The 2018-19 college football bowl season has reached its ultimate conclusion, and it comes with the second-best day of games on this slate: New Year’s Day. A couple SEC teams are in action early as the day ends with the final three New Year’s Six games. Some of the nation’s best teams will be going at it over the course of a loaded slate, the last college football we will see for one week until the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game — against the spread and straight up — on Tuesday’s slate. Check out their picks below and be sure to head over to our Ultimate College Football Bowl Guide for expert picks, analysis and stats on every remaining game on the slate.
All times Eastern
Outback Bowl — No. 18 Mississippi State (-7) vs. Iowa — noon on ESPN2: Given the defensive nature of both teams, as well as their offensive profiles, I don’t expect the score in this game will be on the shootout end of the spectrum. With points at a premium, it’s hard to pass up on an Iowa team that’s getting nearly a touchdown from the oddsmakers, so even though I’m expecting Mississippi State to win the game, I’m taking Iowa to cover. Pick: Iowa +7 — Tom Fornelli
Citrus Bowl — No. 12 Penn State (-6) vs. No. 14 Kentucky — 1 p.m. on ABC: It’s really hard to ignore how well Penn State played in its last two bowls, both New Year’s Six games, and wonder if Trace McSorley is going to be the difference maker here in a fantastic battle between the Nittany Lions’ offense and Kentucky’s nasty defensive front. While Barkley is not with PSU anymore, Sanders has been just as effective in the rushing game, and I think Penn State can capitalize on good field position opportunities for the few touchdowns it needs to win this game and cover the spread. It’s just hard to imagine Kentucky scoring more than 20 points against Penn State’s defense. Pick: Penn State -6 — Chip Patterson
Fiesta Bowl — No. 11 LSU (-7) vs. No. 8 UCF — 1 p.m. on ESPN: The UCF dream will come crashing down against LSU on New Year’s Day, when the Tigers defense shuts down Darriel Mack Jr. and limits big plays from the high-octane Knights. The speed and physicality that the Tigers boast is unlike anything Josh Heupel’s crew has seen this year, and the battle at the line of scrimmage will be the most one-sided matchup of the bowl season. Joe Burrow will work off play-action well, spread the ball around to his receivers and make the Knights first loss in more than two years as slow and painful as possible. Pick: LSU -7 — Barrett Sallee
Rose Bowl — No. 6 Ohio State (-6.5) vs. No. 9 Washington — 5 p.m. on ESPN: Ohio State has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, and as we saw earlier this season against Michigan, it’s proven it can score against any defense, no matter how good it is. And it will be facing another good one in the Washington Huskies. Still, I think this Washington offense — particularly Myles Gaskin — will be able to move the ball against an Ohio State defense that’s been prone to allowing big plays all season long. So this could be a fun, back-and-forth affair. I have a hard time thinking the Buckeyes won’t win in Urban Meyer’s final game, but I have a harder time thinking a Chris Petersen team won’t manage to cover the spread in a bowl game. Pick: Washington +6.5 — Tom Fornelli
Sugar Bowl — No. 5 Georgia (-12.5) vs. No. 15 Texas — 8:45 p.m. on ESPN: As it has been in the past, Tom Herman is almost a sure thing as an underdog, covering the spread 12 times out of 15 dating back to his days as the coach of Houston. Texas tends to play things close, as well, and with two run-heavy offenses, this one should have all the makings of a physical, smashmouth game sure to impress the more old-school football lovers. Pick: Texas +12.5 — Ben Kercheval