x

2018 Bowl Projections - Week 4

Posted on November 21, 2018, in Football by Karl Hess.

Welcome to our penultimate set of 2018 bowl projections. Kendall, Maize, and I are back with our picks and weekly bowl related rant. Next week we'll go on the record with our final picks.

Miami joined the club of bowl eligible ACC teams with their sixth win last week. Wake Forest is still stuck on five wins and FSU's upset of Boston College got them within one win of the magic number. Finally, the Hoos lost in overtime in Atlanta. But did it have much of an impact on their projected destination?

College Football Playoff

Kendall

Cotton Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Michigan

Orange Bowl: 2 Clemson vs 3 Notre Dame

Ain't a damn thing changed.

Karl

Cotton Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Michigan

Orange Bowl: 2 Clemson vs 3 Notre Dame

These are the four teams I personally want in the playoff, although I do dislike the Irish quite a bit, but the week to week consistency is boring this year.

Maize

Orange Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Notre Dame

Cotton Bowl: 2 Michigan vs 3 Clemson

Same ol’ same ol’.  Michigan moves up to at least #3 if they beat OSU this week, see if they don’t.

New Year's Six

Maize

Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington State

Peach Bowl: Florida vs UCF

Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs Penn State

I put Texas in the NY6 last week, but that was a mistake - if Oklahoma wins the Big 12 and goes to the Sugar as projected, Texas is the team they beat in the Big 12 CG.  That would make it basically impossible for Texas to vault Florida and Penn State, who are playing some mediocre-ass competition this week.  One thing I hate about the CFP is that it causes three-loss teams to go to bowls traditionally reserved for the elite.

Kendall

Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Oklahoma 

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington State

Peach Bowl: UCF vs LSU

Fiesta Bowl: Texas vs Utah State

The Sugar and Rose have been grooved for about as long as the CFP has been. UCF/LSU is a good regional Peach Bowl game. I like the idea of a 12-1 Utah State team over any of the ho-hum 9-win chumps like Penn State, Kentucky, or Utah. I also have West Virginia losing to Oklahoma and Florida losing to Florida State (!) to miss out on the NY6.

Karl

Sugar Bowl: LSU vs Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington State

Peach Bowl: Florida vs UCF

Fiesta Bowl: Penn State vs Georgia

I love Kendall’s bold choice of Utah State. If I recall correctly, the Aggies coach Matt Wells was on Kendall’s exhaustive list of potential London replacements. He should cash in on the big year Utah State is having this offseason.

Back to the games, Penn State gets the promotion and Florida holds steady. If the NY6 picks mirror the CFP rankings,these two are pretty safe bets at the bottom of the selections.

ACC Bowls

Camping World Bowl

Karl

NC State vs West Virginia

I’ve come full circle here reverting to my original pick for this bowl. The hurricane cancelled game gets played after all. I think the bowl uses NC State’s 9 wins to justify grabbing the best travelling team from among the Wolfpack and BC/Syracuse winner.

Maize

Syracuse vs West Virginia

This is a mess if BC beats Syracuse, and the CW Bowl could take any one of a handful of teams.  If Eric Dungey plays, the Cuse wins, and score the trip to Orlando.

Kendall

NC State vs Iowa State

This is a tough one, because I’ve got Syracuse losing at Boston College, Pitt beating Miami but then crushed by Clemson in Charlotte, Virginia beating Virginia Tech, and NC State running the table against UNC and ECU. So we’re left with four 8-win ACC teams (Cuse, BC, Pitt, UVA), and NC State at 9-3. Despite the ugly stretch of three losses in four games in the middle of the season, State gets the Orlando bid.

TIER ONE ACC BOWLS

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl / Franklin American Mortgate Music City Bowl

Kendall

Pitt vs Vanderbilt (Music City)

If we can’t have Charlotte, this is the game I want. Pitt gets the trip to NashVegas as the reward for a very good second half to the season.

Karl

Pitt vs Missouri

I’m jumping ship this week Maize.

If Pitt beats Miami, I think they wind up here. Nashville is a reasonable distance from Pitt’s fans, so they can bring a respectable crowd here as long as the Steelers don’t have a scheduling conflict. 

CHECKING CALENDAR...DEC 28 IS A FRIDAY...CHECKING STEELERS’ SCHEDULE...DEC 30 VS BENGALS IN PITTSBURGH

Okay, so Pitt fan can take in this game and hop a quick flight or make a reasonable drive back on Saturday and easily make it to Heinz on Sunday.

I’m also warming to the notion that it’s a bad look to dump an ACC division winner into the bowl dregs assuming they’re better than a 6 or 7 win team.

As far as the SEC, all of the non CFP, NY6, Citrus Bowl teams are going to be 7-5 or 8-4 with the exception of a 6-6 team (Tennessee-Vandy winner). Assigning them loosely based on geography sends Missouri to Nashville.

Maize

Boston College vs Mississippi State

Why mess with a perfectly good pick?

Belk Bowl

Maize

NC State vs South Carolina

Still think the lure of an all-Carolina bowl is too great for the bowl organizers to pass up.

Kendall

Virginia vs South Carolina

My dream come true for this bowl season - Virginia in Charlotte. It’d be an SEC opponent, with South Carolina, Mizzou, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Auburn, and the Tennessee/Vandy winner “in range” for this slot. I’d personally savor the matchup with the Gamecocks or Vols, and would enjoy a tilt with Vandy. Not sure we match up particularly well against A&M, Mississippi State, or Auburn. So as much as I want Charlotte, it’s a dangerous matchup for the Hoos.

Karl

Virginia vs South Carolina

There seems to be some momentum with the Hoos landing in Charlotte. We’d be crazy not to embrace it. And a matchup against South Carolina would sell out the joint.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Karl

Boston College vs Cal

Someone among UVA, BC, and Syracuse is going to get the shaft. BC’s late season swoon is going deliver them to El Paso.

I’m projecting the winner of The Big Game here for the PAC 12. Since this year’s edition is at Cal, they get the nod.

Maize

Pitt vs Oregon

Does it bother me much that Oregon has returned to mere respectability, instead of the stratosphere?  No, because their uniforms have, with mercifully little fanfare, gotten even worse.

Kendall

Boston College vs Stanford

I like what someone said a couple of weeks ago about this bowl -- the ACC team’s fans likely won’t travel, so Sun tries to put the best name brand it can into its game so TV sets will flicker on. In the Cuse/BC/UVA/Pitt scrum, I think Boston College is probably the biggest name brand.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Kendall

Syracuse vs Purdue

Syracuse as NYC’s college football team? I don’t think it’ll ever really take root, but that won’t stop promoters and ACC officials from trying. This year’s Cuse and Purdue teams are two of the feel-good stories of the 2018 season, so there’s a bit of juice behind this pairing.

Karl

Syracuse vs Michigan State

In the greater college football landscape, I seem to be the only one concerned with Syracuse playing at Yankee Stadium twice in six weeks. So I’m relenting this week. Perhaps the Orange will see it as side benefit to their quest to become New York City’s college football team.

Michigan State has qualified for bowl season. Purdue still needs another win over Indiana so I’m going with the sure thing.

Maize

Virginia vs Michigan State

If it’s Purdue, though, I’ll be mercilessly trash-talking my Boilermaker brother for either three weeks or the rest of our lives.

ADDITIONAL BOWLS (FORMERLY TIER TWO)

Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman

Maize

Georgia Tech vs Temple

Temple is like four miles away and also in the sweet spot between great and worthless in the AAC.

Kendall

Georgia Tech vs Temple

I guess they haven’t gotten enough of Navy’s triple option in Annapolis?

Karl

Georgia Tech vs Cincinnati

This is like the fourth different ACC team I’ve put here.  Thank goodness The Military Bowl takes the best ACC team left on the board. 

I’m still of the mind that the AAC wants one of their better teams here because their other Power 5 bowl matchups are going to fall victim to not enough teams available. Cincy to Annapolis isn’t a travel burden for the Bearcats either, so they get the challenge of collecting a P5 scalp for the conference.

Walk-On's Independence Bowl

Karl

Duke vs Southern Miss

The bowl takes Duke over a 6-6 Miami team thanks to ACC lobbying. The Carolina Mafia still exists.

The SEC is all out of teams, so the bowl is relying on CUSA or the AAC for a replacement. Southern Miss would be a good regional pick if they can get to 6-5 with a win over dreadful UTEP this weekend.

Maize

Duke vs Memphis

Lot of semi-home games for these AAC teams.

Kendall

Miami vs UAB

FSU didn’t spark a big draw to Shreveport last season, but the Independence tries again this season with Miami… who leapfrogs a 7-5 Duke team for the bid.

Quick Lane Bowl

Kendall

Duke vs Western Michigan

I’ll not stop sending Duke to Siberia in these Bowl Projections.

Karl

Miami vs Miami (Ohio)

They have to play this game, right? I’m going with the Miami vs Miami matchup only to confuse the hell out of casual sports fans.

Maize

Miami vs Western Michigan

Yes, Kendall, but assuming you cold-blooded creatures shrivel up in the (technically, if it’s 31 degrees) frozen tundra, wouldn’t it be funnier to send the sun-dwelling Canes?

Gasparilla Bowl

Kendall

Florida State vs Cincinnati

I know I’m going waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out on a limb predicting the FSU-over-Florida upset. The Seminoles’ reward for salvaging a 6-6 season could be a nice, fun bowl game in nearby Tampa. (This game needs to be Tier 1 for the ACC! The AAC has a number of nice program to fuel a good annual matchup; UCF, Cincy, USF, Temple, Houston, Memphis, Navy, etc. Punt the Sun and promote the Gasparilla! Get it done, John Swofford!)

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Kendall

Wake Forest vs Tulane

Hell yeah, baby. Twelve ACC teams in bowl games! And not one of them is Virginia Tech. An angel just got his wings.

Weekly Rants!

Kendall

It’s Virginia Tech week. It’s a must win for our program at this point in time. This is the worst Virginia Tech team since 1992. They suck, but you know they’ll be really hyped up to keep their two streaks (wins over UVA and bowl appearances) alive. I think it might be a ‘turning point’ game for Virginia and the Mendenhall regime, in many Hoofans’ eyes. Win, and we rocket toward the future. Lose, and... I think things begin to get more ugly than the simple Anae hating we’ve seen run rampant throughout the fanbase. I really am nervous as hell. I love this Virginia team and I like this staff, but this is one crucial test they have to pass, and they have to pass it now. We can ill afford to lose three of four down the stretch and backslide into one of the shittier ACC bowl tie-ins. The program momentum from midseason will be undermined and forgotten; the bandwagon will empty back out. Let’s avoid that at all costs, and go woodshed the turkeys on Black Friday. GO HOOS!

Maize

I used to agree with the conventional wisdom that there were “too many bowls.”  But that was lazy thinking.  The problem is not too many bowls, the problem is too many teams.  Think back to 1997.  UVA was left out in the cold and did not go bowling despite a 7-4 record, 5-3 in the conference.  There’s no good college football world in which a team with that resume should not be bowling, but the world back then had 20 bowls and 58 six-win teams.  And two of those bowls (the Motor City Bowl and Humanitarian Bowl) were brand-new that year, meaning 1996 was even more squeezed and 8-3 teams like San Diego State and East Carolina were SOL.

That shouldn’t happen in the Sun Belt, let alone the ACC.  The bonanza of bowls is a perfectly enjoyable way to spend December.  I get annoyed when I have nothing in particular to do, want to turn on a bowl game, and there is none.

Conference realignment, however, has bloated out the conference sizes to stupid-ass levels.  Slurping up teams formerly in mid-level conferences (Utah, Louisville, TCU) and destroying the Big East has forced the CUSAs of the world to compensate by also bloating beyond recognition.  The Sun Belt Conference now consists almost exclusively of teams that didn’t exist in FBS ten years ago.  Even the independent ranks have swelled; six independents is the most since 2002, which was essentially the tail end of the age of the independents.  And only three of them are independent by choice (nobody seems to want Liberty, NMSU, or UMass, and scheduling is such a problem that NMSU and Liberty are playing each other twice a season) meaning the machinations of FBS expansion will probably continue.  Sooner or later, the FBS will need to subdivide again, and frankly I hope some of these growing mega-conferences go the way of the 16-team WAC in 1998.

Til then, though, I have absolutely no problem watching the Weed Eater Bowl between Who Cares State and Eastern DGAF Tech.

Karl

I’d be in favor of some sort of FBS-FCS Relegation system at the MAC/WAC/MWC/Sun Belt/CUSA/Independent level. Make the FCS title game or semis and get the option to bump the last place team from those conferences.

I’m convinced that a championship level JMU or North Dakota State would walk all over these teams: UConn (1-10), UTEP (1-10), Rice (1-11), Western Kentucky (2-9), Liberty (4-6), UMass (4-8), New Mexico State (3-8), Central Michigan (1-10), San Jose State (1-11), Georgia State (2-9), South Alabama (2-9), and Texas State (3-8).

The teams bumping up from the FCS level would probably be competitive in the lower level conferences and challenge for bowl berths immediately or pretty quickly. The relegated teams could stabilize their programs and rebuild a winning culture while having the opportunity to jump back up a level if their performance dictated.

And if they suck at the FCS level too? Well that’s where they probably belonged in the first place.

 

This article contains the tags:

Football, 2018 Bowls