Bowl Predictions 2015: Epilogue

They’re no longer predictions really, so it’s more that the full schedule is now available.

I don’t ordinarily follow up on the predictions in this fashion, but I thought it would be appropriate in this case because there’s a lot of stuff that happened.

In the playoff, I was wrong about Oklahoma and Michigan State’s positions, but reasonable people can disagree. What I don’t like, though, is 1-loss Iowa finishing ahead of 1-loss Ohio State in the final poll, sending Iowa to the Rose Bowl instead of the Buckeyes. Considering that they both lost to the same team, Ohio State’s superior statistical profile and stronger best win should have kept them above the Hawkeyes. This had a ripple effect, I figure, on the rest of the CFP field, since Ohio State will head west anyway, sending Houston to Atlanta to face Florida State.

Apparently “Frank Beamer’s Last Game” was not a very appealing factor for the ACCs bowls at all. Virginia Tech fell out of the middle tier of ACC bowls, past the Military (which, in fairness, they played in last year) to the Independence. The Independence also effected a swap with the Cure Bowl, sending Tulsa to Shreveport and allowing the Cure to create perhaps the most depressing bowl matchup of all time.

— Fred Simmons (@fsimmons) December 6, 2015

Just wait the Smiths Bowl will be even more depressing.

— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 6, 2015

In general, I whiffed pretty badly on the ACC’s bowl lineup:

Game Prediction Actual
Russell Athletic North Carolina North Carolina
Sun Miami Miami
Pinstripe Pittsburgh Duke
Belk Virginia Tech North Carolina State
Music City Louisville Louisville
Military Duke Pittsburgh
Independence North Carolina State Virginia Tech

As I suspected from my research last night, the Texas Bowl did not get a Texas Tech-Texas A&M matchup. If you suspect that maybe TAMU and the SEC didn’t want that to happen, I’d suspect you’re right. Instead, Leonard Fournette will take aim at P.J. Daniels’s bowl rushing record of 307 yards.

And let’s close with what happened involving the Mountain West Conference. As I predicted last night, the Arizona Bowl was going to wind up matching two MWC teams because their only other option was to get a Pac-12 team, which they couldn’t afford. The conference’s commissioner was none too pleased about this. Yes, the system is broken. However, I can’t help but feel the NCAA let things get this way on purpose. A few years ago, the NCAA got out of the business of regulating bowl games other than a) controlling who can qualify and b) making sure the financials were in order. In other words, if you could afford to host a bowl game, then you can have one. To me, it seems more likely at this point that the playoffs will continue to grow, and that instead of going “back” to 30 bowl games (we’re at 40 now, not counting the national championship game) that the system will be scrapped all together. I think most of us that follow the game are in favor of an 8 or 16 team playoff. At 8 teams, bowl games start to get dicey. At 16, they would be untenable.

This is the 17th year I’ve done these predictions, and I like to think I’m reasonably good at it. For instance, last night when I was researching, I saw one sportswriter for a paper in Louisiana or some such toss off his “final” predictions. They were laughably horrible, even putting teams that had already accepted bids in the wrong games. I continue to do this because I enjoy it, and if bowl games were to go away, I’d miss this a lot. That said, I think it’s where we’re going (and where we should be going), and this year’s fiasco will probably help get us there.