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Utah In Peach Bowl Leads Way For Local College Football Postseason Predictions

Photo: Josh Tilton, KSL Sports

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It has been an amusing season for college football in the state of Utah, but where will all of our teams end up? The KSL Sports team has some ideas.

The Cougars, who currently sit at 7-4, were faced with adversity at the quarterback position but came out with the knowledge that they have excellent depth. Kalani Sitake and BYU are heading to the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

While Utah State is out of the hunt for a conference title, they are bowl eligible with a current record of 6-5.

The biggest postseason question mark comes from the boys on the hill. Utah, with only a single loss, is in the conversation for a possible College Football Playoff berth. The scenario would have to be just right for the Utes to make it over Alabama or Georgia, even if they beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game.

Heading into that last week of the season the Cougars travel to take on San Diego State, the Utes host Colorado and the Aggies travel for a game against New Mexico.

Here are the KSL Sport’s team’s postseason predictions.

Jeremiah Jensen, SportsBeat

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

The Utes get a win over Colorado and then defeat Oregon to win their first Pac-12 Championship. The question will then be – does Utah get the nod from the College Football Playoff committee?

I believe they would be the choice over Alabama and Oklahoma assuming LSU defeats Georgia in the SEC Championship.

The Utes would get their shot at the big time in Atlanta. If they don’t get the playoff invite, their first trip to the Rose Bowl would be one heck of a consolation prize. Minnesota would be the likely opponent.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

We know BYU will spend Christmas Eve in Honolulu. What we don’t know is the opponent. Hawaii would be the best matchup.

A game against the Rainbow Warriors would be nostalgic and remind Cougar fans of trips to the islands during the glory years. If Hawaii wins the Mountain West championship game or Boise State gets a New Year’s Six invite the Cougars could face Wyoming or UCF from the AAC.

Utah State: Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Central Michigan

Utah State’s bowl destination is cloudy since the Mountain West doesn’t have a set pecking order. There are 7 bowl-eligible teams and just 5 bowl tie-ins plus a possible sixth with the Cheez-it Bowl.

The Aggies should beat New Mexico for their seventh win but it’s very possible they could get left out. Boise State earning the Group of 5 spot would open up a slot but it seems likely that will go to the AAC champ.

I’ll project a trip to Boise for the first time since 2015 but the Aggies will have reason to be nervous on Selection Sunday. The Arizona Bowl against Georgia Southern is another strong possibility.

Sam Farnsworth, SportsBeat

Utah: Rose Bowl vs. Minnesota

Utah will beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game and head to the Rose Bowl.

With the way the college football rankings are currently set up, I believe two SEC teams will be in the playoff along with Ohio State and Clemson. If Georgia beats LSU, LSU still goes. If Georgia loses, Alabama will be back even though they don’t deserve it having already lost to LSU.

That’s the committee for you.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

This one is obvious.

Utah State: New Mexico Bowl vs. Alabama-Birmingham

Tom Hackett, Special Forces Gang Podcast

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

At this point in the season, I am all in on Utah. What a special season it has been and will hopefully continue to be.

In the Pac-12 era for Utah, this is the first time ever that they have had a 10 win regular season. They are a top 6 team in the country and are vying for a CFB Playoff/Rose Bowl selection. Utah fans have dreamt of this for a long time and now find themselves within the reality.

Utah is a powerhouse. Both sides of the football are clicking, with very little, to no holes on the team. Kyle Whittingham has a team that is not afraid of the expectation, in fact, they have felt as though they belong in the Playoff conversation since last winter. Their time is now, and I am loving everything that I am seeing.

The players run this football team, while the coaches sit back and focus entirely on the game plan. What a luxury. Most collegiate coaches worry about their team’s morale and focus on the mental state of their football team. Not Utah. The players have control of morale. The coaches put the game plan together knowing that the players will execute.

Here’s hoping that Utah gets the opportunity to show the nation how good they really can be. Fingers crossed Ute fans, in the meantime, I would ask that you enjoy the ride. You may never see a better Utah team again.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

Hawaii travels enough during the regular season so they’ll stay home for the bowl game.

BYU’s independence is moving smoothly and they’re deserving of a tropical holiday.

Utah State: Arizona Bowl vs. Georgia State

Utah State has had a successful season under during Gary Andersen’s first year. They’ll play Georgia State because it will have to be a Sun Belt team and that’s my best guess.

Alex Kirry, KSL Unrivaled

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

I have hope for the Utes. This prediction is made in a world where the College Football Playoff committee comes to their senses and realizes that a Pac-12 Champ, elite defense and excellent offense is better than the name recognition of a lame-duck Big12 team or SEC flunky.

While the Oregon Ducks loss has complicated the path to the Playoff for Kyle Whittingham’s team, the committee is made up of sensible people who are trying to do the right thing.

Fun Fact: The College Football Playoff committee is not made up of sensible people.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

The Cougars are slightly improved this season and their bowl status has also improved. While the weather will certainly be a massive upgrade, it’s going to be a tougher opponent than last season.

Playing in Hawaii is always more difficult than meets the eye and the Rainbow Warriors are better than the Hawaii team BYU beat handily a year ago.

Fun Fact: Hawaii has played in 8 of the previous 17 Hawaii Bowls so put on your best Admiral Ackbar impersonation because, “IT’S A TRAP!”

Utah State: Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Central Michigan

It has been quite a disappointing go for the Aggies having lost three of their last five but did I mention that the Idaho Potato Bowl is famous?

Gary Andersen’s team will be next man up to take on another directional Michigan school after BYU roasted (potato pun) Western Michigan last year.

Fun Fact: This would be Gary Andersen’s third Potato Bowl, his first since taking the Aggies to the blue turf bowl in back-to-back seasons in 2011 and 2012.

Scott Mitchell, KSL Unrivaled

Utah: National Championship vs. Ohio State

Utah will be in two bowl games, the College Football Playoff Peach bowl which they will win and play Ohio State in the National Championship bowl in New Orleans.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

BYU is more than likely to play Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, I give it about at 75 percent chance.

Utah State: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

Because that’s what Alex Kirry said.

Ben Anderson, Jazz Notes Podcast

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

The College Football Playoff Rankings are very well set up for Utah to do the unthinkable and reach the Peach Bowl.

Even if Alabama wins out, the Utes will get a final data point against a top 15 Oregon team and a conference championship under their belt, assuming they can take down the Ducks. All Utah needs is for LSU to knock off Georgia, and the Utes should be in.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

This matchup seems set in stone and actually has a decent payoff for BYU. While playing on Christmas eve might be hard on some of the players, it should get decent viewership as sports fans across the country digest their Christmas hams.

It doesn’t hurt that Hawaii continues to churn out high-level division one recruits either.

Utah State: Arizona Bowl vs. Southern Georgia

The pluses of this game? You should get to spend New Year’s Eve in Arizona, which to an 18-22-year-old is a dream scenario. Also, fans from Logan should easily out-travel Georgia Southern fans.

The negatives? This was not how Aggies fans hoped the Jordan Love NFL tour would end.

Matt Glade, The Scotsman Podcast

Utah: Rose Bowl vs. Minnesota

I want to put them in the playoffs, I think they’re a top 4 team in the country. They will take care of Colorado and Oregon and the committee will still put Alabama in before the Utes. It’s unfortunate and I hope I’m wrong, but the Rose Bowl isn’t a bad consolation.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Temple

Since the Cougars have already accepted, I’m 99.9 % sure this is where they’ll be. The only thing up in the air is their opponent. If Hawaii somehow beats Boise State in the Mountain West Championship, they’ll go to Vegas, so BYU will get an AAC team.

Utah State: Arizona Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

The Aggies will be the last Mountain West team to receive a bid. There is a possibility they could be left off, however, I think Nevada would be more likely not to receive an invite if that were to happen.

Boise State will go to the Las Vegas Bowl, San Diego State to the New Mexico Bowl, Wyoming to the Idaho Potato Bowl, and Air Force to the Armed Forces Bowl, leaving Utah State with Arizona.

Mitch Harper, Cougar Tracks Podcast

Utah: Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin

A rematch of the 1996 Copper Bowl, Utah and Wisconsin would be a great matchup featuring two of the best running backs in college football with Zack Moss and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

I would be stunned if BYU doesn’t face the hometown Rainbow Warriors, even if Hawaii wins the Mountain West Conference on December 7 against Boise State. Old WAC rivals renew their rivalry for the first time ever in the postseason.

Utah State: Arizona Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

Arizona Bowl wasn’t the type of game Aggie fans envisioned before the season. If Utah State goes to Tucson, it would be their second appearance in three years.

Zak Hicken, SportsBeat Afterhours Podcast

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

The goal this season was a trip to the Rose Bowl, but this team has a chance to surpass that goal with a trip to the College Football Playoff in their sights.

The Utes have dominated this season and a dominating performance against Colorado in front of a national audience may leave a lasting impression heading into the Pac-12 Championship Game.

I think a win against Oregon will prove to be enough to earn a top-four seed in the playoff and a trip to the Peach Bowl.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

Hawaii has been the destination since the beginning of the season. It’s been a wild ride for the Cougars. After a strong 2-2 start, the postseason outlook seemed bleak after two losses to Toledo and USF. Five-straight wins have the Cougars propelled to a strong finish heading into the 2020 season.

With Hawaii as the likely opponent, BYU fans get a present against a familiar rival on Christmas Eve.

Utah State: New Mexico Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

The season started with aspirations of a Mountain West Championship but has been extremely disappointing. The Aggies have limped to bowl eligibility and likely need a seventh win in their season finale against New Mexico to secure a place in a bowl game.

It’s a toss-up between the Potato Bowl and the Arizona Bowl for me, but I’m leaning Arizona for no reason other than I spent the weekend in Tucson and had some of the best tacos I’ve ever had and need an excuse to go back. Fries are good too so I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up in the Potato Bowl instead.

Utah State’s likely opponent is Georgia Southern out of the Sun Belt. You’re probably asking yourself, Georgia Southern? Aren’t they an FCS team? No. In fact, I did some research on Georgia Southern and think they’d be a formidable opponent for the Aggies.

First off, they have a Raptor Center named the Lamar Q Ball Jr. Raptor Center. Raising predatory birds is super dope and then to top it off, the building is named after the long lost Ball brother (not really, but we can pretend).

Georgia Southern is located in Statesboro, Georgia which is nice, but they have a satellite campus in Savannah which is dope. Savannah is a major focal point in the Season 6 episode of ‘The Office’ ‘Murder’ which is one of the best episodes of the series. I just imagine all of the players on Georgia Southern’s team having southern accents like Andy Bernard where the words spill out of their mouth like molasses.

Hema Heimuli, SportsBeat Afterhours Podcast

Utah: Rose Bowl vs. Minnesota

Utah is the best team in the Pac-12 and will go to the best bowl game for the Pac-12. Minnesota, also having a special season, will meet the Utes in Pasadena for a New Year’s Eve date with the best defense in college football.

After feasting on duck the week after thanksgiving, Ute nation will be unsatisfied and look to devouring gopher. But…

If the Utes can completely destroy the Buffs on ABC, with the world watching, I could see Utah vs. LSU at Mercedes Benz stadium, but a lot would have to play out in their favor.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

We already know where BYU is going, I feel like the Mountain West is pretty predictable. The Hawaii bowl is a faux-years eve bowl and quite frankly, looking back at the rollercoaster season Kalani  Sitake has had, the Cougars are lucky to get a week in Hawaii and an easy win.

Utah State: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Central Michigan

Utah State, unfortunately, has underperformed in a bad way. This is not a reflection on the talented senior class that I know will eventually play in the league, but the Aggies deserve to drive to Boise for their bowl win.

Trevor Allen, Crimson Corner Podcast

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

A few things need to play out in order for this to happen. Utah needs to beat Colorado and Oregon and the games probably shouldn’t be close.

They also need Oklahoma to lose one game or win by very little. Also, LSU needs to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship and Auburn needs to beat Alabama. All of these things are very possible.

If that does happen, the College Football Playoff Committee can’t keep the Utes out of the Playoff. If they base their selection off of the best teams in the country, Utah is right up there.

The numbers show it, fielding one of the best defenses in the country, along with one of the most efficient quarterbacks and one of the best running backs in the nation, the Utes should be Playoff-bound.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

This is a simple one because BYU has a bowl tie in with the Hawaii Bowl and as long as they became bowl eligible and didn’t reach a New Year’s six-game, they would be Hawaii bound.

With the Mountain West determining their bowl games for their members based on geography, the only logical opponent is the Rainbow Warriors.

Utah State Aggies: Arizona Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

The Mountain West Conference doesn’t have a pecking order for their bowl games based on standings, it is based on geography.

If it was a pecking order, I would have slotted the Aggies in the Armed Forces Bowl because I believe Boise State will get the group of five entry into the Cotton Bowl but, the Aggies are closer to Arizona and both Wyoming and Air Force are geographically closer to Fort Worth, Texas, where the Armed Forces Bowl is played.

Kyle Ireland, KSL Sports Digital Producer

Utah: Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin

Unfortunately for Ute fans, I don’t think the College Football Playoff committee will respect a 12-1 Pac-12 champion Utah team like they will an 11-1 non-conference champion Alabama.

The Utes should beat Colorado and Oregon but I think the SEC bias will be too much to overcome in Utah’s bid for a top-4 ranking. Reaching the Rose Bowl is a great consolation prize.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

Everyone knows the likelihood of the Cougars playing at Aloha Stadium on Christmas Eve is 99.9 percent. The only remaining question is who they’ll play. Hawaii seems like the safest bet. It provides Hawaii a more profitable postseason without having to fly to the mainland while also reigniting with an old rival.

Throwback uniforms are a must.

Utah State: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Toledo

I think that this one comes down to geography. After the New Year’s Six and Las Vegas bowls, the Mountain West doesn’t have much of an order to how their postseason ties go. I think the Aggies will stay close to home this bowl season.

Nate Dowdle, KSL Sports Director

Utah: Peach Bowl vs. LSU

The Utes deserve a College Football Playoff berth.

Period.

End of sentence.

In order to get there, the college football gods have to smile on Utah, granting Auburn a win in this weekend’s Iron Bowl, LSU a win in the SEC championship game and allowing the Utes to run over both Colorado in their regular-season finale and Oregon in the Pac-12 championship.

As a glass-half-full kind of guy (your eye roll goes here), it all falls Utah’s way and the Beehive State gets its first foray into the world of a College Football Playoff semifinal.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

The Cougars are already slotted for an appearance in the Hawaii Bowl, so this is a given, and an 8-win BYU team could ask for a lot worse than Hawaii as a postseason destination.

As for the Cougs’ opponent, you have to think that the people at ESPN events love the idea of a throwback matchup to the old WAC days. KSLSports.com BYU insider Mitch Harper hit it right on the head with this tweet last week.

Utah State: Arizona Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

The Aggies have to be disappointed after their performance against Boise State last weekend in Logan.

Yet all is not lost, as Utah State has a chance to get a seventh win at New Mexico on Saturday. The Lobos are bad, as in 0-7 in the Mountain West bad, so the task ahead of the Aggies is more than doable.

The Aggies will head to Tucson at 7-5, matching up with the Eagles from the Sun Belt Conference. There is a little bit of history for USU to correct in this game after they lost the 2017 edition of this bowl in overtime to New Mexico State.

Jared Turner, KSL Sports Digital Director

Utah: Rose Bowl vs. Minnesota

Utah deserves a spot in the playoff, but the allure of the SEC will win out. Either Georgia or Alabama will get in ahead of the Utes.

It’s not the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last. Utah will need that chip on their shoulder with something to prove in the Rose Bowl. They’ll need it to avoid a letdown overlooking Minnesota. The Golden Gophers aren’t much any other year, but they’re for real in 2019.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Navy

The popular pick for BYU’s Christmas Eve opponent is Hawaii, but the Rainbows still have the Mountain West Championship. Their holiday plans rely more on that than their automatic bid to the bowl on the islands.

The Hawaii Bowl doesn’t even have to pick a Mountain West team. They could also pick from the American Athletic Conference.

If things go well for either team, BYU could be 8-4 and ranked (it could happen), and Navy could be 10-2 and ranked. The Hawaii Bowl officials might have a hard time turning that down.

Utah State: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Central Michigan

Bowl games with Mountain West tie-ins will be drooling over Utah State and Jordan Love. For a 6-5 team (soon to be 7-5 after the Aggies play 2-9 New Mexico), USU will get the nod to make the four-hour drive to play in Boise.

Madisan Hinkhouse, KSLSports.com Executive Producer

Utah: National Championship vs. Ohio State

While my (almost) all of my co-workers and nearly everyone else thinks just getting to the College Football Playoff is huge (which it would be), I am going be the optimist and predict a Natty coming to Utah because we all know – magic happens in the post-season.

BYU: Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii

Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas in Hawaii playing college football’s coolest mascot – the Rainbow Warriors?

Utah State: Arizona Bowl vs. Georgia Southern

Unfortunately, the Aggies were plagued by injuries and didn’t have the season they wanted, but I think there’s a good chance they’ll end the season on a high note with a bowl victory in front of plenty of Utah State football fans.

Tweet or comment your predictions at us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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