Category Archives: bowl predictions

Bowl Predictions 2020: First Update

This is basically impossible this year. It was going to be hard enough with the new bowl contracts, where the conferences and ESPN are now leveraging more control than ever. But removing eligibility requirements takes it to a whole other level. Usually, I make a spreadsheet and predict which teams will wind up 6-6, and then try to judge how the various stakeholders might pick a team. Yeah, not in 2020.

So here they are, my best guesses heading in Championship Weekend. The table still needs some updates, but those likely won’t go up until after all the games have been announced. I will also be utterly shock if anything I predicted is correct, just because it’s almost all guessing due to the reasons mentioned above. But hey, I’ve been doing this since 1999, I can’t stop now.

Bowl Predictions 2019: Final

Well, I stayed up late scouring the web for any news or hints as to how things will shake out this morning. My best guesses are here.

I’ll the hit high points:

  • I think Wisconsin will fall behind Penn State and Auburn in the rankings and miss a New Year’s Six game completely.
  • Consequently, I think the Citrus will pass up the Badgers to take Michigan to match them against Alabama.
  • With 4 SEC teams in the New Year’s Six/Playoffs, that makes the lower-tier SEC bowls pretty nervous. I found at least one reasonably convincing article that indicated Navy would head to the Liberty Bowl, for example.
  • I took that example even further, generally promoting AAC teams into missing spots and then using C-USA teams to fill in the AAC spots.

After I wake up in the morning, I’ll be trying to go through each announcement and re-arranging the dominoes for any picks I miss. As I’ve said before, the main thorn in my side while trying to predict these games is the bowls ESPN owns. ESPN can, has, and will move teams around to create more favorable matchups for TV despite whatever affiliations the bowl may actually have. The potential for weirdness is ripe.

Of course, my projections are also hosed if Wisconsin winds up in the Rose or Cotton Bowls. So we’ll see!

Bowl Predictions 2019: Week 6

Well, it was definitely an interesting final weekend of the regular season, including an upset that definitely made these predictions harder without knowing how the Committee will act.

The good news is that there’s definitely enough teams, but just barely. 79 teams are eligible for bowl games, but only 78 will be able to play into December and/or January.

None of the Power 5 conferences will be able to fill all their bids, so I had to improvise a fair bit. I generally moved AAC teams up where I felt like I could, and then filled in the gaps that left in the lower-tier bowls.

So let’s start with the play-off. I am operating under the assumption that Ohio State, LSU, and Clemson will win their conference championship games. So that’s easy. The hard part essentially boils down to: if Utah beats Oregon to win the Pac-12, can they get in over a 2-loss Georgia or 1-loss Oklahoma? From attempting to read the tea leaves of the committee rankings so far, I think they will. I don’t necessarily agree with it, as I’d rather see Oklahoma there, but alas.

So the next crucial question is: how far does Alabama drop this week, and if Georgia loses, how far do they drop in relation to Alabama? Whoever is ranked higher will be the Sugar Bowl bid. Similarly, how much will their loss hurt Minnesota? Penn State now has to be the favorite for the Rose Bowl, shutting out both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Let’s examine some other talking points real quick:

  • With four SEC teams in the New Year’s Six collection of bowls, we’re looking at some interesting decisions the lower-tier SEC bowls will have to make. The Birmingham, Liberty, Music City, and Independence all get left out in my reckoning. I sent UCF to play Oklahoma State in the Liberty and Cincinnati to the Music City. I don’t know what these bowls will actually do, but pulling up the strong AAC teams was my best guess. The other thing I may need to do is refer back to the list of ESPN-owned bowls, as that provides many opportunities for surprise re-arrangements.
  • The bowl game I’ve decided I really need to happen the Redbox Bowl. In computer science circles, Illinois and Cal are known as UIUC and Berkeley, respectively, and between them they were/are responsible for many of the most important innovations in computing. Among other things, the first successful Web browser was originally developed at UIUC; Berkeley developed BSD, which plays a major role in the history of computer operating systems that aren’t Windows (which, with the advent of smartphones, is the vast majority of OSes running the wild today).
  • Otherwise, I may need to edit these predictions later this week, based on the Committee rankings. There’s a few bowl slots already confirmed, but otherwise I will try to get the last set of projections out late Saturday/early Sunday.

Bowl Predictions 2019: Week 5

They’re up and they’re good! Okay, maybe they’re not good. Heck last week apparently forgot to upload the picks. Whoops!

At any rate, I’m not going to get into an in depth analysis of these picks (expect that for next week’s picks on Sunday and the final picks after Championship Saturday), other than I had to put frickin’ Liberty in there because I ran out of otherwise eligible teams. Oh, and I have Ohio State at #1 now.