College Football Bowl Projections: TCU Jumps Into New Year’s Six, Illinois’ Profile Continues to Rise

As usual, there were several surprising results on Saturday, but none were more shocking than Kansas State, which defeated Oklahoma State 48-0. The fact that the Wildcats won isn’t too surprising given they’re a good team and they played at home…but 48-0?!

Oklahoma State was projected into the Sugar Bowl as the Big 12 champion for some time, and while that could still happen, TCU is now replacing the Cowboys in the Sugar Bowl as part of those projections.

This is despite the fact that the Horned Frogs are unlikely to go undefeated. An undefeated Power Five team is unlikely to be eliminated from the college football playoffs, which is true in this forecast, as the Horned Frogs lose in Texas next week but still win the conference.

Speaking of the college football playoff, it looked three-and-a-half quarters like that projection might need a change as well. However, Ohio State’s explosive offensive finally got going in the middle of the fourth quarter, and the Buckeyes prevailed 44-31 at Penn State.

Georgia and Tennessee each had easy wins against Florida and Kentucky before their big showdown between the hedges next Saturday.

It looks like the Orange Bowl won’t place a team high from the ACC this season unless someone beats Clemson. Wake Forest is beaten in the rankings this week after turning the ball around eight times in a defeat at Louisville. The Demon Deacons threw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns on the first and final plays of the third quarter, but somehow found time for four more turnovers between those pick sixes.

North Carolina doesn’t seem to do any better than a team from the middle of the top-25 if they win the division but lose the ACC championship game to Clemson. The Tar Heels had a comfortable home win over Pittsburgh. North Carolina plays Wake Forest on Nov. 12 in a game that will likely determine the ACC’s Orange Bowl runner if Clemson wins. Syracuse is also part of this picture, although they suffered their second loss of the season against Notre Dame. The Orangemen also travel to the Demon Decons on November 19th.

Cincinnati lost at UCF for its second loss of the season. The Cotton Bowl Group of Five representative is more likely to be unranked by the end of the season.

Tulane and Coastal Carolina are the last teams in the Group of Five with just one loss. The Green Wave, who won at Kansas State but lost to Southern Miss at home, still have games left against UCF and Cincinnati. The Chanticleers, who lost to Old Dominion, still have games against Appalachian State and at James Madison.

College Football Playoff

January 9th

National Championship
Inglewood, California

title game Semifinal Winner

Dec 31

peach peel


(1) Georgia vs. (4) Tennessee

Dec 31

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.


(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Clemson

New Year’s Six Bowl Games

In the Big Ten, muddled behind the top three, I traded Illinois for the Citrus Bowl instead of Purdue. Assuming both teams win in Week 10, the Illini figure is as much a touchdown favorite over the Boilermakers when they face off in Champaign, Illinois the following week.

This change caused a mess in the projections of the Big Ten teams directly below. I couldn’t trade Purdue directly to the Music City Bowl because the Boilermakers can’t go to that game due to the Big Ten’s no-repeat rule.

Before last week’s games, I said it was unlikely that any team in the Big Ten West would win from there. So far, five of the seven have already lost. Illinois is still playing in Michigan. Wisconsin might be favored in the rest of the games, but I still think the Badgers are still likely to lose one.

There are currently 36 bowl-eligible teams, so we need 46 more to fill all the bowl slots. This week’s forecast is seven below that number.

Akron became the first team eliminated from a potential bowl game when the Zips lost at home to Miami (OH).

Don’t see your team? Check out the rest of Jerry Palm’s shell projections after week 9.

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