College Football Bowl Ties, Affiliations For Each Conference 2021-2022

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Bowl Ties, Affiliations For Each Conference 2021-2022

Bowl Projections

College Football Bowl Ties, Affiliations For Each Conference 2021-2022

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College football bowl tie-ins and bowl affiliations for every conference going into the 2021 season.


College Football Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations 2020-2021

– The top four teams ranked by the College Football Playoff selection committee will be slotted in the semifinals: Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl, both on Friday, December 31st, 2021.

– The two winners to play in the College Football Playoff National Championship in Indianapolis on Monday, January 10th, 2022.

– The highest-ranked conference champion from the American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt will automatically get one spot in either the College Football Playoff, Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.

– The Rose Bowl will be the Big Ten and Pac-12, the Sugar Bowl will be Big 12 vs. SEC.


ACC Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

Notre Dame is eligible for any ACC bowl tie-in as long as it’s within one game of the team eligible for the slot.

The ACC Champion normally goes to the Orange Bowl – unless it makes the College Football Playoff – in which case the next-highest ranked ACC team in the final College Football Playoff rankings will get in. That’s off for this year with the Orange Bowl a CFP semifinal.

1. College Football Playoff Semifinal: If Selected

First Tier

Cheez-It Bowl vs. Big 12
Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. SEC
Fenway Bowl vs. American Athletic
– Military Bowl Presented by Peraton vs. American Athletic
– New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs Big Ten
– San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl vs Pac-12
– TaxSlayer Gator Bowl vs. SEC
– Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl vs. Pac-12

Second Tier

Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl vs. AAC, Pac-12 or SEC
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl vs. SEC or AAC
– SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs. SEC or AAC or Pac-12


American Athletic Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

Highest-ranked champion from the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MW & Sun Belt will play in a New Year’s Six bowl – either a College Football Playoff semifinal, Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.

The American Athletic Conference doesn’t have a true pecking order – the bowls matchups are based on best possible games and geography.

Also, these tie-ins are a bit loose – ESPN might make changes if there’s a better opportunity and stronger matchup in one of its owned and operated bowls.

The American Athletic will get teams in these bowl slots …

Fenway Bowl vs. ACC
– Military Bowl vs. ACC (2021, 2023, 2025)
– SoFi Hawaii Bowl vs. Mountain West

The AAC will get a chance at putting four teams in these bowls …

Cure Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Myrtle Beach Bowl vs. MAC or Sun Belt
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs. ACC, Big 12, or Pac-12
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl vs. SEC
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl vs. ACC, Pac-12, or SEC

Also in the affiliation mix going forward …
– Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (2020, 2022, 2024)


Big Ten Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

1. Rose Bowl vs. Pac-12
Big Ten Champion goes here if not in the College Football Playoff, or highest-ranked Big Ten team

2. Vrbo Citrus Bowl vs. SEC

3. Outback Bowl vs. SEC

4. SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl vs. Pac-12

5. TransPerfect Music City Bowl vs. SEC

6. New Era Pinstripe Bowl vs. ACC

7. Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. Big 12

8. Redbox Bowl vs. Pac-12*
Logistics on the Redbox Bowl TBD

9. Quick Lane Bowl vs. MAC

Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. Pac-12
Note: Big Ten alternates with the SEC between the Las Vegas and Duke’s Mayo (formerly the Belk) bowls over six seasons. Las Vegas is 2021, 2023, 2025, Duke’s Mayo is 2020, 2022, 2024 


Big 12 Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

1. Sugar Bowl vs. SEC
Big 12 Champion goes here if not in the College Football Playoff, or highest-ranked Big 12 team

2. Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Pac-12
3. Cheez-It Bowl vs. ACC
4. Mercari Texas Bowl vs. SEC
5. AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs. SEC
6. Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. Big Ten

Potential other matchups
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. C-USA, Pac-12, or Army
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs. ACC, American Athletic, or Pac-12


Conference USA Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

Highest-ranked champion from the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MW & Sun Belt will play in a New Year’s Six bowl – either a College Football Playoff semifinal, Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.

Conference USA doesn’t have a true pecking order. The bowls matchups are based on best possible games and geography

Bahamas Bowl vs. MAC
Hawaii Bowl (in 2020, 2022, 2024 NOT 2021)
New Mexico Bowl vs. Mountain West
– Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl vs. BYU (2021 & 2025)
– R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl vs. Sun Belt

To be determined among the Group of Five conferences …

Cure Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. Big 12, Pac-12 or Army
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army

Conference USA has an affiliation to fill-in if needed …

Camellia Bowl vs. MAC or Sun Belt
Fenway Bowl vs. ACC or American
TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl vs. American or SEC
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl vs. ACC, American, SEC
Myrtle Beach Bowl vs. American, MAC or Sun Belt


Independent Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

Liberty, New Mexico State, UConn and UMass don’t have direct bowl ties or affiliations.

– Army doesn’t have a direct bowl tie-in, but it’ll have a slot in an ESPN owned and operated game – likely the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

BYU has a tie-in with the Independence Bowl vs. Conference USA. The Cougars will be in an ESPN owned and operated bowl in 2020, 2022 and 2024, and in the Independence Bowl in 2021, 2023 and 2025.

Notre Dame can take one of the ACC’s bowl spots – if it’s not in the College Football Playoff – but it must be within one overall win over another available ACC team.


MAC Bowl Ties, Affiliations

Highest-ranked champion from the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MW & Sun Belt will play in a New Year’s Six bowl – either a College Football Playoff semifinal, Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.

The MAC doesn’t have a true pecking order. The bowls matchups are based on best possible games and geography.

Bahamas Bowl vs. Conference USA
Camellia Bowl vs. American Athletic or Sun Belt
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Mountain West
LendingTree Bowl vs. Sun Belt
– Offerpad Arizona Bowl vs. Mountain West
– Quick Lane Bowl vs. Big Ten

To be determined among the Group of Five conferences. MAC will get spots in two of these bowls …

Cure Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Myrtle Beach Bowl vs. American Athletic or Sun Belt
New Mexico Bowl vs. Conference USA
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army


Mountain West Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

Highest-ranked champion from the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MW & Sun Belt will play in a New Year’s Six bowl – either a College Football Playoff semifinal, Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.

The Mountain West doesn’t have a true pecking order. The bowl matchups are based on best possible games and geography. The conference is guaranteed to have six bowl slots during each bowl season until 2025-2026.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. MAC
Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl vs. Pac-12
New Mexico Bowl vs. Conference USA
– Offerpad Arizona Bowl vs. MAC
SoFi Hawai’i Bowl vs. American Athletic

Mountain West has an affiliation to fill-in if needed …

– Guaranteed Rate Bowl vs. Big Ten or Big 12

To be determined among the Group of Five conferences …

Cure Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army


Pac-12 Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

1. Rose Bowl vs. Big Ten
Pac-12 Champion goes here if not in the College Football Playoff, or highest-ranked Pac-12 team

The Pac-12 doesn’t have a true pecking order – the bowls matchups are based on best possible games and geography.

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl vs. Mountain West
San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl vs. ACC
SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl vs. Big Ten
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl vs. ACC
Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12
– Redbox Bowl vs. Big Ten*
*Logistics on the Redbox Bowl TBD

From the ESPN owned and operated bowl games, the Pac-12 will likely fill one of these three slots …

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. Big 12, C-USA, or Army
SERVPRO First Responder Bowl vs. ACC, American Athletic, or Big 12
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl vs. Big 12, ACC or SEC


SEC Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

1. Sugar Bowl vs. Big 12
SEC Champion goes here if not in the College Football Playoff, or highest-ranked SEC team

2. Vrbo Citrus Bowl vs. Big Ten
The Citrus Bowl gets its pick of the top SEC team available after the CFP and Sugar Bowl are in place

The SEC will assign teams to the respective bowls in this pool.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs. Big 12
Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. ACC
Mercari Texas Bowl vs. Big 12
Outback Bowl vs. Big Ten or ACC
– TaxSlayer Gator Bowl vs. ACC
– TransPerfect Music City Bowl vs. Big Ten

Second Tier

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl vs. American Athletic
 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl vs. AAC, ACC, or Pac-12

Las Vegas Bowl vs. Pac-12
Note: SEC alternates with the Big Ten between the Las Vegas and Duke’s Mayo (formerly the Belk) bowls over six seasons. Duke’s Mayo is 2021, 2023, 2025, Las Vegas is 2020, 2022, 2024


Sun Belt Bowl Tie-Ins, Affiliations

Highest-ranked champion from the AAC, C-USA, MAC, MW & Sun Belt will play in a New Year’s Six bowl – either a College Football Playoff semifinal, Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.

The Sun Belt will get five bowl slots available to eligible teams.

ESPN owned and operated bowls get the first pick of Sun Belt teams, and it gets third and fourth picks. The New Orleans gets the second pick of the bunch, and the LendingTree has the fifth selection.

2.  R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl vs. Conference USA
5.  LendingTree Bowl vs. MAC

To be determined among the Group of Five conferences. The Sun Belt will get spots in at least three of these bowls …

Camellia Bowl vs. C-USA or MAC
Cure Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl vs. Group of Five or Army
Myrtle Beach Bowl vs. American Athletic or MAC

The Sun Belt has an affiliation to fill-in if needed …

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. MAC or Mountain West
New Mexico Bowl vs. C-USA or Mountain West

More Bowl Projections