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NEW YEAR'S DAY BOWL GAMES OPEN THREAD

The Big Ten's big day. (Oh, and that Playoff thing, too...)

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Here's your open thread for the New Year's Daybowl games.  The main storyline in today's games is, of course, the first-ever College Football Playoff games, taking place in the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl later today.  While those games should be good, they also feature two of the highest spreads of bowl season (both Oregon and Alabama are favored by more than a touchdown in their games), so you know... there's definite blowout potential there.

Meanwhile, the other storyline of the day is that even with the new bowl scheduling that we've seen to work around the College Football Playoff and New Year's Six bowl games, New Year's Day is still very much Big Ten territory: four of the five bowls being played today feature a Big Ten team.  (Cruelly, the one bowl that doesn't feature a Big Ten team is the one that's been most closely linked to the Big Ten for years -- the Rose Bowl.)  So once again we have an opportunity for the Big Ten to turn some heads and earn some respect with the eyes of the nation watching it... or we have an opportunity for the Big Ten to get pummeled by the rest of the country.  Of course, perception-wise, the only games that really matter are Ohio State-Alabama and, to a lesser extent, Michigan State-Baylor.  Wins by Wisconsin and Minnesota would be nice for the conference, but they aren't going to move the needle in terms of how the league is viewed.

LINES

Outback Bowl: AUB -6.5; O/U 63.5
Cotton Bowl: BAY -2.5; O/U 69.5
Citrus Bowl: MIZZ -4.5; O/U 47.5
Rose Bowl: ORE -8; O/U 71.5
Sugar Bowl: ALA -9; O/U 58.5

HOW TO WATCH

All games are on ESPN (unless otherwise noted) and WatchESPN.  All times listed are Central.

11:00 AM (ESPN2) -- Outback Bowl: #18 Wisconsin vs #19 Auburn
11:30 AM (ESPN) -- Cotton Bowl: #5 Baylor vs #8 Michigan State
12:00 PM (ABC) -- Citrus Bowl: #16 Missouri vs #25 Minnesota

College Football Playoff Semifinals

4:00 PM (ESPN) -- Rose Bowl: #2 Oregon vs #3 Florida State
7:30 PM (ESPN) -- Sugar Bowl: #1 Alabama vs #4 Ohio State

The usual rules apply.