No one knows how the College Football Playoff will ultimately unfold in its first season. The same could be said for the 32 bowl games that won’t be filled by the playoff selection committee.
Projecting bowl matchups is set to be a unique challenge in 2014. There is no limit to how many teams a conference can land in the four-team playoff and six New Year’s Bowls. Four SEC teams could hypothetically headline the entire playoff bracket. That’s why the selection committee’s decision-making will have a direct impact on the rest of the postseason, as will conferences placing their own teams within league-specific bowl pools.
So, difficulties aside, we’ve given bowl projections our best shot. First, a quick note: Some leagues might fail to field enough bowl-eligible teams to fill their quotas in our projection, so an asterisk denotes a replacement team.
Ohio State (at-large) vs. Marshall (Group of Five)
Auburn (at-large) vs. Baylor (at-large)
Clemson (ACC) vs. South Carolina (SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame)
Oklahoma (at-large) vs. Oregon (at-large)
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 UCLA
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Michigan State
Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt) vs. Colorado State (Mountain West)
San Diego State (Mountain West) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
Boise State (Mountain West) vs. Washington (Pac-12)
Nevada (Mountain West) vs. UTSA (C-USA)
Akron (MAC) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
UCF (American) vs. BYU (BYU)
Utah State (Mountain West) vs. Navy (Navy)
Boca Raton, Fla.
Florida Atlantic (C-USA) vs. Ball State (MAC)
Middle Tennessee (C-USA) vs. Toledo (MAC)
Fresno State (Mountain West) vs. Rice (C-USA)
St. Petersburg, Fla.
East Carolina (American) vs. Boston College (ACC)
Heart of Dallas
Buffalo* (Big Ten/Big 12) vs. North Texas (C-USA)
Pittsburgh (ACC) vs. Utah* (Big Ten)
Duke (ACC) vs. South Florida (American)
Georgia Tech (ACC) vs. Washington State* (SEC)
New York, N.Y.
Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten)
El Paso, Texas
Notre Dame (ACC) vs. Arizona (Pac-12)
San Diego, Calif.
Iowa (Big Ten) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)
Miami (ACC) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12)
Kansas State (Big 12) vs. Ole Miss (SEC)
TCU (Big 12) vs. Texas A&M (SEC)
North Carolina (ACC) vs. Mississippi State (SEC)
Santa Clara, Calif.
Minnesota (Big Ten) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12)
Louisville (ACC/Big Ten) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC)
Nebraska (ACC/Big Ten) vs. LSU (SEC)
Wisconsin (Big Ten) vs. Florida (SEC)
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston (American) vs. Ohio* (Army/Big 12)
Texas (Big 12) vs. USC (Pac-12)
Michigan (Big Ten/ACC) vs. Georgia (SEC)
Iowa State (Big 12) vs. Oregon State (Pac-12)
Missouri (SEC) vs. Cincinnati (American)
Bowling Green (MAC) vs. South Alabama (Sun Belt)