2017's bowl games announced, highlighted by big New Year's Six

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The 2017 New Year's Six have been established as bowl game announcements are underway.

With the announcement of the College Football Playoff teams -- No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama -- the semifinal games were decided upon.

Clemson and Alabama will play each other for the third time in Clemson's three playoff appearances -- and a rematch of the 2016 title game -- at the Sugar Bowl on Monday, Jan. 1 (8:45 p.m. ET on ESPN). Nick Saban's Tide will seek to avenge their title loss last year; since joining Alabama in 2007, Saban is 10-2 against teams he lost to the previous season (only LSU and Ole Miss have taken him down in consecutive seasons), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Earlier on New Year's Day, Georgia and Oklahoma will fight for a spot in the title game at the Rose Bowl (5 p.m. ET on ESPN). It's just the second time since 1920 that the Rose Bowl does not feature a Big Ten or Pac-12 team (Miami defeated Nebraska in the 2001 Rose Bowl), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The winner of each playoff game will battle in the national championship game Monday, Jan. 8 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).

The other New Year's Six matchups:

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: No. 8 USC vs. No. 5 Ohio State-- Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 11 Washington vs. No. 9. Penn State-- Dec. 30, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 12 UCF vs. No. 7Auburn -- Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 10 Miami vs. No. 6 Wisconsin-- Dec. 30, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

While it's Washington's first trip to the Fiesta Bowl, head coach Chris Petersen has won it twice before: with Boise State in 2007 and 2009. Penn State hasn't playing in the Fiesta Bowl since 1996.

Other New Year's games:

TaxSlayer Bowl: Louisville vs. No. 23 Mississippi State -- Dec. 30, 12 p.m. ET on ESPN

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. No. 20 Memphis -- Dec. 30, 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina -- Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2

Citrus Bowl: No. 17 LSU vs. No. 14 Notre Dame -- Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET on ABC

UCF, finishing with a final ranking of 12, is the highest of any Group of 5 team in the four years of the CFP playoff. The Knights went undefeated in the regular season, finishing 12-0, but Auburn has a 72 percent chance of defeating UCF, per ESPN's Football Power Index.

USC and Ohio State are meeting for the eighth time in a bowl game, tied for the most bowl game matchups (with USC vs. Michigan) by a particular tandem in FBS history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Circle Dec. 28 for your ranked vs. ranked battles:

Camping World Bowl: No. 22 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State -- Dec. 28, 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 13 Stanford vs. No 15. TCU -- Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: No. 18 Washington State vs. No. 16 Michigan State -- Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET

Other fun times bowling:

For the first time since 2014, there were more bowl-eligible football teams than spots to compete this year. Conference USA's UTSA (6-5) and the MAC's Buffalo (6-6) and Western Michigan (6-6) did not receive invites. In 2014, there were six more eligible teams than spots.

Florida State, led by interim coach Odell Haggins, will face Southern Mississippi in the Walk-On's Independence Bowl on Dec. 27. If FSU loses its bowl game and finishes below .500, it would mark just the eighth time a preseason top-3 team did so, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Two days later, on Dec. 29, former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher will lead his new team, Texas A&M, against Wake Forest in the Belk Bowl.

The longest bowl drought in the nation will end when New Mexico State plays Utah State in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson on Dec. 29.

New Mexico State hasn't appeared in a postseason game since beating Utah State in the 1960 Sun Bowl.

NMSU (6-6) became eligible with its 22-17 win over South Alabama on Saturday -- a day athletic director Mario Moccia called a "tremendous day for long-suffering Aggies fans.'' NMSU also was eligible for a bowl in 2002, when it went 7-5, but it did not receive an invitation.

With NMSU, UAB and Florida Atlantic going bowling, the longest active bowl drought now belongs to Kansas, whose last appearance in a bowl game was the 2008 Insight Bowl, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.