Brett McMurphy’s College Football Bowl Projections: Dec. 16

    Virginia Tech is the latest team to decline playing in a bowl game, sources told Stadium.

    December 17, 2020

    Virginia Tech has declined to play in a bowl game this year, sources told Stadium. The Hokies had played in a bowl game in 27 consecutive seasons, the nation’s longest current active streak.

    The Hokies are the latest team to opt out of playing in the postseason, joining Boston College, Pitt, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Kansas State. With the emotional and physical strain of competing this season during the COVID-19 pandemic, several teams have decided they would rather return home over the holidays instead of playing in what amounts to just another road game.

    Because of this, there is a lot of uncertainty among bowl executives entering the last week of the season regarding how many remaining Power Five teams may turn down bowl bids. Will there actually be enough teams to fill all the bowls?

    After Tuesday’s penultimate College Football Playoff rankings, the New Year’s 6 at-large teams are pretty much locked in. Florida, even with a loss to Alabama in the SEC title game, would remain in a New Year’s 6 bowl as an at-large selection, along with Texas A&M and Georgia.

    After Monday’s cancelation of the Frisco Bowl – the 11th bowl cancelation this season – we’re down to 32 bowls. Here are my projections entering this weekend’s games. I’ll have my final projections late Saturday night/early Sunday morning before the College Football Playoff rankings is released on Sunday.

    Some conference tie-ins listed below may – OK, likely will – change with certain bowls due to various reasons (remember, it’s 2020).

    College Football Playoff

    ChampionshipJan. 11 (CFP semifinal winners)
    Projection: Alabama vs. Clemson

    Sugar BowlJan. 1 (CFP semifinal)
    Projection: Alabama (No. 1 seed) vs. Notre Dame (No. 4 seed)

    Rose BowlJan. 1 (CFP semifinal)
    Projection: Clemson (No. 2 seed) vs. Ohio State (No. 3 seed)

    New Year’s 6 Bowls

    Orange BowlJan. 2 (ACC vs. SEC/Big Ten)
    Projection: North Carolina vs. Texas A&M

    Fiesta BowlJan. 2 (at-large vs. at-large)
    Projection: USC vs. Indiana

    Peach BowlJan. 1 (at-large vs. at-large)
    Projection: Georgia vs. Cincinnati*

    Cotton BowlDec. 30 (at-large vs. at-large)
    Projection: Iowa State vs. Florida

    Other Bowls

    Gator BowlJan. 2 (ACC vs. SEC)
    Projection: NC State vs. Kentucky

    Outback BowlJan. 2 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Iowa vs. Auburn

    Birmingham BowlJan. 1 (AAC vs. SEC)
    Projection: UAB vs. San Jose State

    Citrus BowlJan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Northwestern vs. Missouri

    Arizona BowlDec. 31 (MAC vs. Mountain West)
    Projection: Ball State vs. Boise State

    Armed Forces BowlDec. 31 (SEC vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Mississippi State vs. Oregon

    Liberty BowlDec. 31 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
    Projection: TCU vs. Arkansas

    Texas BowlDec. 31 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
    Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss

    Duke’s Mayo BowlDec. 30 (ACC vs. Big Ten)
    Projection: Wake Forest vs. Rutgers

    Music City BowlDec. 30 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
    Projection: Wisconsin vs. Tennessee

    Alamo BowlDec. 29 (Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Oklahoma vs. Washington

    Cheez-It BowlDec. 29 (ACC vs. Big 12)
    Projection: Miami vs. Texas

    Military BowlDec. 28 (ACC vs. AAC)
    Projection: Maryland vs. Tulsa

    Cure BowlDec. 26 (C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Marshall vs. Coastal Carolina

    First Responder BowlDec. 26 (Big 12 vs. Group of 5)
    Projection: Nebraska vs. UTSA

    Gasparilla BowlDec. 26 (ACC vs. SEC)
    Projection: Liberty vs. South Carolina

    Guaranteed Rate BowlDec. 26 (Big Ten vs. Big 12)
    Projection: Penn State vs. West Virginia

    Independence BowlDec. 26 (Army vs. Pac-12)
    Projection: Army vs. Colorado

    LendingTree Bowl Dec. 26 (MAC/C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State

    Camellia BowlDec. 25 (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Buffalo vs. Louisiana

    New Mexico BowlDec. 24 (Mountain West vs. Group of 5)
    Projection: Hawaii vs. Houston

    **Montgomery BowlDec. 23 (Group of 5)
    Projection: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic

    New Orleans BowlDec. 23 (C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Georgia Southern

    Boca Raton BowlDec. 22 (ACC vs. AAC)
    Projection: BYU vs. UCF

    Idaho Potato BowlDec. 22 (AAC vs. Mountain West)
    Projection: Tulane vs. Nevada

    Myrtle Beach BowlDec. 21 (C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
    Projection: North Texas vs. Appalachian State

    Bowls that have been canceled this year:
    •Bahamas Bowl
    •Fenway Bowl
    •Frisco Bowl
    •Hawaii Bowl
    •Holiday Bowl
    •Las Vegas Bowl
    •Los Angeles Bowl
    •Redbox Bowl
    •Pinstripe Bowl
    •Quick Lane Bowl
    •Sun Bowl

    Teams in bold have already officially accepted bid.

    *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.

    **Replacing Fenway Bowl for this season only.


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