Who ya got on New Year’s Day?
There are five big bowl games on New Year’s Day this year, three of which feature teams from the Big Ten and three more from the SEC.
The games will feature players whose names you’ll hear when looking ahead to the 2022 NFL Draft (and future draft classes as well). Here’s how the games play out.
Penn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4)
Noon ET — ESPN2
Penn State was a top-five team at one point this year and comes in with one of the top receivers in the coming NFL Draft: Jahan Dotson. two linebackers — Brandon Smith and Arnold Ebiketie — and safety Jaquan Brisker who could be drafted on the first or second day of the 2022 NFL Draft. Arkansas features receiver Treylon Burks, who could be a late-first round pick.
Iowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3)
1 PM ET — ABC
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is arguably the best interior offensive lineman in the country. Corner Riley Moss and linebacker Jack Campbell are also solid NFL prospects with mid-round grades. Kentucky’s offensive line features Darian Kinnard, who is also a top NFL prospect.
Notre Dame (11-1) vs. Oklahoma State (11-2)
1 PM ET — ESPN
Notre Dame came this close to the playoff, but settles for a mid-day kickoff against Oklahoma State. Safety Kyle Hamilton won’t play in the Fiesta Bowl; he’s going pro and could be a target for the Jets early in the 2022 NFL Draft. With no Brian Kelly, this will be the first official game for Marcus Freeman as Notre Dame’s head coach.
Ohio State (10-2) vs. Utah (10-3)
5 PM ET — ESPN
The Buckeyes lost to Michigan, their second loss of the season, so the Rose Bowl is their consolation. Quarterback CJ Stroud was a Heisman Trophy finalist and leads a high power offense that is loaded with future NFL players at every skill position.
Ole Miss (10-2) vs. Baylor (11-2)
8:45 PM ET — ESPN
The prime time game on New Year’s Day, if you’re awake, features a couple teams with intriguing pro prospects. Ole Miss and Baylor had successful seasons, but their two losses kept both from the playoff. This could be a high scoring affair.