Brett McMurphy’s College Football Bowl Projections After Week 13

While the College Football Playoff field and New Year’s Six bowls won’t be determined for another two weeks, this marks the final week of the regular season, which will ultimately decide which teams fill the remaining 33 bowls.

In all, 78 teams are needed to fill the 39 bowls (not including the College Football Playoff national title game). Entering this week, there are 72 bowl-eligible teams — which may sound like a lot, but in the past four years it is actually the fewest number of bowl-eligible teams entering the final week of the regular season.

There are still 14 teams that can become bowl eligible — 13 of those programs can do so with a win this week, while Army needs to win at Hawaii on Saturday and then two weeks later against Navy.

The 14 teams still alive: Army, Boston College, Colorado, Kent State, Liberty, Louisiana-Monroe, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon State, TCU and Troy. I am not including 5-6 Missouri because as of Monday morning, the Tigers were still ruled ineligible by the NCAA to play in the postseason this season.

Of the 14, I’m projecting six will become bowl eligible: Liberty, Michigan State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Ohio and TCU. Not coincidentally, all six of those teams are favored this week.

The remaining eight teams are all underdogs, so if there are no upsets involving these 14 teams — and when in the world are there ever upsets in college football — the 78-team bowl field will be filled with exactly 78 schools.

Of course, that’s never going to happen.

Prepare for a scenario in which only three of the 14 will win, meaning bowls will have to dip into the pool of teams with 5-7 records, or 10 of the 14 will win, leading to several bowl-eligible teams staying home.

Here is the complete list of the games involving each of the 14 teams. Listed first are the schools that need one win to become bowl eligible (except for Army, which needs two wins). Point spreads provided by BetOnline.ag.

Tuesday
Ohio -27 at Akron

Thursday
Mississippi State -2½ vs. Ole Miss

Friday
Kent State +5½ at Eastern Michigan
Nebraska +4½ vs. Iowa
TCU -12 vs. West Virginia
Troy +12 vs. Appalachian State

Saturday
Liberty -13½ vs. New Mexico State
Boston College +9½ at Pitt
Michigan State -21 vs. Maryland
Oregon State +18 at Oregon
North Carolina -8 at NC State
Colorado +28 at Utah
UL-Monroe +21 at Louisiana
Army +3 at Hawaii

Now, onto this week’s bowl projections:

 

College Football Playoff

ChampionshipJan. 13 (CFP semifinal winners)
Projection: LSU vs. Ohio State

Semifinals
Peach BowlDec. 28 (CFP semifinal)
Projection: Ohio State (CFP No. 1) vs. Utah (CFP No. 4)

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

New Year’s 6 Bowls

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

Sugar BowlJan. 1 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Oklahoma vs. Georgia

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

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

Other Bowls

Citrus Bowl(Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Michigan vs. Auburn

Outback Bowl(Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Minnesota vs. Texas A&M

Gator Bowl(Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Wisconsin vs. Tennessee

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

Liberty Bowl(Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Texas vs. Navy**

Redbox Bowl(Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Indiana vs. Washington

Sun Bowl(ACC vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Wake Forest vs. Washington State

Military Bowl(ACC vs. American)
Projection: North Carolina vs. Temple

Arizona Bowl(Mountain West vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: San Diego State vs. Georgia Southern

Belk Bowl(ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Pitt vs. Kentucky

Alamo Bowl(Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Baylor vs. USC

Camping World Bowl(ACC vs. Big 12)
Projection: Notre Dame vs. Iowa State

Music City Bowl(ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Louisville vs. Mississippi State

Texas Bowl(Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Marshall**

Pinstripe Bowl(ACC vs. Big Ten)
Projection: Virginia vs. Illinois

Independence Bowl(ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Miami vs. Louisiana Tech**

Cheez-It Bowl(Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Kansas State vs. Air Force**

Quick Lane Bowl(ACC vs. Big Ten)
Projection: Florida State vs. Michigan State

First Responder Bowl(Big 12 vs. C-USA)
Projection: TCU vs. Southern Miss

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

Mobile Bowl(MAC vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Central Michigan vs. Louisiana

Armed Forces Bowl(Big Ten vs. Mountain West)
Projection: Ohio** vs. Utah State

Birmingham Bowl(American vs. SEC)
Projection: Cincinnati vs. UAB**

Idaho Potato Bowl(MAC vs. Mountain West)
Projection: Miami (OH) vs. Wyoming

Bahamas Bowl(C-USA vs. MAC)
Projection: Charlotte vs. Buffalo

Gasparilla Bowl(American vs. C-USA)
Projection: UCF vs. FIU

Frisco Bowl(American vs. Open)
Projection: SMU vs. Eastern Michigan**

Boca Raton Bowl(American vs. MAC)
Projection: Tulane vs. Toledo

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

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

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

Cure Bowl(American vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Liberty** vs. Georgia State

New Mexico Bowl(C-USA vs. Mountain West)
Projection: Western Kentucky vs. Nevada


Teams in bold already have officially accepted bid.

*-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.