' />

The Hoos had a bye last week, so they were stuck in neutral. But that doesn't mean that the college football universe was quiet.

Tua broke his hip. It ended his season and possibly the Crimson Tide's playoff hopes. Minnesota's dream season took a serious blow losing at Iowa. And Oklahoma staged a huge comeback to beat Chip and Joanna U at home in Waco.

Maize and I absorbed it all and then cranked out our updated bowl projections. 

You know the drill by now.

College Football Playoff


Fiesta Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Oregon

Peach Bowl: 2 Ohio State vs 3 Clemson

If the status quo holds, spots 1 - 3 are locked in.

As usual, the intrigue is found in the 4th spot. The current rankings are: 4 Georgia, 5 Alabama, 6 Oregon, 7 Utah, 8 Penn State, 9 Oklahoma. That’s pretty much my pool. 

Georgia, presuming a SEC Championship Game tilt with LSU, has the clearest path to grab the 4th spot. I don’t think that Georgia is going to beat LSU and that second loss drops them out of contention. 

Jumping down the list, I think Oklahoma is probably too far back right now. And I suspect that Penn State picks up a second loss this weekend against Ohio State.

So now it becomes a question of the winner of the PAC 12, Oregon or Utah, assuming they have one loss versus Alabama. 

Tua-less Alabama is a real threat to lose the Iron Bowl at Auburn this year. A second loss is fatal to their chances. 

I had Oregon last week (presumed to beat Utah) over a full-strength Alabama as I thought a presumed win over 7th ranked Utah (and middleweight PAC 12 teams) would be more impressive than Bama’s presumed win over Western Carolina and coin flip game versus Auburn. No changes to that thought process this week and a Tua-less Bama team isn’t as big a draw as one with Tua anyway.


Fiesta Bowl: 2 Ohio State vs 3 Clemson

Peach Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Oregon

Same matchups as Karl, but if LSU is the #1 team they’re not getting shipped out to the western half of the country to play a western team.  Georgia is #4 currently, but they only make the playoff if they win the SEC championship - otherwise they’ll add another loss to their resume and fall right off the map.

New Year's Six


Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Georgia

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs Alabama

Rose Bowl: Penn State vs Utah

Cotton Bowl: Florida vs Cincinnati

Whether Penn State or Minnesota goes to the Rose Bowl mainly depends on whether you think Minnesota will beat Wisconsin or not.  I do not.  It would be fun to be proven wrong, however.  The other question is whether Alabama beats Auburn without Tua - and if they don’t, are they considered enough of a draw to make the Sugar Bowl?


Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Georgia

Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs Alabama

Rose Bowl: Utah vs Penn State

Cotton Bowl: Minnesota vs Memphis

Minnesota’s slip up versus Iowa really shakes things up. It allows Penn State to slide into the Rose Bowl and bumps the Gophers down to the Cotton where they’re no sure thing if they finish the season with three losses. Baylor, Florida, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame could all be circling that Cotton Bowl spot.

There’s no denying that the Hokies are the odds-on favorite to grab the ACC’s Orange Bowl berth. Doesn’t mean we have to like it but it’s reality. No change to their opponent.

And the Sugar Bowl and Group of 5 Cotton Bowl rep are all status quo this week.

ACC Bowls

Camping World Bowl (Orlando, December 28)


Notre Dame vs Oklahoma State

I have this cynical belief that the bowl matchups are highly engineered to favor interesting matchups and blue-blood teams, but I’m actually proven wrong about that more often than not.  That means the ex-Tangerine Bowl loses its dream matchup, but gets one that’s still pretty interesting.


Notre Dame vs Iowa State

The Cyclones put a big dent in that Notre Dame-Texas matchup by virtue of a game ending field goal to beat the Longhorns. Now it’s going to be difficult for the bowl to bypass ranked, and probable 8-win teams, in both Oklahoma State and Iowa State to pick Texas.

The Pokes played here two years ago so the bowl grabs Iowa State this time.

Notre Dame is still a no brainer for the bowl on the ACC side.

Music City Bowl (Nashville, December 30)


Louisville vs Tennessee

An 8-win Louisville versus a 7 win Tennessee gets a really nice crowd considering the Cards’ preseason expectations and the Vols’ early season results. 

It’s also a tasty regional matchup between programs that have played only five times and not since 1993.


Louisville vs Tennessee

I see Karl has finally come around to my way of thinking on this bowl.  Another cynical bowl belief I have is that bowls will take instate teams as much as they can - and that one is a lot truer than I wish it were.  All Tennessee has to do is beat powerhouse Vanderbilt in a couple of weeks and they’re going bowling.

Belk Bowl (Charlotte, December 31)


Wake Forest vs Kentucky

The Belk Bowl reportedly wants Virginia Tech or North Carolina this season. The Hokies will be gone before the Belk Bowl can pick and the Heels (if they’re bowl eligible) aren’t jumping any 8 wins team with a record of 6-6.

So...Wake works as a consolation prize, even if they were there in 2017. This is a bowl that likes what it knows (UVA, VT, Tobacco Road) and won’t deviate from that plan even if Miami (never appeared) or Pitt (hasn’t appeared since 2009 as a Big East member) might be a fresher option.

Check’s Kentucky’s basketball schedule. Versus Louisville on Dec 28. Versus Missouri on Jan 4. Both in Lexington. Okay, they can send enough fans to Charlotte for a decent showing.


Wake Forest vs Mississippi State

I’m still not buying bowl eligibility for Kentucky, which means I have to stick with Mississippi State here - not this bowl’s ideal matchup, but at least they get one in state team.

Sun Bowl (El Paso, December 31)


Virginia vs Washington

Great, the two most obnoxiously difficult conferences to prognosticate, matched up in a bowl.  I’ll stick with a reasonably interesting matchup, and just shake my head when the powers that be decide on something totally different.


Virginia vs Cal

Virginia. Wake. Louisville. Miami. Pitt. Someone in the ACC is getting screwed and dumped into the Military Bowl and Pinstripe Bowl. You want to avoid either unless you’re Pitt and the Pinstripe Bowl.

Given the other options, the Hoos are happy to get the Sun Bowl.

The PAC-12 continues to be a mess. I think the Sun Bowl is going to be picking from Cal or Washington State with the other going to the Redbox Bowl. Cal has never played in the Sun Bowl. Washington State has never played in the Redbox Bowl. So, there you go. It’s science.

Pinstripe Bowl (The Bronx, December 27)


Pittsburgh vs Indiana

I didn’t put Minnesota in the Cotton Bowl because I’m not crazy, which means I get to stick with my old standby here.


Pittsburgh vs Michigan State

Pitt and the Pinstripe Bowl feels like the perfect match this season. Of the bowl eligible ACC teams, Pitt fans are the one that won’t complain about the NYC weather. It’s also a convenient trip for most of their fans. It feels like this one is destined to happen.

Placing Minnesota in the Cotton Bowl causes one to start from scratch with the B1G bowl selection puzzle. Teams are shuffled up. Teams are shuffled down. And when the dust settles, Sparty is heading to The Bronx to face off against former DC Pat Narduzzi in a matchup that has some intrigue. 

Military Bowl (Annapolis, December 27)


Miami vs Temple

Someone in the ACC was going to get dropped here unfairly. So, suck it up Miami. Maybe the Belk Bowl works something out and Wake drops here instead. But this week, you’re going to Annapolis.

You can feel good about not having to play Navy as I still have the AAC sending the Midshipmen somewhere other than their home field.

You’ll deal with the kids Manny Diaz spurned when he ditched the Owls for the job at Miami instead. Can’t imagine they’ll be highly motivated or anything.


Miami vs Navy

Still too cynical to think that the powers that be are anything but lazy here.  They can only be so lazy, though - a UVA-Navy matchup again would be too easy even for them.

Independence Bowl (Shreveport, December 26)


Florida State vs Western Kentucky

Yeah, UNC or FSU?  Real hard choice for the Independence Bowl crowd, which is not choosing a basketball team.


Florida State vs Western Kentucky

FSU is going here or Detroit. The Independence Bowl picks before the Quick Lane Bowl, so they see some brand value in having the Noles for the second time in three years.

With only 5 bowl tie-ins and a shot at having 10 bowl eligible teams, C-USA will be the champion of the bowl bail outs in 2019. They’ll bail out both the SEC and AAC here. Western Kentucky looks to be the first team on the outside looking in after C-USA’s five bowl games, so they get the nod opposite FSU.

Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, December 26)


North Carolina vs Michigan State

We all know Michigan State to the QLB is happening.  I mean, unless they lose to Rutgers or something.  Ha.  What’ll be real funny, of course (to everyone but the ACC front office) is if NC State loses to GT (totally happening - it happened) and then takes out UNC.  In which case: MSU vs. EMU!  That’d really frost the Sparties.


North Carolina vs Eastern Michigan

I was ready to put the Wolfpack here by virtue of a bowl game elimination game victory over UNC next week. Then the Pack went out and lost to Georgia Tech tonight which eliminated NC State from bowl contention (7th loss).

State gonna State.

The Heels get this spot by default. They have to win out (Mercer, NC State) to get the berth. They probably will.

The Quick Lane folks may have lost Michigan State to the Pinstripe Bowl but they’re still able to secure a team from Michigan that wears green. Close enough?



This article contains the tags:

Football, 2019, Bowl Games