Category Archives: bowl predictions

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.

Bowl Predictions 2019: Week 4

They’re hot and fresh right here.

We’re probably going hear plenty about this, but the biggest question come December 8th is almost certainly going to be: “Who’s Number 4?” And that’s certainly the thorniest issue when I was trying to project this. Here are the teams I perceive to be the candidates:

  • Alabama: the committee ranked them 5th last week, but that was before they lost their all-everything QB for the season. Their best win on the season is projected to be Auburn. Their loss is to the projected CFP #1, LSU.
  • Oregon: the committee ranked them 6th last week. I currently project them to win the Pac-12 by defeating Utah in the championship game, which would give them a top 10 win. Their loss was to Auburn back in Week 1.
  • Georgia: ranked 4th last week, I currently have them losing to LSU in the SEC championship game. Their best win on the season is over Florida, who will probably play in a New Year’s Six bowl. They lost to South Carolina, a team that will probably finish 4-8.
  • Utah: I don’t think they have as strong of a resume as Oregon does, but their loss to Southern Cal looks less awful now. Their best win would be beating Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.
  • Oklahoma: ranked 10th last week, they lost to K-State earlier this season. Their best wins are projected to be a win over Baylor on the road and a neutral site win over the Bears in the Big 12 championship game.

Obviously, Minnesota and Penn State are in if they win their conference. Baylor is tricky, as I’m not sure a season-split with Oklahoma would get them in.

I think Alabama and Oregon have the best chances given my projections. I think that if Georgia loses in the SECCG, they will have a too-recent loss, no conference title, and a loss to a bad team at home. In my current projections, I have Oregon in, because I think a conference title will put them over the top. I could honestly put together a set of projections with Bama in, and the thing about this is that reality has a way of messing with my predictions. We’ll see how the committee ranks these teams on Tuesday and try to read the tea leaves.


  • The SEC is extremely top heavy, and I have four of their teams going to New Year’s Six bowls. (The last at-large spot will probably come down to Florida or Penn State.) The two best teams after Georgia, Florida, LSU, and Bama are probably Texas A&M and Auburn. Mizzou may not be bowl eligible (the NCAA still hasn’t said), which makes some of the situations in the lower-tier SEC bowls somewhat dire.
  • The Pac-12 was tough to project this week, as it’s a nest of 5-5 and 4-6 teams. Outside of the teams that are already eligible, I feel like it’s basically random which of the rest will get in.
  • The Big 12’s championship game is still dumb, but if Oklahoma beats Baylor again it’ll probably work out.
  • The CFP hasn’t said yet what will happen with regards to the Orange Bowl if no ACC team is ranked in the final standings other than Clemson. I’m assuming they’ll still take an ACC team of some sort. Wake Forest was an early favorite, but they’ve dropped 3 games now, which probably makes Virginia the favorite if they win the Coastal. Other candidates are a better-than-anyone-expected Louisville and a Coastal-winning Virginia Tech. Watching Georgia crush one of these teams is going to be incredibly depressing for me.
  • The favorites for the G5 At-Large bid are the AAC winner and Boise State.
  • The “Power Six” thing by the AAC maybe dumb, but looking at the AAC’s bowl games, well, there could be a lot of blowouts. It’s hard to see how their games against the MAC, Sun Belt, and Conference USA will be competitive. The AAC tried to remedy this by getting games like the Birmingham Bowl, where they would play lower-tier major conference teams, but the major conferences don’t have enough teams for those bowl slots anymore.
  • Your Internet College Football Hipster Projected Bowl of the Week is the New Orleans Bowl, which I have as Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Tech. I have App State going 11-1 and winning the Sun Belt, and LT is quietly tearing up C-USA, where I have them going 10-2. Oh, and App State doesn’t win the Sun Belt, then Louisiana(-Lafayette) probably will. Dear New Orleans Bowl Committee: if you can match these conference champions in your game, do it. DO IT NOW.