Bowl Projections 2019: Predictions, Updated College Football Playoff Outlook

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 1, 2019

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Brian Robinson Jr. #24 of the Alabama Crimson Tide attempts to break a tackle by Deantre Prince #24 of the Mississippi Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The College Football Playoff discussion cranked into another gear in Week 5 when Clemson pulled out a narrow win over North Carolina. 

An argument can be made that Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Georgia deserve to be ranked above the defending national champion, but due to the weakness of the ACC, the Tigers should land in the final four come December. 

While Clemson is expected to cruise through its conference, Alabama and Georgia could be involved in hard-fought SEC battles, while Oklahoma faces a challenge from Texas and as the Buckeyes compete in the tougher of two Big Ten divisions. 

Plenty will change between now and the first week of December, but one thing may be certain: the presence of the SEC in the New Year's Six games. 

With five programs currently ranked in the Top 10, the SEC could command at-large berths because of the strength of its conference compared to others. 

If that is the case, the amount of second-tier bowls involving SEC programs could decrease, opening up the potential for more Group of Five vs. Power Five matchups.

                           

Postseason Projections

College Football Playoff

Peach Bowl (December 28): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Fiesta Bowl (December 28): No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Ohio State

The College Football Playoff could feature undefeated conference champions from the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12. 

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Alabama's toughest test comes at home versus LSU on November 9, and by the time it faces Auburn at the end of the regular season, the Tigers could be worn down from a brutal schedule. 

Through five weeks, the Crimson Tide look like the best team in the SEC with a quintet of 20-plus-point victories, two of which were over conference foes.

If Nick Saban's team does not lose, it should land the top seed due to the overall strength of its league. 

The same can't be said for Clemson, who has a single Top 25 foe left on its schedule. But there is no guarantee Wake Forest will still be ranked by November 16. One more loss by Virginia could land a two-loss squad in the ACC Championship Game opposite Dabo Swinney's side. 

For now, the Tigers are second in the AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches Poll, but the amount of quality sides on Ohio State's schedule may make force an extended discussion. 

The Buckeyes have four ranked foes left, and they could face Wisconsin twice if the Badgers take first in the Big Ten West. 

An unblemished resume with victories over Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State might be enough to persuade the committee to place Justin Fields and Co. at No. 2. 

Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma could be on a collision course for a meeting with his old team. If the Sooners beat Texas on October 12, they should have a clear path to the Big 12 Championship Game, but then they would likely have to beat the Longhorns again. 

If Texas suffers a second conference loss, the Sooners may have to hurdle Oklahoma State or TCU to land in the playoff. 

If the quartet of conference winners remain without a loss, Notre Dame would be on the outside looking in as well as the other contenders from the SEC. 

                       

New Year's Six

Cotton Bowl (December 28): Boise State vs. Georgia 

Orange Bowl (December 30): Notre Dame vs. Auburn 

Rose Bowl (January 1): Wisconsin vs. Oregon

Sugar Bowl (January 1): LSU vs. Texas 

Even if Georgia, Auburn and LSU end up with two losses, the power of the SEC could land them in New Year's Six games. 

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

A year ago, Florida landed a spot alongside Georgia and LSU in these games, and if the Gators beat Auburn on Saturday, they will be in the mix for a premier bowl game. 

Since the loser of the ACC Championship Game may have three losses, one of the SEC teams could jump over it to earn one of the at-large positions. 

If Notre Dame wins out, it should lock into the New Year's Six and likely position itself with a foe from the South. 

Oregon needs to finish the campaign without another loss and some help to be considered in the playoff conversation as the Pac-12 champion, but the Rose Bowl would be a nice consolation. 

As the possible loser of the Big Ten title game, Wisconsin would land in Pasadena, California. If Ohio State runs through all of its opponents, Penn State would be the only one-loss squad that could be left in the Big Ten East. 

                            

Other Bowls

Bahamas Bowl (December 20): Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan 

Frisco Bowl (December 20): Temple vs. Toledo 

New Mexico Bowl (December 21): Southern Miss. vs. Wyoming 

Cure Bowl (December 21): Cincinnati vs. Coastal Carolina 

Boca Raton Bowl (December 21): Tulane vs. Louisiana Tech 

Camellia Bowl (December 21): Kent State vs. Arkansas State 

Las Vegas Bowl (December 21): Washington State vs. Utah State 

New Orleans Bowl (December 21): Florida Atlantic vs. Appalachian State 

Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): UCF vs. North Texas 

Hawai'i Bowl (December 24): BYU vs. Hawaii 

Independence Bowl (December 26): Miami vs. UAB 

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Boston College vs. Maryland 

Military Bowl (December 27): Syracuse vs. Navy 

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): NC State vs. Minnesota 

Texas Bowl (December 27): Baylor vs. Kentucky 

Holiday Bowl (December 27): Michigan State vs. Washington 

Cheez-It Bowl (December 27): Kansas State vs. USC 

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Virginia vs. TCU 

First Responder Bowl (December 30): West Virginia vs. Marshall 

Music City Bowl (December 30): Florida State vs. South Carolina 

Redbox Bowl (December 30): Penn State vs. Arizona State 

Belk Bowl (December 31): Pittsburgh vs. Arizona 

Sun Bowl (December 31): Duke vs. California 

Liberty Bowl (December 31): Iowa State vs. SMU 

Arizona Bowl (December 31): San Diego State vs. Louisiana-Monroe 

Alamo Bowl (December 31): Oklahoma State vs. Utah 

Outback Bowl (January 1): Iowa vs. Florida 

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Michigan vs. Texas A&M

Birmingham Bowl (January 2): Colorado vs. Memphis 

Gator Bowl (January 2): Wake Forest vs. Mississippi State 

Idaho Potato Bowl (January 3): Eastern Michigan vs. Fresno State 

Armed Forces Bowl (January 4): Nebraska vs. Army 

Mobile Bowl (January 6): Western Michigan vs. Louisiana 

                    

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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