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Zac Ellis predicts matchups for all 38 bowl games, including who will play in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

By Zac Ellis
August 26, 2014

No one knows how the College Football Playoff will ultimately unfold in its first season. The same could be said for the 32 bowl games that won’t be filled by the playoff selection committee.

Projecting bowl matchups is set to be a unique challenge in 2014. There is no limit to how many teams a conference can land in the four-team playoff and six New Year’s Bowls. Four SEC teams could hypothetically headline the entire playoff bracket. That’s why the selection committee’s decision-making will have a direct impact on the rest of the postseason, as will conferences placing their own teams within league-specific bowl pools.

So, difficulties aside, we’ve given bowl projections our best shot. First, a quick note: Some leagues might fail to field enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their quotas in our projection, so an asterisk denotes a replacement team.

STAFF: 2014 preseason Crystal Ball: SI's picks for the playoff, Heisman, more

date bowl location matchup
Dec. 31 Peach Atlanta Ohio State (at-large) vs. Marshall (Group of Five)
Dec. 31 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. Auburn (at-large) vs. Baylor (at-large)
Dec. 31 Orange Miami Clemson (ACC) vs. South Carolina (SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame)
Jan. 1 Cotton Arlington, Texas Oklahoma (at-large) vs. Oregon (at-large)
Jan. 1 Rose (semifinal) Pasadena, Calif. No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 UCLA
Jan. 1 Sugar (semifinal) New Orleans No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Michigan State

STAFF: SI's experts fill out their brackets for the College Football Playoff

date bowl location matchup
Dec. 20 New Orleans New Orleans Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt) vs. Colorado State (Mountain West)
Dec. 20 Idaho Potato Boise, Idaho San Diego State (Mountain West) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
Dec. 20 Royal Purple Las Vegas Boise State (Mountain West) vs. Washington (Pac-12)
Dec. 20 New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. Nevada (Mountain West) vs. UTSA (C-USA)
Dec. 20 Camellia Montgomery, Ala. Akron (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
Dec. 22 Miami Beach Miami UCF (American) vs. BYU (BYU)
Dec. 23 Poinsettia San Diego Utah State (Mountain West) vs. Navy (Navy)
Dec. 23 Boca Raton Boca Raton, Fla. Florida Atlantic (C-USA) vs. Ball State (MAC)
Dec. 24 Bahamas Nassau, Bahamas Middle Tennessee (C-USA) vs. Toledo (MAC)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Honolulu Fresno State (Mountain West) vs. Rice (C-USA)
Dec. 26 Bitcoin St. Petersburg, Fla. East Carolina (American) vs. Boston College (ACC)
Dec. 26 Heart of Dallas Dallas Buffalo* (Big Ten/Big 12) vs. North Texas (C-USA)
Dec. 26 Quick Lane Detroit Pittsburgh (ACC) vs. Utah* (Big Ten)
Dec. 27 Military Annapolis, Md. Duke (ACC) vs. South Florida (American)
Dec. 27 Independence Shreveport, La. Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Washington State* (SEC)
Dec. 27 Pinstripe New York, N.Y. Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten)
Dec. 27 Sun El Paso, Texas Notre Dame (ACC) vs. Arizona (Pac-12)
Dec. 27 Holiday San Diego, Calif. Iowa (Big Ten) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)
Dec. 29 Russell Athletic Orlando Miami (ACC) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12)
Dec. 29 Liberty Memphis, Tenn. Kansas State (Big 12) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)
Dec. 29 Texas Houston TCU (Big 12) vs. Texas A&M (SEC)
Dec. 30 Belk Charlotte, N.C. North Carolina (ACC) vs. Mississippi State (SEC)
Dec. 30 Fight Hunger Santa Clara, Calif. Minnesota (Big Ten) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12)
Dec. 30 Music City Nashville Louisville (ACC/Big Ten) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC)
Jan. 1 Capital One Orlando Nebraska (ACC/Big Ten) vs. LSU (SEC)
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. Florida (SEC)
Jan. 2 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas Houston (American) vs. Ohio* (Army/Big 12)
Jan. 2 Alamo San Antonio Texas (Big 12) vs. USC (Pac-12)
Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Jacksonville, Fla. Michigan (Big Ten/ACC) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Jan. 2 Cactus Tempe, Ariz. Iowa State (Big 12) vs. Oregon State (Pac-12)
Jan. 3 Birmingham Birmingham, Ala. Missouri (SEC) vs. Cincinnati (American)
Jan. 4 GoDaddy Mobile, Ala. Bowling Green (MAC) vs. South Alabama (Sun Belt)'s complete 2014 college football preview coverage

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