Midseason Bowl Projections: Predicting the playoff, every bowl game

0:46 | College Football
No. 2 Ohio State outlasts No. 8 Wisconsin in overtime
Tuesday October 18th, 2016

The first half of the season has been marked by a surprising sense of stability. The four teams in the projected field for the College Football Playoff entered 2016 ranked No. 1 (Alabama), No. 2 (Clemson), No. 6 (Ohio State) and No. 14 (Washington). The Crimson Tide and Tigers even participated in last year’s championship game.

For fans of postseason chaos, all this steadiness has been a little unsettling. Good thing there’s still another half of the regular season to play, plenty of time for some wild upsets to wreak havoc on the bowl picture.

Before we get to the bowl projections, 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.

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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. Wisconsin

Cotton

Jan. 2

Arlington, Texas

TBD vs. TBD

Boise State vs. Tennessee

Rose

Jan. 2

Pasadena, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Michigan vs. Stanford

Sugar

Jan. 2

New Orleans

SEC vs. Big 12

Texas A&M vs. Baylor

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bowl

date

location

matchup

pick

New Mexico

Dec. 17

Albuquerque, N.M,

C-USA vs. MW

Louisiana Tech vs. New Mexico

Las Vegas

Dec. 17

Las Vegas

MW vs. Pac-12

San Diego State vs. Arizona State

Camellia

Dec. 17

Montgomery, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern

Cure

Dec. 17

Orlando, Fla.

AAC vs. Sun Belt

Tulane vs. South Alabama

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. Middle Tennessee

Poinsettia

Dec. 21

San Diego

BYU vs. MW

BYU vs. Air Force

Famous Idaho Potato

Dec. 22

Boise, Idaho

MAC vs. MW

Toledo vs. Wyoming

Bahamas

Dec. 23

Nassau, Bahamas

AAC vs. MAC

UConn vs. Ohio

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

Western Michigan vs. Troy

Hawaii

Dec. 24

Honolulu

C-USA vs. MW

Old Dominion 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

Georgia Tech vs. Maryland

Independence

Dec. 26

Shreveport, La.

ACC vs. SEC

NC State vs. Arkansas State*

Heart of Dallas

Dec. 27

Dallas

Big Ten vs. C-USA

Cincinnati* vs. Western Kentucky

Military

Dec. 27

Annapolis, Md.

ACC vs. AAC

Army* vs. Houston

Holiday

Dec. 27

San Diego

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Indiana vs. Washington State

Cactus

Dec. 27

Phoenix

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Texas vs. UCLA

Pinstripe

Dec. 28

New York

ACC vs. Big Ten

Miami vs. Northwestern

Russell Athletic

Dec. 28

Orlando, Fla.

ACC vs. Big 12

Florida State vs. West Virginia

Foster Farms

Dec. 28

Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Minnesota vs. Utah

Texas

Dec. 28

Houston

Big 12 vs. SEC

TCU vs. LSU

Birmingham

Dec. 29

Birmingham, Ala.

AAC vs. SEC

Tulsa vs. Ball State*

Belk

Dec. 29

Charlotte, N.C.

ACC vs. SEC

North Carolina vs. Auburn

Alamo

Dec. 29

San Antonio

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Oklahoma vs. Colorado

Arizona

Dec. 30

Tucson, Ariz.

MW vs. Sun Belt

UTSA* vs. Idaho

Liberty

Dec. 30

Memphis, Tenn.

Big 12 vs. SEC

Oklahoma State vs. Georgia

Sun

Dec. 30

El Paso, Texas

ACC vs. Pac-12

Pittsburgh vs. USC

Music City

Dec. 30

Nashville, Tenn.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Penn State vs. Kentucky

TaxSlayer

Dec. 31

Jacksonville, Fla.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Virginia Tech vs. Ole Miss

Citrus

Dec. 31

Orlando, Fla.

Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC

Iowa vs. Arkansas

Outback

Jan. 2

Tampa, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Nebraska vs. Florida

*Replacement team

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