A Very Eventful Week
For those of you who check out this post every week, number one we thank you, and number two we said an upcoming week was going to be very eventful. We just didn’t know it was this one. First Clemson’s Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence tested positive for COVID-19. Next, the bowl season was announced, and as expected several games aren’t happening this year. As if that weren’t enough, upsets effectively ended the Big 12’s hopes of making the playoff. With all that out of the way let’s start our bowl projections following week 9 by looking at the canceled games.
COVID Cancels More Bowls
On Friday, word came three more postseason bowls were canceled for 2020. The Celebration, the inaugural Fenway Bowl, which was to be held in Boston’s Fenway Park, and the Quick Lane held in Detroit are not happening. They join the Bahamas, Hawaii, Holiday, and Redbox that were already canceled. As if that wasn’t enough, the Las Vegas Bowl doesn’t have a date yet but the committee still expects it to take place. In a bit of good news we got an additional game added to the schedule, the Montgomery Bowl played in Alabama. Now that the news update is over let’s get to the bowl projections following week 9.
College Football Playoff
Sugar Bowl- January 1st- (1) Clemson vs. (4) Notre Dame- After debating for a couple of weeks we finally moved the Fighting Irish up to the top line. Quite simply Brian Kelly’s team has been dominant and deserves it. On the other side of the ball, the Tigers trailed 28- 10 to Boston College before rolling off 24 unanswered points to win 34-28. These two teams meet on Saturday in South Bend and Lawrence is out again. It’s up to D.J. Uiagalelei to keep the Tigers in the top spot.
Rose Bowl- January 1st- (2) Alabama vs. (3) Ohio State- N0 Jaylen Waddle no problem for the Crimson Tide as they rolled over Mississippi State 41-0. The Buckeyes looked equally impressive in beating Penn State 38-25. This would be their first meeting since the 2015 semi-final, a game the Buckeyes won 42-35.
College Football National Championship- January 11th- (1) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State- We moved the Buckeyes into the title game last week and are sticking with it. Clemson’s never lost to the Buckeyes going 4-0 all-time.
New Year’s Six Selection Committee Games
Cotton Bowl- December 30th- Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M- As a result of Oklahoma State’s loss to Texas on Saturday we’re moving the Sooners back up to this line. We said last week the Aggies were running the table the rest of the way. This matchup of former conference foes makes for great television.
Peach Bowl- January 1st- Cincinnati vs. Georgia- The Bearcats continue to blow out the competition in the American Conference. However, it’s unlikely they make it to the playoff even if they go undefeated. Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs got past Kentucky 14-3 on Saturday and now look ahead to their annual battle with Florida.
Orange Bowl- January 2nd- Florida vs. Miami- Yes it’s basically a home game for the Hurricanes. As a result of the messes that are the Big 10 and Big 12, we’re moving Dan Mullen’s club back up to this line. Besides who doesn’t want to see these teams play each other.
Fiesta Bowl- January 2nd- Oregon vs. BYU- Based on how well Notre Dame is playing, the Ducks drop out of the playoff this week. Zack Wilson‘s Cougars get their big chance to impress the voters when they play Boise State on Friday night.
Now that we’ve looked at the college playoff and New Year’s Six games, let’s move onto the crowded group of bowl games around the new year. In addition, since there are only two games we’re adding the January 2nd games into this group.
Games Played Around The New Year
Armed Forces Bowl- December 31st- Air Force vs. TCU
Arizona Bowl- December 31st- Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Liberty Bowl- December 31st- Iowa State vs. Ole Miss
Texas Bowl- December 31st- Arkansas vs. Kansas State
Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl- December 31st- Wake Forest vs. Washington
Birmingham Bowl- January 1st- Kentucky vs. Memphis– If this was a basketball game the excitement would be off the charts with John Calipari coaching against his old club. However, this sets up as a battle of one team who scores in bunches (The Tigers) and the other who struggles mightily but has a great defense (the Wildcats.)
Citrus Bowl- January 1st- Auburn vs. Wisconsin- If the Tigers played every game at home they would be undefeated as they flat out embarrassed LSU on Saturday. No major school has been hit as hard as the Badgers by COVID-19 and hopefully, they’ll get things straightened out.
Gator Bowl- January 2nd- Missouri vs. Virginia Tech
Outback Bowl- January 2nd- Northwestern vs. South Carolina- At this point virtually no one expected these teams in this game. However, it should be very exciting as both teams score a ton of points.
As we move onto our next set of games you’ll notice December 26th is now a huge day for bowls with six games scheduled. Previously it was only the Independence Bowl.
Bowls Played Between Christmas and New Year’s
Cure Bowl- December 26th- Florida Atlantic vs. Troy
First Responder Bowl- December 26th- Texas Tech vs. Tulsa
Guaranteed Rate Bowl- December 26th- Purdue vs. West Virginia
Independence Bowl- December 26th- Army vs. Stanford- The Black Knights are the only team to officially accept a bid, though that’s likely to change soon.
LendingTree Bowl- December 26th- Appalachian State vs. UAB
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl- December 26th- LSU vs. Virginia
Military Bowl- December 28th- Pittsburgh vs. Navy
Pinstripe Bowl- December 28th- Indiana vs. Wake Forest
Alamo Bowl- December 29th- Texas vs. USC
Cheez-It Bowl- December 29th- North Carolina vs. Oklahoma State
Duke’s Mayo Bowl- December 30th- Michigan vs. North Carolina State
Los Angeles Bowl- December 30th- Boise State vs. Utah
Music City Bowl- December 30th- Penn State vs. Tennessee– Not many people thought the Nittany Lions would start out 0-2. As a result, they’ve dropped from the Fiesta Bowl a couple of weeks ago to playing a virtual home game against the Vols.
Early Season Bowl Games
Frisco Bowl- December 19th- Houston vs. Texas San-Antonio
Myrtle Beach Bowl- December 21st- Charlotte vs. Ohio
Idaho Potato Bowl- December 21st- Toledo vs. San Jose State
Boca Raton Bowl- December 22nd- Central Florida vs. Liberty
Montgomery Bowl- December 23rd- Tulane vs. Georgia Southern- When this was the Fenway Bowl it was to pit teams from the American and ACC. However, we’ve taken all the bowl-eligible teams from the ACC so we’re taking a very deserving Eagles’ squad out of the Sun Belt.
New Orleans Bowl- December 23rd- Coastal Carolina vs. Marshall
New Mexico Bowl- December 24th- Louisiana Tech vs. Wyoming- As a result of COVID restrictions in the state of New Mexico, it’s likely this game gets moved to a location in Texas.
Camellia Bowl- December 25th- Ball State vs. Louisana
Still To Be Determined
Las Vegas Bowl- As mentioned earlier, this game is one that didn’t have a date. Organizers say the game is happening they only have to decide when. It’s supposed to match the Pac 12 and SEC. If it doesn’t happen then it’s a real blow to the Pac 12 as they’ve already lost the Holiday and Redbox. As a result, look for a mad scramble for bowl bids.
Thanks for checking out our bowl projections following week 9 here at Last Word On College Football. Agree or disagree where your favorite team is picked? Leave a comment in the section below and let us know what you think. We’ll be back same time next week with our latest picks.