Yep, it’s time to channel my inner Jerry Palm and do my post-season projections for this season in college football. My hope is that this isn’t like last season when I picked South Carolina to make it to the inaugural College Football Playoff and then got absolutely smoked by Texas A&M in the first game of the season, wrecking my predictions quickly. But hey, let’s accentuate the positives. I did get half the field correct with Florida State and Oregon so I don’t feel too bad about it.
OK, let’s start with the College Football Playoff portion of this post. Just an FYI; the rankings given here are where I believe teams will be going into bowl season:
|December 31, 2015||8:00||Orange Bowl||#1 Ohio State||#4 Alabama|
|December 31, 2015||4:00||Cotton Bowl||#2 Clemson||#3 TCU|
Yep I have Ohio State and Alabama getting back to the big dance again. This year they will be joined by TCU (who just missed out last season) and Clemson (who is my surprise pick to make it). Oregon’s upset of Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship game makes the Pac-12 the odd conference out this year (which may mean another delay in Big XII expansion). I think the lower seeds will win both games, setting up an Alabama-TCU national championship. Gary Patterson should be happy with my picks as my official prediction for who will win the national championship this season is TCU in a close final game over Evil Saban’s Crimson Tide Juggernaut Machine. And btw, yes, I do believe having the semi-final games on New Year’s Eve is stupid. Not that I won’t watch them but there’s a chance that I won’t be watching the Orange Bowl live.
Now the rest of the New Year’s Six:
|January 1, 2016||8:30||Sugar Bowl||#10 LSU||#7 Baylor|
|January 1, 2016||5:00||Rose Bowl||#5 Michigan State||#9 Oregon|
|January 1, 2016||1:00||Fiesta Bowl||#6 Notre Dame||#8 Boise State|
|December 31, 2015||12:00||Peach Bowl||#11 Arizona State||#13 Florida State|
Here’s how the selection process works for these bowls:
- The Sugar Bowl gets the SEC Champion and the Big XII Champion. If either conference’s champion is in the CFP, they get the next best team. The Sugar would choose LSU (even though Georgia won the SEC East) and Baylor (2nd in the Big XII).
- The Rose Bowl gets the Pac-12 Champion and the Big Ten Champion. Same rules apply as in the Sugar Bowl. The Rose will get Michigan State (even though Wisconsin won the Big Ten West) and Oregon (upsetting ASU in the Pac-12 title game).
- The Peach and Fiesta Bowls get at-large teams. The highest ranked team not selected left would be Notre Dame and they would go to the Fiesta Bowl where they would face the Group of Five representative, undefeated Boise State. The Peach gets the last two at-large programs, Arizona State and Florida State.
- The highest ranked exclusions would be Missouri (#12), UCLA (#14), and Ole Miss (#15).
- Each Power Five conference would have two teams in the CFP/NYS, which is about the best scenario The Committee could ask for. Notre Dame and Boise State are the other two.
I don’t think you can say any of these selections are crazy. You could debate some of them but for the most part, they make sense in these bowls.
Here are the rest of the bowls:
|January 2, 2016||10:15||Cactus Bowl||Kansas State||Utah|
|January 2, 2016||6:45||Alamo Bowl||#20 Oklahoma||#16 Stanford|
|January 2, 2016||3:20||Liberty Bowl||#12 Missouri||Oklahoma State|
|January 2, 2016||12:00||TaxSlayer Bowl||NC State||Arkansas|
|January 1, 2016||1:00||Citrus Bowl||#19 Wisconsin||Georgia|
|January 1, 2016||12:00||Outback Bowl||Texas A&M||#22 Iowa|
|December 30, 2015||10:30||Holiday Bowl||Penn State||#18 USC|
|December 30, 2015||7:30||Music City Bowl||Nebraska||#17 Tennessee|
|December 30, 2015||3:30||Belk Bowl||Duke||Auburn|
|December 30, 2015||12:00||Birmingham Bowl||#24 Houston||South Carolina|
|December 29, 2015||9:00||Texas Bowl||#15 Ole Miss||Texas|
|December 29, 2015||5:30||Russell Athletic Bowl||#21 Georgia Tech||West Virginia|
|December 29, 2015||2:00||Armed Forces Bowl||Indiana||Air Force|
|December 28, 2015||5:00||Quick Lane Bowl||Louisville||Northwestern|
|December 28, 2015||2:30||Military Bowl||Boston College||Navy|
|December 26, 2015||9:15||Foster Farms Bowl||Michigan||#14 UCLA|
|December 26, 2015||5:45||Independence Bowl||North Carolina||Mississippi State|
|December 26, 2015||3:30||Pinstripe Bowl||#23 Virginia Tech||Minnesota|
|December 26, 2015||2:20||Heart of Dallas Bowl||Texas State||Rice|
|December 26, 2015||2:00||Sun Bowl||Pittsburgh||Arizona|
|December 26, 2015||11:00||St. Petersburg Bowl||Western Kentucky||Temple|
|December 24, 2015||8:00||Hawaii Bowl||Memphis||BYU|
|December 24, 2015||12:00||Bahamas Bowl||#25 Marshall||Bowling Green|
|December 23, 2015||8:00||GoDaddy Bowl||Toledo||Appalachian State|
|December 23, 2015||4:30||Poinsettia Bowl||Florida||San Diego State|
|December 22, 2015||7:00||Boca Raton Bowl||East Carolina||Western Michigan|
|December 22, 2015||3:30||Idaho Potato Bowl||Utah State||Northern Illinois|
|December 21, 2015||2:30||Miami Beach Bowl||Middle Tennessee||UCF|
|December 19, 2015||9:00||New Orleans Bowl||Louisiana Tech||UL-Lafayette|
|December 19, 2015||5:30||Camellia Bowl||Akron||Arkansas State|
|December 19, 2015||3:30||Las Vegas Bowl||Washington||Colorado State|
|December 19, 2015||12:00||New Mexico Bowl||Ohio||Nevada|
|December 19, 2015||12:00||Cure Bowl||Cincinnati||Georgia Southern|
- Remember when I said that 13 SEC schools would make bowl games? Well I was wrong. It looks like the Arizona Bowl that was slated for this season will not be played. If that bowl had been included there would have been one spot open for a team that isn’t bowl-eligible, meaning the use of the ol’ bowl waiver. Without this bowl, one team will be left out. I believe that team will be Ball State. Also, this means Kentucky wouldn’t get that waiver and will be home for the holidays again.
- Teams making a bowl for the first time: Texas State (Heart of Dallas), Appalachian State (GoDaddy), and Georgia Southern (Cure).
- Teams going back to a bowl game for the first time in years: Akron (first time since 2005) and Indiana (first time since 2007).
- Many bowls look for some geographical tie-ins to garner larger attendance figures (which I believe is a smart thing to do). These include USC (Holiday), Tennessee (Music City), Duke (Belk), Texas (Texas), Navy (Military), UCLA (Foster Farms), Texas State (Heart of Dallas), Rice (Heart of Dallas), San Diego State (Poinsettia), UCF (Miami Beach), Louisiana Tech (New Orleans) and UL-Lafayette (New Orleans).
- Remember when I used to make fun of Pittsburgh always going to the BBVA Compass (now Birmingham) Bowl? I have to replace that with UL-Lafayette and the New Orleans Bowl. I have them going back to the Superdome for the fifth straight year (which has to be some sort of record if it happens). Maybe they should rename it the Cajun Bowl. You know, that’s not a half-bad name.
- The best non-CFP, non-NYS bowl games from this set of projections would be the Alamo Bowl (Oklahoma vs. Stanford), Citrus Bowl (Wisconsin vs. Georgia), and GoDaddy Bowl (Toledo vs. Appalachian State).
So there you have it. That’s how I see the season playing out. And if most of it becomes a reality I will be kicking myself for not betting more on it. Some of the times I have listed may change but the dates are all correct. And remember, seven days away from the first college football game of the season.