2021 Bowl Games: Schedule, College Football Playoff teams, kickoff times, dates, NCAA top 25 rankings

The College Football Playoff bracket, New Year's Six slate and entire 2021-22 bowl schedule are officially set as the sport moves its attention to the postseason and its much-anticipated conclusion. Cincinnati made history as the first Group of Five school to make the CFP, and it's fitting that the Bearcats' debut comes against the playoff's most familiar returning face in Alabama. They will meet in the Cotton Bowl.

Michigan, also making its first playoff appearance, will square off with Georgia in the other national semifinal. Jim Harbaugh and Kirby Smart enter this New Year's Eve showdown in the Orange Bowl coming off extremely different results in their respective conference championship games. 

But bowl season's excitement extends far beyond the playoff with interesting matchups up and down the busy schedule. Everything from Ohio State and Utah in the Rose Bowl to Oregon and Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl packs plenty of intrigue, as does Marcus Freeman making his Notre Dame head coaching debut against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. 

CBS Sports was with you all throughout Sunday as the College Football Playoff and bowl schedule was announced. Check out the full slate in the table below and catch up on the analysis in the live blog. 

College Football Playoff

Date Game / Loc. Time (TV)Matchup

Jan. 10

National Championship

8 p.m. (ESPN) Semifinal winners

Dec. 31

Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Texas

3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Cincinnati

Dec. 31

Orange Bowl
Miami Gardens, Fla.

7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

(2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia

New Year's Six bowl games

DateBowlTime (TV)Matchup

Dec. 30


7 p.m. (ESPN)

(10) Michigan State vs. (12) Pittsburgh

Jan. 1

Glendale, Ariz.

1 p.m. (ESPN)

(5) Notre Dame vs. (9) Oklahoma State

Jan. 1

Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m. (ESPN)

(6) Ohio State vs. (11) Utah

Jan. 1

New Orleans

8:45 p.m. (ESPN)

(7) Baylor vs. (8) Ole Miss

Other 2021 bowl games

DateBowlTime (TV)Matchup
Jan. 4Texas
9 p.m. (ESPN) Kansas State (7-5) vs. LSU (6-6)                          
Jan. 1Citrus
Orlando, Fla.
1 p.m. (ABC) Iowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3)
Jan. 1Outback
Tampa, Fla.
Noon (ESPN2) Penn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4)
Dec. 31Arizona

Tucson, Ariz.

4:30 p.m. (Barstool) C. Michigan (8-4) vs. Boise State (7-5)
Dec. 31Tony the Tiger Sun
El Paso, Tex.
12:30 p.m. (CBS) Miami (FL) (7-5) vs. Wash. State (7-5)
Dec. 31TaxSlayer
Jacksonville, Fla.
11 a.m. (ESPN) Wake Forest (10-3) vs. Texas A&M (8-4)
Dec. 30Las Vegas
Las Vegas
10:30 p.m. (ESPN) Wisconsin (8-4) vs. Arizona State (8-4)
Dec. 30Music City
3 p.m. (ESPN) Purdue (8-4) vs. Tennessee (7-5)
Dec. 30Duke's Mayo
11:30 a.m. (ESPN) N. Carolina (6-6) vs. S. Carolina (6-6)
Dec. 29Alamo
San Antonio
9:15 p.m. (ESPN)                       
Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-3)
Dec. 29  Cheez-It
Orlando, Fla.
5:45 p.m. (ESPN) Clemson (9-3) vs. Iowa State (7-5)
Dec. 29Pinstripe
New York
2:15 p.m. (ESPN) Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Maryland (6-6)
Dec. 29Fenway
11 a.m. (ESPN) Virginia (6-6) vs. SMU (8-4)
Dec. 28 Guaranteed Rate
10:15 p.m. (ESPN) Minnesota (8-4) vs. West Virginia (6-6)
Dec. 28Liberty
6:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Texas Tech (6-6) vs. Miss. State (7-5)
Dec. 28Holiday
San Diego
5 p.m. (FOX) UCLA (8-4) vs. NC State (9-3)
Dec. 28First Responder
University Park, Tex.
3:15 p.m. (ESPN) Louisville (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3)
Dec. 28Birmingham
Birmingham, Ala.
Noon (ESPN) Houston (11-2) vs. Auburn 6-6)
Dec. 27Military
Annapolis, Md.
2:30 p.m. (ESPN) ECU (7-5) vs. Boston College (6-6)           
Dec. 27Quick Lane
11 a.m. (ESPN) W. Michigan (7-5) vs. Nevada (8-4)
Dec. 25Camellia
Montgomery, Ala.
2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Ball State (6-6) vs. Georgia State (7-5)
Dec. 24Hawai'i
Honolulu, Hawai'i
8 p.m. (ESPN) Memphis (6-6) vs. Hawaii (6-7)
Dec. 23Gasparilla
7:30 p.m. (ABC) Florida (6-6) vs. UCF (8-4)
Dec. 23

Frisco Classic
Frisco, Tex.

3:30 p.m. (ESPN) Miami (OH) (6-6) vs. North Texas (6-6)
Dec. 22Armed Forces
Fort Worth, Tex.
8 p.m. (ESPN) Army (8-3) vs. Missouri (6-6)
Dec. 21Frisco
Frisco, Tex.
7:30 p.m. (ESPN) UTSA (12-1) vs. San Diego State (11-2)
Dec. 21Famous Idaho Potato
Boise, Idaho        
3:30 p.m. (ESPN) Kent State (7-6) vs. Wyoming (6-6)
Dec. 20Myrtle Beach
Conway, S.C.
2:30 p.m. (ESPN) Tulsa (6-6) vs. Old Dominion (6-6)
Dec. 18 New Orleans
New Orleans
9:15 p.m. (ESPN) Marshall (7-5) vs. Louisiana (12-1)
Dec. 18L.A.
Los Angeles
7:30 p.m. (ABC) Utah State (10-3) vs. Oregon State (7-5) 
Dec. 18LendingTree
Mobile, Ala.
5:45 p.m. (ESPN) E. Michigan (7-5) vs. Liberty (7-5)
Dec. 18Independence
Shreveport, La.
3:30 p.m. (ABC) BYU (10-2) vs. UAB (8-4)
Dec. 18New Mexico
Albuquerque, N.M.
2:15 p.m. (ESPN) UTEP (7-5) vs. Fresno State (9-3)
Dec. 18Boca Raton

Boca Raton, Fla.

11 a.m. (ESPN) W. Kentucky (8-5) vs. App. State (10-3)
Dec. 17Cure

Orlando, Fla.

6 p.m. (ESPN2) N. Illinois (9-4) vs. C. Carolina (10-2)
Dec. 17Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

Noon (ESPN) Middle Tenn. (6-6) vs. Toledo (7-5)
Live updates
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Right now it seems the SEC has a couple of games that it wants to confirm officially before we can finalize their matchups. These are, of course, some of the premiere games in the bowl calendar scheduled within a few days of the College Football Playoff semifinals. 


Virginia-SMU in Fenway Park at 11 a.m. is a bowl game 


We're close to having the entire bowl picture filled out. The ACC just announced its entire slate and I think we're just waiting on a few SEC and Big Ten decisions before the pieces fall into place. 

Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest in the Gator Bowl is a rematch of a Belk Bowl showdown between these two teams that saw the Demon Deacons win 55-52 against an Aggies team that was led by then-interim coach Jeff Banks. I've frequently pointed to that win against an SEC opponent as one of the great pieces of evidence that Dave Clawson was building something special in Winston-Salem. The Aggies has an interim coach, sure, but the once the game got going the level of compete from both teams was high. And Wake Forest found a way to win. 


Bully ball

This will be a fun matchup -- at least for those who appreciate teams that have overachieved by playing with ruthless defense. Kentucky coach Mark Stoops played at Iowa back when Kirk Ferentz was the offensive line coach. But these teams have never met before. Would imagine both fan bases appreciate the warm weather location as well. Could be a really fun game.

@BowlSeason via Twitter
December 5, 2021, 8:35 PM

Fighting to meet expectations

UCLA can get to nine wins for the first time since 2014 with a win, and NC State can get to 10 wins for the first time since 2002. Both teams have had their moments this season, but there's been some disappointment as well considering the expectations entering the season. Feels kind of like the winner of this one will end the season having met expectations, whereas the loser will look back with a bunch of "what ifs."

@BowlSeason via Twitter
December 5, 2021, 8:31 PM

NC State and UCLA in the Holiday Bowl feels like it could be a top-five bowl by the time Tom Fornelli ranks each game at the end of the postseason. Gut says that one could go off the rails. 

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