College Football

Way-too-early Bowl Projections…like WAY too early

OK time to bring out my inner Jerry Palm (or (insert your bowl projection expert here)).  It’s bowl projection time.  I have been doing this for the past month but even last week would have been way, way too early.  Now it’s just way too early.  But still somewhat relevant (kinda sorta maybe).

Every week we see about 640 different projections that all look like this:

Close enough Joey.  For now.
Close enough Joey. For now.

Which is great.  Let the people who cover the game often give their reasons as to why they put certain teams in their “bracket” (I hope they don’t overuse that word with the College Football Playoff).  The problem is two-fold.  One, it seems like ESPN employs 97.5% of the people who put out these projections.  And two, and also more importantly, they are looking at it as of this very moment.  Which is perfect…if the season ended now.  But it isn’t.  We still have five fantastic weeks left to figure this thing out.  And most of the people doing these projections aren’t looking toward the future.  Who’s In doesn’t matter if you aren’t thinking about their remaining schedule.

What I have done is, in essence, played out the rest of the games, picking winners for each.  I had already done that before the season began so it took no time to figure out how a team will do with their last two or three opponents (and possibly a conference championship game).  Plus, I wouldn’t even worry about a third of the teams because they were already eliminated from bowl contention or will be in the next week or so.

So let’s start with the College Football Playoff itself.  I project, at this point, that it will look like this:

Sugar Bowl Florida State Mississippi State
Rose Bowl Michigan State Oregon

So now into my reasoning.  The first three are easy.  Florida State runs the table, wins the ACC.  Easy pick.  Michigan State and Oregon do the same.  Again, fairly easy.  Here is where I may get a lot of flak (if I had a lot more readers).  The SEC West is going to beat up on each other plain and simple.  And while they are the best division in the best conference in college football, losing two games makes it difficult to allow more than one of you to be included in a four-team playoff.  And because it’s the SEC, it will be the main proponent, 12 years from now, to why they expand to an eight-team playoff (5 conference champs from Power Five conferences, best team from Weak Sisters of the Poor Conferences, best two teams remaining).  For now, we will have to live with the fact that it’s the team that comes out of the rubble as champ that will be in the playoff and that’s Mississippi State.

As for the New Year’s Six, this is where the SEC dominance starts to show:

January 1, 2015 1:00 Cotton Bowl Kansas State Georgia
December 31, 2014 8:30 Orange Bowl Duke Auburn
December 31, 2014 5:00 Fiesta Bowl Marshall Ole Miss
December 31, 2014 1:30 Peach Bowl Alabama Ohio State

Notice there is an SEC team in every one of the other four bowls?  So out of the twelve teams selected, five will be from the SEC.  There’s your dominance.  And really, at this point you could substitute Alabama, Auburn, or even Ole Miss into Mississippi State’s spot and no one would bat an eye.  The spot reserved for the mid-major (let’s be nice here for once) will be one of the more interesting things to follow.  Right now, in my estimation, it is Marshall’s spot to lose.  There might be a wrinkle in that plan though.  Colorado State is arguably the only team left that could potentially unseat Marshall but they have a big blue problem in their way…their loss to divisional rival Boise State.  It’s the one thing that would keep them out of the New Year’s Six spot.  That all goes out the window if the Broncos lose one of their four remaining games.  Then CSU is back in the driver’s seat to go to the Mountain West Championship (which I am sure CBS is praying for so that game can bring in some big ratings).

The rest of the bowls, if you wanted to know, play out like this (in my head):

January 4, 2015 9:00 GoDaddy Bowl Northern Illinois Louisiana
January 3, 2015 1:00 Birmingham Bowl Memphis Air Force
January 2, 2015 10:15 Cactus Bowl Texas Utah
January 2, 2015 6:45 Alamo Bowl Baylor Arizona
January 2, 2015 3:20 TaxSlayer Bowl Georgia Tech Florida
January 2, 2015 12:00 Armed Forces Bowl Fresno State Houston
January 1, 2015 1:00 Outback Bowl Notre Dame Wisconsin
January 1, 2015 12:30 Citrus Bowl Nebraska LSU
December 30, 2014 10:00 San Francisco Bowl Maryland Arizona State
December 30, 2014 6:45 Belk Bowl Boston College South Carolina
December 30, 2014 3:00 Music City Bowl Minnesota Missouri
December 29, 2014 9:00 Texas Bowl Texas A&M West Virginia
December 29, 2014 5:30 Russell Athletic Bowl Clemson Oklahoma
December 29, 2014 2:00 Liberty Bowl Tennessee TCU
December 27, 2014 8:00 Holiday Bowl Iowa UCLA
December 27, 2014 4:30 Pinstripe Bowl Miami Penn State
December 27, 2014 4:00 Independence Bowl Akron Louisiana Tech
December 27, 2014 2:00 Sun Bowl Louisville Washington
December 27, 2014 1:00 Military Bowl NC State East Carolina
December 26, 2014 8:00 Bitcoin Bowl North Carolina Cincinnati
December 26, 2014 4:30 Detroit Bowl Virginia Tech Rutgers
December 26, 2014 1:00 Heart of Dallas Bowl Northwestern Rice
December 24, 2014 8:00 Hawaii Bowl Ball State Utah State
December 24, 2014 12:00 Bahamas Bowl UAB Toledo
December 23, 2014 9:30 Poinsettia Bowl Navy Boise State
December 23, 2014 6:00 Boca Raton Bowl Temple Western Michigan
December 22, 2014 2:00 Miami Beach Bowl BYU UCF
December 20, 2014 9:15 Camellia Bowl Bowling Green Texas State
December 20, 2014 5:45 Idaho Potato Bowl Nevada Central Michigan
December 20, 2014 3:30 Las Vegas Bowl USC Colorado State
December 20, 2014 2:20 New Mexico Bowl UTEP San Diego State
December 20, 2014 11:00 New Orleans Bowl Middle Tennessee Arkansas State

I see three other teams (Ohio, Buffalo, South Alabama) being bowl-eligible but on the outside looking in.  Again, it’s still speculation at this point with some teams having upwards of five games left on their schedule.  Also you have the Georgia Southern factor.  The Eagles aren’t eligible for a bowl game unless there are not enough bowl-eligible teams.  That could easily happen with there now being 38 bowls (plus a national championship game) so 76 teams have to qualify out of a bit under 130 teams (or just over 55%).

This should change pretty drastically as the season goes on towards the end.  Not only because that’s the way college football works but also because this season has bordered on insanity so anything could happen.  I wouldn’t even guarantee we will have at least one undefeated team standing at the end of the regular season.  But hey, at least it’s not the BCS.  Am I right?  Eh?  Is this mic on?

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6 thoughts on “Way-too-early Bowl Projections…like WAY too early

  1. Hey, Bossman, with K-State at TCU Saturday nite your bowl projections indicate a big road win is coming for the Wilcats. Not only that, K-State will follow that up with wins at WVU and at Baylor. That would be impressive. TCU sked not nearly as formidable.

    1. I do think the Wildcats will take care of business against TCU. I also think TCU has overachieved this season, especially on offense. Yes, Trevone Boykin is a good QB but no one saw this offensive power when the season began. I think they slip up in one of their last few games after K-State.

      As for Papa Snyder and his Wildcats, I am thinking they beat TCU and WVU and lose to Baylor; however, I also have Baylor losing to the Sooners. Basically, whatever happens over the last five weeks, it will ruin the chances of the Big XII putting a school in the CFP.

  2. I still think there is a decent chance for the SEC to get two teams in. It is not hard to envision Miss St and the winner of Auburn/Alabama both finishing with one loss (all it probably takes is Bama beating Miss St and Miss St beating Ole Miss) and if that happens whoever is the SEC West runner up is going to have a decent argument against any one-loss champ from the Pac 12, Big 12 or Big Ten and will definitely have a better argument than a one-loss FSU or one-loss ND. And there is no guarantee that the winners of the Pac 12, Big 12 and Big Ten will all only have one loss.

    1. I think it all comes down to who finishes second in the SEC West. If they are ranked high enough before the conference championship week, they may sneak in. One-loss Notre Dame will have a good argument. One-loss FSU, even if the loss is to a 11-1 Duke team in the ACC Championship, ends their chances in my opinion. They haven’t been nearly strong enough.

      I think for the SEC’s sake, their best bet is to hope for MSU to run the table, win the conference title, and for Auburn to also run the table the rest of the way. Then it is probably cut-and-dry that MSU is #1 and Auburn slots in at #3 or #4, regardless of what FSU, Sparty, Oregon, or ND do the rest of the way.

      1. Yeah, I think you are right about the SEC’s best hope scenario. That said, I don’t see Miss St running the table. Still, I think Miss State as conference champ and Auburn or Alabama sitting with just one loss means the SEC has a decent shot at getting two in. Big ten should be hard pressed to get any team in – that OSU loss (at home!) to Va Tech is an absolute killer for the whole conference.

        I am a big FSU fan (been there many times and going to see them play the Gators at the end of the month) but they are a borderline Top 10 team at best this year. One loss for them should be fatal to the playoff hopes.

        On another front I know you don’t think much of them but I still think Clemson – when Walker is playing- is a very good team. They are clearly better than FSU – when Walker is playing.

      2. I too would be shocked to see Mississippi State run the table. If Bama beats MSU and Auburn, wouldn’t they get the spot in the SEC Championship? Either way, it looks like the best case scenario is either what I said above or that Bama runs the table and MSU loses to Bama but wins the Egg Bowl.

        Saying that, if TCU and/or Michigan State lose this Saturday, the SEC looks more and more desirable in the CFP. There is starting to be a dearth of “true contenders” for the four spots.

        If Duke loses, then Clemson will take the Orange bowl spot. It’s basically down to those two behind FSU; however, if FSU loses then the ACC also goes into chaos as they will only get the one team into the Orange and that’s it. And I’m sure despite the fact FSU hasn’t looked great, they are at least locked into the New Year’s Six unless something drastic happens to them.

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