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. James Madison
There is a very real possibility that Liberty goes 13-0 and misses 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. The consolation would be a game against Sun Belt frontrunner Georgia State in the New Orleans Bowl.
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):
USF vs. South Alabama
New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM) (December 16, 5:45 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. Group of Five):
UNLV vs. New Mexico State
LA Bowl (December 16, 7:30 PM ET, ABC, Mountain West #1 vs. PAC-12 #6):
Wyoming vs. Arizona
Wyoming’s heartbreaking loss to Air Force this Saturday could locks them into the LA Bowl no matter what happens. If Wyoming and Tulane win out, the CFP committee likely chooses a 12-1 Tulane squad with only a loss to Ole Miss over 11-2 Wyoming. If Air Force wins out, Wyoming takes the Falcons’ place in the LA Bowl as the next available Mountain West team.
Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA) (December 16, 9:15 PM ET, ESPN, PAC-12 #7 vs. Big 12 #7):
Coastal Carolina vs. Washington State
The sheer mediocrity of the Big 12 prevents them from filling their slot in the Independence Bowl, allowing Coastal Carolina to be the first Sun Belt team to ever play a Power Five team in a bowl.
Myrtle Beach Bowl (December 18, 2:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Georgia Southern vs. Toledo
Frisco Bowl (Frisco, TX) (December 19, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
SMU vs. Texas State
Boca Raton Bowl (December 21, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Troy vs. FAU
Some mid-2000s flair with this matchup as Troy and FAU were Sun Belt members together from 2005-2012. Troy dominated the series with an 8-2 advantage, but FAU got the last laugh in 2012 and beat Troy to win the Sun Belt’s lone bowl bid in 2007.
Gasparilla Bowl (December 22, 6:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/AAC/ACC/SEC):
Auburn vs. Tulane
Tulane needs to root for chaos in the Mountain West or maybe just a two-loss Mountain West team to win the conference to get the Group of Five New Year’s Six nod. Otherwise, a 12-1 Tulane squad could find themselves playing a Power Five team in an ESPN-owned bowl game.
Birmingham Bowl (December 23,12:00 PM ET, ABC, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/AAC/ACC/SEC):
Toledo vs. Georgia State
Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL) (December 23, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sun Belt vs. MAC):
Eastern Michigan vs. Appalachian State
Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, Army/Mountain West/AAC vs. Big 12 #7):
Fresno State vs. Texas Tech
Because of a loss to Wyoming, Fresno State could end with an 11-1 record and still not make the Mountain West Championship Game. This by default eliminates them from the New Year’s Six.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, ID) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ESPN, Mountain West vs. MAC/At-Large):
San Diego State vs. Tulsa
68 Ventures Bowl (Mobile, AL) (December 23, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five):
Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana
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):
Utah State vs. UTSA
Throughout the season, I have had Boise State in this bowl. However, Saturday’s loss to Colorado State changes this. Believe it or not, Boise State will fight for their bowl lives the rest of the way. The Broncos are currently 3-4 and have Fresno State, Air Force, and Wyoming remaining. The only two games Boise State will be favored in are against New Mexico and Utah State. Even then, the Utah State is a swing game and the Aggies could find themselves favored over the Broncos.
The options are already slim for the Hawaii Bowl, who does not like inviting teams that already visited the islands earlier in the season. This takes San Jose State, San Diego State, and Colorado State out of the equation. Consequently, I put Utah State in this spot as the Aggies have never appeared in the Hawaii Bowl.
Quick Lane Bowl (December 26, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN, MAC vs. Big Ten #8):
Central Michigan vs. Jacksonville State
Once again, the Big Ten fails to fill its tie-in to the Quick Lane Bowl, having not appeared since the 2018 edition. Because of a shortage of bowl-eligible teams, Jacksonville State makes its first bowl appearance in the big stage of “The House That Joey Harrington Built.”
First Responder Bowl (December 26, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN, Group of Five vs. Group of Five/Big 12):
West Virginia vs. Marshall
This would be the 13th playing of the Friends of Coal Bowl and the first meeting between the two schools since 2012.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl (December 26, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, Big Ten vs. Big 12 #6):
Nebraska vs. Iowa State
Long live the Big 8! Nebraska leads the all-time series 86-18-2. but there have been no meetings since Nebraska's departure from the Big 12 in 2010.
Military Bowl (Annapolis, MD) (December 27, 2:00 PM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. AAC):
Navy vs. Wake Forest
Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Charlotte, NC)(December 27, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. SEC):
Duke vs. Tennessee
Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA) (December 27, 8:00 PM ET, FOX, PAC-12 #4 vs. ACC):
Clemson vs. Oregon State
Texas Bowl (Houston, TX) (December, 27, 9:00 PM ET, ESPN, SEC vs. Big 12 #4):
Texas A&M vs. Houston
Houston has not appeared in the Houston-based Texas Bowl since 2007. The Aggies and Cougars have a strange series history with only 34 meetings, none from 1965 to 1975 and none since the Southwest Conference dissolved in 1995.
Fenway Bowl (Boston, MA) (December 28, 11:00 AM ET, ESPN, ACC vs. AAC):
Syracuse vs. Memphis
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 between 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):
NC State vs. Kansas
Alamo Bowl: (San Antonio, TX) (December 28, 9:15 PM ET, PAC-12 #2 vs. Big 12 #2):
USC vs. Oklahoma State
Gator Bowl: (Jacksonville, FL) (December 29, 12:00 PM ET, SEC vs. ACC):
LSU vs. Miami
Sun Bowl: (El Paso, TX) (December 29, 2:00 PM ET, ACC vs. PAC-12 #5):
Louisville 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):
Missouri vs. Maryland
Arizona Bowl (Tucson, AZ) (December 30, 4:30 PM ET, Barstool, MAC vs. Mountain West):
Bowling Green vs. Colorado State
Reliaquest Bowl (Tampa, FL) (January 1, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN, SEC vs. Big Ten #3):
Notre Dame vs. Florida
Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL) (January 1, 1:00 PM ET, ABC, SEC vs. Big Ten #2):
Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin
Maryland’s loss to Illinois could boot them from the Citrus Bowl. Iowa’s remaining slate consists of Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, Illinois, and Nebraska. Iowa controls its destiny in the Big Ten West and likely will land in the Big Ten Championship Game with an 11-1 record.
But there's a catch, since the Hawkeyes played in the Citrus Bowl in 2022, they are practically disqualified from playing in the Orlando Bowl since the Big Ten likes to have five different teams play in each bowl during the six-year bowl cycle. So Wisconsin takes their place.
New Year’s Six:
Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) (December 29, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Texas vs. Ole Miss
Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA) (December 30, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Penn State vs. Alabama
Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) (December 30, 4:00 PM ET)
North Carolina vs. Ohio State
Pitt saved the world from the nightmare scenario of three ACC teams with unbeaten records. Florida State and UNC are likely to end the season at 12-0. I project Florida State will beat UNC in the ACC Championship Game At worst, Ohio State looks like a 2-loss team. The playoff discussion will get interesting if multiple one-loss teams exist in both the Big Ten and PAC-12.
Fiesta Bowl (Glendale, AZ) (January 1, 1:00 PM ET, ESPN)
Oregon vs. Air Force
Talk about a contrast in styles. Two wins over a 10-3 Wyoming team with wins over Texas Tech and 11-1 Fresno State could be enough for the Falcons to play their way into the New Year’s Six.
12-1 Tulane’s best win would be against a 10-3 Memphis team with no Power Five wins or a win over a 10-3 SMU team with a win over a hypothetical 9-3 Memphis to their name. This also is a rematch of the 1997 Las Vegas Bowl, which Oregon won 41-13.
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