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Final 2018 Bowl Projections

Posted on November 29, 2018, in Football by Karl Hess.

With the bowl announcements and playoff pairings coming this weekend, we got together to make our picks in ink. I'm not saying you can make your holiday plans around these picks, but worse decisions have been made in the past week. I'm looking at you UNC football.

College Football Playoff

Maize

Orange Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Oklahoma

Cotton Bowl: 2 Clemson vs 3 Notre Dame

It’s Oklahoma over Ohio State and Georgia, assuming here all but UGA win.  If Georgia loses to Alabama, the committee will rightly decide there’s no point putting them in since they already had their crack at a playoff team.  Oklahoma will get the nod over OSU despite OSU now having the biggest win between the two, because a Big 12 CG win means they’ll have beaten everyone on their schedule.  The Bama-OU game goes to the Orange Bowl so that Alabama doesn’t have a de facto road game a couple hours from the opposing fanbase.

Karl

Orange Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Oklahoma

Cotton Bowl: 2 Clemson vs 3 Notre Dame

Just when I thought things had become stale...

And there's no way I'm putting the Luckeyes in the playoffs. So, Boomer Sooner!

Kendall

Cotton Bowl: 1 Alabama vs 4 Ohio State

Orange Bowl: 2 Clemson vs 3 Notre Dame

I am assuming Alabama beats Georgia, Ohio State beats the hell out of Northwestern, and Oklahoma beats Texas this weekend. Assuming those three results, I do think the committee will pull the ol’ switcheroo and favor the Buckeyes over the Sooners. Personally, I’m hoping for a Georgia upset over Alabama to cast this whole thing into disarray. That’d put UGA into the CFP and leave all three of the B1G, Big XII, and Pac-12 out of the playoffs… potentially leading to high-powered temper tantrums… potentially eventually leading to expansion to eight teams in the playoffs… where it should be. (Editor’s note: please see the rant section at the end of this article.)

New Year's Six

Kendall

Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Michigan vs Washington

Peach Bowl: Florida vs UCF

Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs Washington State

The McKenzie Milton injury is a real heart-breaker for UCF. I was riding high with the Golden Knights, but without the future pro under center, that team is probably just a shell of itself heading into bowl season. Meanwhile, I told you a few weeks ago that Washington was a NY6 sleeper, and look at the Huskies now!

Maize

Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Texas

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington

Peach Bowl: Florida vs UCF

Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs Michigan

The Sugar is supposed to get the SEC and Big 12 champs, but it’ll make do with the runners-up.  Ohio State and Washington have both been to the Rose Bowl 14 times, but never played each other in it.

Karl

Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Texas

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington

Peach Bowl: Florida vs UCF

Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs Michigan

I really wanted to send UCF somewhere besides the Peach Bowl again but the bevy of SEC teams at the NY6 level makes the matchups too difficult.

Texas slides in because the Sugar Bowl is contractually obligated to have a Big 12 team. I’d leave them out for Washington State based on the merits. But it’s bowl season, so we toss those out the window.

ACC Bowls

Camping World Bowl

Karl

NC State vs Iowa State

Texas getting in the NY6 shakes things up for the Big 12. The Alamao Bowl, faced with West Virginia or Iowa State, opts for Will Grier and the high powered Mountaineer offense.

I’m told that Iowa State travels well but I don’t know. NC State gets the nod here for the ACC over Syracuse so the bowl can be sure that one group of fans will sell tickets.

Kendall

NC State vs West Virginia

I definitely think Syracuse is the #3 ACC team in terms of vogue appeal, but for the matchup with WVU in Orlando, I think the Wolfpack makes more sense, from a regional attraction standpoint.

Maize

NC State vs West Virginia

NC State will finish the season by hammering ECU, making them 9-3 and giving the CW Bowl people an excuse to take the much closer Wolfpack over the Syracuse team that beat them.

TIER ONE BOWLS

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl / Franklin American Mortgate Music City Bowl

Maize

Pittsburgh vs Auburn (Gator)

The ACC will push to have their division champ rewarded with a Tier 1 game.

Karl

Miami vs Texas A&M (Gator)

Miami’s close to the season gives them some momentum. They land a home state bowl and it kind of makes sense. If their offense gets it together, this could be a fun game.

Kendall

Syracuse vs Mississippi State (Music City)

This is a really nice matchup for Nashville, with 17 wins between these two teams.

Belk Bowl

Kendall

Virginia vs Vanderbilt

I’m still choosing to be optimistic. This would be a dream scenario for me, and it’s one that’s backed up by a bit of the scuttlebutt out there (rumor has it Charlotte wants the Hoos, and the Hoos want Charlotte; Vandy or Mizzou from the SEC; UVA to the Military Bowl would be a non-starter.) I rank our possible opponents from the SEC in my order of preference: 1 Vanderbilt, 2 South Carolina, 3 Auburn, 4 Missouri. I think it’s vitally important for the program to end this season with a win.

Maize

Virginia vs South Carolina

With NC State out of the way, this is the best-case scenario for all involved.

Karl

Virginia vs South Carolina

There feels like a lot of momentum out there for this game. I’ve been on the bandwagon off an on the last few weeks. I’m signing up for good now.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Karl

Pittsburgh vs Cal

Pitt, the good news is that we’ve pressured a Tier One Bowl into taking you after you were upset by Miami and then annihilated by Clemson. The bad news is that you’re off to El Paso.

On the PAC 12 side, I still think the winner of Cal and Stanford lands here. I’ve got Cal.

Kendall

Boston College vs Stanford

It really feels like BC is going to fall on the Sun Bowl sword for the rest of the ACC.

Maize

Miami vs Arizona State

Miami plays their way from the bottom of the ACC’s bowl barrel back to respectability thanks in part to the stupid-big number of 7-5 teams.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Maize

Syracuse vs Michigan State

The Cuse are a lock for a Tier 1 bowl and they’ll get their shot here.  Sure, playing Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium is a big deal, but the Domers have such a big following in NYC (and wore the pinstripes besides) that the Orange could use the bowl game here to re-establish their New York’s Home Team claim.

Karl

Syracuse vs Michigan State

Cuse wants to be here. Who am I to tell them no?

A contrast in styles with Sparty makes this one to check out.

I hope it snows.

Kendall

Pittsburgh vs Purdue

SIX teams from the conference have 7 wins. Anything can happen. I slot Pitt to NYC because of simple, dumb proximity. Plus, I don’t think the ACC wants to suffer the bad optics of its Coastal Division champ falling to the Tier Two bowls.

ADDITIONAL BOWLS (FORMERLY TIER TWO)

Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman

Kendall

Virginia Tech vs Memphis

I mean, this pairing in this location is so obvious on so many levels. F*** the Hokies. I hope their fans are treated to the negative 400 degree shit show we endured in Annapolis last year.

Maize

Boston College vs Temple

BC is the victim of Miami's good fortune.

Karl

Virginia Tech vs Cincinnati

If adding the Hokies to the bowl picks results in their loss to Marshall, then here we go…

The Hokies are going to extend their bowl streak because you can’t hold down a good football program. It’s not bowl season without Virginia Tech and the Gobbler around. Welcome to the party, Cousin Eddie.

Their reward is an ass kicking from a good Cincy team.

Walk-On's Independence Bowl

Karl

Georgia Tech vs BYU

I don’t imagine that Paul Johnson pictured capping his coaching career in Shreveport. But here we are. Frank Beamer went out here too. Thank God Welsh got a trip to Hawaii when he called it quits.

Of the three conferences that have affiliations with the bowl, I don’t have any of them with enough teams available to fill this spot. 

Enter BYU who has six wins but no bowl tie ins. 

Kendall

Georgia Tech vs UAB

It’s kind of a decent regional pairing in Shreveport, I guess?

Maize

Virginia Tech vs Memphis

FART NOISE

Quick Lane Bowl

Maize

Georgia Tech vs Purdue

The bowl organizers are probably actually disappointed as hell in Minnesota for making bowl eligibility and forcing them to take a Big Ten team when they had a good shot at a home-state team instead.  Purdue can’t go to whatever the hell the Redbox Bowl is because they’ve been there too recently, and they’re not good enough for the Pinstripe, so here they land.

Karl

Boston College vs Purdue

I think I’d watch this game. It’s about as good as the Quick Lane Bowl can do matchup wise even if they’re forced to forego a local MAC team.

Kendall

Duke vs Minnesota

I’m braced for this to be Virginia’s landing spot, actually.

Gasparilla Bowl

Kendall

Miami vs Cincinnati

I think it’s probably naive for me to say Miami tumbles this far down the hierarchy, but their fans don’t travel and even though they still qualify as a name brand, I don’t think that moves the needle enough for a good many of these bowl games.

Maize

Duke vs South Florida

Maybe the Blue Devils can stop in Tallahassee on the way and drop off an edible arrangement or something.  Just to let them know the conference is thinking about them in these tough times.

Karl

Wake Forest vs Houston

Playing AAC whack-a-mole leaves me with Houston. Wake is just happy to be somewhere.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Maize

Wake Forest vs Louisiana-Monroe

I did not see that coming.

Kendall

Wake Forest vs Western Michigan

I’m proud of Wake for giving the conference its record 12th* bowl team (assuming VT beats Marshall because of course they’ll beat Marshall and keep their dumb bowl streak alive).

* Lightly researched…..

2017 ACC bowl teams - 11

2016 - 11

2015 - 9

2014 - 11

2013 - 11

2012 - 6

2011 - 8

2010 - 9

2009 - 7

2008 - 10

2007 - 8

2006 - 8

2005 - 8

2004 - 6

Birmingham Bowl

Karl

Duke vs South Florida

The ACC’s info isn’t very clear when it comes to the Birmingham Bowl and SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, but I think it’s either Gasparilla or First Responder and then Birmingham.

Since I put Wake in the Gasparilla, and to be a little different than Kendall and Maize, we move to the Birmingham Bowl.

Duke is in no position to complain, so they’ll happily take what they can at this point.

This bowl is in the AAC portfolio. They don’t force USF to stay at home for the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa. Instead, they jump on the bus for the quick trip to Birmingham. 

Weekly Rants!

Maize

I’ll use this last Rant to re-introduce my own, very special snowflake of a playoff proposal.  “Snowflake” is sometimes overused, but it’s apropos here because everyone thinks theirs is unique, and there’s a damned blizzard of them all the time.

Anyway, playoff expansion is Very Bad, for the most part.  I have many reasons.  The main one is that if you had eight teams and you put Michigan in the playoff after that $@#%ing debacle, the regular season - once the best in all of sports - is ruined.  And so is the bowl season.  All so you bracketheads can have a bracket.  A national championship has never really been the point of college football.

But if we must expand - and it seems inevitable with all the “but UCFFFFFFFFF!” whiners - then here’s what you do.  First, the bracket has 16 teams in it and looks like the conference basketball tournaments that are now in vogue (which I like.)  You play them at home stadiums in December (ideally starting this weekend and ditching the conference championship games, if you can get the stupid commissioners’ greedy claws out of the money pot) til you get to the Final Four.  And losers…...can still go to bowl games.  As teams drop out they get invited to good bowl games.  Crappy bowl games, of course, have already filled their slots.  Instead of “the Orange Bowl is a semifinal this year” you pick a Final Four site like you do with basketball.  You play the good bowl games on New Year’s Day the way God intended, only you just don’t quite get to find out the matchups until the third weekend in December.  Once the first three rounds of the playoff are over, we pause for a bowl-stravaganza, and then when that’s done, we focus our attention on the Final Four.  That forces the Final Four to last a little longer, which the money people are completely fine with.

This addresses the complaint that teams would play too many extra games.  Frankly, the vast majority would only play one or two.  It keeps the regular season worth a damn, because teams are playing for incredibly valuable byes and home games.  It offers enough space for even the worst conferences to get their shot (not that they deserve one, but there are people who think it’s worth seeing Florida stomp some Sun Belt outfit just so they can satisfy the fairness bone in their heads, so whatever.)  And it would give the CFP people a good reason to put out a 25-team ranking instead of “that’s what the other rankings do.”

Kendall

That IS a very snowflaky idea, Maize. But I like it. That said, I probably just prefer simple CFP expansion to 6 or 8 teams. One of Oklahoma and Ohio State is going to be [fairly unfairly] left out of this year’s 4-team jam, despite not losing a de facto “elimination game” like Michigan did and like we expect Georgia to. I really do think there could be five totally deserving teams this season. And that doesn’t include undefeated UCF.

Here’s my idea...

We currently have 10 conferences at the FBS level. Join the Sun Belt with Conference USA and join the MAC with the American Athletic to create eight conferences. Let the eight conference champs play it off, tournament style. You can’t say the regular season is devalued if that’s the system, can you?

If that were in place this season, we’d have Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Washington, Boise State, UCF, and UAB in the playoffs. (Ugh, okay, that’s maybe not as awesome as it originally sounded. But it WOULD force Notre Dame to join the ACC, full stock!)

1 Alabama vs 8 UAB

4 Ohio State vs 5 UCF

3 Oklahoma vs 6 Washington

2 Clemson vs 7 Boise State

Karl

I’m appointing Maize College Sports Czar after he’s done with his assignment as the HOOS Place Quick Lane Bowl correspondent. 

I like Kendall’s idea too, especially if you incorporate my relegation rant from last week so that we thin the herd a bit. Plus Kendall gave me a bracket (I’m a brackethead), so I’m ready to sign up now.

 

This article contains the tags:

Football, 2018 Bowls