- Four Big Ten teams make the New Year's Six bowl games in SI's latest Bowl Projections, topped by Michigan in the College Football Playoff.
Although the College Football Playoff field remains the same, just about every other major bowl game gets a new matchup after Week 9. That’s hardly surprising given the number of pivotal outcomes the week produced, including the first loss of the season for four teams.
One of the biggest winners of the week is actually a loser. Nebraska slides up to the New Year’s Six bowls despite its defeat at Wisconsin, as the Cornhuskers capitalize on South Carolina’s upset of Tennessee to take the Volunteers’ spot in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma and Western Michigan also move in the New Year’s Six bowls this week, spurred by the losses of Baylor and West Virginia (for the Sooners) and Boise State (for the Broncos).
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.
New Year's Six bowls
|Peach (semifinal)||Dec. 31||Atlanta||TBD vs. TBD||Alabama vs. Washington|
|Fiesta (semifinal)||Dec. 31||Glendale, Ariz.||TBD vs. TBD||Michigan vs. Clemson|
|Orange||Dec. 30||Miami||ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND||Louisville vs. Wisconsin|
|Cotton||Jan. 2||Arlington, Texas||TBD vs. TBD||Western Michigan vs. Nebraska|
|Rose||Jan. 2||Pasadena, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Ohio State vs. Utah|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||New Orleans||SEC vs. Big 12||Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma|
|New Mexico||Dec. 17||Albuquerque, N.M.||C-USA vs. MW||Southern Miss vs. New Mexico|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 17||Las Vegas||MW vs. Pac-12||Boise State vs. Arizona State|
|Camellia||Dec. 17||Montgomery, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama|
|Cure||Dec. 17||Orlando, Fla.||AAC vs. Sun Belt||UCF vs. Georgia Southern|
|New Orleans||Dec. 17||New Orleans||Sun Belt vs. C-USA||Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee|
|Miami Beach||Dec. 19||Miami||AAC vs. MAC||Tulsa vs. Central Michigan|
|Boca Raton||Dec. 20||Boca Raton, Fla.||AAC vs. C-USA||Memphis vs. Western Kentucky|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 21||San Diego||BYU vs. MW||BYU vs. San Diego State|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 22||Boise, Idaho||MAC vs. MW||Ohio vs. Wyoming|
|Bahamas||Dec. 23||Nassau, Bahamas||AAC vs. MAC||Cincinnati vs. Akron|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 23||Fort Worth, Texas||Big 12 vs. Navy||Texas Tech vs. Navy|
|Dollar General||Dec. 23||Mobile, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Toledo vs. Troy|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||Honolulu||C-USA vs. MW||Louisiana Tech vs. Air Force|
|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. Arkansas State*|
|Independence||Dec. 26||Shreveport, La.||ACC vs. SEC||NC State vs. SMU*|
|Heart of Dallas||Dec. 27||Dallas||Big Ten vs. C-USA||TCU* vs. Old Dominion|
|Military||Dec. 27||Annapolis, Md.||ACC vs. AAC||Army* vs. Temple|
|Holiday||Dec. 27||San Diego||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Northwestern vs. Washington State|
|Cactus||Dec. 27||Phoenix||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Kansas State vs. Cal|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||New York||ACC vs. Big Ten||Miami vs. Maryland|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||Orlando, Fla.||ACC vs. Big 12||Florida State vs. Oklahoma State|
|Foster Farms||Dec. 28||Santa Clara, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Indiana vs. USC|
|Texas||Dec. 28||Houston||Big 12 vs. SEC||Baylor vs. Kentucky|
|Birmingham||Dec. 29||Birmingham, Ala.||AAC vs. SEC||Houston vs. Georgia|
|Belk||Dec. 29||Charlotte, N.C.||ACC vs. SEC||North Carolina vs. Tennessee|
|Alamo||Dec. 29||San Antonio||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||West Virginia vs. Colorado|
|Arizona||Dec. 30||Tucson, Ariz.||MW vs. Sun Belt||Colorado State vs. Idaho|
|Liberty||Dec. 30||Memphis, Tenn.||Big 12 vs. SEC||Texas vs. Ole Miss|
|Sun||Dec. 30||El Paso, Texas||ACC vs. Pac-12||Pittsburgh vs. Stanford|
|Music City||Dec. 30||Nashville, Tenn.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Iowa vs. Arkansas|
|TaxSlayer||Dec. 31||Jacksonville, Fla.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Virginia Tech vs. LSU|
|Citrus||Dec. 31||Orlando, Fla.||Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC||Penn State vs. Auburn|
|Outback||Jan. 2||Tampa, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Minnesota vs. Florida|