Bowl Predictions 2018: Updated Predictions After Week 11 CFP Rankings

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 9, 2018

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 3:  Quarterback Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes passes against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

As much as we hate to admit it, bowl season is only a month away.

As the college football season's sped by, only a few programs have been able to put themselves among the sport's elite. 

Entering Week 11, we're aware of which teams are in line to qualify for the College Football Playoff and which ones will end up in the New Year's Six bowls. 

However, there are a few situations that could throw the current plans off, especially if certain teams come out on top in conference championship games during the first weekend of December.


Bowl Projections

College Football Playoff

Cotton Bowl (December 29): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Michigan 

Orange Bowl (December 29): No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame 


New Year's Six

Peach Bowl (December 29): UCF vs. Georgia

Fiesta Bowl (January 1): Oklahoma vs. Kentucky 

Rose Bowl (January 1): Ohio State vs. Washington State

Sugar Bowl (January 1): West Virginia vs. LSU


Other Bowls

New Mexico Bowl (December 15): San Diego State vs. North Texas 

Cure Bowl (December 15): Akron vs. Arkansas State 

Las Vegas Bowl (December 15): Fresno State vs. USC 

Camellia Bowl (December 15): Western Michigan vs. Coastal Carolina

New Orleans Bowl (December 15): Marshall vs. UL-Monroe

Boca Raton Bowl (December 18): South Florida vs. Florida International

Frisco Bowl (December 19): Nevada vs. Toledo

Gasparilla Bowl (December 20): Memphis vs. Miami

Bahamas Bowl (December 21): Ohio vs. Middle Tennessee State

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (December 21): Boise State vs. Northern Illinois

Birmingham Bowl (December 22): Cincinnati vs. California

Armed Forces Bowl (December 22): Temple vs. Appalachian State

Dollar General Bowl (December 22): Buffalo vs. Georgia Southern 

Hawaii Bowl (December 22): Hawaii vs. Louisiana Tech 

First Responder Bowl (December 26): BYU vs. Georgia Tech 

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Army vs. UAB 

Cheez-It Bowl (December 26): Baylor vs. Colorado

Independence Bowl (December 27): Virginia Tech vs. Oregon

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Iowa vs. Duke

Texas Bowl (December 27): Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

Music City Bowl (December 28): NC State vs. Arizona State 

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Syracuse vs. Texas Tech 

Alamo Bowl (December 28): Texas vs. Arizona

Belk Bowl (December 29): Boston College vs. South Carolina

Arizona Bowl (December 29): Utah State vs. Troy

Military Bowl (December 31): Virginia vs. Houston

Sun Bowl (December 31): Stanford vs. Pittsburgh

Redbox Bowl (December 31): Purdue vs. Washington

Liberty Bowl (December 31): Iowa State vs. Texas A&M 

Holiday Bowl (December 31): Utah vs. Wisconsin

Gator Bowl (December 31): Northwestern vs. Florida

Outback Bowl (January 1): Mississippi State vs. Penn State 

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Auburn vs. Michigan State


Syracuse Can Still Crash New Year's Six 

Syracuse is lurking beneath the teams in line for the New Year's Six bowls. 

After NC State's loss to Wake Forest Thursday night, the Orange appear to be the ACC's only hope to join Clemson in the marquee bowl games, unless the ACC Coastal champion springs an upset in the ACC Championship, but that seems unlikely given how poor the division is. 

The back-to-back losses to Clemson and Pittsburgh hurt, but Syracuse still has a case to make the New Year's Six as one of the best two-loss teams with a win over Notre Dame and if it wins out. 

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

If Dino Babers' team ends up knocking off Notre Dame, it'll have to navigate a tough test against Boston College to secure a spot in the Top 10. 

Of course, Syracuse's case for a high-profile bowl could be hampered by upsets elsewhere, but all it can worry about is what it controls. 

Another factor to watch when discussing Syracuse's bowl future is what occurs in the Big Ten over the next few weeks. 

Since the ACC and Big Ten share a berth in the Gator Bowl, the Orange could be selected to participate in the New Year's Eve game over an underwhelming team out of the Big Ten, but that would take another loss from Michigan State, Penn State or Northwestern, all of which could happen. 

A lot can change over the next three weeks, but if Syracuse can find its way into the Top 10 and remain there with a win over Notre Dame, it'll be hard to ignore. 

If that's the case. Syracuse should land in the Peach or Fiesta Bowl to cap off one of the most successful seasons in program history.


Worst-Case Scenario Still in Play for Rose Bowl 

As of right now, a projected Ohio State vs. Washington State Rose Bowl would be one of the most intriguing matchups of bowl season. 

Since both the Big Ten and Pac-12 have been so volatile this season, there's no guarantee the Buckeyes and Cougars end up in the New Year's Six. 

Young Kwak/Associated Press

In the ultimate worst-case scenario for the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 South and Big Ten West champions end up winning their respective conference championship games. 

If that situation comes to fruition, a four-loss Northwestern would square off against a three-loss Utah, while Ohio State, Washington State and possibly even Michigan fall out of the New Year's Six. 

It's a scenario no one wants to imagine for countless reasons, including the lack of interest in a Rose Bowl without a marquee program. 

What's more likely to happen is a toned-down version of the ultimate chaos theory since Ohio State still has to play Michigan State and Michigan. 

If Ohio State loses to Michigan State and beats Michigan, it wouldn't qualify for the Big Ten Championship, but it would likely land back in the Top 10 or 15 to earn the Big Ten's at-large berth in the Rose Bowl assuming the Wolverines win the title game. 

Michigan State is still in play for the Rose Bowl, as it could win out against Ohio State, Nebraska and Rutgers and move up from its current No. 18 ranking. 

In the Pac-12, only the Pac-12 South champion or Washington could climb into the mix for Rose Bowl. 

If Washington wins the Apple Cup over Washington State, it would move on to the Pac-12 Championship and have an opportunity to move close to the Top 10 by winning out. 

And those are only a few of the chaotic situations involving the Rose Bowl berths, but given the way the top teams in each conference have played, it's unlikely to occur, at least for now. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90,


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.