College Football Playoff 2019: Full Bowl Predictions For Biggest Matchups

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 6, 2019

CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 16: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As teams dropped from College Football Playoff contention, the bowl picture has been altered. 

The latest rift occurred Tuesday, when the Alabama Crimson Tide slid to No. 12 after their second loss of the season. 

That likely took away the possibility of four SEC teams participating in the playoff and New Year's Six bowls. Alabama is now headed for its first non-major postseason contest since it played in the 2011 Capital One Bowl. 

At the top of the rankings, the Ohio State Buckeyes, LSU Tigers and Clemson Tigers are expected to extend their dominant seasons into their games Saturday and secure the first three playoff positions. 

That would position third-ranked Clemson against one of the two other undefeated squads in what could be one of the best semifinals in the CFP's six-year history. 


Bowl Predictions

College Football Playoff

Peach Bowl (December 28): No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Utah 

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


New Year's Six 

Cotton Bowl (December 28): Memphis vs. Baylor 

Orange Bowl (December 30): Virginia vs. Florida 

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

Sugar Bowl (January 1): Georgia vs. Oklahoma


Other Bowls

Bahamas Bowl (December 20): Charlotte vs. Buffalo

Frisco Bowl (December 20): Temple vs. Southern Miss

New Mexico Bowl (December 21): Florida International vs. Wyoming

Cure Bowl (December 21): Tulane vs. Arkansas State

Boca Raton Bowl (December 21): Liberty vs. Western Michigan 

Camellia Bowl (December 21): Miami (Ohio) vs. Georgia State 

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

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

Gasparilla Bowl (December 23): SMU vs. Western Kentucky 

Hawaii Bowl (December 24): BYU vs. Hawaii 

Independence Bowl (December 26): Florida State vs. Louisiana Tech 

Quick Lane Bowl (December 26): Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh 

Military Bowl (December 27): North Carolina vs. Navy 

Pinstripe Bowl (December 27): Wake Forest vs. Indiana

Texas Bowl (December 27): Kansas State vs. Kentucky 

Holiday Bowl (December 27): Iowa vs. Washington 

Cheez-It Bowl (December 27): Florida Atlantic vs. San Diego State

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

First Responder Bowl (December 30): Ohio vs. UAB

Music City Bowl (December 30): Louisville vs. Texas A&M 

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

Belk Bowl (December 31): Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State 

Sun Bowl (December 31): Miami vs. California 

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

Arizona Bowl (December 31): Nevada vs. Georgia Southern 

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

Citrus Bowl (January 1): Wisconsin vs. Alabama

Outback Bowl (January 1): Minnesota vs. Auburn 

Birmingham Bowl (January 2): Boston College vs. UCF

Gator Bowl (January 2): Michigan vs. Tennessee 

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

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

LendingTree Bowl (January 6): Central Michigan vs. Louisiana


Biggest Potential Matchups

LSU vs. Clemson

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The best programs from the ACC and SEC have been in line for a semifinal collision since Ohio State jumped over LSU in the playoff rankings two weeks ago. 

The potential clash of conference champions would feature a pair of NFL quarterback prospects and countless other future professionals in marquee matchups. Depending on how Trevor Lawrence plays next season, it could also be a meeting of back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners. 

Joe Burrow has the award locked up this season thanks to his 4,366 passing yards and 44 touchdowns. The transfer from Ohio State has been at his best against ranked foes, as he owns a trio of 300-yard performances and 11 touchdowns versus four Top 25 squads. 

The senior also has a pair of 1,000-yard wide receivers in JaMarr Chase and Justin Jefferson who could break Clemson's impressive defensive run.

Since the start of October, Dabo Swinney's team has not allowed an opponent over 20 points, and it gave up 19 in two playoff contests last season. 

Lawrence does not have the numbers Burrow does, but he has been consistent in the pocket with six consecutive 200-yard outings and no interceptions in the last five contests. 

In Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross and Amari Rodgers, Clemson has a collection of wide receivers that can match LSU's talent. Alabama boasts similar skill at the position and it produced 41 points in a loss to LSU. 

One of the few concerns about Ed Orgeron's side has been its defense, as it allowed 98 points in a three-game stretch against Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas. The Tigers held Texas A&M to seven points in Week 14, and if they control Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, those worries may be washed away. 

LSU faces a tougher championship weekend test, but its offense has been much more productive than Georgia, who eclipsed 30 points once in its previous seven contests. 

Like it has all season, Clemson is expected to roll through its final ACC opponent, Virginia, but its lack of Top 25 wins would keep it at No. 3 if LSU and Ohio State win. 

The ideal site of this semifinal matchup is the Peach Bowl, but there is a chance Ohio State plays in Atlanta to avoid a mass of Utah fans at the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona if the Utes beat out Oklahoma for the No. 4 seed. 


Wisconsin vs. Alabama

Sam Craft/Associated Press

Alabama's bowl foe is not set in stone, but no matter the opponent, this game could be the most intriguing matchup outside of the New Year's Six. 

With LSU, Georgia and Florida expected to play in the New Year's Six, the Crimson Tide could be the first choice of the SEC-affiliated bowls, which would land them in the Citrus Bowl. Alabama could drop to the Outback Bowl if the Citrus Bowl selects Auburn, but it may be hard for any bowl committee to turn away the rare draw of Nick Saban's team not being in the playoff. 

Wisconsin could end up behind Penn State in the Big Ten bowl order if it fails to be competitive with Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

In that situation, the Badgers would fall beneath the Nittany Lions in the playoff rankings, which would place James Franklin's team in the Rose Bowl as the highest-ranked Big Ten squad after Ohio State. 

Paul Chryst's team could also drop from No. 8 to out of New Year's Six participation if it is ranked under Florida and Baylor. 

The matchup could feature two of the best FBS running backs in Najee Harris and Jonathan Taylor, and the Badgers' ninth-ranked scoring defense would face the challenge of shutting down Harris and a brilliant collection of wide receivers. 

The motivation for the Big Ten West winner would be earning a rare win over Alabama, while the Crimson Tide would try to come out on top to create positive momentum into the 2020 campaign. 

There is a chance Michigan could be Alabama's bowl opponent if organizers want to maximize the profit from two large fanbases. 

However, putting the Wolverines in the Citrus Bowl over more deserving teams like Wisconsin and Minnesota does not seem likely at the moment since they have one more loss than both teams. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.