Our First Projections For 2020
We just wrapped up the third week of what is shaping up to be one of the craziest seasons in history. It’s almost October and two of the top conferences haven’t even started playing yet. The SEC kicks off this week and the Big 10 won’t start until October 24th. As far as bowls go we’re pretty confident the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six are happening, after that who really knows. So as we share our bowl projections after week three that’s all we’re focusing on this first time out.
College Football Playoff
Sugar Bowl- January 1st- Clemson (1) vs. Oklahoma (4)- With the Tigers earning the number one seed there’s going to be a lot of discussion on where to send them. They should get their choice of where to play and will stay closer to home and the Sugar Bowl. Behind a very efficient performance from Heisman favorite, Trevor Lawrence of 189 yards and three touchdowns Clemson whipped The Citadel 49-0 on Saturday.
As it stands right now they will face the Sooners, who are projected winners of the Big 12. It’s been a less than stellar debut for the league in 2020. As a result, this may end up hurting Oklahoma’s chances of making the playoff for the fifth time in the last six years.
Rose Bowl- January 1st- Ohio State (2) vs. Alabama (3)- Next week the Buckeyes likely become the first team in NCAA history to go from ranked in the top five, to unranked, to back in the top five in the AP Poll. They are already back to 1oth in the coaches poll. With the announcement the Big 10 had reversed course going all-in on football in 2020 OSU jumps right back into the playoff picture.
They will face the projected winner of the SEC, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide, who returns after a one-year absence. While they do play Georgia, their schedule is pretty manageable. The Rose Bowl still gets the traditional Big 10 winner setting up a semi-final for the ages.
Who’s In The Title Game?
College Football National Championship- January 11th- Clemson (1) vs. Ohio State (2)- When all the smoke clears these are the two best teams and they play for the title. It’s the Tigers’ fifth title game in six years while it’s the first for the Buckeyes since the inaugural title game in 2015. Clemson has never lost to Ohio State going 4-0 all-time, including two wins in the playoffs.
Now that we’ve made our picks for the college football playoff let’s now look at the New Year’s Six games as we continue our bowl projections after week three.
New Year’s Six Games
Cotton Bowl- December 30th- Texas vs. Cincinnati- With Oklahoma making the playoff the Longhorns head to Arlington as the Big 12 representative. The Bearcats get in as the highest-ranked Group of Five team. Behind quarterback Desmond Ridder Cincinnati looks like the class of the American Conference. However, circle November 21st when they travel to Central Florida. The winner of that game takes the bid but could the loser get in as well?
Peach Bowl- January 1st – Florida vs. Central Florida– This college football season is crazy enough why not make it a little crazier. Taking two Group of Five teams is a bit out there but honestly who wouldn’t want to see this match up. Before the Big 10’s return to play the Gators were not only our SEC East champion but also our original four seed.
The two schools have met only twice in history with Florida winning easily in 1999 and 2006. However, the Knights are a much better program now and want nothing more than a game with the Gators. New Year’s Day in Atlanta seems like the perfect place.
Fiesta Bowl- January 2nd- Wisconsin vs. Georgia– The Bulldogs become the third team out of the SEC in the New Year’s Six and head to Arizona. They will face the Badgers who should win the Big 10’s western division. While they won’t beat the Buckeyes, a trip out west in January isn’t a bad consolation prize. These two schools have met twice in their history with Georgia winning in both the 1998 and 2005 Outback Bowls.
Orange Bowl- January 2nd- Notre Dame vs. Penn State– Having the Big 10 back certainly makes for some interesting matchups. With Clemson in the playoff and as a result of playing in the ACC this year, the Irish head to Miami as the conference representative. Even if they didn’t take the ACC bid they still get in as an at large. However, don’t sleep on that November 7th game when the Tigers invade South Bend.
While the Nittany Lions likely finish second in the Big 10 eastern division they should still be ranked high enough to warrant a top bowl bid. These two traditional powers last met in 2007 and the all-time series is tied at nine wins apiece with one tie. Furthermore, they’ve only met once in a bowl game with Notre Dame winning the 1976 Gator Bowl 20-9.
For a season like no other, our bowl projections after week three have some really great matchups. We at Last Word On Sports will be back every week until the selections are announced on December 20th updating our picks. As more and more games are officially announced they will be added to the mix. In addition, if the Pac-12 can get its act together they join the party as well.
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