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Bowl projections: Predicting the playoff, other bowls after week 10

College football 2015-16 bowl projections: Predicting the playoff, New Year's Six bowls after week 10.

Brace yourself, Big 12 fans: Baylor and TCU are poised to miss the College Football Playoff once again. However, the conference of “One True Champion” will still play for the national championship in 2015.

After Oklahoma State’s impressive 49-29 win over TCU last Saturday, projects the underrated Cowboys to emerge as undefeated Big 12 champs. That should be enough to push coach Mike Gundy’s program into the selection committee’s top four. Meanwhile, a Baylor squad that also loses to Oklahoma State will beat TCU on Nov. 27 and slide into the Big 12’s slot in the Sugar Bowl. That’s the biggest change in our latest bowl pairings, with the slight exception of Houston’s arrival as the Group of Five’s new New Year’s Six representative.

This season 40 bowls make up the 2015 postseason: the New Year’s Six Bowls, which include the two playoff semifinals, and 34 lower-tier bowls. Before moving forward, here’s a quick reminder on how this all works:

The selection committee fills the two semifinal bowls based on its final rankings. It then rounds out the four non-playoff New Year’s Six bowls while fulfilling certain contractual obligations, such as pitting the Big Ten against the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl. The committee is required to place the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion in a New Year’s Six bowl. The remaining teams are then fed into each league’s contract bowls. If a league doesn’t produce enough bowl-eligible teams, bowls can invite replacement teams from other leagues.

Like last season, the ACC, Big Ten and SEC each pool a select number of bowls together and decide where to place teams. While the Big 12 and Pac-12 use a straightforward method—the Pac-12’s No. 2 choice would go to the Alamo Bowl, the No. 3 to the Holiday Bowl, etc.—the process for the other three Power Five leagues is less structured. For instance, the ACC’s No. 2 choice will go to the Russell Athletic Bowl, but teams Nos. 3–6 can land anywhere among the Sun, Belk, Music City/Taxslayer or Pinstripe bowls.

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Keep in mind, the Pac-12’s No. 2 bowl doesn't automatically take the conference’s second-place team. Fan travel, location and matchup considerations all factor into bowl selection as much as conference standings. Leagues aren't obligated to fill bowls based on records.






Orange Bowl (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Miami Gardens, Fla.

No. 1 vs. No. 4

Clemson vs. Okla. St.

Cotton Bowl (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Arlington, Tex.

No. 2 vs. No. 3

Alabama vs. Ohio State

Peach Bowl

Dec. 31

Atlanta, Ga.

At-large vs. Group of Five

Florida vs. Houston

Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 1

Glendale, Ariz.

At-large vs. At-large

Notre Dame vs. Utah

Rose Bowl

Jan. 1

Pasadena, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Iowa vs. Stanford

Sugar Bowl

Jan. 1

New Orleans, La.

SEC vs. Big 12

LSU vs. Baylor






New Orleans Bowl

Dec. 19

New Orleans, La.

Sun Belt vs. CUSA

Arkansas St. vs. La. Tech

New Mexico Bowl

Dec. 19

Albequerque, N.M.


MTSU vs. Nevada

Las Vegas Bowl

Dec. 19

Las Vegas

MW/BYU vs. Pac-12

BYU vs. Ariz. St.

Cure Bowl

Dec. 19

Orlando, Fla.

AAC vs. Sun Belt

Tulsa vs. Ga. Southern

Camellia Bowl

Dec. 19

Montgomery, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Ohio vs. App. St.

Miami Beach Bowl

Dec. 21

Miami, Fla.


Cincinnati vs. West. Ky.

Idaho Potato Bowl

Dec. 22

Boise, Idaho

MAC vs. MW


Boca Raton Bowl

Dec. 22

Boca Raton, Fla.


USF vs. West. Mich.

Poinsettia Bowl

Dec. 23

San Diego, Calif.

MW vs. Army

Colo St. vs. Central Mich.*

GoDaddy Bowl

Dec. 23

Mobile, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Toledo vs. South Ala.

Bahamas Bowl

Dec. 24

Nassau, Bahamas


Old Dominion vs. NIU

Hawaii Bowl

Dec. 24

Honolulu, Hawaii


ECU vs. Utah State

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Dec. 26

Dallas, Tex.

Big 12/Big Ten vs. CUSA

Indiana vs. So. Miss.

St. Petersburg Bowl

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg, Fla.


Temple vs. Marshall

Sun Bowl

Dec. 26

El Paso, Tex.

ACC vs. Pac-12

NC State vs. Cal

Independence Bowl

Dec. 26

Shreveport, La.


Va. Tech vs. UTEP*

Foster Farms Bowl

Dec. 26

Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

N'Western vs. Oregon

Pinstripe Bowl

Dec. 26

Bronx, N.Y.

ACC vs. Big Ten

Duke vs. Minnesota

Quick Lane Bowl

Dec. 28

Detroit, Mich.

ACC vs. Big Ten

Louisville vs. ULL*

Military Bowl

Dec. 28

Annapolis, Md.


Miami vs. Navy

Arizona Bowl

Dec. 29

Tucson, Ariz


Air Force vs. Rice

Russell Athletic Bowl

Dec. 29

Orlando, Fla.

ACC vs. Big 12

Florida State vs. TCU

Texas Bowl

Dec. 29

Houston, Tex.

Big 12 vs. SEC

W. Virginia vs. Georgia

Armed Forces Bowl

Dec. 29

Fort Worth, Tex.

Big Ten/Big 12 vs. MW

Akron* vs. Boise State

Music City Bowl

Dec. 30

Nashville, Tenn.


Pitt vs. Arkansas

Holiday Bowl

Dec. 30

San Diego, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Penn St. vs. UCLA

Belk Bowl

Dec. 30

Charlotte, N.C.


UNC vs. Texas A&M

Birmingham Bowl

Dec. 30

Birmingham, Ala.


Memphis vs. Kentucky

Outback Bowl

Jan. 1

Tampa, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Mich. St. vs. Tenn.

Citrus Bowl

Jan. 1

Orlando, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Michigan vs. Ole Miss

Liberty Bowl

Jan. 2

Memphis, Tenn.

Big 12 vs. SEC

Texas Tech vs. Auburn

TaxSlayer Bowl

Jan. 2

Jacksonville, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Wisconsin vs. Miss. St.

Alamo Bowl

Jan. 2

San Antonio, Tex.

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Oklahoma vs. USC

Cactus Bowl

Jan. 2

Phoenix, Ariz.

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Kansas St. vs. Wash. St.

*Replacement team