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As the regular season winds down, there is at least some clarity regarding which teams will actually be eligible to participate in bowl games this year. There are still a ton of variables at play that will begin sorting themselves out this weekend. Those variables will go a long way towards determining the matchups.

We could sit around and wait for that. Or we could speculate wildly. Being wrong has never stopped us before and it won't now. On to the speculating!

As a bonus, we also have a special guest contributor to this week's selections. Welcome back, Kendall!

College Football Playoff

Karl

Fiesta Bowl: 2 Ohio State vs 3 Clemson

Peach Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Oklahoma

I haven’t come this far to go soft on Alabama now. They’re clearly in contention but I think they’ll finish 5th in the rankings. Perhaps the outcry will begin a push to an 8 team bracket?

Oregon’s loss to Arizona State was fatal for their chances. I still have them beating Utah in the PAC 12 Championship. That will remove Utah from playoff consideration.

LSU will beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game. Adios, Dawgs!

Wins over both Oklahoma State and Baylor to close out the season will be enough to push Oklahoma just past Alabama.

Maize

Fiesta Bowl: 2 Ohio State vs 3 Clemson

Peach Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Oklahoma

8-team bracket, hell.  We’re headed there eventually, but I don’t have to like it.  This year - at least, right this minute - is a better advocate for the old 2-team “bracket.”  Lose once and you’re done - no national title for you.  (This worked better before the age of conference championship games.)  That means Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Utah…..all rightfully done and having no legitimate complaint.  Only Clemson would have a beef, but the rest of the world would agree that undefeated in the ACC isn’t anywhere near the same thing as in the B1G or SEC, and we’d just have an LSU-OSU title game that most people were happy with.

Instead, we have to try and decide which 1-loss team is least undeserving - and for now, that’s Oklahoma.

Kendall

Fiesta Bowl: 1 LSU vs 4 Alabama

Peach Bowl: 2 Ohio State vs 3 Clemson

It’ll piss me off, but I think Alabama now has the easiest path to the 4th playoff spot. All they have to do is not lose to Auburn. Not a stretch, considering they’ve won 8 of the last 11 Iron Bowls, often in dominant fashion.

New Year's Six

Kendall

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Oklahoma

Sugar Bowl: Baylor vs Georgia

Rose Bowl: Minnesota vs Utah

Cotton Bowl: Cincinnati v Oregon

It says here that Baylor defeats Oklahoma in the Big XII Championship Game. That sends everything into a bit of disarray. Also, you’ll notice that I snuck the Hokies into the NY6… sorry for the ill tidings for Black Friday. They’ve just been playing such great ball down the stretch, and it’s Pud Foster’s last game, meanwhile our secondary is in tatters. I just try to take joy in the fact that if VT defeats us, they get to get spanked by Clemson and Oklahoma/Alabama/Georgia.

Karl

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Georgia

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Baylor

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Penn State

Cotton Bowl: Utah vs Memphis

The Orange Bowl is pretty straightforward. After that, everything is up for grabs.

I feel good about Memphis over Cincinnati to win the Group of 5 NY6 spot. I’m pretty confident in Alabama to the Sugar and the Rose Bowl selections. And if Oklahoma advances to the playoffs, Baylor is almost a sure thing to the Sugar. I think a 2 loss Utah slides into the Cotton Bowl over other possibilities in Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Maize

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Georgia

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Baylor

Rose Bowl: Minnesota vs Utah

Cotton Bowl: Florida vs Cincinnati

Sorry, Kendall, but you’re late to this terrible game - the one where we put VT in the Orange Bowl on account of their annoying late season surge and the lack of anything resembling Bryce Hall in the UVA secondary.

If UVA pulls this one off, things may shuffle a bit, depending on whether or not the powers that be think it would be good or bad (meaning, for money making purposes) to have UVA play the Dawgs in their final game before opening the season with the same matchup next fall.  The other potential shakeup here is if Michigan pulls off the upset (please please please) against the Buckeyes - it will give the committee an excuse not to put four SEC teams in the NY6.  I don’t think Penn State has the staying power to stick above Florida - but a Michigan team with a win over Ohio State would.

ACC Bowl Games

Camping World Bowl (Orlando, December 28)

Maize

Notre Dame vs Oklahoma State

Little reason to change anything up here - even with ISU potentially jumping Okie State in the Big 12 standings.

Kendall

Notre Dame vs Iowa State

It’s times like these when I just absolutely HATE Notre Dame’s sweetheart deal with the ACC. This would be Virginia’s game hands down… if not for the availability of the Irish.

Karl

Notre Dame vs Iowa State

Faced with the option of OK State or Iowa State, the Alamo Bowl (they get to pick before the Camping World in the Big 12 selection order) takes the Cowboys because Iowa State played in San Antonio last year. With a deceptively strong traveling fanbase, the Cyclones are an attractive option opposite Notre Dame in Orlando.

Music City Bowl (Nashville, December 30)

Karl

Louisville vs Tennessee

It’s pretty clear to me that the Music City & Sun Bowls are going to host the Cards and Hoos. It’s just a matter of who’s going where. Both are good regional draws and interesting regional matchups for Tennessee.

Assuming both teams end up 8-4, I think Louisville gets the nod.

Maize

Louisville vs Tennessee

Sticking with this one here, too.  I’d be awfully happy with UVA in this game, even given that it’s a de facto away game, but the committee here will probably prefer the team in more convenient driving distance that did beat the Hoos.

Kendall

Virginia vs Tennessee

I have LSU and Alabama in the CFP, Georgia in the NY6, and Florida in the Citrus Bowl, so that leaves a six-team SEC assignment scrum with Auburn, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Kentucky, and then maybe Missouri (Note: The NCAA upheld Mizzou's bowl ban) and Mississippi State. Nashville sets and breaks attendance records for their bowl game whenever the Vols are involved, so this is a no-brainer… and another JUICY opportunity for the Hoos to play against a flawed SEC team in a nice bowl game.

Belk Bowl (Charlotte, December 31)

Kendall

Wake Forest vs Kentucky

I think the SEC saves Auburn for the crucial B1G showdown in the Outback Bowl, leaving Wake to face one of the also-rans. Texas A&M would be a replay of the 2017 Belk that drew 33K fans (not good), so I think the SEC and Belk try to get a bit more regional and gives Kentucky the matchup.

Karl

Wake Forest vs Kentucky

Wake’s win over Duke last weekend recaptures some momentum after the Deacs had lost two in a row. They close with a likely win against Syracuse in the Dome. That would give Wake 9 wins on the season and make them very attractive to the Belk Bowl.

On the SEC side it comes down to Kentucky (6 wins already) or Mississippi State (needs to beat Ole Miss to get to 6 wins). Let’s take the sure thing. I think Kentucky fans are also more likely to head to Charlotte.

 

Maize

Wake Forest vs Mississippi State

It’s still dependent on Mississippi State winning the Egg Bowl, but you know the folks in Charlotte have pretty much already made up their mind about an ACC school a stone’s throw from their stadium.

Sun Bowl (El Paso, December 31)

Maize

Virginia vs Washington

It’s been almost a month since we started projecting bowls this year, and we’re no closer to figuring out the Pac-12 than when we started.  I say we change it to the Pac-6-and-6.  El Paso is not a desirable location for Hoo fans who would have to travel, but Washington would be a great matchup - and with a bunch of close losses on their schedule, including near-upsets against Utah and Oregon, a more challenging one than their middling-ass record suggests.

Kendall

Louisville vs Washington

Why the #### is this one of our Tier 1 tie-ins. I hate it. I like playing against the Pac-12 in a bowl matchup, but in El Paso? Sucks. Anyway, Louisville hasn’t yet been “rewarded” with the Sun Bowl trip as a member of the ACC (or since 1958, actually), so they draw the short straw! As the Pac-12’s 6th team, Washington makes its first Sun trip since 2002.

Karl

Virginia vs Cal

El Paso isn’t a great destination for the fans. But it’s still a quality bowl game with a good matchup. And it’s a winnable game as well. The Hoos could do much worse.

Pinstripe Bowl (The Bronx, December 27)

Maize

Pittsburgh vs Indiana

I was all ready to move Miami up into this bowl, and then they face planted.  Good job, Canes!  Back to the Pittstripe Bowl it is.

Kendall

Florida State vs Illinois

The bowl wants to have eight different B1G teams in eight years, so no Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers, or Wisconsin, if possible. Meanwhile, it pounces on FSU when it gets the chance. (I have Pitt losing to BC to close the season, so a six-win team can rise up and drop a seven-win - I think!)

Karl

Pittsburgh vs Illinois

Pittstripe Bowl is genius work by Maize.  

And on the B1G side, Illinois actually slots very cleanly into this game given the conference’s bowl selection preferences. That’s what happens when you haven’t played in a bowl game since 2014. We’ve felt that pain Illinois. Welcome back to the postseason.

Military Bowl (Annapolis, December 27)

Karl

Miami vs Temple

Loser has to employee Manny Diaz as head coach.

Maize

Miami vs Navy

I really, really feel like Navy deserves a better fate than staying home - again - for a bowl game.  But this is about as good a tie-in as the AAC has.  Their only other P5-tied opponent is in the Birmingham Bowl against the SEC - which is all but guaranteed to be unable to fill the slot.  The unlucky loser between Cincy and Memphis probably gets the Hawaii trip, meaning the Middies get stuck with either a home game or a game against some CUSA punching bag.

Kendall

Miami vs Navy

The American has some nice teams this year! Wow! Cincy, Memphis, SMU, UCF, Navy, Temple, Tulane, all very good teams. Miami’s got a tough test on their hands.

Independence Bowl (Shreveport, December 26)

Kendall

Pittsburgh vs Florida Atlantic

Rough slide for Pitt. shrug

Karl

Florida State vs Western Kentucky

Status quo as far as the ACC’s conference opponent. The SEC will be short teams to fill their allotment. The AAC will be short after filling its own allotment. So C-USA gets the spot opposite FSU.

The pool of likely opponents will probably be Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, or Marshall. I think I gave the Noles Western Kentucky last week. Sounds good again this week.

Maize

Florida State vs Western Kentucky

The decline and fall of the Seminole empire is not something I’m all that upset about.

Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, December 26)

Kendall

North Carolina vs Michigan State

If I can’t sentence Duke to Siberia in this write-up, then I’ll do the next-best (or better!) Enjoy Detroit in December, Tarholes.

Maize

North Carolina vs Michigan State

Detroit is lovely in December, thank you very much.

Karl

North Carolina vs Michigan State

My favorite part of Kendall’s guest appearance is the Detroit related banter between him and Maize in this section.

I’m hoping that NC State, as awful as they are this year, has enough backbone to show up this weekend and deny the Heels a bowl game. The Mack Is Back hype machine would go into overdrive for any bowl game, no matter how inconsequential. 

Unfortunately, the ACC isn’t about to let the Heels get denied bowl eligibility and leave a spot unfilled. Expect Carolina refs to out in full force to ensure the Heels get win number six.

Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, January 2)

Kendall

Boston College vs Tulane

Tough game for the Eagles, against the homestanding(ish) Green Wave.

 

 

This article contains the tags:

Football, 2019, Bowl Games