting an impressive resume. Their only loss came on Oct. 3 at the hands of top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa by a score of 52-24. Notre Dame was chosen by the Playoff committee after the rematch loss to Clemson due to a better strength of schedule. The Orange Bowl is scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff from the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. on Jan 2. (TV: ESPN/Radio: WBT).
The Tar Heels’ rivals, No. 23 N.C. State (8-3), will also be playing on Jan. 2. About 350 miles to the north, up I-95 in Jacksonville Fla. for a Gator Bowl meeting with Kentucky (4-6). The Wolfpack faces the SEC East team with a losing record due to bowl requirements being changed due to COVID-19. All four of Kentucky’s wins came against teams with eight combined wins on the season. The Gator Bowl is scheduled for a Noon ET kickoff from TIAA Bank Field (TV: ESPN).
Charlotte’s only bowl game features an in-state school for a classic ACC vs. Big Ten match-up. Wake Forest (4-4) won’t have to travel far to take on Wisconsin (3-3) in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Two teams who are evenly matched, but have different stories going into the postseason. The Demon Deacons accept an invitation to a fifth-straight bowl game which is a school record for consecutive winning seasons. A disappointing season for the Badgers overall, who’ve dealt with cancellations due to Coronavirus, but started the season at 2-0 before enduring a three-game losing skid that was snapped with a 20-17 win over Minnesota to end at .500. The Duke’s Bowl is scheduled for a Noon ET kickoff on Dec. 30 from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (TV: ESPN).
South Carolina (2-8) takes on UAB (6-3) in the Gasparilla Bowl from Tampa Fla. on Dec. 26. Kickoff is scheduled for Noon ET (TV: ABC). The Gamecocks enter the postseason as one of the worst teams and are currently riding a six-game losing streak.
One of the best stories of the 2020 college football season has been No. 9 Coastal Carolina (11-0). The undefeated darlings of the Sun Belt conference face No. 23 Liberty (9-1) in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla on Dec. 26. Kickoff has yet to be determined (TV: ESPN).
Appalachian State (8-3) treks across the Carolinas for a meeting with North Texas (4-5) in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Dec. 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN). It will be the first game to open up the 2020 bowl season that will end with the National Championship game on Jan. 11, 2021 from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. (8 p.m. ET/TV: ESPN).