The playoff semifinals were played on New Year's Eve and the Rose & Fiesta Bowls get the New Year's Day slots. Here are my top player prop college football picks for the Rose & Fiesta.
Christian McCaffrey 'Over/Under' 148.5 Rushing Yards, 3.5 Catches, 47.5 Receiving Yards, 1.5 TDs
The rushing yard options are both -120 on college football odds as are the receiving yards. Stanford's sophomore do-it-all Heisman Trophy runner-up is easily the biggest-name player to be playing in all of Friday's bowl games. McCaffrey was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-American after setting the Division I record for all-purpose yards with 3,496, shattering the previous mark set by Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (3,250 in 1988). McCaffrey's best game might have been his most recent as he had 461 total yards in the Pac-12 title game rout of USC. He rushed for 207 yards and caught four passes for 105 yards (rest of yardage on kick returns). He also had two touchdowns and even threw one. McCaffrey does go against a very good Iowa defense. The Hawkeyes only give up 18.5 points per game and allow 114.9 yards rushing. Iowa has allowed 10 rushing touchdowns, tied for eighth-fewest in the country. The Hawkeyes also allowed only 12 scrimmage plays of 30-plus yards, fewest in the Big Ten. McCaffrey's season-low in rushing yards is 58 against Central Florida in Stanford's second game. He has topped 148.5 five times this season. His season high in catches is five and in receiving yards 112. McCaffrey has had at least one catch in every game.
Free NCAAF Picks: Iowa is going to sell out to stop the run. 'Under' rushing yards, 'over' the other three.
C.J. Beathard O/U 17.5 Completions, 215.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Passes + INTs
Iowa has one of the most balanced offenses in the country. Its 5,119 total yards are divided by 2,496 yards rushing and 2,623 yards passing. Beathard is 13-1 as Iowa’s starting quarterback and was the only QB in school history to win his first 13 career starts. He averages 218.5 yards of total offense per game. Beathard seems to shine in crunch time as he is 35-for-52 passing for 554 yards and four touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season. He has also rushed 19 times for 42 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He engineered two game-winning drives (Iowa State and Pitt). Beathard has topped 215.5 passing yards four times. He has gone over 17.5 completions five times. Beathard has thrown for 15 TDs with four picks. As usual, Stanford has a good defense, but it allows 227.6 passing yards per game. To be fair, they throw the ball a lot in the Pac-12.
Free NCAAF Picks: 'Under' first two, 'over' the TDs + INTs.
Ezekiel Elliott O/U 125.5 Rushing Yards, 1.5 Total TDs
This will be Buckeyes junior Elliott's final collegiate game as he already has said he's going pro and should be a first-round pick. Elliott was named the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year. He led the conference in rushing at 139.3 yards per game, scoring (19 touchdowns) and all-purpose yards per game (155.1). He was No. 5 nationally in rushing yards with 1,672 and second in rushing TDs entering the bowl games. Elliott's season included 11 100-yard rushing games, including a 274-yard game against Indiana that featured second-half touchdown runs of 55-, 65- and 75-yards and an Ohio State-record 243 rushing yards in one half. Elliott is now Ohio State's second all-time leading rusher with 3,812 yards. Elliott made big news when he called out the OSU coaches following a loss to Michigan State in which Elliott only got 12 carries. Urban Meyer said Elliott was right, and the next week Elliott got the ball a season-high 30 times against a stellar Michigan defense and had 214 yards and two touchdowns. He's not much of a threat as a receiver and hasn't scored that way. Elliott goes against a Notre Dame defense that is only 65th against the run. For a point of comparison, McCaffrey had 94 yards vs. the Irish.
Free NCAAF Picks: Barring injury, Elliott should easily go 'over' both.
DeShone Kizer O/U 19.5 Completions, 260.5 Passing Yards, 2.5 TD Passes + INTs
Kizer is from Toledo but Ohio State dragged its feet in recruiting him until it was too late. In Kizer's 2014 recruiting class, Urban Meyer locked in on Deshaun Watson as his top quarterback prospect. When Watson went to Clemson, Meyer focused on guys like Kyle Allen, Jerrod Heard, Brandon Harris and Zach Darlington. Kizer was thrown into the fire early this season when starter Malik Zaire (also from Ohio) was hurt in Notre Dame's second game. Kizer completed 189-for-298 for 2,600 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine picks. Ohio State has a terrific defense, but Kizer has faced some very good ones in Clemson, Boston College and Stanford. He threw for 321 yards, two scores and a pick in the loss at Clemson, 324 yards, two TDs and three picks in a close win over Boston College, and 234 yards, one TD and no picks in a close loss at Stanford. OSU ranks 12th against the pass, allowing 176.2 yards per game. The Buckeyes have given up only 12 TD passes and picked off 11. Take that into account when making your college football picks.
Free NCAAF Picks: 'Under' first two, 'over' TDs + INTs as I could see OSU picking him off twice. Kizer should throw at least one TD pass.