College football 2015-16 bowl projections: Predicting the playoff, New Year's Six bowls after week 10.

By Zac Ellis
November 09, 2015

Brace yourself, Big 12 fans: Baylor and TCU are poised to miss the College Football Playoff once again. However, the conference of “One True Champion” will still play for the national championship in 2015.

After Oklahoma State’s impressive 49-29 win over TCU last Saturday, projects the underrated Cowboys to emerge as undefeated Big 12 champs. That should be enough to push coach Mike Gundy’s program into the selection committee’s top four. Meanwhile, a Baylor squad that also loses to Oklahoma State will beat TCU on Nov. 27 and slide into the Big 12’s slot in the Sugar Bowl. That’s the biggest change in our latest bowl pairings, with the slight exception of Houston’s arrival as the Group of Five’s new New Year’s Six representative.

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:

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.

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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 Clemson vs. Okla. St.
Cotton Bowl (semifinal) Dec. 31 Arlington, Tex. No. 2 vs. No. 3 Alabama vs. Ohio State
Peach Bowl Dec. 31 Atlanta, Ga. At-large vs. Group of Five Florida vs. Houston
Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1 Glendale, Ariz. At-large vs. At-large Notre Dame vs. Utah
Rose Bowl Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Iowa vs. Stanford
Sugar Bowl Jan. 1 New Orleans, La. SEC vs. Big 12 LSU vs. Baylor
bowl date location matchup pick
New Orleans Bowl Dec. 19 New Orleans, La. Sun Belt vs. CUSA Arkansas St. vs. La. Tech
New Mexico Bowl Dec. 19 Albequerque, N.M. CUSA vs. MW MTSU vs. Nevada
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. Ga. Southern
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. SDSU
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 Colo St. 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. NIU
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 NC State vs. Cal
Independence Bowl Dec. 26 Shreveport, La. ACC vs. SEC Va. Tech vs. UTEP*
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 Duke vs. Minnesota
Quick Lane Bowl Dec. 28 Detroit, Mich. ACC vs. Big Ten Louisville vs. ULL*
Military Bowl Dec. 28 Annapolis, Md. ACC vs. AAC Miami 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 Florida State vs. TCU
Texas Bowl Dec. 29 Houston, Tex. Big 12 vs. SEC W. Virginia vs. Georgia
Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 29 Fort Worth, Tex. Big Ten/Big 12 vs. MW Akron* vs. Boise State
Music City Bowl Dec. 30 Nashville, Tenn. ACC vs. SEC Pitt vs. Arkansas
Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 San Diego, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Penn St. vs. UCLA
Belk Bowl Dec. 30 Charlotte, N.C. ACC vs. SEC UNC vs. Texas A&M
Birmingham Bowl Dec. 30 Birmingham, Ala. AAC vs. SEC Memphis vs. Kentucky
Outback Bowl Jan. 1 Tampa, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Mich. St. vs. Tenn.
Citrus Bowl Jan. 1 Orlando, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Michigan vs. Ole Miss
Liberty Bowl Jan. 2 Memphis, Tenn. Big 12 vs. SEC Texas Tech vs. Auburn
TaxSlayer Bowl Jan. 2 Jacksonville, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Wisconsin vs. Miss. St.
Alamo Bowl Jan. 2 San Antonio, Tex. Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Oklahoma vs. USC
Cactus Bowl Jan. 2 Phoenix, Ariz. Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Kansas St. vs. Wash. St.

*Replacement team

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