This Weekend in College Football: Week 16

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Noon: Illinois State @ North Dakota State (NCAA Division I Quarterfinal; ESPN)

3:00: Army vs. Navy (@Philadelphia, PA; CBS): Well, while I recommend watching the FCS playoffs if you get the chance, this is pretty much it for the season. Unfortunately for my preferred Army side, it looks like the Cadets have dropped off a bit while the Midshipmen were damn competitive in the strongest Group of Five conference this season. It’s hard to see this one as anything other than a Navy win, but it should hopefully still be worth watching.

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!

This Weekend in College Football: Week 15

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.


8:00: Oregon vs. Utah (Pac-12 Conference Championship @ Santa Clara, CA; ABC): Well, it’s not quite the matchup of 1-loss teams the Pac-12 was so desperately hoping for. Instead, the Pac-12 needs the Utes to pull through to have any shot of getting anyone into the playoff, and even then it’s not obvious they’d get in over, say, Oklahoma. Utah appears to be a better team, but I also think Oregon will stress their (very good) defense the most since they played (and lost to) USC. So it’s not a walk for the Utes at all, who could definitely use an impressive victory.



  • Baylor vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 Conference Championship @ Arlington, TX; ABC): Oklahoma’s defense will probably keep this interesting, but I like the Sooners here in the neutral-site rematch.
  • Louisiana-Lafayette @ Appalachian State (Sun Belt Conference Championship; ESPN): The Cajuns are sure to be Ragin’, but I think App State is just as good and they’re at home.
  • Miami vs. Central Michigan (Mid-American Conference Championship @ Detroit, MI; ESPN2): CMU should win this one easily, but given the history of MAC championship games that means this could go either way.

1:30: Alabama-Birmingham @ Florida Atlantic (Conference USA Championship; CBSS): Go Blazers!

3:30: Cincinnati @ Memphis (American Athletic Conference Championship; ABC): It’s one thing when you’ve got a Baylor-Oklahoma situation, where the first game was over a month ago. Things have changed since then. Meanwhile, these two met last week, and Memphis won easily at home. I think they’ll be able to pull that off again.


  • Georgia vs. Louisiana State (Southeastern Conference Championship @ Atlanta, GA; CBS): At no point in UGA’s 52-7 drubbing of us last week did I think to myself “you know, Jake Fromm looks like a competent, poised passer”. Georgia’s best bet is that their defense shuts LSU down and that they can keep it close and win like 17-3. Otherwise I think LSU enters the half with a slim lead and then expands it in the second half.
  • Hawaii @ Boise State (Mountain West Conference Championship; ESPN): This game is either going to be close, fun, and pointsy (with a Boise win), or Boise will win easily since it figures to be cold and wet for this one.

7:30: Clemson vs. Virginia (Atlantic Coast Conference Championship @ Charlotte, NC; ABC): Clemson’s going to be able to name their own score in this one.

8:00: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference Championship @ Indianapolis, IN; FOX): Wisky figure to offer Ohio State slightly more resistance than Virginia will to Clemson, but not much. Yeah, on this day the interesting games are early, y’all.


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.