Welcome to our first week of bowl projections for the 2019 season.
While it was evident that the Hoos would go bowling for quite some time now, I'm a bit superstitious with this endeavor. I simply don't want to make bowl projections that include UVA without our 6 win ticket punched.
Now that the Hoos cleared that hurdle by virtue of winning The South's Oldest Rivalry, we're off and running.
Maize and I will be making picks from here on out until the bowl pairings are released. We may have a special guest submitting their picks too in the future.
As always, we'll pick our College Football Playoff matchups, the New Years Six games, and the ACC bowl games.
College Football Playoff
Fiesta Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Clemson
Peach Bowl: 2 Alabama vs 3 Ohio State
Undefeated Penn State was the other choice here. There’s really no good option, in my opinion, between Ohio State and Penn State. But one of them was going to make the field. The Buckeyes are better and Penn State deserves to be on the outside looking in right now.
Clemson feels like less of a sure thing this year but the field has come to them with other team’s picking up losses.
Next week’s field will be when the fun really starts since either Bama or LSU are going to pick up a loss this weekend.
Fiesta Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Alabama
Peach Bowl: 2 Ohio State vs 3 Clemson
Oooh, controversy. For the first projection of the year I just wanted to watch the world burn a little bit. In this scenario, LSU and Alabama have played each other twice already - once this coming weekend, once in the SEC CG - and have beaten each other once apiece. Left on the outside looking in are one-loss teams Penn State (assuming a loss to OSU), Oregon, and Oklahoma, which is to say, the entire Pac-12 and Big 12. Admittedly this is less of a real projection and more of an SEC middle finger to the world, just to sort of highlight the possibilities here.
And just to crank it up a little further, the #1 team Ohio State gets an “easier” trip to Atlanta (better for them than Arizona) to play a team that sits a short bus ride away, while the two SEC teams get shipped all the way to Phoenix. In real life, the committee probably snubs the SEC runner up and chooses another one-loss team, if one exists.
New Year's Six
Orange Bowl: Florida vs Wake Forest
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Oklahoma
Rose Bowl: Penn State vs Oregon
Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Cincinnati
I kind of want to see Minnesota and Wake Forest in the NY6 in the same year. For now, it’s Penn State. And no, I don’t really know whether Cincy or Memphis will end up as the G5 “champion”, although the Cotton Bowl people would probably love Memphis.
Orange Bowl: Wake Forest vs Florida
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Oklahoma
Rose Bowl: Penn State vs Oregon
Cotton Bowl: Memphis vs Utah
Wake is having the year that was expected for the Hoos. They have a fantastic offense with Jamie Newman at QB and Sage Surratt and Scotty Washington at WR. They’re an easy team to root for as well especially since we never play them despite being in the same conference. They draw a tough Florida team but I’d love to watch the Deacs try to attack the Gator’s defense.
Georgia and Oklahoma is a College Football Playoff level game. It seems like the Sugar Bowl matchup has one of those every year due to the hype/dominance of the SEC. This is just a classic college football game.
I like Oregon slightly more than Utah so the Ducks get the Rose Bowl while the Utes head to the Cotton.
I’d love to see Minnesota break through to get the Rose Bowl berth. That starts this weekend with their game against Penn State. For now, I’m taking the conservative approach. The Gophers have to play Wisconsin yet too so they have another hurdle. Penn State still has the Buckeyes but they’d get the benefit of the doubt over other B1G teams as a one loss squad.
The winner of the Memphis-Cincinnati regular season finale has the inside track for the Group of 5’s berth in the Cotton Bowl. I like Memphis right now. And it’s kind of funny that the Tigers have only ascended further after Justin Fuente departed for VPI.
Camping World Bowl (Orlando, December 28)
Notre Dame vs Kansas State
The Camping World reps must be salivating at the chance of selecting Notre Dame. If the Irish are on the table here, they don’t even blink before sending the invite.
The Big 12’s slot probably comes down to Kansas State and Oklahoma State although they’d love a shot at a Notre Dame vs Texas affair. The Wildcats and Pokes finish with seasons much better than the Longhorns. I like a 9 to 10 win Kansas State to get the nod over a probable 8 win Oklahoma State.
Notre Dame vs Texas
The Alamo (picking ahead of the ex-Tangerine) probably takes Baylor in Karl’s scenario. In mine they have K-State, which lets the ex-Tangerine take that Notre Dame-Texas dream matchup - partly engineered by ESPN.
Music City Bowl (Nashville, December 30)
Note: An ACC team will play in either the Music City Bowl or the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl but not both. It's our belief that the ACC's contract with the games makes it a near certainty that the ACC team will be in the Music City Bowl this season.
Louisville vs Tennessee
Nashville is a prime bowl destination, and the Hoos probably deserve to go. But the Music City is in a fix: lots of SEC teams in NY6 games, Auburn a likely pick to face a team like Michigan in the Outback, Texas A&M a likely candidate to stay home and play in the Texas Bowl. Missouri would make a great local-ish choice, but they’re ineligible. So the Music City needs to drum up local interest, by taking Tennessee and their grumpy fanbase and pairing them against the closest ACC squad they can find.
Virginia vs Kentucky
UVA fans would jump at the chance to spend New Year’s in Nashville. It’s not a bad consolation after the hope of the Orange Bowl slips away. And at this point of the season, I think it should be the preferred destination for the Hoos over Orlando.
Belk Bowl (Charlotte, December 31)
Virginia Tech vs Tennessee
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Hokies will petition the Belk Bowl and NCAA to get a shot at FCS Tennessee State in this game instead.
Virginia Tech vs Mississippi State
Betting here (for now) that the folks in Charlotte won’t want a repeat visitor against what is likely to be a really lackluster SEC opponent. Tennessee is a possibility here; if not them, then Mississippi State is one of the few left standing. But they still have to win the Egg Bowl first.
Sun Bowl (El Paso, December 31)
Virginia vs Washington
It’s not the preferred destination for UVA fans by any means. Pitt played here last year, though, and the powers that be won’t send them twice. I throw up my hands at trying to accurately pick the Pac-12 at this point, though, and for now just picked a reasonably interesting opponent.
Miami vs Arizona State
Someone like Pitt (on a return trip to El Paso) or Louisville might be more deserving than Miami. But Miami is a brand name and UVA fans know all too well how that matters in this exercise. Once the chance to create the Bryce Perkins Bowl is out the window, the Sun Bowl folks pick the brand.
Pinstripe Bowl (The Bronx, December 27)
Pitt vs Indiana
I agree with Maize on this matchup and the angst of trying to slot B1G teams in bowls. You’d likely get 6 credit hours at UNC for completing the exercise.
Pittsburgh vs Indiana
Picking this bowl is enough to drive you crazy, because it’s between two conferences who have just agreed to engineer the matchups among a whole mess of possible teams. I miss when there was a clear hierarchy. The only thing we know for sure is that it can’t be Wisconsin, as the B1G at least threw us a bone by declaring a team won’t go to the same bowl two years in a row.
Military Bowl (Annapolis, December 27)
Miami vs Navy
I’ll be pulling for Navy to win the AAC championship for a multitude of reasons - not least so that the bowl people don’t just give them a home bowl game for the third time in five seasons.
Louisville vs Temple
The Military Bowl gets a decent regional matchup as the AAC works with everyone to avoid the lazy decision of placing Navy at home. Temple is the next closest team and makes for a good matchup against surprising Louisville. The Cards are happy to be anywhere this postseason so they have no issue with the selection.
Independence Bowl (Shreveport, December 26)
NC State vs Western Kentucky
The UNC at NC State game is probably an elimination game for bowl purposes. I considered sending the loser to Shreveport while allowing the winner to stay home for the holidays. But the bowl probably wouldn’t sign off on that suggestion.
The bowl is probably going to have a devil of a time finding an eligible opponent against the ACC team. I had to jump down to the C-USA level to grab a Western Kentucky team that I’m projecting to finish 6-6.
North Carolina vs Southern Mississippi
The SEC is gonna have trouble filling its bowl slots if all its good teams get taken up at the top. CUSA may have room.
Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, December 26)
Boston College vs Michigan State
The Motor City Bowl gets its dream matchup, which is one of the Michigan B1G schools vs. anyone at all.
Boston College vs Michigan State
I had the same slotting as Maize. This is about as good an outcome for the Quick Lane Bowl as they could have hoped for. They get a Michigan school with an enormous alumni base and what promises to be a blue collar football game.
The ACC has secondary agreements with the Gasparilla Bowl, Birmingham Bowl, and SERVPRO First Responder Bowl to fill slots if other conferences cannot supply an eligible team. Both Maize and I were out of eligible ACC teams once we filled the ACC's last primary bowl game, The Quick Lane Bowl. As a result, we didn't touch these games. As the season plays out to a finish, we may have selections in these spillover games.