Another Week of Cancelations and Changes
Week 15 of the college football season proved to be another interesting one. We had more games canceled or changed due to COVID-19. In addition, another bowl game threw in the towel. If that wasn’t enough the Big 10 made an expected but widely criticized decision on the Ohio State football team. As you can see there’s a lot to get to so let’s jump right into our bowl projections following week 15 with the news of the week.
It Goes to 11
In the biggest bowl news of the week, the inaugural LA Bowl packed it in for 2020 due to the pandemic. They join the Bahamas, Celebration, Fenway, Hawaii, Holiday, Las Vegas, Pinstripe, Quick Lane, Redbox, and Sun Bowls as games not happening this year. That means five games with ties to the Pac-12 are off the books. However, the Armed Forces Bowl decided they would match up that league with the SEC. Originally it was supposed to be a Big 12 versus Group of Five matchup. With all the news out of the way let’s begin our picks starting as always with the playoff. As always you can see how our picks changed from last week.
College Football Playoff
Sugar Bowl- January 1st- (1)- Alabama vs. (4) Notre Dame- We’re dropping the Fighting Irish down a couple of places this week for one reason. We think Clemson wins the rematch on Saturday in the ACC title game which drops them from the two seed last week to four this week. Not much more needs to be said about the Crimson Tide other they continue to roll. They finished the regular season 10-0 winning every game by 15 plus points after a 52-3 win over Arkansas.
Rose Bowl- January 1st- (2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State- As mentioned in the beginning the Big 10, as expected, changed their rules to allow the Buckeyes to play Northwestern in the title game next week. Yes, a one-loss Clemson team is ahead of an undefeated OSU. However, you have to remember the Tigers’ one loss came without Trevor Lawrence.
College Football National Championship- January 11th- (1) Alabama vs. (2) Clemson- This is the fourth matchup in the title game between these two teams. The Tigers hold a 2-1 advantage in those games. However all-time the Crimson Tide leads the series 14-5.
Now that we’ve listed our playoff picks it’s now time for the New Year’s Six games. There’s one change this week as the result of a huge loss by Miami.
New Year’s Six Selection Committee Games
Cotton Bowl- December 30th- Iowa State vs. Texas A&M- The Aggies game against Ole Miss didn’t happen due to COVID-19. They’ll try again next Saturday when they travel to Tennessee. As mentioned last week the Big 12 winner plays here while the loser heads to the Cheez-It Bowl.
Peach Bowl- January 1st- Cincinnati vs. Florida- In the words of Austin Powers, “a shoe, who throws a shoe?” The Gators’ playoff hopes ended in a bizarre series of plays late in the fourth quarter against LSU. After stopping the Tigers on third down defensive back Marco Wilson picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty after throwing a shoe. A couple of plays later Cade York hit a 57-yard field goal handing Florida one of the worst losses you’ll ever see. However even though they lost we’re still keeping the Gators in this game, the only difference is they’ll be the lower-seeded team.
Fiesta Bowl- January 1st- Indiana vs. USC- The “Cardiac Trojans” did it again on Saturday night rallying in the last minute for a 43-38 win over UCLA. They play Oregon for the Pac 12 championship Friday night. After not playing this week the Hoosiers play Purdue in their annual rivalry game on Saturday.
Orange Bowl- January 2nd- Georgia vs. North Carolina- Our lone change in the New Year’s Six has the Tar Heels in place of Miami. In case you missed it Mack Brown’s squad rolled up 778 yards of total offense in a 62-28 rout over the Hurricanes. On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs throttled Missouri 49-14.
Continuing on with our bowl projections following week 15 let’s look at the games around January 1st
Games Played Around the New Year
Armed Forces Bowl- December 31st- Colorado vs. Mississippi State
Arizona Bowl- December 31st- Buffalo vs. San Jose State- The organizers of this game want to match the winners of the MAC and Mountain West. If it works out it is one heck of a matchup.
Liberty Bowl- December 31st- LSU vs. West Virginia
Texas Bowl- December 31st- Arkansas vs. Texas
Birmingham Bowl- January 1st- Liberty vs. South Carolina
Citrus Bowl- January 1st- Auburn vs. Northwestern
Taxslayer Gator Bowl- January 2nd- North Carolina State vs. Ole Miss
Outback Bowl- January 2nd- Iowa vs. Missouri- After losing their first two the Hawkeyes have run off six straight and are one of the hottest teams in football.
As we head into our next set of games a couple of things to remember. The first three ACC schools, Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Virginia have all opted out of a bowl game. In addition, the Pac-12’s Stanford Cardinal has as well. Furthermore, LSU gave itself a one-year bowl ban for 2020, then of course went out and beat Florida. We had everyone but Stanford in bowl games last week. Teams with an * have accepted a bid.
Games Played After Christmas
Cure Bowl- December 26th- Ball State vs. Coastal Carolina
First Responder Bowl- December 26th- Texas Tech vs. Tulsa
Gasparilla Bowl- December 26th- Kentucky vs. Louisville- Hang with us on this one. With all the ACC teams opting out of bowl games the league needs a replacement. These two rivals didn’t get to play this year because the SEC went league games only. Why not match them up in a bowl? However, there is one catch the two schools are set to meet in basketball at the exact same time. There may be a scheduling change to get this to work out.
Guaranteed Rate Bowl- December 26th- Minnesota vs. TCU
Independence Bowl- December 26th- *Army vs. Oregon
LendingTree Bowl- December 26th- *Georgia State vs. *Western Kentucky
Military Bowl- December 28th- Boise State vs. Virginia Tech- The Broncos go in place of Navy.
Alamo Bowl- December 29th- Oklahoma State vs. Washington
Cheez-It Bowl- December 29th- Miami vs. Oklahoma
Duke’s Mayo Bowl- December 30th- Penn State vs. Wake Forest
Music City Bowl- December 30th- Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
As we finish up our bowl projections following week 15 we look at the early-season contests. With such little time to prepare many of these games are already set. In addition, you’ll see there are some really good teams especially in the MAC and Mountain West with nowhere to go.
Early Season Bowl Games
Frisco Bowl- December 19th- SMU and UTSA accepted bids, but the game has been cancelled to SMU not being able to participate.
Myrtle Beach Bowl- December 21st- *Appalachian State vs. *North Texas
Boca Raton Bowl- December 21st- BYU vs. *Central Florida- The Cougars need a game and a matchup with UCF would certainly be a good one.
Idaho Potato Bowl- December 22nd- *Nevada vs.*Tulane- This was supposed to be a Mid-American versus Mountain West matchup. However, the Green Wave are heading to Boise as a replacement.
Montgomery Bowl- December 23rd- *Florida Atlantic vs. *Memphis
New Orleans Bowl- December 23rd- *Georgia Southern vs. *Louisiana Tech
New Mexico Bowl- December 24th- *Hawaii vs. *Houston- As a result of COVID restrictions in New Mexico, this game is being played in Frisco, Texas.
Camellia Bowl- December 25th- Louisiana vs. Marshall
Thanks for checking out our bowl projections following week 15 here at Last Word On College Football. We’ll be back with our final picks before the selection committee announces theirs on Sunday.