Who’s Heading To The Playoffs?
Every year there is always a case for expanding the College Football Playoff to eight teams. This year is no exception with six squads making a case for four spots. However, you also have Auburn and Notre Dame in the mix as well. Now that we are about a third of the way through the season, there have been some changes from our preseason bowl picks. With that in mind, let’s check out the bowl projections after week four.
College Football Playoff Semi-Finals
Peach Bowl: December 28th: Clemson versus Georgia- Yes, it’s very tempting to put either LSU or Ohio State here. However, the Bulldogs have done nothing to warrant being dropped, but they do slip from third to fourth.
Fiesta Bowl: December 28th: Alabama versus Oklahoma- In our first projections, this was the one versus four match-up. However, Clemson is not going to lose this season so they move to the top. A battle between Heisman frontrunners Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa is nothing short of spectacular.
College Football National Championship- January 13th: Alabama versus Clemson– As the great hair metal band Cinderella once sang, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” When the dust settles, it will be the same two clubs fighting it out for the title.
New Year’s Six Games
Cotton Bowl: December 28th- Boise State versus Notre Dame- With Central Florida’s loss on Saturday, the Broncos are the clear favorite from the Group of Five schools. There’s generally no such thing as a “good loss” but the Irish did just that in losing to Georgia.
Orange Bowl: December 30th- Virginia versus Wisconsin- A near loss to Old Dominion on Saturday almost crippled the Cavaliers’ major bowl hopes. However, with Clemson in the playoff, UVA becomes the representative of the ACC. The Badgers are clicking on all cylinders and look like a team no one wants to play.
Rose Bowl: January 1st- Ohio State versus Oregon- There’s a really strong temptation to move the Buckeyes to the Sugar Bowl and put Wisconsin here. But for now, we are leaving OSU to face the Ducks.
Sugar Bowl: January 1st- LSU versus Texas- Another school picking up lots of playoff momentum is the Tigers. We’ve even entered a world where an LSU quarterback is garnering Heisman talk. As mentioned earlier, a chance for Joe Burrow to play the Buckeyes is very tempting. But for now, we are keeping the rematch of a week two instant classic.
As we continue with our bowl projections, after week four it’s time to look at the games for New Year’s Eve and Day. One thing you will notice is right now, the SEC is having trouble filling its slots. If Missouri wins their appeal on a bowl ban that would certainly help.
New Year’s Eve Games
Belk Bowl: December 31st- Kentucky versus North Carolina State- The Wildcats had a great chance to improve their bowl chances. However, even with back-to-back losses, we still have them playing in Charlotte. This would be the first meeting between the two schools since 1970.
Sun Bowl- December 31st- Miami versus California- It’s still difficult to call this the “Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl” with a straight face. But that is the way of the world in corporate sponsorship. The Hurricanes have righted the ship after a slow start. The Bears are the only undefeated team left in the Pac-12 after four games.
Liberty Bowl- December 31st- Kansas State versus Ole Miss- This might be a reach but the Rebels should have beaten California on Saturday. Unfortunately, much like Kentucky two years ago in the Music City Bowl, the Pac-12 refs had the final say. The Wildcats already beat Mississippi State so why not go for the sweep.
Arizona Bowl- December 31st- Troy versus Utah State- On paper this looks like a great match-up between teams who score a lot of points.
Alamo Bowl- December 31st- Oklahoma State versus Washington- Every year the game in San Antonio is one of the best. The winner is the first team to 45 points.
Other New Year’s Day Contests
Citrus Bowl- January 1st- Auburn versus Iowa- Gus Malzahn’s club is knocking on the door of a New Year’s Six game. However, they settle for a match-up against the Hawkeyes.
Outback Bowl- January 1st- Florida versus Penn State- The Gators are squarely in the mix for an Orange Bowl bid. Right now we have them making the short trip to Tampa to face the Nittany Lions. The two teams met in the 2011 game with Florida winning 37-24.
Post-New Year’s Games
With there being two weeks between the semi-finals and the College Football Championship, several games moved to post-January 1st.
Birmingham Bowl- January 2nd- Army versus Cincinnati- The Black Knights take a bid from what would have been an SEC squad.
Gator Bowl- January 2nd- Michigan State versus Missouri- Should they gain bowl eligibility this is the ideal place for the Tigers. If they don’t, then several games involving the SEC will change.
Idaho Potato Bowl- January 3rd- Western Michigan versus Fresno State
Armed Forces Bowl- January 4th- Air Force versus Minnesota
Mobile Bowl- January 6th- Georgia State versus Toledo
As we continue with our bowl projections after week four, let’s now look at the games leading up to New Year’s.
Games Between December 26th and December 30th
Independence Bowl- December 26th- Virginia Tech versus Central Florida- This increases the Hokies’ current record on consecutive bowl appearances to 27. After losing this past week, the Knights drop down to the game in Shreveport.
Quick Lane Bowl- December 26th- Miami (Ohio) versus Maryland
Military Bowl- December 27th- North Carolina versus Navy
Pinstripe Bowl- December 27th- Florida State versus Nebraska- What an interesting contest this would be between two traditional powers playing in the Big Apple.
Texas Bowl- December 27th- TCU versus Texas A&M- A match-up of former Big 12 schools in Houston should be a good one.
Holiday Bowl- December 27th- Michigan versus Utah- Two squads who hoped for bigger things meet in San Diego is what is usually one of the best bowls.
Cheez-It Bowl- December 27th- Baylor versus Arizona State
Camping World Bowl- December 28th- Syracuse versus Iowa State
First Responder Bowl- December 30th- Colorado versus Marshall
Music City Bowl- December 30th- Pittsburgh versus Mississippi State
Redbox Bowl- December 30th- Northwestern versus USC
We are almost done with our bowl projections after week four here at Last Word On College Football. Now in rapid-fire fashion, a look at the remaining games.
Bowls Between December 20th and December 24th
Bahamas Bowl- December 20th- Southern Mississippi versus Northern Illinois
Frisco Bowl- December 20th- Houston versus UAB– Yes, the Cougars currently sit at 1-3, however, we think they will right the ship enough to qualify for a bowl.
New Mexico Bowl- December 21st- Louisiana Tech versus San Diego State
Celebration Bowl- December 21st- Alcorn State versus North Carolina A&T
Cure Bowl- December 21st- Memphis versus Georgia Southern
Boca Raton Bowl- December 21st- South Florida versus Eastern Michigan- The Bulls are another team currently struggling. Much like Houston, we think they will right the ship enough to make a bowl.
Camellia Bowl- December 21st- Buffalo versus Arkansas State
Las Vegas Bowl- December 21st- Washington State versus Wyoming
New Orleans Bowl- December 21st- Louisiana-Lafayette versus Appalachian State
Gasparilla Bowl- December 23rd- SMU versus Florida Atlantic
Hawaii Bowl- December 24th- BYU versus Hawaii
There you have our bowl projections after week four here at Last Word On College Football. Do you agree with the selections or who is left out? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Twitter account. We will be back in two weeks with the next projections and then every week thereafter until the picks are announced on December 1st.
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