OK yes we are midway through November and the bowl games start in exactly 31 days (I counted…don’t judge me). But we are still way too early to do bowl projections. Since ESPN goes nuts over the CFP rankings, however, I figured I might as well start doing them now since many others have beat me to the punch (some by 7 weeks or so). Let us begin…
First we need to start with the College Football Playoff. The new granddaddy of them all (if your granddaddy was 15 when he had a kid and his kid had another kid when he was 15….so yeah, pretty young to be a granddaddy). I am still a bit miffed that the two semi-finals are on New Year’s Eve. Don’t get me wrong, I love college football. But that’s not the kind of action I am looking for on New Year’s Eve. Any other day of the year (say, oh, New Year’s DAY perhaps?) would be so much better for this. But The Committee is sticking to their guns. When they see the ratings drop through the floor for those games, yet stay up for the Rose and Sugar the next day, they will probably change their tune. Anyway, here are my top four. Now for my top four I look at where they will be at the end of the season, not right now (since I think that’s pointless):
|December 31, 2015||8:00||Orange Bowl||Alabama||Notre Dame|
|December 31, 2015||4:00||Cotton Bowl||Clemson||Ohio State|
Other than Alabama and Clemson flip-flopping, it’s the same exact rankings as the actual CFP poll. In my opinion, all four of these teams should win out. Notre Dame’s only issues will be holding off the Big XII champ, whoever that may be, and hoping Stanford and USC keep winning to boost their strength of schedule.
Now let’s take a look at my predictions for the New Year’s Six bowls:
|January 1, 2016||8:30||Sugar Bowl||Florida||Oklahoma State|
|January 1, 2016||5:00||Rose Bowl||Iowa||Stanford|
|January 1, 2016||1:00||Fiesta Bowl||Oklahoma||Houston|
|December 31, 2015||12:00||Peach Bowl||Michigan State||Baylor|
I believe Houston wins out (including a win over Navy) to be the Group of Five representative. The Big XII is going to be interesting. At this point, I have Oklahoma State as winning the Big XII but not winning out. Baylor and Oklahoma also will make it in but not win out. That could all change on a dime if certain things happen. It could be anywhere from one to three teams in. I can’t see TCU getting back in but you never know. Stanford should still win the Pac-12 but I think they will lose to Notre Dame, and then beat one of UCLA, USC, or Utah to win the Pac-12 Championship. At this point, the Pac-12 has almost assured themselves of not being in the CFP. This week may not reveal much other than a bit of a clearer Big Ten and Big XII picture. The following week, we have a big-ass footballgasm coming so that should really shake out Who’s In (as ESPN says probably about 100 times a day…quadruple that on Saturdays).
Finally, the rest of the bowl picture:
|January 2, 2016||10:15||Cactus Bowl||Colorado State||Washington State|
|January 2, 2016||6:45||Alamo Bowl||TCU||Utah|
|January 2, 2016||3:20||Liberty Bowl||Ole Miss||Kansas State|
|January 2, 2016||12:00||TaxSlayer Bowl||Florida State||Georgia|
|January 1, 2016||1:00||Citrus Bowl||Michigan||LSU|
|January 1, 2016||12:00||Outback Bowl||Texas A&M||Wisconsin|
|December 30, 2015||10:30||Holiday Bowl||Northwestern||USC|
|December 30, 2015||7:30||Music City Bowl||Penn State||Arkansas|
|December 30, 2015||3:30||Belk Bowl||Pittsburgh||Tennessee|
|December 30, 2015||12:00||Birmingham Bowl||Memphis||Auburn|
|December 29, 2015||9:00||Texas Bowl||Mississippi State||Texas Tech|
|December 29, 2015||7:30||Arizona Bowl||Rice||New Mexico|
|December 29, 2015||5:30||Russell Athletic Bowl||North Carolina||West Virginia|
|December 29, 2015||2:00||Armed Forces Bowl||Arizona*||Utah State|
|December 28, 2015||5:00||Quick Lane Bowl||Virginia Tech||Kentucky*|
|December 28, 2015||2:30||Military Bowl||Duke||Navy|
|December 26, 2015||9:15||Foster Farms Bowl||Nebraska||UCLA|
|December 26, 2015||5:45||Independence Bowl||NC State||Missouri|
|December 26, 2015||3:30||Pinstripe Bowl||Louisville||Illinois|
|December 26, 2015||2:20||Heart of Dallas Bowl||Arizona State**||Louisiana Tech|
|December 26, 2015||2:00||Sun Bowl||Miami||Oregon|
|December 26, 2015||11:00||St. Petersburg Bowl||Western Kentucky||USF|
|December 24, 2015||8:00||Hawaii Bowl||Temple||BYU|
|December 24, 2015||12:00||Bahamas Bowl||Marshall||Bowling Green|
|December 23, 2015||8:00||GoDaddy Bowl||Toledo||Arkansas State|
|December 23, 2015||4:30||Poinsettia Bowl||Ohio||San Diego State|
|December 22, 2015||7:00||Boca Raton Bowl||Cincinnati||Western Michigan|
|December 22, 2015||3:30||Idaho Potato Bowl||Air Force||Northern Illinois|
|December 21, 2015||2:30||Miami Beach Bowl||Middle Tennessee||Akron***|
|December 19, 2015||9:00||New Orleans Bowl||Southern Miss||Georgia Southern|
|December 19, 2015||5:30||Camellia Bowl||Central Michigan||South Alabama|
|December 19, 2015||3:30||Las Vegas Bowl||California||Nevada|
|December 19, 2015||12:00||New Mexico Bowl||Old Dominion||Boise State|
|December 19, 2015||12:00||Cure Bowl||Buffalo***||Appalachian State|
A bit of a legend here: * – not enough Big Ten bowl teams; ** – not enough Big XII bowl teams; *** – not enough AAC bowl teams.
At this point, I see 81 bowl-eligible teams at the end of the season. Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust enough to fill all the bowl slots with one team left over. I predict that team will be UL-Lafayette. Again, a lot can change. As of right now, there are 63 bowl-eligible teams. Either Buffalo or Akron will clinch this week and there is a possibility that up to 15 other teams can clinch as well. Chances are that won’t happen. I see about 70 bowl-eligible teams going into American Thanksgiving week meaning there will be a lot of competition for those last few spots.
A few notes on my bowl predictions at this point:
- The top three teams that would miss out on the big boy bowls would be Michigan, TCU, and LSU. LSU is almost certainly done but TCU and Michigan can easily play their way back in considering their schedule the rest of the way.
- I don’t see Texas making it to a bowl game. No way they win both of their last two games. Charlie Strong better get on that Miami job ASAP.
- I am calling for one upset the next couple weeks and that’s Nebraska beating Iowa on Black Friday. Nebraska needs this one win to go bowling and I think they will pull it out (thus ruining Iowa’s CFP chances).
- The following teams would be going to their first bowl games: Georgia Southern (New Orleans), Old Dominion (New Mexico), Appalachian State (Cure).
I have a feeling I may be way off on these. But you know what means? Most of the other experts (I am not calling myself an expert here by any means) will be way off as well. It all balances out. I think.
For you college football fans out there that have one of the specialty packs, there are two MACtion games tonight. Tomorrow, the NFL Thursday nighter and two college games. Enjoy!