COVID and Upsets Cause Changes In Our Picks
It was another exciting week in college football on the field. However off the field issues continue to make the most headlines. A COVID outbreak presents a unique situation for the Big 10 and the playoff. In addition another bowl game packed it in for the season. There’s a lot to get to so let’s sort it all out with our bowl projections following week 13.
As we go through the list of games remember a couple of things. First the NCAA dropped minimum win requirements for 2020 which means a three victory team could make a bowl. However the Pac 12 is keeping a minimum victory, but more on that later. If you’d like to keep a handy guide of how things changed from last week you can check out last week’s picks here.
College Football Playoff
Sugar Bowl- January 1st- (1) Alabama vs. (4) Ohio State- With Coach Nick Saban watching (and probably coaching from home) due to having COVID-19 the Crimson Tide easily beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl 42-13.
The Buckeyes game against Illinois was canceled due to outbreak which affected Coach Ryan Day among others. That’s the second cancellation for OSU and this week’s game versus Michigan State is in question. According to Big 10 rules a team that misses three games is ineligible for the Big 10 Championship game. As a result our projected title game last week is now a semi-final.
Rose Bowl- January 1st- (2) Notre Dame vs. (3)- Clemson- Following Notre Dame’s statement win over North Carolina they move up to the two seed. With the rematch between the teams all but set for the ACC title game this would make a possible rubber match less than two weeks after playing.
College Football National Championship- January 11th- (1) Alabama vs. (3) Clemson- Trevor Lawrence looks to go out a winner in what’s likely his last college football game.
Continuing on with our bowl projections following week 13 it’s New Year’s Six time. As we mentioned earlier a couple of upsets brings a new team and one returning squad into the mix.
New Year’s Six Selection Committee Games
Cotton Bowl- December 30th- Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M- After a few weeks off due to COVID cancellations the Aggies finally got back on the field defeating LSU 20-7. It looks like the winner of the Sooners and Iowa State takes the Big 12. As of now we’re sticking with Oklahoma.
Peach Bowl- January 1st- Cincinnati vs. Florida- The Gators welcomed back Kyle Pitts, who had three touchdowns in their 34-10 win over Kentucky. After their game with Temple was cancelled the Bearcats now have two weeks before they face a very dangerous Tulsa squad on the road.
Fiesta Bowl- January 1st- BYU vs. USC- As a result of Oregon’s loss to Oregon State the undefeated Trojans take the Pac 12 berth. After the selection committee’s first rankings it’s obvious we at Last Word think much more highly of the Cougars than they do.
Orange Bowl- January 2nd- Georgia vs. Miami- Despite their 7-1 record the Hurricanes are the odd team out in the ACC for the playoff. Following Northwestern’s loss to Michigan State the Bulldogs move back up to the New Year’s Six line.
The other big news this week is the Pinstripe Bowl packed it in for the year. That game pit the ACC and Big 10 against each other. Last week we had Boston College playing Iowa. If you’re counting at home that’s now three games with Big 10 tie ins that are cancelled. The Pinstripe joins the Bahamas, Celebration, Fenway, Hawaii, Holiday, Quick Lane, and Redbox Bowls as games not happening in 2020. In addition, the Montgomery Bowl is taking the place of the Fenway and the Las Vegas still looks unlikely.
As we mentioned earlier the Pac 12 is the only league requiring a .500 record or better in order to make a bowl. Currently they have seven teams that match the criteria, however we only have five bowl slots available. If the Las Vegas does end up happening then it’s another game for that league.
Games Played Around The New Year
Armed Forces Bowl- December 31st- TCU vs. Tulsa
Arizona Bowl- December 31st- Fresno State vs. Western Michigan- The Bulldogs make their first appearance in our bowl projections this week.
Liberty Bowl- December 31st- Arkansas vs. West Virginia
Texas Bowl- December 31st- LSU vs. Texas
Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl- December 31st- Boston College vs. Colorado
Birmingham Bowl- January 1st- Memphis vs. Mississippi State- If the Las Vegas Bowl were happening we’d have the Bulldogs playing there. However since it’s likely not they head to Birmingham.
Citrus Bowl- January 1st- Auburn vs. Northwestern
Taxslayer Gator Bowl- January 2nd- Ole Miss vs. North Carolina State
Outback Bowl- January 2nd- Missouri vs. Indiana
Continuing on with our bowl projections following week 13 we head to the games after Christmas and the huge collection of contests on December 26th.
Bowls Between Christmas and New Year’s
Cure Bowl- December 26th- Florida Atlantic vs. Louisiana
First Responder Bowl- December 26th- SMU vs. Virginia Tech
Gasparilla Bowl- December 26th- Tennessee vs. Virginia
Guaranteed Rate Bowl- December 26th- Kansas State vs. Purdue
Independence Bowl- December 26th- Army vs. UCLA– Following their big win over Arizona the Bruins are now bowl eligible. They head to Shreveport to face the Black Knights who are still the only team to officially accept a bowl bid.
LendingTree Bowl- December 26th- Appalachian State vs. UAB
Military Bowl- December 28th- Navy vs. Pittsburgh
Alamo Bowl- December 29th- Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
Cheez-It Bowl- December 29th- Iowa State vs. North Carolina
Duke’s Mayo Bowl- December 30th- Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin
Los Angeles Bowl- December 30th- Boise State vs. Washington
Music City Bowl- December 30th- Iowa vs. Kentucky- We had this matchup a couple of weeks ago and now we’re back to it. A very interesting contest with Mark Stoops going up against his alma mater.
As we finish up our bowl projections following week 13 we look at the opening set of games that feature a couple of really interesting matchups.
Early Season Bowl Games
Frisco Bowl- December 19th- Houston vs. Texas San-Antonio- Not only are the Roadrunners the leaders of Conference USA’s western division but they deserve a lot of credit for getting their entire 11 game schedule in.
Myrtle Beach Bowl-December 21st- Central Michigan vs. Louisiana Tech
Idaho Potato Bowl- Buffalo vs. San Jose State December 22nd- This is a great chance for the nation to see Jaret Patterson on a national stage. The Bulls’ running back is coming off an eight touchdown performance against Kent State.
Boca Raton Bowl- December 21st- Central Florida vs. Liberty
Montgomery Bowl- December 23rd- Georgia Southern vs. Tulane
New Orleans Bowl- December 23rd- Coastal Carolina vs. Marshall- On paper this looks like one of the best matchups in the bowl season.
New Mexico Bowl- December 24th- Kent State vs. Nevada
Cameilla Bowl- December 25th- Ball State vs. Georgia State
Thanks for checking out our bowl projections following week 13 here at Last Word On College Football. Agree or disagree with where your team is headed? Leave a comment below. We’ll be back next time with updated picks as we head towards Championship Saturday.