Bowl Predictions 2023: Week 4

It’s that time again, and you’ll find the latest predictions here.

Notes and tidbits:

  • This week I needed 5 5-7 teams, down from 7 last week. The trajectory is good, but we’ll need some big upsets to get all the way there.
  • The Sun Belt has 9 teams qualified, and they’re certainly doing their part to plug a lot of gaps left by the decimated Conference USA.
  • Speaking of the Sun Belt, while James Madison lost their NCAA petition, barring a lot of upsets, they’ll still get a bowl game at least. As a reminder, they would get in before any 5-7 team.
  • Once again, unlike JMU, I don’t think Jacksonville State can get in this year since this is the first year of their FCS to FBS transition.
  • Since Army and Navy aren’t already qualified, I don’t see them making it since the bowls are announced a week before they play. In addition, Army is 5-6 and played two FCS teams. Navy plays SMU this weekend and if they win, they’ll get in, but I see that as… unlikely.
  • For the playoff picture, I realized that the Committee will likely rank the undefeated teams ahead of any 1-loss team, so Oregon slides down to the 4th spot.
  • And finally, I needed no shenanigans to get Georgia Tech in, which is something I haven’t been able to safely do since 2018. That said, I really suspect we’re going to get the Sun Bowl or some such.

Playoff tiers:

  • First tier: Georgia (undefeated SEC champ), undefeated Big Ten champ (Michigan or Ohio State), Florida State (undefeated ACC champ), undefeated/one-loss Pac-12 champ (Washington or Oregon)
  • Second tier: Texas (1-loss Big 12 champ)
  • Third tier: 1-loss Big Ten non-champ (Michigan or Ohio State)
  • Fourth tier: 1-loss SEC champ (Alabama or (if only) Georgia), Washington (1-loss Pac-12 runner-up)
  • In other words: if Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, Washington, or Oregon win out, they’re in. I’m aware of the Jordan Travis injury for FSU but if they’re undefeated they’re in.
  • Texas, if they win out, is probably ahead of any 1-loss team that isn’t Oregon, though I could see Washington staying above them.
  • We’d need a lot of weird upsets in the next two weeks to even really start talking about Louisville getting in. This is pretty much the whole field as I see it.