College Football Bowl Projections: Playoff field is set

Jan 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of the college football playoff trophy during media day at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of the college football playoff trophy during media day at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Big Ten and ACC have wrapped up their conference title games and now all that’s left is putting teams in bowl games, so check out our final bowl projections.

I usually have a more profound and much more detailed intro to these things but we are less than 12 hours away from finding out who will be in the playoff and New Year’s Six Bowls. Some have been figured out like Alabama and Ohio State but where will Michigan land and who will play Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl. Well let me not go on any further, here’s what we expect the Playoff committee to decide.

AllState Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs Auburn 

  • January 2, 2017
  • Mercedes-Benz Superdome

We knew that Bedlam would produce the Big 12’s side of the Sugar Bowl and that winner was Oklahoma. However, the SEC side remained a mystery as Florida had a chance of getting to New Orleans with a good showing against Alabama in the SEC Title Game.

That did not take place with Florida getting 54 hung on them so Florida’s loss is now Auburn’s gain and the Tigers will represent the SEC in the Sugar Bowl. This matchup should be one of the most entertaining games as both offenses have shown that they can spread it out and score a lot of points.

Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Auburn 35 

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: USC vs Penn State 

  • January 2, 2016
  • Rose Bowl Stadium

With Colorado losing in blowout fashion to Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the USC Trojans take the top spot in the Pac-12 rotation since Washington is headed towards the Playoff. Who they will face will be the Big Ten Champion (sorry, spoilers) Penn State. It was a surprise to many but now that the Nittany Lions have won the Big Ten, they will head to Pasadena and not the playoff. Both teams should be well rested after ending the season with bumps and bruises to end the season.

Prediction: USC 31, Penn State 26

Capital One Orange Bowl: Michigan vs Florida State 

  • December 30, 2016
  • Hard Rock Stadium

I’m sorry Michigan fan but instead of the Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl, you have to go to Miami and the Orange Bowl. I’m so sorry that you have to spend your holiday on South Beach, let me get some tissue for you. Regardless, the Florida State-Michigan is a tremendous game that is worth the billing and bright lights of Miami. The showdown between playmakers in Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Dalvin Cook from Florida State. This is possibly a playoff matchup in 2017 or 2018 so pay close attention to this one.

Prediction: Michigan 27, Florida State 24

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Western Michigan vs Wisconsin

  • January 2, 2017
  • AT&T Stadium

It’s just over 1,000 miles and over 15 hours drive time from Kalamazoo, Michigan to AT&T Stadium and the 2017 Cotton Bowl. It’s also how much rowing the Western Michigan faithful will have to do if they want to attend their school’s biggest game ever on the second day of 2017. For Wisconsin, they reach the Cotton Bowl after losing the Big Ten Championship Game to Penn State.

The beauty of these New Year’s Six games is that you get games like this, the plucky undefeated underdog against one of the standard bearers of the game. The only question now is will this be PJ Fleck’s last game at Western Michigan as head coach?

Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Western Michigan 23

Playstation Fiesta Bowl: Clemson vs Ohio State 

  • December 31, 2016
  • University of Phoenix Stadium

A small change to one of the playoff games as Ohio State will remain at No.2 in the playoff rankings as there are no indications that they will be punished for not having a conference championship game and therefore be dropped to the No. 4 seed in the playoff. This means that they will take on a Clemson team that returns to the playoff after winning the ACC for the second straight season. The game gives us a nice QB battle with Deshaun Watson going at it with J.T.  Barrett, it’s possible that Watson might also have a Heisman Trophy in tow as well.

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Clemson 34

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: Alabama vs Washington 

  • December 31, 2016
  • Georgia Dome

Alabama’s second home is the Georgia Dome and Alabama’s final game in the venue will come against Washington, the winners of the Pac-12. Huskies QB Jake Browning has put together a stellar season but in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Browning’s poor play against Colorado may have been a sign of things to come.

Next: Biggest Heisman Busts of All-Time

The Heisman contender played his worst game of the season against a Buffs defense that struggled to be consistent for a majority of the game. Facing Alabama will be a much different, much more frightening task for Browning. I’m not sure the Huskies have a chance against Alabama.

Prediction: Alabama 48, Washington 17 

CFP National Title Game: Alabama 40, Ohio State 27