“Welcome To The Party Pal!”
Not only is that a famous line from one of the greatest movies ever “Die Hard” it’s a perfect way to describe the last week in college football. Thursday the Pac-12 opted back in on the season. Shortly thereafter the Mountain West did as well. Furthermore the Mid-American also followed suit. As if that wasn’t enough the Division I Oversight Committee is recommending waving bowl eligibility requirements for 2020. They went on to say meeting the APR rating is the only measurement. What does that mean? Well it means all 127 teams who are playing are bowl eligible. Furthermore an 0-10 Vanderbilt team has as much of a chance of making a bowl as Boise State. Are we putting them in a bowl? um, no. Let’s find out who is playing with our bowl projections following week four.
With all of the conferences opting back in that leaves us with 41 games. The Redbox Bowl is not happening as they have no place to play. As you can see we went from just a few games last week to all in this week.
College Football Playoff
Rose Bowl- January 1st- (2) Ohio State vs. (3) Alabama- This one hasn’t changed from last week and probably won’t for some time. The Crimson Tide kicked off the season with a big win over Missouri. Ohio State still has a month before they kick off against Nebraska.
Sugar Bowl- January 1st- (1) Clemson vs. (4) Florida- Oklahoma’s loss is the Gators’ gain. As a result of Oklahoma losing to Kansas State they drop out of the playoff picture. Taking their place is Dan Mullen’s squad. Kyle Trask looked like a Heisman candidate in a 51-35 win over Ole Miss. The Tigers had the week off before hosting Virginia next week.
College Football National Championship- January 11th- (1) Clemson vs. (2) Ohio State- Headed by a battle of Heisman candidates Trevor Lawrence vs. Justin Fields it’s just one of many match ups that makes this an epic final.
Moving on with our bowl projections following week four let’s now head to the New Year’s Six games where we do have a couple of changes.
New Year’s Six Games
Cotton Bowl- December 30th- Texas vs. Central Florida- We’re moving a different American Conference team to the Group of Five representative. The Longhorns had a miracle rally to beat Texas Tech on Saturday and get in as the representative of the Big 12. Meanwhile the Knights have averaged 50 points in a game in their first two contests.
Peach Bowl- January 1st- Georgia versus Miami– The Hurricanes look like the second best team in the ACC and they earn a trip to Atlanta. They will face the Bulldogs who struggled to beat Arkansas on Saturday and have some definite questions at quarterback.
Orange Bowl- January 2nd- Notre Dame vs. Penn State– The one game which remains unchanged from last week. The Irish’s game against Wake Forest was canceled due to COVID concerns and rescheduled for December 12th. That means no off week for Brian Kelly’s club if they meet Clemson again in the ACC title game.
Fiesta Bowl- January 2nd- Auburn vs. Oregon– With only a seven game schedule there doesn’t seem any way a Pac 12 team is making the playoff. As a result we’re sending them to Arizona for a battle against the Tigers. Behind a strong performance from Bo Nix Auburn pulled away from Kentucky in the second half.
Yes that’s four SEC teams in the top games but remember it’s still early in the year. Moving on with our bowl projections following week four let’s look at some other notable games. Most of these have an official date.
Other New Year’s Day Games
Citrus Bowl- January 1st- Mississippi State vs. Wisconsin- What a difference a week makes for the Bulldogs. In his first game back in the SEC Mike Leach’s squad torched LSU. K.J. Costello set an SEC record with 623 yards passing in a 44-34 win. They face the always tough Badgers of the Big 10.
Outback Bowl- January 1st- Michigan vs. Tennessee- This might be a stretch for the Vols. However we didn’t want them playing in the Gator Bowl for a second straight year. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines are hoping for bigger things in 2020 than a trip to Tampa.
Games Played After January 1st
Birmingham Bowl- January 2nd- Memphis vs. South Carolina- Making a bowl in 2020 would be a great accomplishment for the Gamecocks. They face a good Tigers club with outside hopes of being the Group of Five selection.
Gator Bowl- January 2nd- LSU vs. Virginia Tech- As mentioned earlier the Tigers looked lost at times in their loss to Mississippi State. However they were without Derek Stingley Jr. in the secondary who definitely would have helped.
Famous Potato Bowl- January 3rd- Buffalo vs. Wyoming
Armed Forces Bowl- January 4th- TCU vs. SMU
Lending Tree Bowl- January 6th- Western Michigan vs. Georgia Southern
Moving on with our bowl projections after week four we now turn to the December 31st match ups.
New Year’s Eve Games
Duke’s Mayo Bowl- December 31st- Louisville vs. Minnesota– The game formerly known as the Belk Bowl has a new sponsor for 2020. The Cardinals have struggled early, however there’s plenty of time to right the ship.
Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl- December 31st- North Carolina State vs. Arizona State- Just being able to type the name of this game brings such joy.
Liberty Bowl- December 31st- Iowa State versus Missouri- Much like South Carolina earlier just making a bowl in 2020 is a huge accomplishment for the Tigers.
Alamo Bowl- December 31st- Oklahoma versus Washington- Could the Sooners actually fall to this game? As a result of the loss to Kansas State it’s a possibility. But you have to remember there’s a lot of football left to be played.
Arizona Bowl- December 31st- San Diego State vs. Toledo
Games Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve
Independence Bowl- December 26th- Army vs. Stanford
Quick Lane Bowl- December 26th- Central Michigan vs. Michigan State– An interesting in-state battle plays out in Detroit.
Military Bowl- December 27th- Virginia vs. Navy
Pinstripe Bowl- December 27th- Boston College vs. Purdue- With Rondale Moore opting back in on the season the Boilermakers post season chances greatly improve.
Texas Bowl- December 27th- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss– Lane Kiffin’s Rebels head west for an entertaining game against the Cowboys.
Cactus Bowl- December 27th- Iowa vs. Texas Tech
Holiday Bowl- December 27th- Pittsburgh vs. Utah
Cheez-It Bowl- December 28th- Kansas State vs. North Carolina- The contest formerly known as the Camping World Bowl features a Tar Heel club who could easily be in the mix for a New Year’s Six game.
First Responder Bowl- December 30th- Baylor vs. Houston
Music City Bowl- December 30th- Kentucky vs. Indiana- This would be the Wildcats’ sixth trip to Nashville which is a record. The two teams used to meet every year but haven’t played since 2005. Since they can’t agree on a basketball series why not meet on the gridiron.
As we wrap up our bowl projections following week four it’s time to look at the 13 games played before Christmas. The list includes the three new games in 2020.
Three New Games
Fenway Bowl- December 20th- Syracuse versus Cincinnati- The new bowl played at the historic baseball field features the Orangemen against the Bearcats. Despite beating a good Army club the drop out as the Group of Five representative.
Myrtle Beach Bowl- December 20th- South Florida versus Ohio University
Los Angels Bowl- December 20th- USC vs. Boise State
The Rest Of The Early Season Games
Bahamas Bowl- December 20th- Florida International vs. Miami (Ohio)
Frisco Bowl- December 20th- UAB vs. BYU
New Mexico Bowl- December 21st- Louisiana Tech vs. Liberty
Cure Bowl- December 21st- Arkansas State vs. Tulane
Boca Raton Bowl- December 21st- Florida Atlantic vs. Temple
Cameilla Bowl- December 21st- Ball State vs. Troy
Las Vegas Bowl- December 21st- Texas A&M vs. California- The Aggies were less than impressive in a win over Vanderbilt. As a result they head out west where they face the Bears. If you’re counting that’s 12 SEC teams playing in bowl games.
New Orleans Bowl- December 21st- Louisiana vs. Marshall
Gasparilla Bowl- December 23rd- Florida State vs. Navy
Hawaii Bowl- December 24th- Hawaii vs. Western Kentucky
There you have our bowl projections following week four here at Last Word On College Football. As a reminder we’ll update the picks every week until the final selections are made on December 20th.