Omar-Rashon Borja‘s Week 9 Bowl Projections

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Source: Liz Copan/ Air Force Photo

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

Western Kentucky vs. Bowling Green

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.

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. Louisiana

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 could lock 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):

Iowa State vs. Washington State

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):

Rice vs. Texas State

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

Coastal Carolina vs. FAU

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):

Georgia State vs. SMU

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

Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama

Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, TX) (December 23, 3:30 PM ET, ABC, Army/Mountain West/AAC vs. Big 12 #7):

Fresno State vs. TCU

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):

Colorado State vs. Tulsa

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

Jacksonville State vs. Troy

This would be the first Battle for the Ol’ School since 2001 and 64th meeting overall. The long hiatus shows there is no love lost between the two Yellowhammer State rivals.

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, the 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. Minnesota

Minnesota’s win over Iowa by way of the “Fair Catch Seen Round the World” puts Minnesota back in my bowl projections and gives The Quick Lane Bowl its first Big Ten team since…Minnesota in 2018. This is also a rematch of the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl, which Minnesota won 21-14.

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. BYU

Remember that time Tanner Mangum came off the bench and threw a Hail Mary to give BYU an upset win over Nebraska? People really forget the hold “Mangum Mania” had on America.

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

Navy vs. NC State

These two played eight times from 1911-1921, but the series took a hiatus from 1922-2001, until NC State randomly decided to play a one-off at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in 2002 (without a return trip).

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

Clemson vs. Tennessee

Clemson is always a strong draw in Charlotte, and once a mainstay in the ACC Championship Game. However, this year, it looks like the Tigers will not be in the Queen City on Championship Weekend. I believe the Duke’s Mayo Bowl takes the easy route and invites Clemson over a much better Louisville team

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

Louisville 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 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):

North Carolina vs. Kansas

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

USC vs. Oklahoma State

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

LSU vs. Miami

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

Louisville vs. Utah

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

Kansas State vs. Kentucky

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

Missouri vs. Maryland

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

Miami (OH) vs. San Jose State

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

Notre Dame vs. Florida

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). Obviously, the bowl will not pass on the Fighting Irish here. T

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

Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin

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)

Oklahoma vs. Alabama

Oh, look a potential future SEC Championship Game in Atlanta!

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

Duke vs. Ohio State

Out of the trio of Louisville, North Carolina, and Duke, the Blue Devils have the strongest resume, despite having two losses. I project all three teams to finish with at least two losses, but Duke’s resume will be clean of embarrassing losses to the ACC’s bottom teams.

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