College Football

Way-Too-Early Bowl Projections (but not as way-too-early as before)

Alright, my second set of bowl projections this season. I really should start promoting it ten thousand times a week so everyone knows WHO’S IN! (according to me at least). Quite a shakeup at the top of the College Football Playoff Rankings thanks to the losses by the two OSU’s (Oklahoma and Ohio). I don’t fully agree with The Committee’s picks for the top four but that doesn’t really matter because they are looking at right now and what has happened up until now. They do not take into account the rest of the schedule because they can’t. I understand that. I do my rankings based on how I believe the season will end.

So without further adieu, let’s start with the College Football Playoff predictions (I feel like Rece Davis, except infinitely worse looking):

December 31, 2015 8:00 Orange Bowl Clemson Michigan State
December 31, 2015 4:00 Cotton Bowl Alabama Notre Dame

So yeah, the top two are the same as usual. I still believe Alabama may overtake Clemson by the end of the season but for now I will keep the Tigers at #1. The #3 spot is where it gets interesting. I have Notre Dame there. My reasoning has very little to do with Notre Dame (although I have them beating Stanford and then Stanford winning the Pac-12 Championship which would keep their strength of schedule up). It has more to do with Iowa and Oklahoma. I have Iowa losing the Big Ten Championship (and to be honest, I have them being upset by Nebraska on Black Friday). I have Oklahoma losing Bedlam. That would knock both those teams down a notch in the rankings and allow Michigan State (who I think will win the Big Ten Championship) and Notre Dame to move back in. Convoluted I know so imagine what The Committee has to go through.

OK here is the New Year’s Six set of bowls:

January 1, 2016 8:30 Sugar Bowl Florida Oklahoma State
January 1, 2016 5:00 Rose Bowl Ohio State Stanford
January 1, 2016 1:00 Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma Houston
December 31, 2015 12:00 Peach Bowl Iowa Baylor

The Big XII has three very good teams but because they beat each other up, none of them would get into the CFP (cue expansion talk!). I predict Houston will end up beating out Navy for the Group of Five spot but there is still a lot of time left for tomfoolery and shenanigans. Hell, Toledo still has a shot if Houston loses, then Navy loses one of their last two. I have Michigan, North Carolina, and Northwestern being just left out. Northwestern is almost certainly out but the Wolverines and Tar Heels each have a chance at a signature win to push them into the Big Boy Bowls.

And now the rest of the bowls:

January 2, 2016 10:15 Cactus Bowl Utah State UCLA
January 2, 2016 6:45 Alamo Bowl TCU Oregon
January 2, 2016 3:20 Liberty Bowl Ole Miss Texas Tech
January 2, 2016 12:00 TaxSlayer Bowl Florida State Georgia
January 1, 2016 1:00 Citrus Bowl Michigan Mississippi State
January 1, 2016 12:00 Outback Bowl Tennessee Northwestern
December 30, 2015 10:30 Holiday Bowl Wisconsin USC
December 30, 2015 7:30 Music City Bowl Penn State LSU
December 30, 2015 3:30 Belk Bowl Pittsburgh Texas A&M
December 30, 2015 12:00 Birmingham Bowl Memphis Auburn
December 29, 2015 9:00 Texas Bowl Arkansas Kansas State
December 29, 2015 7:30 Arizona Bowl Arkansas State Nevada
December 29, 2015 5:30 Russell Athletic Bowl North Carolina West Virginia
December 29, 2015 2:00 Armed Forces Bowl Washington* Colorado State
December 28, 2015 5:00 Quick Lane Bowl Duke Kentucky*
December 28, 2015 2:30 Military Bowl Virginia Tech Navy
December 26, 2015 9:15 Foster Farms Bowl Nebraska Washington State
December 26, 2015 5:45 Independence Bowl NC State Western Kentucky
December 26, 2015 3:30 Pinstripe Bowl Louisville Illinois
December 26, 2015 2:20 Heart of Dallas Bowl Arizona* Louisiana Tech
December 26, 2015 2:00 Sun Bowl Miami Utah
December 26, 2015 11:00 St. Petersburg Bowl Marshall USF
December 24, 2015 8:00 Hawaii Bowl Temple BYU
December 24, 2015 12:00 Bahamas Bowl Middle Tennessee^ Bowling Green
December 23, 2015 8:00 GoDaddy Bowl Toledo Georgia Southern
December 23, 2015 4:30 Poinsettia Bowl Western Michigan San Diego State
December 22, 2015 7:00 Boca Raton Bowl Connecticut Central Michigan
December 22, 2015 3:30 Idaho Potato Bowl Air Force Northern Illinois
December 21, 2015 2:30 Miami Beach Bowl Old Dominion East Carolina
December 19, 2015 9:00 New Orleans Bowl Southern Miss Ohio*
December 19, 2015 5:30 Camellia Bowl Akron California*
December 19, 2015 3:30 Las Vegas Bowl Arizona State Boise State
December 19, 2015 12:00 New Mexico Bowl Buffalo* New Mexico
December 19, 2015 12:00 Cure Bowl Cincinnati Appalachian State

Hey, a team has already accepted a bowl! As per Brett McMurphy of ESPN, Middle Tennessee has already accepted a bid to the Bahamas Bowl. That was quick. I just assumed bowl bids would start filtering in Saturday evening and then pick up steam during conference championship week. As of right now, I predict there will be exactly 80 bowl-eligible teams. The NCAA STILL doesn’t know what they are doing in case they have less than 80. Maybe they will play a Press Your Luck style game to figure out the team that gets to go (Big Bucks! Big Bucks! NO WHAMMYS!). I currently have down that six bowl tie-ins will not be fulfilled (2 Big Ten, 1 Big XII, 1 C-USA, 2 Sun Belt). I still believe that tie-ins should be reduced. They could start next year with the following plan:

  • Each of the Power Five conferences get five tie-ins (Big XII gets 4 because they only have ten teams). This includes the bowl tie-in among the CFP/NYS bowls.
  • Each of the Group of Five conferences gets four tie-ins (Sun Belt gets 3 because they only have 11 teams). This does not include the Go5 spot in the New Year’s Six.
  • The rest of the bowls pick teams out of the teams remaining. The order of selections can either be tiered or rotated year-over-year.

We have 40 bowl games to fill. It’s too much, I agree. I like college football but they could easily take ten games out and I wouldn’t care a whole lot. But this method allows the lower-tier bowls the opportunity to pick what they believe will be the best matchup for their game specifically, rather than being constrained by tie-ins that may give us extremely mediocre matchups (which kind of goes against what bowl season is supposed to be about).

I will try and do this whole exercise again after Saturday’s games to see where we are sitting since a lot will shake out over the next three days.

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