Numerous Changes And More Bowl Cancellations
It was another exciting week in college football featuring one of the best games of the year on only two days’ notice. However, COVID continues to dominate the headlines as many games were again canceled. In addition, we officially lost two more bowl games. There’s a lot to get to so let’s jump right into our bowl projections following week 14.
In case you haven’t been following along this year the NCAA relaxed the rules for bowl eligibility. That means every conference except the Pac 12 is waiving the minimum bowl requirements. As you’ll see in going through our picks some two and three wins teams are going bowling. If you’d like to see how things changed from week to week last week’s picks are right here. As we do each time let’s start our picks with the playoff.
College Football Playoff
Sugar Bowl- January 1st- (1) Alabama vs. (4) Ohio State- The Crimson Tide went into Baton Rouge and put a 55-17 thumping on the defending national champions. On the other side of the ball, the Buckeyes dominated Michigan State 52-12 behind a huge game from Justin Fields.
According to Big 10 rules they need to play Michigan next week in order to make the title game. Some say OSU doesn’t belong in the playoff because they haven’t played enough games. Quite simply those people are wrong. Ryan Day’s club absolutely deserves to be there.
Rose Bowl- January 1st- (2) Notre Dame vs. (3) Clemson– Ian Book became the winningest quarterback in Fighting Irish history in their 45-21 win over Syracuse. The Tigers blew out Virginia Tech 45-10 setting up the rematch between these two schools in two weeks. The ACC giving them next week off instead of making up games was an interesting touch.
College Football National Championship- January 11th- (1)- Alabama vs. (3) Clemson-
At the end of the day, these are the two best teams and they should play for the championship.
Now that we’ve set the main course let’s move on to the New Year’s Six games where we have a couple of newcomers this week. Following their loss to Coastal Carolina BYU drops out of contention for one of these games.
New Year’s Six Selection Committee Games
Cotton Bowl- December 30th- Iowa State vs. Texas A&M- For the first time in several weeks we have a new team playing at “Jerry World.” The Cyclones blitzed West Virginia 42-9 clinching their first Big 12 regular-season title. A matchup with Oklahoma waits in two weeks and we now project ISU as the winner. Several weeks ago we said the Aggies were running the table and they’ve made us look good so far.
Peach Bowl- January 1st- Cincinnati vs. Florida- One of the biggest games in college football next week features the Bearcats playing at Tulsa. The Gators got past Tennessee for the 15th time in the last 16 games. Much like the Aggies, they need someone to lose to have a chance at the playoff.
Fiesta Bowl- January 1st- Indiana vs. USC- We went back and forth between the Hoosiers and Sooners on who to put here. In the end, Indiana’s resume is much better than Oklahoma’s. The Trojans had no trouble with Washington State on Sunday night.
Orange Bowl- January 2nd- Georgia vs. Miami- The Hurricanes blew out Duke but remain just behind Clemson and Notre Dame in the running for a playoff bid. The Bulldogs’ trip to Missouri seems a lot tougher than it did three months ago.
Moving on with our bowl projections following week 14 let’s look at the games played around the new year. This week the Las Vegas and Sun Bowls officially canceled for 2020. They join the Bahamas, Celebration, Fenway, Hawaii, Holiday, Pinstripe, Quick Lane, and Redbox Bowls as games not happening in 2020. In addition, the Montgomery Bowl is taking the place of the Fenway.
With the Las Vegas and Sun out that means two more possible bids for the Pac-12 are gone. However, the Armed Forces Bowl decided they would match that league versus the SEC for this season. Originally it was the American versus the Big 12. Last week we had TCU playing Tulsa, which now means we have to find new games for them.
Games Played Around The New Year
Armed Forces Bowl- December 31st- Mississippi State vs. UCLA- As a result of the change in this game we now have the Bulldogs and Bruins meeting in Fort Worth.
Arizona Bowl- December 31st- Ball State vs. San Diego State
Liberty Bowl- December 31st- LSU vs. West Virginia
Texas Bowl- December 31st- Arkansas vs. Texas
Birmingham Bowl- January 1st- Tennessee vs. SMU- Once again you see a Volunteer team with only two wins going bowling.
Citrus Bowl- January 1st- Auburn vs. Northwestern
Taxslayer Gator Bowl- January 2nd- North Carolina State vs. Ole Miss
Outback Bowl- January 2nd- Missouri vs. Iowa
As a result of there being six games on December 26th alone, we decided to make them its own group as we continue our bowl projections following week 14.
Day After Christmas Bowls
Cure Bowl- December 26th- Florida Atlantic vs. Louisiana
First Responder Bowl- December 26th- Tulsa vs. Virginia
Gasparilla Bowl- December 26th- Pittsburgh vs. South Carolina- We mentioned earlier a two-win team can make a bowl this year. As a result, you see the Gamecocks going bowling.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl- December 26th- Minnesota vs. TCU
Independence Bowl- December 26th- Army vs. Oregon- As a result of back to back losses the Ducks drop from a dark horse playoff team to playing in Shreveport. The Black Knights remain the only team who has officially accepted a bid.
LendingTree Bowl- December 26th- Appalachian State vs. Central Florida
Post-Christmas Day Games
Military Bowl- December 28th- Boston College vs. Memphis
Alamo Bowl- December 29th- Colorado vs. Oklahoma State
Cheez-It Bowl- December 29th- North Carolina vs. Oklahoma- As a result of Iowa State being projected to the Cotton Bowl, the Sooners now head to Florida.
Duke’s Mayo Bowl- December 30th- Maryland vs. Wake Forest
Los Angeles Bowl- December 30th- Boise State vs. Washington
Music City Bowl- December 30th- Kentucky vs. Wisconsin- The Cats wrapped up their regular season with a 41-18 win over South Carolina. These two teams have played one time in history with the Wildcats winning the 1984 Hall Of Fame Bowl 20-19.
Wrapping up our bowl projections following week 14 we look at the early season bowl games where we found a great game for BYU.
Early Season Bowl Games
Frisco Bowl- December 19th- Houston vs. Texas San-Antonio
Myrtle Beach Bowl- December 21st- Central Michigan vs. Louisiana Tech
Boca Raton Bowl- December 21st- Tulane vs. UAB
Idaho Potato Bowl- December 22nd- Buffalo vs. San Jose State
Montgomery Bowl- December 23rd- BYU vs. Liberty- As mentioned previously this game is a replacement for the Fenway Bowl. Since it has no conferences attached it’s a perfect place for the Cougars.
New Orleans Bowl- December 23rd- Coastal Carolina vs. Marshall- Despite their surprising loss to Rice we’re keeping the Thundering Herd in this game. Once again congratulations to the Chanticleers on their big win over BYU. In addition a major kudos to both schools on making that game happen on two days’ notice.
New Mexico Bowl- December 24th- Kent State vs. Nevada
Camellia Bowl- December 25th- Georgia Southern vs. Western Michigan
Thanks for checking out our bowl projections following week 14 here at Last Word On College Football. As you can see with so many games canceled there are some deserving teams being left out. Furthermore, we do have 13 SEC teams going bowling but the conference has tie-ins with so many games. Do you agree or disagree with our picks? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.