Bowl Projections, College Football Playoff Prediction: 2020 Preseason

Bowl Projections, College Football Playoff Prediction: 2020 Preseason

Bowl Projections

Bowl Projections, College Football Playoff Prediction: 2020 Preseason

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Welcome to the insane and painfully frustrating attempt to come up with the preseason 2020-2021 bowl projections.

It’s not just about trying to figure out the matchups for the post-season games, it’s about guessing which ones might still be happening.

The simple math of the situation is part of the problem – along with a global pandemic.

There were supposed to be over 40 bowl games and the College Football Playoff National Championship. 84 teams would have to be bowl eligible if everything went off close to normal, and at the moment only 76 teams plus Air Force – at least for a few games – are expected to play.

That means a whole slew of bowls aren’t going to be able to go. However, the College Football Playoff is expected to go full steam ahead, and the biggest bowls will find a way to happen.

Remember, ESPN makes a whole lot of money off of these bowls – CBS and FOX will want the bowls they have, too – and the TV audiences for these are vital for December programming.

First, let’s take a few massive guesses – these are NOT the official guidelines – at how this might work.

1. The biggest bowls will still be on. Even if the contracted bowl tie-ins aren’t available – like the Big Ten to the Outback and VRBO Citrus, and the Pac-12 to the Alamo and SDCCU Holiday – assume those will still have a matchup.

2. The bowls and the NCAA – in whatever capacity it still has a say in any of this – will bypass many of the eligibility issues. In normal times, with a few exceptions, a team needs to get to six wins to be bowl eligible. This year, it might be tough to get in a full schedule, and getting to six wins with the adjusted slates destroys the pool of teams.

Out of the 76 remaining teams, just 43 of them finished at .500 or better in conference play last year. Some bowls might have to take a 4-6 team if they want to have a game. With that in mind …

3. Record requirements are going to be relaxed – somewhat. If the FBC Mortgage Cure has two 4-win teams from the American Athletic Conference and Sun Belt, so be it. If there’s a 4-win Big 12 team in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas, okay. Also …

4. The military academies will play in a bowl no matter what their records are. Throw BYU in that mix, too. Air Force might only play Army and Navy this season, but let’s assume a special exemption is going to be made to get them a December exhibition game.

HOWEVER …

5. Some schools aren’t going to want to go bowling. Some might want to be done with the 2020 football season, and for some, a bowl might not make financial sense. There just can’t be more than 20ish bowls with 76 or 77 teams playing, so …

6. Some bowls won’t be able to happen. The Redbox – Big Ten vs. Pac-12 – has already announced that it’s not being played. Let’s project that the bowls that have main bowl tie-ins with conferences not playing – Quick Lane (Big Ten vs. MAC), Famous Idaho Potato (MAC vs. Mountain West), LA (Mountain West vs. Pac-12), NOVA Home Loans Arizona (MAC vs. Mountain West) won’t go, and let’s also take out the Bahamas (Conference USA vs. MAC) because of the logistical aspect of making that happen. So …

7. Because of the sheer numbers here, we’re assuming several more bowls won’t be played. Along with the Quick Lane, Famous Idaho Potato, LA, NOVA Home Loans Arizona, and Bahamas, let’s assume the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla, Cactus, Camellia, Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas, Mobile Alabama, Myrtle Beach, New Mexico, SERVRO First Responder, Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl, and Hawaii won’t be played, even if they have tie-ins that work.

With the caveat that we’ll be changing this up wildly over the next several days and weeks – we’re just trying to get this somewhere close to the green – for now …

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl

ESPN, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Regular Tie-Ins: Big 12 vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: Iowa State vs. Texas A&M

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

ESPN, Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN
Regular Tie-Ins: Big 12 vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: West Virginia vs. Mississippi State

Cheez-It Bowl

ESPN, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Big 12
Preseason Bowl Projection: Florida State vs. TCU

Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

ESPN, Howard Schnellenberger Field at FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: American Athletic or Conference USA or MAC
Preseason Bowl Projection: Temple vs. Florida Atlantic

Duke's Mayo Bowl

ESPN, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Big Ten
Preseason Bowl Projection: NC State vs. WKU

FBS Mortgage Cure Bowl

CBS Sports Network, Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: American Athletic or MAC or Sun Belt
Preseason Bowl Projection: FIU vs. Arkansas State

Fenway Bowl

ESPN, Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. American Athletic
Preseason Bowl Projection: Boston College vs. Memphis

LendingTree Bowl

ESPN,  Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
Regular Tie-Ins: MAC vs. Sun Belt
Preseason Bowl Projection: Liberty vs. Georgia Southern

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

ESPN, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Regular Tie-Ins: Big 12 vs. Group of Five Team
Preseason Bowl Projection: Texas Tech vs. SMU

Military Bowl

ESPN, Navy-Marine Corps. Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. American Athletic
Preseason Bowl Projection: Navy vs. UAB

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

ESPN, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Big Ten
Preseason Bowl Projection: Pitt vs. Cincinnati

Outback Bowl

ESPN, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: Louisville vs. Tennessee

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

ESPN, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Regular Tie-Ins: Conference USA vs. Sun Belt (champion)
Preseason Bowl Projection: Southern Miss vs. Louisiana

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

ESPN, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
Regular Tie-Ins: Army vs. Pac-12
Preseason Bowl Projection: Army vs. Louisiana Tech

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

FOX, SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Pac-12
Preseason Bowl Projection: Virginia vs. BYU

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

ESPN, EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: Miami vs. South Carolina

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

ESPN, Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
Regular Tie-Ins: American Athletic (or ACC) vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: Marshall vs. Troy

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

CBS, Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. Pac-12
Preseason Bowl Projection: Syracuse vs. Air Force

TransPerfect Music City Bowl

ESPN, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
Regular Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: Wake Forest vs. Kentucky

Valero Alamo Bowl

ESPN, Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Regular Tie-Ins: Big 12 vs. Pac-12
Preseason Bowl Projection: Kansas State vs. Houston

VRBO Citrus Bowl

ESPN, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: Big Ten vs. SEC
Preseason Bowl Projection: North Carolina vs. Auburn

New Year's Six Bowl Games

The Chick-Fil-A Peach, Cotton, and Fiesta are all based on best possible matchups according to the rankings. An ACC team has to play in the Orange vs. an at-large team, likely from the SEC.

All Power Five conference champions will be in either the College Football Playoff or New Year’s Six games along with the top-ranked Group of Five champion.

GoodYear Cotton Bowl Classic

ESPN, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Regular Tie-Ins: New Year’s Six at-large vs. New Year’s Six at-large
Preseason Bowl Projection: Oklahoma vs. Virginia Tech

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

ESPN, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Regular Tie-Ins: New Year’s Six at-large vs. New Year’s Six at-large
Preseason Bowl Projection: Florida vs. Oklahoma State

Capital One Orange Bowl

ESPN, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Regular Tie-Ins: ACC vs. New Year’s Six at-large
Preseason Bowl Projection: Notre Dame vs. LSU

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

ESPN, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Regular Tie-Ins: New Year’s Six at-large vs. New Year’s Six at-large
Preseason Bowl Projection: Texas vs. Appalachian State

College Football Playoff Semifinals

Here’s the call. 1) The CFP will do whatever is possible to make sure the Power Five champions will be in, however, 2) the Big 12 will eat itself up with its champ with multiple losses, leaving open 3) a spot for a second Power Five program, and 4) a historic move in this crazy year, including a Group of Five program for the first time.

Rose Bowl

Friday, January 1, 5:00 ET, ESPN
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Preseason Bowl Projection: Clemson vs. Georgia

AllState Sugar Bowl

Friday, January 1, 8:45 ET, ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, LA
Preseason Bowl Projection: Alabama vs. UCF

College Football Playoff National Championship

Monday, January 11, 8:00 ET, ESPN
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Preseason National Championship Projection: Alabama vs. Clemson

More Bowl Projections
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