Bowl Games Schedule 2019-20: Dates, Times and Best Potential CFP Matchups

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young (2) and cornerback Jeff Okudah (1) celebrate after an NCAA college football game against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Ohio State won 56-27. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Bowl season is almost upon us, bringing with it 41 games over the span of 24 days that culminates with the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 13. 

Even though the wait for the title game can feel interminable, there will be plenty of action and excitement to hold college football fans over in the interim. 

Here's a look at the entire schedule of bowl games coming up in December and January, followed by a look at the top potential matchups that could happen in the College Football Playoff. 


2019-20 FBS Bowl Schedule

Dec. 20: Bahamas Bowl (2 p.m. ET)

Dec. 20: Frisco Bowl (7 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: Celebration Bowl (12 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: Cure Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: Boca Raton Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: Camellia Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: Las Vegas Bowl (7:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 21: New Orleans Bowl (9 p.m. ET)

Dec. 23: Gasparilla Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 24: Hawaii Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 26: Independence Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

Dec. 26: Quick Lane Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 27: Military Bowl (12 p.m. ET)

Dec. 27: Pinstripe Bowl (3:20 p.m. ET)

Dec. 27: Texas Bowl (6:45 p.m. ET)

Dec. 27: Holiday Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 27: Cheez-It Bowl (10:15 p.m. ET)

Dec. 28: Camping World Bowl (12 p.m. ET)

Dec. 28: Cotton Bowl Classic (12 p.m. ET)

Dec. 28: Fiesta Bowl (College Football Playoff semifinal; 4 or 8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 28: Peach Bowl (College Football Playoff semifinal; 4 or 8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 30: First Responder Bowl (12:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 30: Music City Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

Dec. 30: Redbox Bowl (4 p.m. ET)

Dec. 30: Orange Bowl (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 31: Belk Bowl (12 p.m. ET)

Dec. 31: Sun Bowl (2 p.m. ET)

Dec. 31: Liberty Bowl (3:45 p.m. ET)

Dec. 31: Arizona Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET)

Dec. 31: Alamo Bowl (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 1: Citrus Bowl (1 p.m. ET)

Jan. 1: Outback Bowl (1 p.m. ET)

Jan. 1: Rose Bowl Game (5 p.m. ET)

Jan. 1: Sugar Bowl (8:45 p.m. ET)

Jan. 2: Birmingham Bowl (3 p.m. ET)

Jan. 2: Gator Bowl (7 p.m. ET)

Jan. 3: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 4: Armed Forces Bowl (11:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 6: LendingTree Bowl (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 13: College Football Playoff National Championship Game (8 p.m. ET)


Best Potential CFP Matchups

LSU vs. Ohio State

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why a matchup between LSU and Ohio State would be the biggest game in college football this season if it happens. 

Just from a marquee standpoint, the level of star power on display in this game would be off the charts. LSU's Joe Burrow is the Heisman Trophy front-runner after putting up arguably the greatest season ever by an SEC quarterback:

Shea Dixon @Sheadixon

Joe Burrow's 12-game regular season at #LSU: 314-for-401 passing (most completions in SEC) 78.3% (currently No. 1 in NCAA history) 4,366 yards (most in SEC history) 44 passing TD (tied for most in SEC history)

Even though Burrow gets all of the attention for LSU, the offense around him is loaded with playmakers. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has 1,233 rushing yards, 6.8 yards per attempt, 338 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns.

Ja'Marr Chase leads the nation with 17 receiving touchdowns and ranks second with 1,457 receiving yards. Justin Jefferson isn't far behind his teammate with 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

On the other side of the field, Ohio State's Justin Fields has a strong argument to stand alongside Burrow in the Heisman race:

Sidelines - Ohio State #1 (12-0) @Sidelines_tOSU

Justin fields: 47 TD 1 interception 93.8 QBR Joe burrow: 44 TD 6 interceptions 93.0 QBR 🤔🤔🤔

The Buckeyes could reasonably have two Heisman finalists if Chase Young gets enough support. The star defensive end has an uphill climb to get there after missing two games due to suspension and the difficulty non-offensive players face in awards voting. 

Young, who leads the nation with 16.5 sacks and ranks sixth with 19.5 tackles for loss, might be the best player in the country regardless of position. 

If you're a fan looking for the most NFL prospects in one place, B/R's Matt Miller has a total of seven LSU and Ohio State players ranked among the top 32 players in the 2020 draft class. 

Ohio State and LSU have looked like the two best teams in the country all season. They rank first and second in scoring offense, with the Buckeyes (49.9) holding a slight edge over the Tigers (48.8). Ohio State has the fourth-best defense in the country by points allowed per game (11.8). 

No other potential playoff matchup can come close to equaling Ohio State and LSU in terms of star power and intrigue to determine who the best team in the country was during the 2019 season. 


Ohio State vs. Clemson

Clemson is in a strange position right now, as the national champion is riding a 27-game winning streak yet somehow being overlooked. 

Head coach Dabo Swinney has taken exception to the way his team appears to get discussed in the rankings because of where the rest of the ACC stands relative to the rest of the Power Five conferences.  

"All I can tell you is that we're 10-1 against the SEC in our last 11," he told reporters following Saturday's 38-3 win over South Carolina. "We've won 115 games this decade. So had Ohio State. So had Alabama. We've played both of them [and won the last time they played Alabama and the last time they played Ohio State]. Our program is what people don't focus on. Virginia ... they would be 9-3 in any league."

The Tigers are held to the standard of their recent past success, especially last year's playoff run when Trevor Lawrence threw for 674 yards and six touchdowns against Notre Dame and Alabama. 

Lawrence didn't take off in his sophomore year like he was expected to based on that 2018 success. He's been very good this season with 2,870 yards and has 16 touchdowns without an interception in his past five games. 

The schedule has been a problem for Clemson in terms of judging it against teams like Ohio State, LSU, Georgia and even a team currently outside the playoff top four such as Oklahoma.

Jeremiah @SYRmotsag

Strength of Schedule.... As of 12-1-2019. Ohio State- 29th LSU- 25th Clemson- 66th Georgia- 36th Utah- 54th Oklahoma- 22nd (Sneaky surprising) Baylor- 42nd

If Swinney and the Tigers want to silence any doubts about how other teams seem to have passed them in the national discourse, the best way to do it would be in a game against the top-ranked Buckeyes. 

Anyone who has spent time lamenting the loss of old-school defensive football where every yard gained seemingly had a profound impact on the outcome of a game, a playoff matchup between Ohio State and Clemson will be just the thing for you. 

The Tigers are walking into Saturday's ACC Championship Game against Virginia allowing an FBS-low 10.1 points and are a close second behind the Buckeyes in yards allowed per game (232.3 to 232.8). 

After some sluggish moments early in the season, Clemson's offense seems to have hit its stride at the right time. That unit has scored at least 38 points in the past seven games, with each of those wins decided by at least 31 points. 

Lawrence became the toast of college football one year ago when he torched Alabama's defense. He can get the last laugh of the 2019 season by doing the same thing to an Ohio State defense that has dominated everyone in its path. 


LSU vs. Utah

The top of the college football rankings this season has been fairly predictable recently. Ohio State, LSU, Clemson and Georgia have been some combination of the top four since Nov. 10. 

Utah will likely move into the No. 5 spot in the playoff rankings this week thanks to Alabama's 48-45 loss to Auburn.

There is a clear path for the Utes to get into the top four of the final rankings on Sunday. The first step requires them to beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The second step is hoping Ohio State and LSU win their respective conference title games on Saturday. 

If either team is upset, the selection committee could talk itself into keeping them in the top four based on their bodies of work all season. 

Utah isn't a traditional powerhouse, like the Buckeyes or Tigers, but head coach Kyle Whittingham has quietly made this team an elite Pac-12 program. The Utes are in the conference title game for the second straight year and have won at least nine games five times in the past six seasons. 

In a conference not known for churning out great defenses, only Ohio State and Clemson allow fewer yards per game than Utah (241.6) this season. Clemson and Georgia are the only teams ranked ahead of the Utes in scoring defense (11.3 points allowed per game). 

As is the case with Clemson, the schedule doesn't help Utah much right now. Beating a one-loss Oregon team on national television will go along way toward making the case for the program. 

There's been a stigma around the Pac-12 in recent years because the conference isn't especially deep and teams have failed in marquee games against quality out-of-conference competition. 

Utah is the Pac-12's only shot at redemption this season. A potential matchup against LSU would allow the Utes to announce themselves as a marquee program and serve as the nation's reintroduction to a conference that hasn't had a playoff presence since Washington in 2016.