Midseason Bowl Projections: Predicting the playoff, every bowl game
- Boise State and Stanford enter the mix for the New Year's Six bowls while the projected College Football Playoff field remains the same at midseason.
The first half of the season has been marked by a surprising sense of stability. The four teams in the projected field for the College Football Playoff entered 2016 ranked No. 1 (Alabama), No. 2 (Clemson), No. 6 (Ohio State) and No. 14 (Washington). The Crimson Tide and Tigers even participated in last year’s championship game.
For fans of postseason chaos, all this steadiness has been a little unsettling. Good thing there’s still another half of the regular season to play, plenty of time for some wild upsets to wreak havoc on the bowl picture.
Before we get to the bowl projections, a reminder about how the college football postseason works. The playoff selection committee will choose the teams for the two playoff semifinals—the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl this year—and the four other marquee bowls that are part of the New Year’s Six. The highest ranked Group of Five conference champion must play in one of those six games, and other games, such as the Rose Bowl, have conference tie-ins.
The remaining bowl games are also governed by agreements with the 10 FBS conferences, though if a league doesn’t produce enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its tie-ins, that bowl can select another conference’s representative. In some cases, leagues will pool together their bowl tie-ins to create more flexibility. The Music City Bowl, for example, can choose either an ACC or Big Ten team to face an SEC opponent.
And lastly, just because a bowl may be designated to have a particular order of selection among a conference’s teams doesn’t mean it has to adhere exactly to the standings. The Alamo Bowl’s second choice among Pac-12 teams, for example, does not require it to choose the No. 2 available team from the Pac-12 standings or from the playoff committee’s rankings. Other factors, such as location, the matchup, the size of a school’s fan base and the willingness of that fan base to travel, can influence bowls’ decisions.
New Year's Six bowls
|Peach (semifinal)||Dec. 31||Atlanta||TBD vs. TBD||Alabama vs. Washington|
|Fiesta (semifinal)||Dec. 31||Glendale, Ariz.||TBD vs. TBD||Ohio State vs. Clemson|
|Orange||Dec. 30||Miami||ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND||Louisville vs. Wisconsin|
|Cotton||Jan. 2||Arlington, Texas||TBD vs. TBD||Boise State vs. Tennessee|
|Rose||Jan. 2||Pasadena, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Michigan vs. Stanford|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||New Orleans||SEC vs. Big 12||Texas A&M vs. Baylor|
|New Mexico||Dec. 17||Albuquerque, N.M,||C-USA vs. MW||Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 17||Las Vegas||MW vs. Pac-12||San Diego State vs. Arizona State|
|Camellia||Dec. 17||Montgomery, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern|
|Cure||Dec. 17||Orlando, Fla.||AAC vs. Sun Belt||Tulane vs. South Alabama|
|New Orleans||Dec. 17||New Orleans||Sun Belt vs. C-USA||Appalachian State vs. Southern Miss|
|Miami Beach||Dec. 19||Miami||AAC vs. MAC||Temple vs. Central Michigan|
|Boca Raton||Dec. 20||Boca Raton, Fla.||AAC vs. C-USA||Memphis vs. Middle Tennessee|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 21||San Diego||BYU vs. MW||BYU vs. Air Force|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 22||Boise, Idaho||MAC vs. MW||Toledo vs. Wyoming|
|Bahamas||Dec. 23||Nassau, Bahamas||AAC vs. MAC||UConn vs. Ohio|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 23||Fort Worth, Texas||Big 12 vs. Navy||Kansas State vs. Navy|
|Dollar General||Dec. 23||Mobile, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Western Michigan vs. Troy|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||Honolulu||C-USA vs. MW||Old Dominion vs. Akron*|
|St. Petersburg||Dec. 26||St. Petersburg, Fla.||ACC vs. AAC||Wake Forest vs. South Florida|
|Quick Lane||Dec. 26||Detroit||ACC vs. Big Ten||Georgia Tech vs. Maryland|
|Independence||Dec. 26||Shreveport, La.||ACC vs. SEC||NC State vs. Arkansas State*|
|Heart of Dallas||Dec. 27||Dallas||Big Ten vs. C-USA||Cincinnati* vs. Western Kentucky|
|Military||Dec. 27||Annapolis, Md.||ACC vs. AAC||Army* vs. Houston|
|Holiday||Dec. 27||San Diego||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Indiana vs. Washington State|
|Cactus||Dec. 27||Phoenix||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Texas vs. UCLA|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||New York||ACC vs. Big Ten||Miami vs. Northwestern|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||Orlando, Fla.||ACC vs. Big 12||Florida State vs. West Virginia|
|Foster Farms||Dec. 28||Santa Clara, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Minnesota vs. Utah|
|Texas||Dec. 28||Houston||Big 12 vs. SEC||TCU vs. LSU|
|Birmingham||Dec. 29||Birmingham, Ala.||AAC vs. SEC||Tulsa vs. Ball State*|
|Belk||Dec. 29||Charlotte, N.C.||ACC vs. SEC||North Carolina vs. Auburn|
|Alamo||Dec. 29||San Antonio||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Oklahoma vs. Colorado|
|Arizona||Dec. 30||Tucson, Ariz.||MW vs. Sun Belt||UTSA* vs. Idaho|
|Liberty||Dec. 30||Memphis, Tenn.||Big 12 vs. SEC||Oklahoma State vs. Georgia|
|Sun||Dec. 30||El Paso, Texas||ACC vs. Pac-12||Pittsburgh vs. USC|
|Music City||Dec. 30||Nashville, Tenn.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Penn State vs. Kentucky|
|TaxSlayer||Dec. 31||Jacksonville, Fla.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Virginia Tech vs. Ole Miss|
|Citrus||Dec. 31||Orlando, Fla.||Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC||Iowa vs. Arkansas|
|Outback||Jan. 2||Tampa, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Nebraska vs. Florida|