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 SI.com’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:

College Football
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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.

bOWL

DATE

LOCATION

MATCHUP

PICK

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. 

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

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