Omar-Rashon Borja’s Week 2 Bowl Projections

After a wild Week 1, find out if your team made Omar-Rashon Borja’s coveted bowl projections for the week that was

Did your team make Omar-Rashon Borja’s bowl projections this week?
Source: Associated Press/New York Times

Bahamas Bowl (December 16, 11 AM ET, ESPN, Conference USA vs. MAC):

Western Kentucky vs. Ohio

New Orleans Bowl (December 16, 2:15 PM ET, ESPN, Conference USA vs. Sun Belt):

Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina

The Bayou Miners dream is set aside for now as Liberty makes the New Orleans Bowl as a reward for a season that I project ending in a spot in the Conference USA championship game. Awaiting them is a rematch with former Big South foe and 2020 Cure Bowl opponent, Coastal Carolina.

Western Kentucky, who has not appeared in the Bahamas Bowl since 2014 gets to face Ohio in a matchup between two of the best quarterbacks in the country between Austin Reed and a hopefully healthy Kurtis Rourke.

Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL) (December 16, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):

Eastern Michigan vs. Marshall

Former MAC members collide in Mobile as Marshall and Eastern Michigan were both in the MAC together from 1998-2004 when Marshall left for Conference USA.

New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM) (December 16, 5:45 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. Group of Five):

New Mexico State vs. Air Force

Boise State’s blowout loss drops them from Group of Five New Year’s Six representative to the LA Bowl. Air Force gets the short end of the stick dropping from an ABC appearance to an appearance in the New Mexico Bowl. Kirkland Air Force Base is in Albuquerque making this a slam dunk for the New Mexico.

The Conference USA bowl race will be strange. At the start of the 2020-2025 bowl cycle, the then 14-team conference received seven bowl slots. Now the conference has nine members at the start of the 2023 season. To make matters even more ridiculous, two schools, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State are ineligible for bowl games since it is their first year at the FBS level. Hypothetically, all-seven bowl eligible Conference USA teams could make a bowl.

The Bahamas Bowl could pick a team that has never been to the bowl and Liberty is the first that comes to mind. This could create one of the more high-powered bowl matchups of the postseason against MAC frontrunner, Ohio.

LA Bowl (December 16, 7:30 PM ET, ABC, Mountain West #1 vs. PAC-12 #6):

Boise State vs. Utah

Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA) (December 16, 9:15 PM ET, ESPN, PAC-12 #7 vs. Big 12 #7):

TCU vs. South Alabama*

*Sun Belt has a backup tie-in should either the Big 12 or PAC12 not send a team. Marshall filling this spot would be historic as it would be the first-ever bowl game between a Sun Belt team and a Power Five team in the conference’s history.

Myrtle Beach Bowl (December 18, 2:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):

Georgia Southern vs. East Carolina

Frisco Bowl (Frisco, TX) (December 19, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):

UTEP vs. Texas State

With Texas State looking like a team that can pull a couple of upsets in the Sun Belt, I’ve slotted them for their first bowl appearance ever in the local Frisco Bowl. Bring in UTEP which has not bowled in a bowl other than the New Mexico Bowl since 2005 and you have a Frisco Bowl that could have its largest crowd ever.

Boca Raton Bowl (December 21, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN Group of Five vs. Group of Five):

Middle Tennessee vs. Buffalo

Gasparilla Bowl (December 22, 6:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/AAC/ACC/SEC):

Houston vs. Louisville

Birmingham Bowl(December 23,12:00 PM ET, ABC, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/AAC/ACC/SEC)

UTSA vs. Texas A&M

Since ESPN curates the matchups for these two games, an in-state matchup make sense here.UTSA seeks its first win against the Aggies in three tries.

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL) (December 23, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sun Belt vs. MAC):

Northern Illinois vs. Southern Miss

Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, Army/Mountain West/AAC vs. Big 12 #8):

SMU vs. Fresno State

These two resided in the WAC together from 1996-2004 before SMU left for Conference USA. Expect fireworks here and a made-for-TV quarterback battle between Mikey Keene and Preston Stone. I anticipate ESPN selecting SMU when they have a direct path to a DFW bowl before heading to the ACC

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, ID) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. MAC):

UNLV vs. Miami (OH)

68 Ventures Bowl (Mobile, AL) (December 23, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):

Troy vs. Ball State

Las Vegas Bowl (December 23, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN, PAC-12 #3 vs. Big Ten #4):

Illinois vs. Washington State

Hawaii Bowl (December 23, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. AAC):

Wyoming vs. North Texas

Believe it or not, the Mountain West bowl picture starts in Hawaii. Obviously, traveling to the islands is a major undertaking for any athletic department, so the Mountain West looks to benefit the teams with their selection. Teams who have appeared recently and those that play road games at Hawaii during the season are virtually eliminated. As a result, do not expect San Jose State, Nevada, Colorado State, Air Force, or San Diego State to play in this game.

North Texas desperately needs a change of pace during bowl season, appearing in the Frisco Football Classic and Frisco Bowl the past two seasons. The Hawaii Bowl is a breath of fresh air for Mean Green fans.

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN, MAC vs. Big Ten #8):

Central Michigan vs. UConn

Death, taxes, and the Big Ten not being able to send a team to the Quick Lane Bowl. A Big Ten school has not appeared in the Quick Lane Bowl since 2018. Independent UConn, without a set bowl tie-in, benefits here.

First Responder Bowl(December 26, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/Big 12):

Toledo vs. Louisiana

Guaranteed Rate Bowl(December 26, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, Big Ten vs. Big 12 #6)

Michigan State vs. BYU

Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD) (December 27, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. AAC):

Navy vs. Wake Forest

Shockingly, Navy has not appeared in their home stadium’s bowl since 2017, instead going to the Liberty Bowl in their last bowl season in 2019. The two schools have 12 meetings in a series that dates back to 1929.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Charlotte, NC)(December 27, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. SEC):

Duke vs. Mississippi State

Duke is the North Carolina team of the year for the Mayo Bowl, having not appeared in the bowl since 2012, back when it was the Belk Bowl.

Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA) (December 27, 8:00 PM ET, FOX, PAC-12 #4 vs. ACC):

Notre Dame vs. Washington

The Holiday Bowl wanted Notre Dame badly last year. This year they will get their wish. Washington could be just on the outside of the New Year’s Six and Notre Dame will likely be ranked during bowl season, making this arguably the best bowl outside of the New Year’s Six.

Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) (December, 27, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, SEC vs. Big 12 #4):

Arkansas vs. Oklahoma

Fenway Bowl (Boston, MA) (December 28, 11:00 AM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. AAC):

Syracuse vs. Memphis

A strong season sends Memphis to the Fenway Bowl to play its proposed 1990 Metro Conference mate, Syracuse. Surprisingly, the two have never met.

Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, NY) (December 28, 2:15 PM ET, ACC vs. Big Ten):

Pitt vs. Iowa

Pop Tarts Bowl (Orlando, FL) (December 28, 5:45 PM ET, ACC vs. Big 12 #3):

Miami vs. UCF

The Pop Tarts Bowl choosing the obvious popular geographic pick could send solid teams like Kansas State and brand-names such as Oklahoma down the Big 12 bowl selection order. However, a UCF-Miami matchup is too easy to pass up. The Knights’ fight for bragging rights in Florida draws fans in as the 2021 Gasparilla Bowl featuring Florida and UCF drew a sellout crowd.

Alamo Bowl: (San Antonio, TX) (December 28, 9:15 PM ET, PAC-12 #2 vs. Big 12 #2)

UCLA vs. Texas Tech

Gator Bowl: (Jacksonville, FL) (December 29, 12:00 PM ET, SEC vs. ACC):

Ole Miss vs. NC State

Sun Bowl: (El Paso, TX) (December 29, 2:00 PM ET, ACC vs. PAC-12 #5):

Clemson vs. Oregon State

After appearing in the Duke’s Mayo Classic in 2021 and having appeared in Charlotte so many times over the years, I have Duke going to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl and national power Clemson receiving the Sun Bowl invite due to their recent success and national following.

Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) (December 29, 3:30 PM ET, SEC vs. Big 12 #5):

Oklahoma State vs. Kentucky

Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) (December 30, 2:00 PM ET, SEC vs. Big Ten):

Missouri vs. Wisconsin

Arizona Bowl (Tucson, AZ) (December 30, 4:30 PM ET, Barstool, MAC vs. Mountain West):

Bowling Green vs. San Diego State

Reliaquest Bowl (Tampa, FL) (January 1, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN, SEC vs. Big Ten #3):

Maryland vs. Florida

Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) (January 1, 1:00 PM ET, ABC, SEC vs. Big Ten #2):

Tennessee vs. Ohio State

New Year’s Six:

Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) (December 29, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN):

Texas vs. Washington

Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA) (December 30, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN):

Tulane vs. LSU

Barring a blowout loss against Ole Miss. I have 11-1 Tulane taking the New Year’s Six bid from the Group of Five. No need to elaborate further. The first Tiger Rag game since 2007 will be worth the wait.

Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) (December 30, 4:00 PM ET):

North Carolina vs. Alabama

Clemson’s loss to Duke is an indicator that they may not even make the ACC title game. North Carolina has an easier schedule than Duke, as they dodge Florida State and Notre Dame. As a result, I have them in the ACC title game as the Duke-UNC winner and in the Orange Bowl.

Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ) (January 1, 1:00 PM ET, ESPN):

Oregon vs. Penn State

Boise State’s 56-19 loss to Washington either makes Washington a playoff contender or knocks Boise State out of position as a New Year’s Six frontrunner. I’m going with the latter as the committee creates a faux Rose Bowl matchup in Glendale and a rematch of the 1995 Grandaddy of Them All.

College Football Playoff Semifinals

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA) (January 1, 5:00 PM ET, ESPN):

#2 Michigan vs. #3 USC

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) (January 1, 8:45 PM ET, ESPN)

#1 Georgia vs. #4 Florida State

Florida State’s dominant win over LSU gives me every impression that they can run the table in the ACC. If they lose to Clemson, replace the Noles with the Tigers in this spot.