Updated bowl projections, where the real fun stuff is just outside the Playoff race

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 wasn’t expected to be a shakeup Saturday, and boy, it wasn’t! For the eleventeenth week in a row, very little altered the Playoff race. But everything else, though?

Each week, I update a board of projected winners for every FBS game, tally up records, and guess what the Playoff committee and bowl committees would do with the results. Things get closer and closer to eventual accuracy as Selection Sunday nears, but more importantly, it’s some weekly fun!

Below, projections for all 40 2018 bowl games. A lot of these will change dramatically over the next month, so if you don’t like where your team is listed, I bet a few wins on the field will change things!

First, the College Football Playoff

This part’s easy for now and has been mostly the same for weeks. Ohio State beating Michigan would probably just change the name of the team that loses to Bama. Most other things wouldn’t matter. Georgia beating Bama would race hell from coast to coast. For now, the madness is not at this level.

Next: the rest of the New Year’s Six

OHHHH, here’s the silly stuff. (Update: Tuesday’s rankings reveal made Florida and Penn State look a bit sturdier than I’d expected here.)

I think almost all of these teams are locked in or close to it, pending upsets. But who would you have for the last at-large spot? Here are the best records we could be looking at simultaneously while deciding which team should face LSU (since, if Florida’s 9-3, you gotta have the Gators play UCF):

There’s a case for Texas, which would have the highest-ranked win and have gone 1-1 against the Big 12 champ in this scenario. But a four-loss at-large (and not a contracted auto-bid) is a real bridge to cross.

Penn State only had one really bad loss, and it was to the Big Ten leader. PSU’s won several beatdowns, including one over Pitt that could end up being over a ranked win. I don’t know. Sure. Don’t look at me!

And now, everything else

* = Taking another conference’s unfilled bid.

Things cleared up a bit this week. Last week, I had a handful of eligible teams with no bowl, but this time, only Miami (Ohio) is left out. Next week will clear things up further, with Baylor-Texas Tech, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, and Purdue-Indiana set up as ELIGIBILITY DECIDERS.

As always, remember bowl bids are not strictly based on merit. A few conferences have rules that prevent bowls from taking teams with clearly lesser records over more deserving teams, but bowls mostly care about butts in seats. If you beat a bigger program that’s closer to a bowl both of you want, you’re not guaranteed to get it.


Music City (Nashville): Pitt vs. Texas A&M

I’m sorry but how does the Coastal division champion, who has a pretty damn good chance of beating Clemson (and Miami this week for that matter), get such a craptastic bowl game against a craptastic opponent opponent? you’d think they’d want to put us against WVU or another rival to rev up for the backyard brawl next year.

I'm good with it...

A probable loss for an SEC school… you need a lot of them to offset Bama for SEC bias… they’ve actually had a losing record the last 2 bowl seasons but they still get the bias because of Alabama.

You still playing that same card?

Easy to play when it's true and relevant...

I see you’re still trying to suggest that truth somehow doesn’t apply.

sec only plays a handful of p5 OOC games, 14 fcs schools, and had losing bowl record.

Clearly best collection of teams in all college football.

That game isn't far down the ACC's list

Also tend to think bowl committees factor fans who just traveled to conference title games into their thinking. Will lots and lots of Pitt fans travel after also traveling to Charlotte?

Is it a Tier One bowl?

yes it is.

okay, i change my tune i guess cause that’s what matters.

also Sports Illustrated has Pitt vs Wisconsin in the Pinstripe.

As a Mizzou fan I would be fine with trading the Outback Bowl for the Music City Bowl.

As far as dollars the Outback may pay out a little more but who gives a …? Nashville is a much more entertaining and fun town than Tampa, and they do it up right for the bowl game, not to mention a heck of a lot closer. Pitt and aTm go to Tampa, Mizzou and MSU (or Pitt or whoever) in Nashville would work better on several levels imo.

it's a deal. Pitt vs Mizzou

Tigers vs panthers in the music city bowl.

Have you been to Tampa?!

Busch Gardens, great hotels and food? The beaches in St Pete are some of the best, if not the best, in the country. Some of the best seafood in the country, Hard Rock Casino, and if so inclined Tampa has world class strip clubs. Also worth mentioning is how easy it is to get in and out of Tampa, it has a great airport and is located directly off of a major US interstate….

The Cheez-It Bowl

is clearly the best named bowl and most likely the best named bowl since the Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl.

LSU over Georgia in the Sugar?

LSU won the head to head, are in state, and the Georgia fans would be disappointed over the SEC Championship Game loss. Both teams would have two losses. Could LSU jump Georgia into the Sugar Bowl?

You sell more hotel rooms and book more nice restaurants with UGA than LSU in Nola, even if it's a slightly smaller disappointed UGA crowd (at their worst, they still travel pretty well).

Also, I wouldn’t pencil in a win over A&M at Kyle Field. An upset there is much more likely than UGA losing at home against Tech. In which case, yeah, LSU maybe still slides into an NY6 bowl, but definitely not the Sugar.

Georgia has been traveling like a mofo lately

so I’d be inclined to agree with you, even with a loss in the SECCG, UGA would be more attractive to the Sugar/NOLA.

Most LSU fans aren’t penciling in a win over A&M but this is a bowl projection article. It makes assumptions and we all talk about it.

Very unlikely. It's based on CFP rankings

CFP Rankings

If Alabama beats Georgia both teams will have two losses. Maybe by then the CFP Committee will reevaluate and move LSU ahead of Georgia. Right now LSU is only two spots behind Georgia even though they have one more loss.

Gator would let South Carolina play big ten w champ

and Northwestern in consecutive games.

Not that it would matter much for us in the macro

or that we’ve given anyone outside of our fanbase a reason to care…but just a correction…NC State could end the season at 9-3 having added a game with ECU during champ week…the article mistakenly has them listed at finishing 8-3

Whoops yes. Fixed

I'll take that Rose Bowl matchup

the pirate and stasche in Pasadena (giddy just thinking about that alone) vs. Urbz and the no good very bad back 7 of OSU’s D? holy points batman!

Playing Oregon would be cool

I’d take that if it means we win the conference

Wisconsin's been to the Citrus in the past half-dozen years, and Northwestern has been to the Gator in the same time frame.

Given that the Wildcats have won the division, too, i’d guess their bowl destinations are flipped (so, WI-SCAR Gator Bowl, a rematch of the Citrus Bowl game after 2013).

You are missing a big scenario here Jason....

Utah wins the Pac-12 CCP then you definitely have 2 Pac-12 teams in the NY6. No way they leave out a 11-2 Washington State.

Am aware of that, but I can't project every possible future at once like Dr. Strange <img src="//fonts.voxmedia.com/emoji/unicode/1f60a.png" alt=":blush:" class="emoji">

Not asking you to project every scenario...

Just the ones that focus on the NY6, since that is the point of this article… It could be kinda important.

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