Bowl projections: Predicting the playoff, every bowl game after Week 6

1:01 | College Football
Unranked Navy upsets No. 6 Houston 46-40
Tuesday October 11th, 2016

There’s a wide range of confidence levels in SI.com's bowl projections after Week 6. For instance, you probably won’t be surprised to see Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson in the projected College Football Playoff field. Washington claiming the fourth spot isn’t exactly shocking either.

But then there are the projections that after six weeks of games still feel very much like guesswork. Like picking which Pac-12 team will play in the Rose Bowl if Washington does make the playoff. A Stanford team coming off two blowout defeats? Washington State, which lost its first two games of the season, including one to an FCS foe, but has been hot ever since? Or Utah, which lost to a Cal squad that fell to lowly Oregon State this week?

And then there’s sorting out how the ACC Coastal will play out after Miami lost to Florida State and Virginia Tech thumped North Carolina. Despite these difficulties, we do our best to take the information we have and make informed predictions. At least some things are certain: 6–0 Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Texas A&M, Washington and Western Michigan will be bowling this winter.

A reminder about how the college football postseason works: The playoff selection committee will choose the teams for the two playoff semifinals—the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl this year—and the four other marquee bowls that are part of the New Year’s Six. The highest ranked Group of Five conference champion must play in one of those six games, and other games, such as the Rose Bowl, have conference tie-ins.

The remaining bowl games are also governed by agreements with the 10 FBS conferences, though if a league doesn’t produce enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its tie-ins, that bowl can select another conference’s representative. In some cases, leagues will pool together their bowl tie-ins to create more flexibility. The Music City Bowl, for example, can choose either an ACC or Big Ten team to face an SEC opponent.

And lastly, just because a bowl may be designated to have a particular order of selection among a conference’s teams doesn’t mean it has to adhere exactly to the standings. The Alamo Bowl’s second choice among Pac-12 teams, for example, does not require it to choose the No. 2 available team from the Pac-12 standings or from the playoff committee’s rankings. Other factors, such as location, the matchup, the size of a school’s fan base and the willingness of that fan base to travel, can influence bowls’ decisions.

College Football
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New Year's Six bowls

Bowl

Date

Location

Matchup

Pick

Peach (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Atlanta

TBD vs. TBD

Alabama vs. Washington

Fiesta (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Glendale, Ariz.

TBD vs. TBD

Ohio State vs. Clemson

Orange

Dec. 30

Miami

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Louisville vs. Tennessee

Cotton

Jan. 2

Arlington, Texas

TBD vs. TBD

Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin

Rose

Jan. 2

Pasadena, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Michigan vs. Utah

Sugar

Jan. 2

New Orleans

SEC vs. Big 12

Texas A&M vs. Baylor

bowl

date

location

matchup

pick

New Mexico

Dec. 17

Albuquerque, N.M,

C-USA vs. MW

Old Dominion vs. Wyoming

Las Vegas

Dec. 17

Las Vegas

MW vs. Pac-12

Boise State vs. Colorado

Camellia

Dec. 17

Montgomery, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Eastern Michigan vs. New Mexico State

Cure

Dec. 17

Orlando, Fla.

AAC vs. Sun Belt

Tulsa vs. Georgia Southern

New Orleans

Dec. 17

New Orleans

Sun Belt vs. C-USA

Appalachian State vs. Southern Miss

Miami Beach

Dec. 19

Miami

AAC vs. MAC

Temple vs. Central Michigan

Boca Raton

Dec. 20

Boca Raton, Fla.

AAC vs. C-USA

Memphis vs. Louisiana Tech

Poinsettia

Dec. 21

San Diego

BYU vs. MW

BYU vs. Air Force

Famous Idaho Potato

Dec. 22

Boise, Idaho

MAC vs. MW

Toledo vs. San Diego State

Bahamas

Dec. 23

Nassau, Bahamas

AAC vs. MAC

UConn vs. Ball State

Armed Forces

Dec. 23

Fort Worth, Texas

Big 12 vs. Navy

Kansas State vs. Navy

Dollar General

Dec. 23

Mobile, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Ohio vs. Troy

Hawaii

Dec. 24

Honolulu

C-USA vs. MW

Western Kentucky vs. Akron*

St. Petersburg

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg, Fla.

ACC vs. AAC

Wake Forest vs. South Florida

Quick Lane

Dec. 26

Detroit

ACC vs. Big Ten

NC State vs. Maryland

Independence

Dec. 26

Shreveport, La.

ACC vs. SEC

Georgia Tech vs. Cincinnati*

Heart of Dallas

Dec. 27

Dallas

Big Ten vs. C-USA

Texas Tech* vs. Middle Tennessee

Military

Dec. 27

Annapolis, Md.

ACC vs. AAC

Army* vs. Houston

Holiday

Dec. 27

San Diego

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Indiana vs. Arizona State

Cactus

Dec. 27

Phoenix

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Texas vs. Washington State

Pinstripe

Dec. 28

New York

ACC vs. Big Ten

North Carolina vs. Minnesota

Russell Athletic

Dec. 28

Orlando, Fla.

ACC vs. Big 12

Florida State vs. TCU

Foster Farms

Dec. 28

Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Penn State vs. USC

Texas

Dec. 28

Houston

Big 12 vs. SEC

Oklahoma State vs. Georgia

Birmingham

Dec. 29

Birmingham, Ala.

AAC vs. SEC

Tulane vs. Kentucky

Belk

Dec. 29

Charlotte, N.C.

ACC vs. SEC

Virginia Tech vs. Auburn

Alamo

Dec. 29

San Antonio

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Oklahoma vs. Stanford

Arizona

Dec. 30

Tucson, Ariz.

MW vs. Sun Belt

New Mexico vs. South Alabama

Liberty

Dec. 30

Memphis, Tenn.

Big 12 vs. SEC

West Virginia vs. LSU

Sun

Dec. 30

El Paso, Texas

ACC vs. Pac-12

Pittsburgh vs. UCLA

Music City

Dec. 30

Nashville, Ten..

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Michigan State vs. Missouri

TaxSlayer

Dec. 31

Jacksonville, Fla.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Miami vs. Arkansas

Citrus

Dec. 31

Orlando, Fla.

Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC

Iowa vs. Ole Miss

Outback

Jan. 2

Tampa, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Nebraska vs. Florida

*Replacement team

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