College football 2015-16 bowl projections: Predicting the playoff, New Year's Six bowls after week 9.

By Zac Ellis
November 03, 2015

Perhaps Ohio State is the Big Ten’s most viable College Football Playoff contender after all.

The only major change in’s latest bowl projections is the Buckeyes replacing Michigan State in the four-team field. Urban Meyer’s team looks revitalized, and even with quarterback J.T. Barrett’s suspension for the Minnesota game on Nov. 7, Ohio State’s offense could be dangerous in the long term behind the redshirt sophomore. That’s why it should be able to handle remaining games against Michigan and the Spartans and win the conference title.

This season 40 bowls make up the 2015 postseason: the New Year’s Six Bowls, which include the two playoff semifinals, and 34 lower-tier bowls. Before moving forward, here’s a quick reminder on how this all works:

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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 the Big Ten against the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl. The committee is required to place the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion in a New Year’s Six 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.

Like last season, the ACC, Big Ten and SEC each pool a select number of bowls together and decide where to place teams. While the Big 12 and Pac-12 use a 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.

• ELLIS: The three most important takeaways from Week 9

Keep in mind, the Pac-12’s No. 2 bowl doesn't automatically take the conference’s second-place team. Fan travel, location and matchup considerations all factor into bowl selection as much as conference standings. Leagues aren't obligated to fill bowls based on records.

Orange Bowl (semifinal) Dec. 31 Miami Gardens, Fla. No. 1 vs. No. 4 Alabama vs. Clemson
Cotton Bowl (semifinal) Dec. 31 Arlington, Tex. No. 2 vs. No. 3 Baylor vs. Ohio St.
Peach Bowl Dec. 31 Atlanta, Ga. at-large vs. at-large Utah vs. Florida State
Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1 Glendale, Ariz. at-large vs. Group of Five Notre Dame vs. Memphis
Rose Bowl Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Mich. St. vs. Stanford
Sugar Bowl Jan. 1 New Orleans, La. SEC vs. Big 12 LSU vs. TCU
bowl date location matchup pick
New Orleans Bowl Dec. 19 New Orleans, La. Sun Belt vs. CUSA Ga. Southern vs. La. Tech
New Mexico Bowl Dec. 19 Albequerque, N.M. CUSA vs. MW MTSU vs. San Jose St.
Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 19 Las Vegas MW/BYU vs. Pac-12 BYU vs. Ariz. St.
Cure Bowl Dec. 19 Orlando, Fla. AAC vs. Sun Belt Tulsa vs. Ark. State
Camellia Bowl Dec. 19 Montgomery, Ala. MAC vs. Sun Belt Ohio vs. App. St.
Miami Beach Bowl Dec. 21 Miami, Fla. AAC vs. CUSA Cincinnati vs. West. Ky.
Idaho Potato Bowl Dec. 22 Boise, Idaho MAC vs. MW BGSU vs. Col. St.
Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 22 Boca Raton, Fla. AAC vs. MAC USF vs. West. Mich.
Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 23 San Diego, Calif. MW vs. Army SDSU vs. Central Mich.*
GoDaddy Bowl Dec. 23 Mobile, Ala. MAC vs. Sun Belt Toledo vs. South Ala.
Bahamas Bowl Dec. 24 Nassau, Bahamas CUSA vs. MAC Old Dominion vs. Buffalo
Hawaii Bowl Dec. 24 Honolulu, Hawaii AAC vs. MW/BYU ECU vs. Utah State
Heart of Dallas Bowl Dec. 26 Dallas, Tex. Big 12/Big Ten vs. CUSA Indiana vs. So. Miss.
St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 26 St. Petersburg, Fla. AAC vs. CUSA Temple vs. Marshall
Sun Bowl Dec. 26 El Paso, Tex. ACC vs. Pac-12 Miami vs. Arizona
Independence Bowl Dec. 26 Shreveport, La. ACC vs. SEC Va. Tech vs. Washington*
Foster Farms Bowl Dec. 26 Santa Clara, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 N'Western vs. Oregon
Pinstripe Bowl Dec. 26 Bronx, N.Y. ACC vs. Big Ten NC State vs. Minn.
Quick Lane Bowl Dec. 28 Detroit, Mich. ACC vs. Big Ten Louisville vs. NIU
Military Bowl Dec. 28 Annapolis, Md. ACC vs. AAC Akron* vs. Navy
Arizona Bowl Dec. 29 Tucson, Ariz MW vs. CUSA Air Force vs. Rice
Russell Athletic Bowl Dec. 29 Orlando, Fla. ACC vs. Big 12 UNC vs. West Virginia
Texas Bowl Dec. 29 Houston, Tex. Big 12 vs. SEC Tex. Tech vs. Tex. A&M
Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 29 Fort Worth, Tex. Big Ten/Big 12 vs. MW Cal* vs. Boise State
Music City Bowl Dec. 30 Nashville, Tenn. ACC vs. SEC Pitt vs. Tennessee
Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 San Diego, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Penn St. vs. USC
Belk Bowl Dec. 30 Charlotte, N.C. ACC vs. SEC Duke vs. Auburn
Birmingham Bowl Dec. 30 Birmingham, Ala. AAC vs. SEC Houston vs. Kentucky
Outback Bowl Jan. 1 Tampa, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Iowa vs. Ole Miss
Citrus Bowl Jan. 1 Orlando, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Michigan vs. Florida
Liberty Bowl Jan. 2 Memphis, Tenn. Big 12 vs. SEC Okla. St. vs. Miss. St.
TaxSlayer Bowl Jan. 2 Jacksonville, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Wisc. vs. Georgia
Alamo Bowl Jan. 2 San Antonio, Tex. Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Oklahoma vs. UCLA
Cactus Bowl Jan. 2 Phoenix, Ariz. Big 12 vs. Pac-12 UL Laf. vs. Wash. St.

*Replacement team

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)