College football bowls: TV schedule and game previews
Here's the complete college football bowl television schedule on all major TV networks and previews of some of the top games.
*All times Eastern
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Monday, Jan. 2
No. 5 Penn State vs. No. 9 Southern California | 5 p.m. | ESPN
Preview: USC started the season with a 1-3 record and Penn State, a 2-2 mark, but since then these programs have combined for 17 consecutive victories to meet in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” — the 103rd Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Southern Cal leads the all-time series, 5-4, with the most recent matchup coming in each squad’s last Rose Bowl appearance: a 2009 USC victory. In the College Football Playoff rankings, Penn State slots in the unenviable No. 5 spot while USC weighs in at No. 9. Both programs own 2016 wins over a team playing in the College Football Playoff semifinals — Penn State beat Ohio State, while USC doubled up Washington.
Players to watch
- Freshman sensation Sam Darnold has yet to taste defeat as the starting quarterback for the Trojans, boasting an 8-0 record. Darnold has thrown for 2,633 yards while completing 68.1 percent of his passes, and his 26 scoring strikes (against eight interceptions) are already a program record for freshmen.
- Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, has run for 1,302 yards and 16 touchdowns. The sophomore has also caught 23 passes for 347 yards (15.1 yards per reception), with three additional scores.
- USC is making an unprecedented 33rd trip to the Rose Bowl Game, where it has won 75 percent of the time – including 11 of the last 13.
- Penn State is tied for fourth nationally with 28 bowl victories and ranks third in bowl winning percentage at 63 percent, with a 28-16-2 mark (among schools with at least 20 postseason appearances).
- With this year’s appearance, the Trojans will have played in the Rose Bowl Game during the term of every United States President since 1929.
- Nittany Lions sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley has thrown for 3,360 yards with 25 touchdowns and just five picks.
- In his past six games, Trojans running back Ronald Jones II has 10 rushing touchdowns and four 100-yard efforts.
- Wide receiver Chris Godwin paces Penn State in receptions (50), receiving yards (795) and touchdown catches (nine).
- All three of USC’s losses this season have come on the road to Associated Press Top-25 teams.
- This year’s game is a 94-year-old rematch of the first Rose Bowl game played in the current Pasadena stadium, with the 1923 rendition also serving as the initial bowl contest for each program.
No. 14 Auburn vs. No. 7 Oklahoma | 8:30 p.m. | ESPN
Preview: Three of Auburn’s four losses have come to teams ranked among the top 17 nationally — including the season opener against No. 2 Clemson and its most recent draw, against No. 1 Alabama. Oklahoma began its season with a 1-2 mark after losses to No. 15 Houston and No. 3 Ohio State, but since then the Sooners have beaten three ranked opponents among nine straight victories — becoming the first team to ever go 9-0 in Big 12 Conference play. No. 14 Auburn earned its Allstate Sugar Bowl invitation by being the highest-ranked Southeastern Conference team not heading to the College Football Playoffs. No. 7 Oklahoma, meanwhile, won the Big 12 title by outscoring league foes by an average of 18.8 points per game.
Players to watch
- Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway ran for 1,123 yards this season on just 185 carries – a robust average of 6.1 yards per pop. The 6-foot, 240-pound sophomore crossed the goal line seven times, although three of his scores came in one game, at Mississippi State on Oct. 8.
- Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield led the nation with an obscene 197.8 passer rating – 14.5 points higher than runner-up Logan Woodside of Toledo. The junior threw 38 touchdown passes and eight interceptions while completing 71.2 percent of his passes. Mayfield ran for six additional scores.
- Oklahoma is making its eighth Sugar Bowl appearance.
- Auburn ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense (15.6 points per game) and 20th in total defense (348.4 yards per game).
- The Sooners rank third nationally in scoring offense (44.7 points per game) and total offense (557.3 yards per game).
- The Tigers have strongly committed to the ground game, compiling 599 carries against a mere 262 pass attempts.
- Sooners wide receiver Dede Westbrook has 34 more receptions (74), 1,016 more receiving yards 1,465) and 10 more receiving touchdowns (16) than his closest teammates.
- Auburn placekicker Daniel Carlson has scored 121 points and missed just four of 30 field-goal attempts — with a 4-for-7 performance from 50-plus yards.
- Only undefeated teams Alabama and Western Michigan have longer active winning streaks than Oklahoma.
Monday, Jan. 9
CFP National Championship | No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Clemson | 8 p.m. | ESPN