The last bowl projections of the 2019 college football season have arrived. Sunday afternoon, we will know what the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has to say beyond the four-team playoff itself, which has been filled out with LSU jumping Ohio State for the No. 1 spot followed by Clemson and Oklahoma rounding out the top four.
Utah had a chance to make itself the leader in the clubhouse for that fourth playoff spot on Friday night, but it lost to Oregon 37-15 in the Pac-12 Championship Game. As such, the Utes finish the season without a win over a team in the CFP Rankings. They were a team that had been passing the eye test for the committee but did not have the quality wins to back that up. Now, they have failed their most important eye test as well. I am projecting them to fall out of contention for a New Year's Six bowl game.
That loss swung the College Football Playoff door open for Oklahoma, which was a 30-23 overtime winner against Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game. The Sooners took the No. 4 seed and play SEC champion and No. 1 seed LSU in the Peach Bowl CFP semifinal.
Georgia had a chance to ruin any chance for Oklahoma by beating LSU in the SEC Championship Game, but the Bulldogs suffered a series of injuries during the game and lost 37-10. The Tigers were going to the playoff win or lose. With the win, LSU jumped Ohio State, which will play in the Fiesta Bowl CFP semifinal against ACC champion Clemson. That is a rematch of the 2016 game in the same venue, a game in which Clemson demolished Ohio State 31-0.
College Football Playoff
|Date / Time (ET)||Game / Loc.||Matchup||Prediction|
|Title game|| Semifinal winners|
Dec. 28, 4 p.m.
(4) Oklahoma vs. (1) LSU
Dec. 28, 8 p.m.
(3) Clemson vs. (2) Ohio State
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Georgia is expected to represent the SEC in the Sugar Bowl for the second consecutive season. It will face Baylor, the runner-up from the Big 12. This would be the Bears' first Sugar Bowl appearance since 1956.
In the Rose Bowl, I am projecting Wisconsin to represent the Big Ten against Pac-12 champion Oregon. The Badgers knew a loss to the Buckeyes was likely and already ranked Wisconsin above Penn State. I do not believe Wisconsin will be punished by losing a second time to the No. 2 team in the field.
Finally, the Cotton Bowl gets the highest-rated Group of Five conference champion. That is Memphis, which beat Cincinnati for the second week in a row, this time 29-24. The Tigers are the AAC champion and were the highest-rated Group of Five team in the prior CFP Rankings. Memphis is expected to face Penn State, the highest-rated team not already in a New Year's Six bowl. The Nittany Lions moved into the spot I had originally projected to the Utes.
New Year's Six bowl games
|Date||Bowl / Location||Matchup||Prediction|
SEC vs. Big 12
| Georgia vs. Baylor|
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Wisconsin vs. Oregon|
ACC vs. SEC/B1G/ND
|Virginia vs. Florida|
At-large vs. At-large
|Memphis vs. Penn State|
The Citrus Bowl has first choice among SEC teams after the New Year's Six, and I have Alabama projected to be picked for the game over Auburn, despite the Tigers being ranked ahead of the Crimson Tide. The Big Ten gets to choose its representative and could pick Minnesota, but I believe it will go with Michigan, creating a huge matchup on New Year's Day. That would leave Auburn and Minnesota to meet in the Outback Bowl.
With 79 teams bowl-eligible, I am projecting Toledo to be left out of the selection process. Check out my complete final bowl projections here.