College Football Bowl Matchup Projections
Check out the College Football Bowl projections with Splash Sports new Bowl Pick X Contests coming soon!
Every Saturday for 16 weeks in the fall, college football teams fight for the right to bowl. Six wins later – or five, if you study hard enough – the winter means extra practice, an opportunity to send the season off right, and a wonderful trip somewhere warm (though some of you will be sent to Detroit).
It’s mid-November. We are drawing ever closer to the conclusion of college football’s regular season. The bowl portion of the year is within reach. It’s crunch time for teams teetering on the edge to climb up into bowl eligibility and for those already there to hoist themselves into a more prestigious position.
Heading into Week 12, 58 teams have locked up their bowl eligibility requirements. Another 40 teams remain within striking distance, only one or two more victories standing between them and a successful hurdle over the six-win threshold. Excluding the College Football Playoff National Championship, there are 41 bowl games scheduled for this December and January. That means that 82 teams of the 130 bowl-eligible FBS outfits (#FREEJMU) will receive invites, six wins or otherwise.
Fans of teams who already know they are going bowling are excited to learn which beach town they will get drunk at this winter. Fans of teams who are hoping to become bowl eligible want someone to calm their fears that their team could completely blow it. I’m here for all of you.
Bearing in mind the insane web of bowl tie-ins that will connect this final hurrah of this college football campaign together, I have devised projections for the matchup of each bowl game, from Myrtle Beach to Pasadena. Let’s dive in.
New Year’s Six
Friday, December 29
Cotton Bowl (AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas): Texas vs. Ohio State
Saturday, December 30
Peach Bowl (Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia): Washington vs. Penn State
Orange Bowl (Hard Rock Stadium – Miami Gardens, Florida): Louisville vs. Alabama
Monday, January 1
Fiesta Bowl (State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona): Missouri vs. Tulane
Rose Bowl, CFP Semifinal #1 (Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California): Michigan vs. Oregon
Sugar Bowl, CFP Semifinal #2 (Caesars Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana): Georgia vs. Florida State
Assuming Iowa isn’t a bother in the Big Ten Championship Game, the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game will be in the playoff. It’s a virtual toss up to me, but I’m leaning Wolverines simply due to game location. There will be so much pent-up anger, emotion, and general vitriol at The Big House and Ann Arbor as a whole – that’s the difference maker in my mind. The loser could still back their way into the College Football Playoff, but at this stage, 2023 isn’t looking like the year for such shenanigans.
Now that it’s November, Georgia has kicked it into fifth gear, and the Bulldogs look like the cream of the crop in the SEC and beyond. Alabama won’t be a pushover in Atlanta, but I’m backing the most likely outcome, which is Georgia being an undefeated 13-0 heading into the postseason. It’s possible that the Dawgs could still see the CFP with a defeat to the Crimson Tide, but it would require a decent amount of help across the country.
Other than the scheduled slaughter of North Alabama this Saturday, Florida State ends the season with a rivalry game at Florida that it will be heavily favored in and the ACC Championship Game, probably against Louisville. The Cardinals could pose a threat, especially with realistic playoff dreams motivating them, but the most probable outcome involves the Seminoles having enough to get to the finish line unscathed. If Florida State can’t make it to the end of 13 games without a defeat, then its playoff path will soundly shrink.
Oregon and Washington appear to be on a crash course for a rematch in the Pac-12 Championship Game, though there is a long way to go before that can be assured. Both have contests with Oregon State, a top-15 team that comes into each matchup with a bigger-than-usual axe to grind with the Ducks and Huskies. Washington also has the final scheduled Apple Cup to navigate. Given UW’s trip to Corvallis that UO doesn’t have to take and how difficult it is to beat the same team twice in a season, I’m giving the slight nod to the Ducks. What seems fairly certain is that they won’t both be in the semifinals.
That makes presumed Big 12 champion Texas, presumed ACC runner-up Louisville, and presumed highest-ranked group-of-five champion Tulane as the auto bids to other New Year’s Six showdowns. There is no way an 11-1 Ohio State or 12-1 Alabama are kept out of these marquee bowl games. As the Pac-12’s second place, Washington would find a home in the New Year’s Six, and Penn State and Missouri round out the field as the extra entrants from the Big Ten and SEC.
The Rest of Bowl Season
Saturday, December 16
Myrtle Beach Bowl (Brooks Stadium – Conway, South Carolina): Appalachian State vs. Utah State
New Orleans Bowl (Caesars Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana): Liberty vs. Troy
Cure Bowl (FBC Mortgage Stadium – Orlando, Florida): Arkansas State vs. Colorado State
New Mexico Bowl (University Stadium – Albuquerque, New Mexico): Wyoming vs. Eastern Michigan
LA Bowl (SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, California): UCLA vs. Air Force
Independence Bowl (Independence Stadium – Shreveport, Louisiana): UCF vs. Coastal Carolina
Monday, December 18
Bahamas Bowl (Jerry Richardson Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina): Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan
Tuesday, December 19
Frisco Bowl (Toyota Stadium – Frisco, Texas): Texas State vs. New Mexico State
Thursday, December 21
Boca Raton Bowl (FAU Stadium – Boca Raton, Florida): Marshall vs. San Jose State
Friday, December 22
Gasparilla Bowl (Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Florida): Louisiana vs. Navy
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N7f4gtcpeQY?si=HrgsWplKb7Wt92Gq" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Saturday, December 23
Birmingham Bowl (Protective Stadium – Birmingham, Alabama): South Florida vs. Georgia State
Camellia Bowl (Cramton Bowl – Montgomery, Alabama): Northern Illinois vs. South Alabama
Armed Forces Bowl (Amon G. Carter Stadium – Fort Worth, Texas): Iowa State vs. UTSA
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Albertsons Stadium – Boise, Idaho): Ohio vs. Fresno State
68 Ventures Bowl (Hancock Whitney Stadium – Mobile, Alabama): Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern
Las Vegas Bowl (Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas, Nevada) – USC vs. Nebraska
Hawai’i Bowl (Clarence T. Ching Athletics Complex (Honolulu, Hawai’i) – Rice vs. Boise State
Tuesday, December 26
Quick Lane Bowl (Ford Field – Detroit, Michigan): Toledo vs. Northwestern
First Responder Bowl (Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas, Texas): Texas Tech vs. Georgia Tech
Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Chase Field – Phoenix, Arizona): Kansas vs. Rutgers
Wednesday, December 27
Military Bowl (Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium – Annapolis, Maryland): Virginia Tech vs. Memphis
Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina): Kentucky vs. Duke
Holiday Bowl (Petco Park – San Diego, California): North Carolina State vs. Arizona
Texas Bowl (NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas): Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State
Thursday, December 28
Fenway Bowl (Fenway Park – Boston, Massachusetts): Boston College vs. SMU
Pinstripe Bowl (Yankee Stadium – New York, New York): Syracuse vs. Minnesota
Pop-Tarts Bowl (Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Florida): North Carolina vs. Kansas State
Alamo Bowl (Alamodome – San Antonio, Texas): Oklahoma vs. Utah
Friday, December 29
Gator Bowl (EverBank Stadium – Jacksonville, Florida): Auburn vs. Clemson
Sun Bowl (Sun Bowl Stadium – El Paso, Texas): Miami (FL) vs. Oregon State
Liberty Bowl (Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium – Memphis, Tennessee): West Virginia vs. Maryland
Saturday, December 30
Music City Bowl (Nissan Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee): Tennessee vs. Illinois
Arizona Bowl (Arizona Stadium – Tucson, Arizona): Miami (OH) vs. UNLV
Monday, January 1
ReliaQuest Bowl (Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Florida): LSU vs. Notre Dame
Citrus Bowl (Camping World Stadium – Orlando, Florida): Iowa vs. Ole Miss
The best gameplay on planet earth
Enhance the enjoyment of sports through collaboration with others
Make every game more fun
Enhance the enjoyment of sports through collaboration with othersexplore more