Brett McMurphy’s College Football Bowl Projections After Week 4

So long, Utah. It was nice while it lasted. In each of the past four seasons, one team that started outside the Associated Press top 10 preseason rankings reached the College Football Playoff. I took a flier before the season on the Utes to be that team.

But the preseason favorites to win the Pac-12 couldn’t get out of September unscathed, losing at USC on Friday.

Taking Utah’s spot in my bowl projections this week is Oklahoma, joining three of my original playoff picks (Georgia, Clemson and Alabama). I do have one slight change. I’m projecting Georgia will earn the No. 1 seed – mainly because of strength of schedule – over Clemson, who I previously had projected as the No. 1 seed.

That would mean a Georgia-Alabama SEC title game rematch in the national semifinals (I’m not too crazy about rematches either, but until someone knocks off the Dawgs or Tide, it seems inevitable).

My New Year’s 6 bowl projections are slightly different. With OU now projected in the playoff, Texas moves up as the Big 12 representative in the Sugar Bowl, where the Longhorns would face LSU (I know, another rematch, but unavoidable).

Ohio State, as the Big Ten champ, would head to the Rose Bowl to face Pac-12 champ … Let’s see, I’ll go with Oregon – for this week anyway.

Wisconsin would earn an at-large bid to the Orange Bowl against an ACC team (Virginia) and Auburn will get an at-large bid to the Cotton Bowl against Memphis, my preseason pick to finish as the highest-rated Group of 5 champion.

On to this week’s projections:


College Football Playoff

ChampionshipJan. 13 (CFP semifinal winners)
Projection: Georgia vs. Clemson

Peach BowlDec. 28 (CFP semifinal)
Projection: Georgia (CFP No. 1) vs. Alabama (CFP No. 4)

Fiesta BowlDec. 28 (CFP semifinal)
Projection: Clemson (CFP No. 2) vs. Oklahoma (CFP No. 3)


New Year’s 6 bowls

Rose BowlJan. 1 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Ohio State vs. Oregon

Sugar BowlJan. 1 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Texas vs. LSU

Orange BowlJan. 1 (ACC vs. SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame)
Projection: Virginia vs. Wisconsin

Cotton BowlDec. 28 (at-large vs. Group of 5*)
Projection: Auburn vs. Memphis*


Other Bowls

Citrus Bowl(Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M

Outback Bowl(Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Penn State vs. Florida

Gator Bowl(Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Nebraska vs. South Carolina

Holiday Bowl(Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Iowa vs. Cal

Liberty Bowl(Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: TCU vs. Colorado**

Redbox Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Michigan vs. USC

Sun Bowl(ACC vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Duke vs. Utah

Military Bowl (ACC vs. American)
Projection: Syracuse vs. UCF

Arizona Bowl(Mountain West vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Utah State vs. Georgia State

Belk Bowl(ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Miami vs. Mississippi State

Alamo Bowl(Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Washington

Camping World Bowl (ACC vs. Big 12)
Projection: Wake Forest vs. Iowa State

Music City Bowl (ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Maryland**

Texas Bowl (Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Kansas State vs. Kentucky

Pinstripe Bowl(ACC vs. Big Ten)
Projection: NC State vs. Michigan State

Independence Bowl(ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Pitt vs. Arizona**

Cheez-It Bowl (Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Baylor vs. Arizona State

Quick Lane Bowl(ACC vs. Big Ten)
Projection: Boston College vs. Minnesota

First Responder Bowl(Big 12 vs. C-USA)
Projection: West Virginia vs. Marshall

Hawaii Bowl(AAC vs. BYU)
Projection: Navy vs. BYU

Mobile Bowl (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Eastern Michigan vs. Arkansas State

Armed Forces Bowl(Big Ten vs. Mountain West)
Projection: Northwestern vs. Air Force

Birmingham Bowl(American vs. SEC)
Projection: SMU vs. North Carolina**

Idaho Potato Bowl(MAC vs. Mountain West)
Projection: Toledo vs. San Diego State

Bahamas Bowl (C-USA vs. MAC)
Projection: Southern Miss vs. Northern Illinois

Gasparilla Bowl(American vs. C-USA)
Projection: Cincinnati vs. North Texas

Frisco Bowl(American vs. Open)
Projection: Tulane vs. Army

Boca Raton Bowl(American vs. MAC)
Projection: Houston vs. Ohio

New Orleans Bowl(C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Appalachian State

Camellia Bowl (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Western Michigan vs. Louisiana

Las Vegas Bowl (Mountain West vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Boise State vs. Washington State

Cure Bowl(American vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Temple vs. Coastal Carolina

New Mexico Bowl (C-USA vs. Mountain West)
Projection: UAB vs. Hawaii

*-The highest-rated champion from the Group of Five conferences (American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) will be selected to play in the Cotton Bowl.

**-Replaces team from league that can’t fill bowl.