Bowl Projections: Picks for the College Football Playoff, other bowls after Week 9 of the 2014 season.

By Zac Ellis
October 27, 2014

The inaugural College Football Playoff rankings will be unveiled on Tuesday night, which should shed a little light on the selection committee’s decision-making. That’s the first step in introducing this year’s revamped postseason.

As we mentioned in our preseason projections, predicting the bowl lineup is hardly an exact science. Much of the committee’s process remains unknown, plus there are retooled conference bowl pools to consider. And, of course, plenty will change between now and Championship Saturday.

Before moving forward, a quick reminder on how this all works. The selection committee fills the two semifinal bowls based on its final rankings. It then rounds out the four non-playoff New Year’s Six bowls, while fulfilling certain contractual obligations, such as pitting an ACC team against an SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame team in the Orange Bowl. The remaining teams are then fed into each league’s contract bowls. If a league doesn’t produce enough bowl-eligible teams, bowls can invite replacement teams from other leagues.

This season the ACC, Big Ten and SEC have each pooled a select number of bowls together and will decide where to place teams. While the Big 12 and Pac-12 use a more straightforward method -- the Pac-12’s No. 2 choice would go to the Alamo Bowl, the No. 3 to the Holiday Bowl, etc. -- the process for the other three Power Five leagues is less structured. For instance, the ACC’s No. 2 choice will go to the Russell Athletic Bowl, but teams Nos. 3-6 can land anywhere among the Sun, Belk, Music City/Taxslayer or Pinstripe bowls.

Keep in mind, “Pac-12 No. 2” doesn't mean the Pac-12’s second-place team. Fan travel and geographical location factor into bowl selection as much as conference standings. Thus, leagues aren't obligated to fill bowls based on records.

ELLIS: Who leads the Heisman Trophy race following Week 9?

bowl date location matchup pick
Peach Dec. 31 Atlanta TBD vs. TBD Ole Miss vs. E. Carolina
Fiesta Dec. 31 Glendale, Ariz. TBD vs. TBD Auburn vs. Baylor
Orange Dec. 31 Miami ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND Clemson vs. Alabama
Cotton Jan. 1 Arlington, Texas TBD vs. TBD Notre Dame vs. Mich. St.
Rose (semifinal) Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. TBD vs. TBD Florida State vs. Oregon
Sugar (semifinal) Jan. 1 New Orleans TBD vs. TBD Miss. State vs. TCU
bowl date location matchup pick
New Orleans Dec. 20 New Orleans Sun Belt vs. MWC UL-Laf. vs. Colo. State
Idaho Potato Dec. 20 Boise, Idaho MWC vs. MAC San Diego State vs. NIU
Royal Purple Dec. 20 Las Vegas MWC vs. Pac-12 Boise State vs. California
New Mexico Dec. 20 Albuquerque, N.M. MWC vs. C-USA Nevada vs. Middle Tenn.
Camellia Dec. 20 Montgomery, Ala. MAC vs. Sun Belt Ohio vs. S. Alabama
Miami Beach Dec. 22 Miami American vs. BYU Houston vs. BYU
Poinsettia Dec. 23 San Diego MWC vs. Navy Utah State vs. Navy
Boca Raton Dec. 23 Boca Raton, Fla. C-USA vs. MAC Rice vs. Toledo
Bahamas Dec. 24 Nassau, Bahamas C-USA vs. MAC La. Tech vs. Akron
Hawaii Dec. 24 Honolulu, Hawaii MWC vs. C-USA Air Force vs. UAB
Bitcoin Dec. 26 St. Petersburg American vs. ACC Memphis vs. Virginia
Heart of Dallas Dec. 26 Dallas Big Ten/Big 12 vs. C-USA Minnesota vs. UTEP
Quick Lane Dec. 26 Detroit ACC vs. Big Ten E. Michigan* vs. Rutgers
Military Dec. 27 Annapolis, Md. American vs. ACC UCF vs. Georgia Tech
Independence Dec. 27 Shreveport, La. ACC vs. SEC NC State vs. Washington*
Pinstripe Dec. 27 New York ACC vs. Big Ten BC vs. Maryland
Sun Dec. 27 El Paso, Texas ACC vs. Pac-12 Louisville vs. Arizona State
Holiday Dec. 27 San Diego Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Penn State vs. USC
Russell Athletic Dec. 29 Orlando ACC vs. Big 12 Duke vs. Kansas State
Liberty Dec. 29 Memphis, Tenn. Big 12 vs. SEC West Virginia vs. Georgia
Texas Dec. 29 Houston Big 12 vs. SEC Okla. State vs. Missouri
Belk Dec. 30 Charlotte, N.C. ACC vs. SEC UNC vs. Kentucky
San Francisco Dec. 30 Santa Clara, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Iowa vs. Stanford
Music City Dec. 30 Nashville, Tenn. ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC Miami vs. Tennessee
Citrus Jan. 1 Orlando ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC Nebraska vs. Texas A&M
Outback Jan. 1 Tampa, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Ohio State vs. LSU
Armed Forces Jan. 2 Fort Worth, Texas American vs. Army Cincinnati vs. Utah*
Alamo Jan. 2 San Antonio, Texas Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Oklahoma vs. UCLA
TaxSlayer Jan. 2 Jacksonville, Fla. Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC Wisc. vs. So. Carolina
Cactus Jan. 2 Tempe, Ariz. Big 12 vs. Pac-12 W. Michigan* vs. Arizona
Birmingham Jan. 3 Birmingham, Ala. SEC vs. American Texas State* vs. Marshall*
GoDaddy Jan. 4 Mobile, Ala. MAC vs. Sun Belt BGSU vs. UL-Monroe

* -- Replacement team

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