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2014: Post Week Eight Bowl Projections

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There aren't going to be any undefeated teams by the end of the year, are there?

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't pretty and Brian Kelly certainly wasn't happy about the end result but Florida State slipped by #5 Notre Dame and moved to a perfect 7-0. The most difficult test remaining on their regular season schedule is next week at Louisville and they'll probably face Duke in the ACC Championship game. That seems easy enough but Florida State enjoys making things difficult.

Aside from Baylor (ugh, Baylor), everyone else in the top 10 took care of business, including Alabama who absolutely punished Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide finish out their season with home games against MSU, West Carolina and Auburn and assuming they win out (why would I even assume that) they'll make the playoff.

Michigan State is still in the position they were a week ago. Even if they win out they need Oregon to lose for a playoff spot. Ohio State is also in the top 15 so I like their chances of making a New Years Bowl if they're a top 10 team and lose to Michigan State.

Maryland is the big winner this week in the Big Ten bowls, meaning Iowa is naturally the loser. Basically I think that 8 wins or more gets you into the higher tier bowls: Citrus, Outback, Holiday. Despite the "new way" of looking at bowl matches there's no way that a 7 or 6 win team gets over an 8 win team. The biggest problem with the Citrus Bowl is that I think it's down to Nebraska and Wisconsin for the bowl slot (unless Minnesota continues to roll) and that's boring as all hell. But do you see them putting a 8 win team in that slot? I don't see it happening. True, Nebraska has been there two out of the past three years, but at least they weren't in Orlando last year (like Wisconsin).

The rest are below.

The Rules:

  • Four teams are chosen for the College Football Playoff.
  • Six bowls rotate for the semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach.
  • The bowls hosting the semifinals this year are the Rose and Sugar.
  • If the Big Ten Champion is eligible for a non-playoff bowl when the Rose and Sugar Bowls are hosting the semifinals, as they are this year, the Big Ten Champion will appear in the Fiesta, Peach or Cotton Bowl, but NOT the Orange Bowl.
  • The highest ranked champion from the Group of Five mid-majors (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in the non-playoff bowls if they fail to make the playoff.

More rules/information appear below. Here's a look at the bowls themselves:

College Football Playoffs:

Bowl Location Date Opponents
Championship Arlington, TX 1/12/15 Semi Winner v. Semi Winner
Rose Pasadena, CA 1/1/15 No. 2 v. No. 3
Sugar New Orleans, LA 1/1/15 No. 1 v. No. 4

New Year's Bowls (Non-Playoff Bowls):

Bowl Location Date Opponents
Cotton Arlington, TX 1/1/15 At-Large
Fiesta Glendale, AZ 12/31/14 At-Large
Orange Miami, FL 12/31/14 ACC vs. Big Ten/Notre Dame
Peach Atlanta, GA 12/31/14 At-Large

Big Ten Bowls:

Bowl

Location

Opponent

Last 5

Rose Bowl or Playoff

Pasadena, CA or Playoff Site

Pac-12 or Playoff Team

MSU, UW, UW, UW, OSU

Citrus Bowl or Orange Bowl*

Orlando, FL or Miami, FL

SEC or ACC

UW, NU, NU, MSU, PSU

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

SEC

IA, UM, MSU, PSU, NW

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

Pac-12

New

Music City or TaxSlayer Bowl**

Nashville, TN or Jacksonville, FL

SEC

NU, NW, OSU, UM, NU

San Francisco Bowl

San Francisco, CA

Pac-12

New

Pinstripe Bowl

New York City, NY

ACC

New

Quick Lane Bowl

Detroit, MI

ACC

New

Heart of Dallas or Armed Forces Bowl****

Fort Worth, TX or Dallas, TX

C-USA

PU, PSU, NW

* - The Big Ten, along with the SEC, will be eligible to face the ACC representative in the Orange Bowl at least three out of the eight seasons that it does not host a semifinal for the Playoff over a 12-year span. Notre Dame will be chosen the other two years if eligible. (It's from Wikipedia so it must be true). Also note that if the Big Ten is chosen for the Orange Bowl they give up their spot in the Citrus Bowl.

** - The Big Ten and ACC will switch between the Music City and Gator Bowl (now simply known as the TaxSlayer Bowl) on alternate years. In 2014 the Big Ten has the TaxSlayer Bowl.

*** - The San Francisco Bowl was the Fight Hunger Bowl and the Quick Lane Bowl is the new Detroit bowl game.

**** - The Big Ten and Big 12 will rotate these bowls in alternating years. In 2014 the Big Ten has the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Now for the projections.

Bowl Projections:

Bowl

Matchup

Why

Rose Bowl

Ole Miss v. Oregon

SEC Champ v. Pac-12 Champ

Sugar Bowl

Florida State v. Alabama

Undefeated FSU v. #2 SEC

Cotton Bowl

TCU v. Michigan State

OU losing gives TCU this spot

Fiesta Bowl

Baylor v. Ohio State

#2 Big 12 v. #2 Big Ten

Orange Bowl

Clemson v. Mississippi State

ACC runner-up v. One loss MSU

Peach Bowl

Notre Dame v. ECU

ECU is the best of the G5

Citrus Bowl

Nebraska v. Auburn

Big 10 runner up v. the next best SEC

Outback Bowl

Minnesota v. Missouri

Did you know Missouri is 5-2?

Holiday Bowl

Wisconsin v. USC

Bucky to San Diego

TaxSlayer Bowl

Maryland v. LSU

Maryland moves up

San Francisco Bowl

Iowa v. Arizona State

Someone has to go West

Pinstripe Bowl

Penn State v. Pittsburgh

Fanbase proximity and neat rivalry

Quick Lane Bowl

Rutgers v. Boston College

Old Big East game

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Northwestern v. Middle Tenn

C-USA teams keep losing

Queso Bowl Participants:

Rotel_queso_medium

via content.dollargeneral.com

  • No. 1 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Illinois
  • No. 2 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Indiana
  • No. 3 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Purdue
  • No. 4 Seed in the Ro-Tel Queso Bowl: Michigan

Purdue's remaining schedule is Nebraska, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Indiana. I can see them going 2-2 in that timeframe. Not even joking. Purdue Harbor is due.