clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Full 2016 bowl projections, with LSU the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff

New, comments

From the Las Vegas Bowl through the National Championship, predictions for all 41 FBS postseason games.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Getty Images

Hello. They're gonna do a College Football Playoff again this year, along with a bunch of other bowl games. Let's guess who'll be in each of those games!

Below are personal picks, filled out after picking a winner and loser for each game of the whole regular season, as is custom. Adjustments were made based on things the Playoff committee cares about (such as really basic strength-of-schedule metrics like number of bowl-eligible opponents) and things bowl committees care about (famous teams with many fans, ideally not too far away), so not everything is going to slot according to team quality, just like real life.

Last year, I ... well, I had Alabama in the National Championship, at least.

I'll try and explain each group quickly.

College Football Playoff
National Championship LSU Clemson Jan. 9 Tampa Fiesta winner vs. Peach winner
Fiesta Clemson Michigan Dec. 31 Glendale, AZ Playoff rankings top 4
Peach LSU TCU Dec. 31 Atlanta Playoff rankings top 4

LSU returns a whole t o n, could play 12 bowl teams in 13 games, upgraded at defensive coordinator, and gets Bama and Ole Miss at home. But the quarterback, they shout. Brandon Harris was middlin' in the SEC as a true sophomore, has a horde of weapons, and doesn't exactly need to throw for 5,000 yards here. To bet on a Zombie Les Miles team is to cannonball into a volcano, so I am wearing moisture-wicking garments.

Clemson's my No. 2. Deshaun Watson's offense is going to eat souls, and the defense can't fall too far.

Michigan might be the safest Playoff pick in the country; I don't think the Wolverines are the best team, but look at that schedule. 7-0 heading into East Lansing should be expected. 9-3 would be a disaster. The Wolverines should have a monstrous defense, and the only real Q is at quarterback, where there are decent options on paper.

(To clarify, I don't mean UM is some sort of Playoff lock. I mean if you had to pick just one team to make the Playoff, Michigan might be the best choice. Or Alabama. Live dangerously.)

Lastly, I think the Pac-12 will devour itself, Notre Dame's schedule has a bump too many, and it'll be a long time before a conference gets two teams in. So hey there, Big 12. The Frogs return a load, once you account for injuries, and the home schedule includes conference favorite Oklahoma and potential OOC prize Arkansas.

New Year's Six bowls
Cotton Tennessee Houston Jan. 2 Arlington, TX At-large
Rose Ohio State Washington Jan. 2 Pasadena, CA Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1
Sugar Oklahoma Alabama Jan. 2 New Orleans Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1
Orange Florida State Notre Dame Dec. 30 Miami ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

In this year's rotation, the whole NY6 slate is basically set by the Playoff rankings within each conference. There's only one at-large game, and that one has to include the Group of 5 auto bid.

So, yeah. This part's pretty easy for now.

Washington's bounced between hyped and overhyped and backlashed all offseason. Putting them in the Rose probably qualifies me for Washington Overhyper status, but I'm not calling for an 11-1 team here. This looks like one of several 9-3ish Pac-12 North teams, and it gets Stanford and USC at home. Yeah, the Huskies have to play at Oregon and Utah, but like I said ... 9-3ish.

I spent a lot of time debating Houston vs. Boise State or Western Michigan. UH is the safe pick, I know it the best, and the Cougars played Houston Rap Trivia with us, so my vision is clouded.

Bowl (* = filling another conference's bid) Conference selection order, not based on standings
Outback Nebraska Florida Jan. 2 Tampa Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Citrus Penn State Ole Miss Dec. 31 Orlando Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2
TaxSlayer Miami Georgia Dec. 31 Jacksonville, FL ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Music City Iowa Vanderbilt Dec. 30 Nashville ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Liberty Texas Tech Missouri Dec. 30 Memphis Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8
Sun North Carolina Oregon Dec. 30 El Paso ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5
Arizona Air Force Georgia State Dec. 30 Tucson MWC vs. Sun Belt
Alamo Texas USC Dec. 29 San Antonio Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2
Belk Virginia Tech Auburn Dec. 29 Charlotte ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Birmingham Cincinnati Texas A&M Dec. 29 Birmingham, AL American vs. SEC 9
Foster Farms Wisconsin Stanford Dec. 28 Santa Clara, CA Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4
Pinstripe Pitt Minnesota Dec. 28 New York City ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7
Russell Athletic Louisville West Virginia Dec. 28 Orlando ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Texas Oklahoma State Arkansas Dec. 28 Houston Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Cactus Baylor Arizona Dec. 27 Tempe, AZ Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7
Heart of Dallas Maryland WKU Dec. 27 Dallas Big Ten vs. C-USA
Holiday Michigan State UCLA Dec. 27 San Diego Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3
Military NC State Temple Dec. 27 Annapolis, MD ACC vs. American
Independence Northwestern* Mississippi State Dec. 26 Shreveport, LA ACC vs. SEC
St. Petersburg Georgia Tech USF Dec. 26 St. Petersburg, FL ACC vs. American
Quick Lane Syracuse Indiana Dec. 26 Detroit ACC vs. Big Ten
Hawaii FIU Utah State Dec. 24 Honolulu C-USA vs. MWC
Dollar General WMU Appalachian State Dec. 23 Mobile, AL MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Armed Forces Washington State* Navy Dec. 23 Fort Worth, TX Big 12 vs. Navy
Bahamas Tulsa Ohio Dec. 23 Nassau, BS American vs. MAC
Potato Toledo Colorado State Dec. 22 Boise, ID MAC 2 vs. MWC
Poinsettia BYU San Diego State Dec. 21 San Diego BYU vs. MWC
Boca Raton Memphis Southern Miss Dec. 20 Boca Raton, FL American vs. C-USA
Miami Beach UConn CMU Dec. 19 Miami American vs. MAC
Las Vegas Boise State Utah Dec. 17 Las Vegas MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6
Camelia NIU Georgia Southern Dec. 17 Montgomery, AL MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3
Cure Cal* Troy Dec. 17 Orlando American vs. Sun Belt
New Mexico Marshall New Mexico Dec. 17 Albuquerque C-USA vs. MWC
New Orleans Arkansas State LA Tech Dec. 17 New Orleans Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA

I'll do this every week, as I have for years now, so email me every Sunday about it being too early for bowl projections. About 15 emails later, and it'll be time for bowl games anyway!