Thanks to South Point Casino’s win totals, we have rough season expectations for every team in FBS. So here’s a look at what the Playoff and bowl picture would look like if every team hit its expectations.
In mid-August, this space will have bowl projections based on game-by-game predictions for the entire season, which I’ll update after each weekend of the season. But for now, let’s see what Vegas has got.
I’ll add a few notes and explanations below all 40 games. Win total over/unders are in parentheses.
College Football Playoff
- Cotton semifinal (Arlington, Texas): No. 2 Clemson (11) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (10.5)
- Orange semifinal (Miami): No. 1 Alabama (11) vs. No. 4 Washington (10.5)
Two recent Playoff rematches! These aren’t my own bowl predictions, buuuut ... my CFP is probably gonna look a lot like this one.
The only real prize for ranking No. 1 is “hosting” a geographically friendly semifinal. These are about the same for Bama. Flip them around if you like.
The rest of the New Year’s Six
- Sugar (New Orleans): Oklahoma (10) vs. Georgia (10.5)
- Rose (Pasadena, California): Wisconsin (10) vs. USC (8.5)
- Peach (Atlanta): Miami (9.5) vs. Auburn (9.5)
- Fiesta (Glendale, Arizona): Boise State (10) vs. Penn State (9.5)
Another recent Playoff rematch! Three other big games! Yeah, the casino is not high at all on the Pac-12! No one is!
In this year’s rotation, the mid-major auto-bid will go to either the Peach or Fiesta, and it’ll probably be pretty easy to guess which. Boise State is the only non-power with a double-digit win totals over/under this year, so this pick was simple for now.
And everything else
- Citrus (Orlando): Michigan (9) vs. Mississippi State (8.5)
- Outback (Tampa): Michigan State (9) vs. LSU (7)
- Gator (Jacksonville): Nebraska (6) vs. Florida (7.5)
- Holiday (San Diego): Iowa (7.5) vs. Stanford (8)
- Liberty (Memphis): West Virginia (7) vs. Arkansas (6)
- Military (Annapolis, MD): Navy (7) vs. Duke (6.5)
- Sun (El Paso): Louisville (7) vs. Arizona (7.5)
- Belk (Charlotte): Florida State (7.5) vs. Missouri (7.5)
- Alamo (San Antonio): Texas (8.5) vs. Oregon (8.5)
- Arizona (Tucson): Wyoming (6.5) vs. Georgia Southern (5.5)
- Camping World (Orlando): Notre Dame (9) vs. TCU (7.5)
- Music City (Nashville): Virginia Tech (8.5) vs. South Carolina (7)
- Texas (Houston): Oklahoma State (8) vs. Texas A&M (7)
- Pinstripe (New York City): NC State (7) vs. Minnesota (6)
- Independence (Shreveport, Louisiana): Southern Miss (6.5)* vs. Kansas State (6)*
- Cactus (Tempe): Iowa State (6.5) vs. Cal (6)
- Quick Lane (Detroit): Syracuse (6) vs. Purdue (6)
- Heart of Dallas: Texas Tech (6)* vs. North Texas (8)
- Foster Farms (Santa Clara, Calif.): Northwestern (6) vs. Utah (7)
- Hawaii: UAB (7.5) vs. Utah State (7.5)
- Dollar General (Mobile): NIU (7) vs. ULM (6)
- Armed Forces (Fort Worth): Houston (7.5) vs. Baylor (6)
- Birmingham: UCF (9) vs. Kentucky (5.5)
- Potato (Boise): Buffalo (6.5) vs. UNLV (6)
- Bahamas: Marshall (7.5) vs. Toledo (8.5)
- Gasparilla (Tampa): USF (8.5) vs. Wake Forest (6.5)
- Frisco (Texas): SMU (6) vs. Ohio (8.5)
- Boca Raton: Memphis (8.5) vs. FAU (9)
- New Orleans: LA Tech (7.5) vs. Arkansas State (9)
- Camellia (Montgomery, Alabama): EMU (6) vs. Troy (8.5)
- Las Vegas: San Diego State (8.5) vs. Washington State (6.5)
- Cure (Orlando): Temple (6.5) vs. Appalachian State (8.5)
- New Mexico (Albuquerque): MTSU (7) vs. Fresno State (8)
* Filling in another conference’s unused spot.
I used raw win totals to rank each conference, then slotted teams throughout each conference’s bowl ties list, as released by the Football Bowl Association. More detailed projections would account for the difference between conference wins and non-conference wins, but this is a fine eyeballin’.
The bigger reason that’s not realistic: most bowl ties are not based strictly on wins and standings. Most bowls are free to take whichever eligible team they think will sell the most tickets. But let’s pretend, briefly, that life is fair.
When two teams in the same conference were tied, I went with the team to which the casino gave shorter odds of exceeding its win total.
Also, we were short a few squads, so I threw in some, but not all, 5.5 teams. I didn’t dip into the 5-7 APR list.
I tried to avoid regular-season rematches. I also tried to avoid sending a team to a bowl it’s played in recently. I also sometimes overrate geography as a factor, but bowls do really like picking teams with local fans.