Bahamas Bowl (December 16, 11 AM ET, ESPN, Conference USA vs. MAC):
Western Kentucky vs. Wake Forest (5-7, in due to APR and lack of bowl teams)
With passports not an issue, and the game in Charlotte, I have Wake Forest playing in the Bahamas Bowl as the last team selected for a bowl game.
New Orleans Bowl (December 16, 2:15 PM ET, ESPN, Conference USA vs. Sun Belt):
Liberty vs. James Madison
The rankings indicate that should Tulane win out, Liberty will go 13-0 and miss the New Year’s Six. Their strongest non-conference win would be a win over either Bowling Green or Old Dominion and their best Conference USA win would be over Western Kentucky.
On the other hand, James Madison makes a bowl if there are not enough bowl-eligible teams and I predict there will be one less team than needed to fill all the bowl slots. As a result, 12-0 meets 13-0 in the Superdome. Can we just call this the Sugar Bowl?
Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL) (December 16, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Ohio vs. Georgia Southern
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM) (December 16, 5:45 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. Group of Five):
Wyoming vs. New Mexico State
LA Bowl (December 16, 7:30 PM ET, ABC, Mountain West #1 vs. PAC-12 #6):
UNLV vs. Arizona
Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA) (December 16, 9:15 PM ET, ESPN, PAC-12 #7 vs. Big 12 #7):
UCF vs. Troy
Washington State’s collapse has removed them from my bowl projections, with their latest loss coming to 3-6 Cal. This paves the way for history to be made for the Sun Belt, as Troy becomes the first Sun Belt team to play a Power Five team in a bowl game. The Sun Belt has a backup tie-in with the Independence Bowl.
Myrtle Beach Bowl (December 18, 2:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Coastal Carolina vs. Eastern Michigan
Frisco Bowl (Frisco, TX) (December 19, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
San Jose State vs. Texas State
Boca Raton Bowl (December 21, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Georgia State vs. Georgia Tech
Gasparilla Bowl (December 22, 6:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/AAC/ACC/SEC):
Iowa State vs. Air Force
Birmingham Bowl (December 23,12:00 PM ET, ABC, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/AAC/ACC/SEC):
South Alabama vs. USF
Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL) (December 23, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sun Belt vs. MAC):
Bowling Green vs. Louisiana
Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, Army/Mountain West/AAC vs. Big 12 #7):
Fresno State vs. Minnesota
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, ID) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. MAC):
Utah State vs. Northern Illinois
68 Ventures Bowl (Mobile, AL) (December 23, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Jacksonville State vs. Marshall
Las Vegas Bowl (December 23, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN, PAC-12 #3 vs. Big Ten #4):
Iowa vs. UCLA
Hawaii Bowl (December 23, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. AAC):
Boise State vs. Rice (5-7)
The options are already slim for the Hawaii Bowl, which does not like inviting teams that visited the islands earlier in the season. This takes San Jose State, San Diego State, and Colorado State out of the equation.
Despite residing in the WAC together from 2001-2004, these two only met twice, in 2001 and 2002, splitting the series.
Quick Lane Bowl (December 26, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN, MAC vs. Big Ten #8):
Toledo vs. Northwestern
The Quick Lane Bowl will have its first Big Ten team since Minnesota in 2018.
First Responder Bowl (December 26, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/Big 12):
West Virginia vs. SMU
Guaranteed Rate Bowl (December 26, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, Big Ten vs. Big 12 #6):
Illinois vs. Texas Tech
Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD) (December 27, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. AAC):
Memphis vs. Virginia Tech
Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Charlotte, NC) (December 27, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. SEC):
Duke vs. Tennessee
Duke’s loss to Louisville makes their route to the ACC Championship Game. Furthermore, the New Year’s Six is immensely tougher to reach. Instead, Duke gets a spot in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, having not appeared in the Charlotte Bowl since 2012. The Duke’s Mayo Bowl has had a team from the Carolinas or Virginia in every edition since 2014, a staggering streak.
Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA) (December 27, 8:00 PM ET, FOX, PAC-12 #4 vs. ACC):
USC vs. Miami
These two name brands have met just twice before in 1966 and 1968. The Alamo Bowl opts for a better Oregon State team that is ranked higher than USC at the end of the year. Also, bowls discuss matchups with each other all the time. The Holiday Bowl doing some under-the-table negotiating to make this once-in-a-lifetime game happen is impossible.
Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) (December, 27, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, SEC vs. Big 12 #4):
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
Fenway Bowl (Boston, MA) (December 28, 11:00 AM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. AAC):
Syracuse vs. UTSA
Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, NY) (December 28, 2:15 PM ET, ACC vs. Big Ten):
Boston College vs. Rutgers
The two former Big East rivals have 28 meetings with one another. Boston College leads the series 20-7-1, as the first meeting came in 1919.
Pop Tarts Bowl (Orlando, FL) (December 28, 5:45 PM ET, ACC vs. Big 12 #3):
North Carolina vs. Kansas
Alamo Bowl: (San Antonio, TX) (December 28, 9:15 PM ET, PAC-12 #2 vs. Big 12 #2):
Oregon State vs. Oklahoma State
Gator Bowl: (Jacksonville, FL) (December 29, 12:00 PM ET, SEC vs. ACC)
Florida vs. Clemson
Sun Bowl: (El Paso, TX) (December 29, 2:00 PM ET, ACC vs. PAC-12 #5):
NC State vs. Utah
Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) (December 29, 3:30 PM ET, SEC vs. Big 12 #5):
Kansas State vs. Kentucky
Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) (December 30, 2:00 PM ET, SEC vs. Big Ten):
Auburn vs. Wisconsin
Arizona Bowl (Tucson, AZ) (December 30, 4:30 PM ET, Barstool, MAC vs. Mountain West):
Miami (OH) vs. Colorado State
Reliaquest Bowl (Tampa, FL) (January 1, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN, SEC vs. Big Ten #3):
Notre Dame vs. LSU
Ohio State’s slot in the Orange Bowl unlocks a clause that allows Tampa’s Reliaquest Bowl to select an ACC team (or Notre Dame). The bowl will not pass on the Fighting Irish here. This is a rematch of the 2018 Citrus Bowl, 2014 Music City Bowl, 2007 Sugar Bowl, and 1997 Independence Bowl
Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) (January 1, 1:00 PM ET, ABC, SEC vs. Big Ten #2):
Ole Miss vs. Maryland
The Citrus Bowl’s situation could be the worst one in decades. With the top three teams in the conference likely headed to the New Year’s Six, the next best team would be 8-2 Iowa. However, the Hawkeyes played in the Citrus Bowl after the 2021 season. If they pass on Iowa, they will have their choice of 6-4 Maryland, (who has a game against Michigan), 6-4 Rutgers (who still plays Penn State), and a FIVE 5-5 teams. One of college football’s most prestigious bowls could have their worst matchup in years.
New Year’s Six:
Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) (December 29, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Texas vs. Penn State
Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA) (December 30, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Tulane vs. Alabama
Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) (December 30, 4:00 PM ET)
Louisville vs. Ohio State
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ) (January 1, 1:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Oregon vs. Missouri
Missouri’s nine-point loss to Georgia and subsequent win over Tennessee vaults them over Ole Miss for this at-large spot in the New Year’s Six.
College Football Playoff Semifinals
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) (January 1, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN)
#2 Michigan vs. #3 Washington
In the last year of the four-team format and the last year of the PAC-12 (as far as we know), a PAC-12/Big Ten Rose Bowl matchup is poetic. This is a rematch of the 1978, 1981, 1992, and 1993 Rose Bowls. The Rose Bowl series is even between the Huskies and Wolverines.
Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) (January 1, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN)
#1 Georgia vs. #4 Florida State