Brett McMurphy’s College Football Bowl Projections After Week 13

    After the release of the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday, the bowl pairings became a lot easier to decipher. This much is certain

    November 28, 2018

    After the release of the penultimate College Football Playoff rankings Tuesday, the bowl pairings became a lot easier to decipher.

    This much is certain based on the selection committee’s rankings:

    * No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Notre Dame are locks in the College Football Playoff. Yes, even if Alabama loses to Georgia, the Crimson Tide will not fall out of the top four. Also, I’m projecting Alabama will play in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma even though it’s further from Tuscaloosa than the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. The selection committee will not want to give the fourth-seeded Sooners an advantage, so Alabama-OU meet in Miami instead of Arlington.

    * No. 7 Michigan and No. 9 Florida are locked into New Year’s 6 bowls. No. 10 LSU also will be headed to a New Year’s 6 bowl as long as No. 5 Oklahoma doesn’t lose to Texas and remains ranked ahead of LSU in Sunday’s final rankings.

    * If No. 8 UCF loses to Memphis in the AAC title game, the winner of the Mountain West title game between No. 22 Boise State and No. 25 Fresno State will earn the Group of 5’s New Year’s 6 bowl bid. This year, the highest ranked Group of 5 champion will play in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Five bowl bids already have been officially accepted: Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech in the Hawaii Bowl, Toledo vs. Florida International in the Bahamas Bowl and Arkansas State to the Arizona Bowl. Also, the Sun Belt announced the winner of the Sun Belt championship between Appalachian State and Louisiana would play in the New Orleans Bowl, with the loser to the Cure Bowl.

    I’m projecting there will be 82 bowl eligible teams for 78 bowl berths, meaning 6-6 Miami (Ohio), 6-6 Wyoming, 6-6 Louisiana-Monroe and 6-5 Southern Miss will not receive a bowl bid.

    I will provide one final update on Sunday morning before the official bowl pairings are released Sunday afternoon.

    Onto this week’s bowl projections:

    College Football Playoff
    Championship – Jan. 7 (CFP semifinal winners)
    Projection: Alabama vs. Clemson

    Orange Bowl – Dec. 29 (CFP semifinal)
    Projection: Alabama (CFP No. 1) vs. Oklahoma (CFP No. 4)

    Cotton Bowl – Dec. 29 (CFP semifinal)
    Projection:  Clemson (CFP No. 2) vs. Notre Dame (CFP No. 3)

    New Year’s 6 Bowls
    Rose Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Ohio State vs. Washington

    Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
    Projection: Texas vs. Georgia

    Fiesta Bowl – Jan. 1 (at-large vs. Group of 5*)
    Projection: LSU vs. UCF

    Peach Bowl – Dec. 29 (at large vs. at-large)
    Projection: Florida vs. Michigan

    Other Bowls
    Citrus Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Penn State vs. Kentucky

    Outback Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Northwestern vs. Mississippi State

    Gator Bowl – Dec. 31 (ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Miami vs. Texas A&M

    Holiday Bowl – Dec. 31 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Iowa vs. Utah

    Liberty Bowl – Dec. 31 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
    Projection: Baylor vs. Vanderbilt

    Redbox Bowl – Dec. 31 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Wisconsin vs. Cal

    Sun Bowl – Dec. 31 (ACC vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Pitt vs. Oregon

    Military Bowl – Dec. 31 (ACC vs. American)
    Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

    Arizona Bowl – Dec. 29 (Mountain West vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: San Diego State vs. Arkansas State

    Belk Bowl – Dec. 29 (ACC vs. SEC)
    Projection: Virginia vs. South Carolina

    Alamo Bowl – Dec. 28 (Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: West Virginia vs. Washington State

    Camping World Bowl – Dec. 28 (ACC vs. Big 12)
    Projection: NC State vs. Iowa State

    Music City Bowl – Dec. 28 (ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Purdue vs. Missouri

    Texas Bowl – Dec. 27 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
    Projection: TCU vs. Auburn

    Pinstripe Bowl – Dec. 27 (ACC vs. Big Ten)
    Projection: Syracuse vs. Michigan State

    Independence Bowl – Dec. 27 (ACC vs. SEC)
    Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Tulane**

    Cheez-It Bowl – Dec. 26 (Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Arizona State

    Quick Lane Bowl – Dec. 26 (ACC vs. Big Ten)
    Projection: Boston College vs. Western Michigan**

    First Responder Bowl – Dec. 26 (C-USA vs. Big Ten)
    Projection: UAB vs. Minnesota

    Hawaii Bowl – Dec. 22 (C-USA vs. Mountain West)
    Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii

    Dollar General Bowl – Dec. 22 (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Troy

    Armed Forces Bowl – Dec. 22 (American vs. Big 12)
    Projection: Utah State** vs. Army**

    Birmingham Bowl – Dec. 22 (American vs. SEC)
    Projection: Memphis vs. Wake Forest**

    Idaho Potato Bowl – Dec. 21 (MAC vs. Mountain West)
    Projection: Eastern Michigan vs. Nevada

    Bahamas Bowl – Dec. 21 (C-USA vs. MAC)
    Projection: FIU vs. Toledo

    Gasparilla Bowl – Dec. 20 (ACC vs. American)
    Projection: Duke vs. USF

    Frisco Bowl – Dec. 19 (American vs. MAC)
    Projection: Houston vs. Ohio

    Boca Raton Bowl – Dec. 18 (American vs. C-USA)
    Projection: Temple vs. Marshall

    New Orleans Bowl – Dec. 15 (C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Middle Tennessee vs. Appalachian State

    Camellia Bowl – Dec. 15 (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern

    Las Vegas Bowl – Dec. 15 (Mountain West vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Boise State vs. Stanford

    Cure Bowl – Dec. 15 (American vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: BYU** vs. Louisiana

    New Mexico Bowl – Dec. 15 (C-USA vs. Mountain West)
    Projection: North Texas vs. Fresno State

    * – The highest rated champion from the Group of Five conferences (American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) will be selected to play in either the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach Bowl.

    ** – Replaces team from league that can’t fill bowl.


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