Bowl Projections: Predicted matchups for the playoff, every bowl after Week 12

1:01 | College Football
Here are Stewart Mandel's College Football Playoff teams
Monday November 21st, 2016

It’s around this time that bowl projections start to get a little strange. With 40 bowl games, college football needs 80 teams to hit the normal bowl-eligibility threshold (six wins in 12 games) to avoid having to stretch its limits of what qualifies a team for the postseason.

That’s not likely to happen this year, as was the case last year, too. Barring a rash of upsets to close out the season, there won’t be 80 teams this season who meet the regular standard of bowl eligibility. I’m projecting that 75 teams will.

So who gets those other five spots? If Hawaii beats UMass on Saturday, the Rainbow Warriors will finish with six wins in 13 games, making them the first alternate in the bowl picture. Even if Army loses to Navy, the Black Knights will have six wins, but two of those came against FCS foes, one more than typically allowed for bowl eligibility. That won’t matter much this year, so Army’s victory over Morgan State this week should secure its berth in the postseason.

As for the other three spots, it comes down to which 5–7 teams score the highest in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate. That sends Vanderbilt, Boston College and UCLA to bowl games (assuming the Bruins beat Cal on Saturday).  So congrats, Commodores, Eagles and Bruins, your losing records won’t deny you bowl berths this year.

•​ Coaching Carousel Update: Who will replace Charlie Strong at Texas?

Before we get to the full projections, a reminder about how the college football bowl selection works. The College Football 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

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

Clemson vs. Ohio State

Orange

Dec. 30

Miami

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Louisville vs. Michigan

Cotton

Jan. 2

Arlington, Texas

TBD vs. TBD

Western Michigan vs. USC

Rose

Jan. 2

Pasadena, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Wisconsin vs. Colorado

Sugar

Jan. 2

New Orleans

SEC vs. Big 12

Tennessee vs. Oklahoma

College Football
Colorado rises in Power Rankings after Week 12

bowl

date

location

matchup

pick

New Mexico

Dec. 17

Albuquerque, N.M.

C-USA vs. MW

UTSA vs. Wyoming

Las Vegas

Dec. 17

Las Vegas

MW vs. Pac-12

San Diego State vs. UCLA

Camellia

Dec. 17

Montgomery, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Eastern Michigan vs. Arkansas State

Cure

Dec. 17

Orlando, Fla.

AAC vs. Sun Belt

UCF vs. South Alabama

New Orleans

Dec. 17

New Orleans

Sun Belt vs. C-USA

Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Tech

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. Old Dominion

Poinsettia

Dec. 21

San Diego

BYU vs. MW

BYU vs. Air Force

Famous Idaho Potato

Dec. 22

Boise, Idaho

MAC vs. MW

Ohio vs. Boise State

Bahamas

Dec. 23

Nassau, Bahamas

AAC vs. MAC

SMU vs. Miami (OH)

Armed Forces

Dec. 23

Fort Worth, Texas

Big 12 vs. Navy

North Texas* vs. Navy

Dollar General

Dec. 23

Mobile, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Toledo vs. Troy

Hawaii

Dec. 24

Honolulu

C-USA vs. MW

Middle Tennessee vs. New Mexico

St. Petersburg

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg, Fla.

ACC vs. AAC

Vanderbilt* vs. Houston

Quick Lane

Dec. 26

Detroit

ACC vs. Big Ten

Hawaii* vs. Indiana

Independence

Dec. 26

Shreveport, La.

ACC vs. SEC

Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky

Heart of Dallas

Dec. 27

Dallas

Big Ten vs. C-USA

Maryland vs. Western Kentucky

Military

Dec. 27

Annapolis, Md.

ACC vs. AAC

Boston College vs. Temple

Holiday

Dec. 27

San Diego

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Penn State vs. Stanford

Cactus

Dec. 27

Phoenix

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Kansas State vs. Army*

Pinstripe

Dec. 28

New York

ACC vs. Big Ten

Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern

Russell Athletic

Dec. 28

Orlando, Fla.

ACC vs. Big 12

Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State

Foster Farms

Dec. 28

Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Minnesota vs. Washington State

Texas

Dec. 28

Houston

Big 12 vs. SEC

TCU vs. Texas A&M

Birmingham

Dec. 29

Birmingham, Ala.

AAC vs. SEC

South Florida vs. South Carolina

Belk

Dec. 29

Charlotte, N.C.

ACC vs. SEC

North Carolina vs. LSU

Alamo

Dec. 29

San Antonio

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

West Virginia vs. Utah

Arizona

Dec. 30

Tucson, Ariz.

MW vs. Sun Belt

Colorado State vs. Idaho

Liberty

Dec. 30

Memphis, Tenn.

Big 12 vs. SEC

Baylor vs. Ole Miss

Sun

Dec. 30

El Paso, Texas

ACC vs. Pac-12

Wake Forest vs. Arizona State

Music City

Dec. 30

Nashville, Tenn.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Iowa vs. Georgia

TaxSlayer

Dec. 31

Jacksonville, Fla.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Miami vs. Arkansas

Citrus

Dec. 31

Orlando, Fla.

Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC

Florida State vs. Auburn

Outback

Jan. 2

Tampa, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Nebraska vs. Florida

*Replacement team

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