Bowl Projections 2019: Postseason Predictions, College Football Playoff Outlook

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 31, 2019

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) scrambles in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The recent string of upsets suffered by Top 10 teams has made the College Football Playoff picture a bit clearer. 

Five undefeated teams sit atop the AP Top 25, and eventually, four of them have to play each other, which in theory would eliminate two sides from playoff contention. 

However, the defeats handed to Oklahoma and Georgia may allow one of the losers of LSU-Alabama and Ohio State-Penn State to remain in the mix for the Final Four. 

As it did a year ago, the SEC remains the dominant conference at the top part of the rankings, and if that continues into December, it could boast a pair of playoff sides and land a few programs in New Year's Six bowls. 


College Football Playoff Projection

Peach Bowl (December 28): LSU vs. Ohio State

Fiesta Bowl (December 28): Clemson vs. Alabama

LSU is expected to enter its November 9 clash with Alabama as the No. 1 team in the nation. 

The Tigers own three wins over Top 10 sides, and the victory over Florida could look even better if the Gators defeat Georgia Saturday. 

Given how strong the SEC is, Auburn or Florida could land in a New Year's Six game, and at the moment, the wins over both teams are better than what Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State possess. 

LSU's high-scoring offense could give it a chance to go into Bryant-Denny Stadium and defeat Alabama. 

Ed Orgeron's team averages 46.75 points per game, but the Crimson Tide have let up 15.25 points per contest.

At the moment, both teams deserve to be in the Final Four, and if LSU loses, it could still have a case to make the College Football Playoff. 

LSU with one loss to Alabama could be viewed as a better team than Oklahoma—who lost to Kansas State Saturday—and the loser of the Ohio State-Penn State game because of the victories it already racked up. 

Clemson owns the easiest playoff path of the current Top 5 in the AP poll, as it has a single ranked foe left on its schedule. 

As we have seen with Georgia, Wisconsin and Oklahoma, a potentially easy matchup could turn disastrous. 

South Carolina already beat Georgia in SEC play, and it could be charged up by hosting a rivalry game in which it may have to win to secure bowl eligibility. 

Unless Virginia Tech wins out, Clemson's ACC Championship Game opponent will have at least three defeats. Wake Forest is the lone ranked side in the ACC Coastal entering Week 10. 

If Ohio State remains without a loss, it should own one of the national semifinal slots. The Buckeyes have a backloaded schedule with Penn State, Michigan and the Big Ten West champion, which could be either Minnesota, Iowa or Wisconsin. 

In that situation, the Buckeyes would own five wins over Top 25 teams, plus a September win over Cincinnati, who has climbed up the rankings every week. 

Since LSU, Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State all have Week 10 byes and Clemson hosts Wofford, this projection will likely remain the same until the SEC West clash in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

Once that occurs, the next significant shift in playoff predictions will occur, but for now, LSU, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson have proved they are the four best teams in the sport. 


New Years' Six Projection

Cotton Bowl (December 28): SMU vs. Utah 

Orange Bowl (December 30): Wake Forest vs. Florida 

Rose Bowl (January 1): Penn State vs. Oregon 

Sugar Bowl (January 1): Georgia vs. Oklahoma

The winner of Saturday's Georgia-Florida game could ensure itself of a spot in a New Year's Six bowl. 

Last season, four SEC programs reached the New Year's Six, which hands Florida hope that it can earn one of the at-large berths as a two-loss team. 

In that scenario, the Gators would have defeats to LSU and Georgia, and if they finish November with three victories, they could easily land back in the Top 10 or 12. 

Oregon and Utah's jump into the Top 10 after Week 9 opens the door for Pac-12 representation in the College Football Playoff. 

The Ducks have a better shot than the Utes because they are two spots ahead and possess a neutral-site loss to an SEC team. 

At minimum, Oregon is on track for a Rose Bowl appearance, and if Utah's only other loss occurs in the Pac-12 Championship Game, it could land an at-large berth over the second-tier sides in the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12. 


Bowl Projections

Bahamas Bowl (December 20): Western Kentucky vs. Ball State 

Frisco Bowl (December 20): Temple vs. Miami (Ohio) 

New Mexico Bowl (December 21): Louisiana Tech vs. Utah State 

Cure Bowl (December 21): South Florida vs. Georgia Southern 

Boca Raton Bowl (December 21): UCF vs. Marshall 

Camellia Bowl (December 21): Western Michigan vs. Louisiana 

Las Vegas Bowl (December 21): California vs. Boise State 

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

Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): Memphis vs. Southern Mississippi 

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

Independence Bowl (December 26): North Carolina vs. UAB 

QuickLane Bowl (December 26): Boston College vs. Nebraska 

Military Bowl (December 27): Florida State vs. Navy 

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Pittsburgh vs. Indiana 

Texas Bowl (December 27): Oklahoma State vs. South Carolina 

Holiday Bowl (December 27): Wisconsin vs. Arizona State 

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

Camping World Bowl (December 28): Texas vs. Notre Dame 

First Responder Bowl (December 30) Illinois vs. Florida Atlantic 

Music City Bowl (December 30): Virginia vs. Missouri 

Redbox Bowl (December 30): Michigan State vs. Washington 

Belk Bowl (December 31): Louisville vs. Tennessee

Sun Bowl (December 31): Virginia Tech vs. Washington State 

Liberty Bowl (December 31) Iowa State vs. Miami 

Arizona Bowl (December 31): Wyoming vs. Arkansas State 

Alamo Bowl (December 31): Baylor vs. USC 

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Minnesota vs. Auburn 

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

Birmingham Bowl (January 2): Duke vs. Cincinnati 

Gator Bowl (January 2): Iowa vs. Kentucky 

Idaho Potato Bowl (January 3): Buffalo vs. San Diego State 

Armed Forces Bowl (January 4): TCU vs. Air Force 

Mobile Alabama Bowl (January 6): Ohio vs. Georgia State 


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Statistics obtained from ESPN.com