Rivalry Week Leads To Some Changes
Hello everyone and welcome to our 2023 Championship Week Bowl Projections. It’s hard to believe we are already at the end of the year. As expected “Rivalry Week” gave us some incredible games and a couple of upsets. As a result we have some more changes to our playoff and selection committee games. In the process of going through our picks we’ll talk about the championship week match ups. If you’d like to see how things evolved from last week click here.
College Football Playoff
Allstate Sugar Bowl: January 1st- (1)- Georgia vs. (4)- Florida State- The first thing you’ll notice is we flipped FSU and Washington this week. On the field the Bulldogs struggled a bit with Georgia Tech but picked up their 29th win in a row. In what you’d expect from a rivalry game Florida gave the Seminoles all they could handle before pulling out a 24-15 win.
Prudential Rose Bowl: January 1st- (2)- Michigan vs. (3)- Washington- The Wolverines beat Ohio State once again and heads to the Big Ten title game. To quote 1970’s rock band Molly Hatchet the Huskies continue Flirting With Disaster but keep on winning. Can they do it again in the rematch against Oregon?
College Football National Championship: January 8th- (1)- Georgia vs. (2)- Michigan- Our title game remains the same as the last few weeks.
Heading into our next set of match-ups ups there are numerous changes this week.
Selection Committee Games
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: December 29th- Missouri vs. Texas- After drubbing Arkansas 48-14 coach Eli Drinkwitz proclaimed the Tigers “America’s Team” as a jab at Michigan. The Longhorns no trouble with Texas Tech and face Oklahoma State for the Big 12 championship.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: December 30th- Tulane vs. Penn State- The Green Wave took care of Texas San Antonio. They’ll face SMU for the AAC title. Drew Allar showed no effects of last week’s injury in leading the Nittany Lions to a 42-0 win over Michigan State.
Capital One Orange Bowl: December 30th- Louisville vs. Ohio State– The Cards lost to Kentucky but in the end, it didn’t really affect their spot. Even if they lose to Florida State they should still be ahead of North Carolina State.
VRBO Fiesta Bowl: January 1st- Oregon vs. Alabama- Jalen Milroe and the Crimson Tide pulled off an improbable win over Auburn in the “Iron Bowl.” The Ducks had no trouble with Oregon State setting up the rematch with Washington in the Pac-12 title game.
Continuing with our 2023 Championship Week Bowl Projections let’s roll through the games by date. One thing to note there are no games on December 24th or 31st to not go up against the NFL schedule.
The Final Total Was?
Our final tally of six-win teams was 79 which includes a record-breaking 12 from the Sun Belt. In addition, there are 11 from the ACC, and nine from the Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC.
With three slots left that let both Jacksonville State and James Madison in even though they are only in their second year of the transition from FCS to FBS. We only needed one 5-7 team and based on the APR scores Minnesota gets the nod.
Games Around the New Year
Cheez-It Citrus Bowl: January 1st- Big 10 vs. SEC- Ole Miss vs. Iowa- There’s a chance the Rebels could move up into a selection committee game. If that happens it creates a bunch of interesting scenarios in the SEC. On the other side of the ball Iowa beat Nebraska and managed to cover the under of 24 points.
ReliaQuest Bowl: January 1st- SEC vs. Big 10- LSU vs. Notre Dame- It looks like the “Brian Kelly” bowl is on tap for Tampa.
TransPerfect Music City Bowl: December 30th- SEC vs. Big 10- Texas A&M vs. Wisconsin
Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl: December 30th- MAC vs. MWC– Fresno State vs. Miami (Ohio)
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl: December 29th- SEC vs. Big 10 or ACC/Notre Dame- North Carolina vs. Tennessee
Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl: December 29th- ACC/Notre Dame vs. Pac-12- Miami (Florida) vs. USC
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: December 29th- Big 12 vs. SEC- SMU vs. Kansas State- As a result of no SEC team being available we’re sending the Mustangs to Memphis.
Post Christmas Games
Quick Lane Bowl: December 26th- Big 10 vs. MAC- Minnesota vs. Ohio- As we mentioned earlier the Golden Gophers were the only 5-7 team to get in.
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl: December 26th- American/ACC/Big 12/ SEC- Air Force* vs. Iowa State
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: December 26th- Big 12 vs. Big 10- West Virginia vs. Northwestern
DirecTV Holiday Bowl: December 27th- ACC vs. Pac-12- Clemson vs. Oregon State- The Beavers lost to Oregon and also lost their coach. Jonathan Smith is leaving and will be the new coach at Michigan State.
Military Bowl: December 27th- ACC/Notre Dame vs. American- Virginia Tech vs. Memphis
Duke’s Mayo Bowl: December 27th- ACC/Notre Dame vs. SEC- Duke vs. Kentucky- The Wildcats beat Louisville for a fifth straight time. Following the game Texas A&M expressed interest in Mark Stoops for their coaching position. However, they ended up hiring Blue Devils’ coach and former Aggie defensive coordinator Mike Elko.
TaxAct Texas Bowl: December 27th- Big 12 vs. SEC- Kansas vs. Auburn
Wasabi Fenway Bowl: December 28th- ACC/Notre Dame vs. American- Boston College vs. South Florida
Bad Boy Motors Pinstripe Bowl: December 28th- ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big 10- Georgia Tech vs. Rutgers
Pop Tarts Bowl- December 28th: ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big 12- North Carolina State vs. Oklahoma State
Valero Alamo Bowl: December 28th- Big 12 vs. Pac-12- Oklahoma vs. Arizona- There may be no hotter team right now in college football than the Wildcats.
As we roll on with our 2023 Championship Week Bowl Projections let’s move to the set of games just before Christmas. That includes a whopping seven games on December 23rd. Going through our last sets of games we had to get creative with some of these games so as to not have teams from the same conferences playing each other.
Games Right Before Christmas
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl December 23rd: American vs. SEC- Marshall* vs. Jacksonville State*
Camellia Bowl- December 23rd: MAC vs. Sun Belt- Bowling Green vs. Coastal Carolina
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: December 23rd- Big 12 vs. Pool- Syracuse vs. Louisiana*
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: December 23rd- MAC vs. MWC- Northern Illinois vs. San Jose State
68 Ventures Bowl: December 23rd- Pool vs. Sun Belt- Georgia Southern vs. Utah State
RS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl: December 23rd- Big 10 vs. Pac-12- Maryland vs. Utah
Easy Post Hawai’i Bowl: December 23rd- Conference USA/MWC/American- Old Dominion* vs. Wyoming- With so many Sun Belt teams and not that many from Conference USA or the American we’re sending the Monarchs to Hawaii.
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl: December 22nd- American/ACC/Notre Dame/SEC- South Alabama vs. Central Florida
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl: December 21st- Group Of Five vs. Group Of Five- Appalachian State vs. New Mexico State
We wrap up our 2023 Championship Week with the first set of bowls on the schedule. That includes a massive seven-game slate on December 16th alone.
First Weekend Games
Famous Toastery Bowl: December 16th- Conference USA vs. MAC- Eastern Michigan vs. Arkansas State*- The former Bahamas Bowl being played in Charlotte this year has a new sponsor.
Cricket Celebration Bowl: December 16th- MEAC vs. SWAC- Florida A&M vs. Howard+- The Bison became the first team to clinch a bowl bid by winning the MEAC.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: December 16th- Conference USA vs. Sun Belt- Troy vs. Liberty
Duluth Trading Cure Bowl: December 16th- Group Of Five vs. Group Of Five- Toledo vs. James Madison
Isleta New Mexico Bowl: December 16th- C-USA vs. MWC- Boise State vs. Western Kentucky
LA Bowl Hosted By Gronk: December 16th- Pac-12 vs. Mountain West- California vs. UNLV- As a result of their win against UCLA the Bears are bowl eligible and reportedly will head to LA.
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl: December 16th-Big 12 vs. Pac-12- Texas Tech vs. UCLA- Sources tell Last Word the Bruins are expected to head to Shreveport. Whether this game is an “Independence from Chip Kelly” afterward remains to be seen.
Myrtle Beach Bowl: American/MAC/Sun Belt- December 18th- Texas San-Antonio* vs. Georgia State
Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl: December 19th-Group of Five vs. Group Of Five- Rice vs. Texas State
*Denotes a replacement team.
+Denotes a team that has accepted a bid
Thanks for checking out our 2023 Championship Week Bowl Projections here at Last Word On College Football. With a few championship games happening on Friday night including the Pac-12 we’ll have an update for you on Saturday. Following that our final projections will be out Sunday morning.