(Graham Rahal, driver of the No. 15 Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series, is an avid sports fan – especially of college football and his beloved Ohio State University Buckeyes. In the last of three installments, Rahal is providing IndyCar.com his outlook on some of the major college bowl games taking place this weekend.
Allstate Sugar Bowl (Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans)
No. 14 Auburn Tigers vs. No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners (Today, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): This game, part of me doesn’t know what to make of it. I don’t think Auburn is very good, at least from what I’ve seen, and earlier in the year I saw Ohio State flat-out dominate Oklahoma. I know it was earlier in the year and these are two top-tier teams, however, it will be interesting to see how this one balances out.
You have a Southeastern Conference defense against a high-flying Big 12 Oklahoma offense, but I think this year the SEC was extremely weak. It blows my mind that the SEC East champion Florida Gators went to the SEC title game with four losses, but that’s really what it was in the SEC this year – Alabama and then a huge drop-off to everybody else. I think that shows what Oklahoma is up against in this game and I may be wrong, but I expect the Sooners to deal with the Tigers pretty handily in this one.
Keys to the game: Can Auburn somehow slow Oklahoma’s offense? If the Sooners get rolling, the Tigers are going to be in trouble because they simply don’t have the offense to keep up with Oklahoma.
Pick to win: Oklahoma
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas)
No. 15 Western Michigan Broncos vs. No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (Today, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN): P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan’s coach, has done a great job to fire up his team this year and get it ready to play, very similar to what Tom Herman did at Houston. Having said that, I just think Wisconsin is a powerhouse team and I would be shocked if the Broncos can hang in there. Wisconsin is going to be tough. Running back Corey Clement, along with a defense that’s led by T.J. Watt, hit hard and I think they are going to be able to wear the Broncos down.
Keys to the game: Can Western Michigan somehow get points on the board? I think Wisconsin’s defense is very stout.
Pick to win: Wisconsin