Brett McMurphy’s College Football Bowl Projections After Week 6

Projecting this year’s College Football Playoff field is really pretty simple.

A 13-0 SEC champ is in. A 13-0 ACC champ is in. A 13-0 Big Ten champ is in. A 13-0 Big 12 champ is in. A 13-0 Pac-12 team is in. A 12-0 Notre Dame is in.

Wait, that’s six teams for four berths? Maybe it isn’t that simple.

While the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 can still deliver 13-0 teams and 12-0 is still possible for Notre Dame, I don’t see that happening. We’re only nearing the season’s halfway mark, so there are still plenty of upsets out there.

It’s unlikely there will be five undefeated Power 5 champions plus an undefeated Notre Dame by Dec. 1. That would be madness. It ain’t happening.

Remember, in the first four years of the College Football Playoff, there has never been more than one undefeated Power Five conference champ each year entering the postseason.

I am projecting multiple Power 5 unbeatens, though: Alabama (SEC), Clemson (ACC) and Notre Dame. Ohio State also has a good shot. What about 13-0 UCF? Don’t shoot the messenger, but there is absolutely no way the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will place 13-0 UCF in the top four rankings, considering they would have at most one Top 25 win and its best win would be against … USF, Pitt or Cincinnati?

As a consolation prize, UCF can win back-to-back self-proclaimed national championships by beating an at-large Power 5 team in the Fiesta Bowl.

Onto this week’s bowl projections:

College Football Playoff
Championship – Jan. 7 (CFP semifinal winners)
Projection: Alabama vs. Ohio State

Semifinals
Orange Bowl – Dec. 29 (CFP Playoff semifinal)
Projection:  Alabama (CFP No. 1) vs. Clemson (CFP No. 4)

Cotton Bowl – Dec. 29 (CFP semifinal)
Projection: Ohio State (CFP No. 2) vs. Notre Dame (CFP No. 3)

New Year’s 6 Bowls
Rose Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Penn State vs. Washington

Sugar Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: West Virginia vs. Georgia

Fiesta Bowl – Jan. 1 (at-large vs. Group of 5*)
Projection: Texas vs. UCF

Peach Bowl – Dec. 29 (at large vs. at-large)
Projection: Florida vs. Michigan

Other Bowls
Citrus Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Wisconsin vs. LSU

Outback Bowl – Jan. 1 (Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Iowa vs. Texas A&M

Gator Bowl – Dec. 31 (ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Michigan State vs. Auburn

Holiday Bowl – Dec. 31 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Maryland vs. Colorado

Liberty Bowl – Dec. 31 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Texas Tech vs. Missouri

Redbox Bowl – Dec. 31 (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Indiana vs. Washington State

Sun Bowl – Dec. 31 (ACC vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Duke vs. USC

Military Bowl – Dec. 31 (ACC vs. American)
Projection: Boston College vs. Cincinnati

Arizona Bowl – Dec. 29 (Mountain West vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Nevada vs. Georgia Southern

Belk Bowl – Dec. 29 (ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: NC State vs. Kentucky

Alamo Bowl – Dec. 28 (Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Oklahoma vs. Oregon

Camping World Bowl – Dec. 28 (ACC vs. Big 12)
Projection: Miami vs. TCU

Music City Bowl – Dec. 28 (ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC)
Projection: Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina

Texas Bowl – Dec. 27 (Big 12 vs. SEC)
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi State

Pinstripe Bowl – Dec. 27 (ACC vs. Big Ten)
Projection: Syracuse vs. Minnesota

Independence Bowl – Dec. 27 (ACC vs. SEC)
Projection: Wake Forest vs. UAB**

Cheez-It Bowl – Dec. 26 (Big 12 vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Iowa State vs. Stanford

Quick Lane Bowl – Dec. 26 (ACC vs. Big Ten)
Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Purdue

First Responder Bowl – Dec. 26 (C-USA vs. Big Ten)
Projection: Marshall vs. San Diego State**

Hawaii Bowl – Dec. 22 (C-USA vs. Mountain West)
Projection: FAU vs. Hawaii

Dollar General Bowl – Dec. 22 (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Buffalo vs. Troy

Armed Forces Bowl – Dec. 22 (American vs. Big 12)
Projection: Cal** vs. Army**

Birmingham Bowl – Dec. 22 (American vs. SEC)
Projection: Memphis vs. Pitt**

Idaho Potato Bowl – Dec. 21 (MAC vs. Mountain West)
Projection: Toledo vs. Boise State

Bahamas Bowl – Dec. 21 (C-USA vs. MAC)
Projection: Florida International vs. Northern Illinois

Gasparilla Bowl – Dec. 20 (ACC vs. American)
Projection: Virginia vs. USF

Frisco Bowl – Dec. 19 (American vs. MAC)
Projection: BYU** vs. Ohio

Boca Raton Bowl – Dec. 18 (American vs. C-USA)
Projection: Houston vs. Middle Tennessee

New Orleans Bowl – Dec. 15 (C-USA vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Arkansas State

Camellia Bowl – Dec. 15 (MAC vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Western Michigan vs. Appalachian State

Las Vegas Bowl – Dec. 15 (Mountain West vs. Pac-12)
Projection: Utah State vs. Utah

Cure Bowl – Dec. 15 (American vs. Sun Belt)
Projection: Southern Miss** vs. Coastal Carolina

New Mexico Bowl – Dec. 15 (C-USA vs. Mountain West)
Projection: North Texas vs. Fresno State


* – 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 either the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach Bowl.

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