Category Archives: College Football Playoff

New Year’s Bowl Game Viewing Guide

Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, California

Times AZ and Eastern.

See How the Games are Rated to learn more about…how the games are rated.

What I’m going to watch…


Belk Bowl : Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest
11:00 AM/1:00 PM, ESPN


Sun Bowl : Arizona St. vs. #24 NC State
1:00/3:00 PM, CBS

Music City Bowl : Kentucky vs. #21 Northwestern
2:30/4:30 PM, CBS


Arizona Bowl : New Mexico St. vs. Utah St.
3:30/5:30 PM, CBSSN

Cotton Bowl Classic : #5 Ohio St. vs. #8 USC
6:30/8:30 PM, ESPN


Gator Bowl : Louisville vs. #23 Mississippi St.
10:00 AM/12:00 PM, ESPN

Liberty Bowl : Iowa St. at #20 Memphis
10:30 AM/12:30 PM, ABC


Fiesta Bowl : #9 Penn St. vs. #11 Washington
2:00/4:00 PM, ESPN

Orange Bowl : #6 Wisconsin at #10 Miami
6:00/8:00 PM, ESPN


Peach Bowl : #7 Auburn vs. #12 UCF
10:30 AM/12:30 PM, ESPN

Citrus Bowl : #17 LSU vs. #14 Notre Dame
11:00 AM/1:00 PM, ABC

Hall of Fame Bowl : Michigan vs. South Carolina
10:00 AM/12:00 PM, ESPN2


The Rose Bowl Game (Semi-Final) : #3 Georgia vs. #2 Oklahoma
3:00/5:00 PM, ESPN

Sugar Bowl (Semi-Final) : #4 Alabama vs. #1 Clemson
6:45/8:45 PM, ESPN

College Football Playoff Prediction Flowchart

Using FiveThirtyEight’s playoff prediction tool, I made a flowchart with all of the possible outcomes of the Power 5 conference championship games listing the four teams given the highest probability of going to the Playoff. (The Pac-12’s conference championship game was insignificant to the results and therefore excluded.)

You’ll want to click on it so you can zoom in. (Sorry about the watermark; I’m cheap.)

What to Watch: Bowl Game Viewing Guide – New Year’s Edition

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida - Home of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida – Home of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship

The games are ordered by their on-paper most-likeliness to be a fun-to-watch game with up to three at each time slot. See here for an explanation. If there is no overlap in the games, a simple list is used. All times AZ.

FRIDAY, 12/30

Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. TCU
10:00 AM, ESPN
Overtime Watch

Sun Bowl: North Carolina vs. #18 Stanford
12:00 PM, CBS
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Music City Bowl: Nebraska vs. #21 Tennessee
1:30 PM, ESPN

Orange Bowl: #11 Florida St. vs. #6 Michigan
6:00 PM, ESPN



Citrus Bowl: #13 Louisville vs. #20 LSU
9:00 AM, ABC
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Gator Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
9:00 PM, ESPN


Peach Bowl: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Washington
1:00 PM, ESPN
College Football Playoff


Fiesta Bowl: #2 Clemson vs. #3 Ohio St.
5:00 PM, ESPN
College Football Playoff / Bowl of the Year / Overtime Watch



Hall of Fame Bowl: #17 Florida vs. Iowa
11:00 AM, ABC
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Cotton Bowl Classic: #15 Western Michigan vs. #8 Wisconsin
11:00 AM, ESPN
P5/G5 Showdown


The Rose Bowl Game: #5 Penn St. vs. #9 USC
3:00 PM, ESPN
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch


Sugar Bowl: #14 Auburn vs. #7 Oklahoma
6:30 PM, ESPN
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch


College Football Playoff National Championship: #1 Alabama vs. #2 Clemson 
6:30 PM, ESPN

The Best and Worst of the 2016-17 Bowls

Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan - Home of the Quick Lane Bowl

Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan – Home of the Quick Lane Bowl

Using a composite ranking of Bill Connelly’s, Brian Fremeau’s, ESPN’s and Ed Feng’s rating systems, here’s some info about this year’s bowl-bound (and not-bowl-bound) teams.

Composite ranking of the team in parenthesis

Best Team Not in the College Football Playoff: Michigan (#2) – rated better than three CFP teams

Worst Team in a New Year’s Six Bowl: Western Michigan (#20) – rated worse than 8 teams that are not in the NY6 bowls
Best Teams Not in a New Year’s Six Bowl: LSU (#6) and Louisville (#11) – rated better than seven and four teams respectively that are in NY6 bowls

Worst Bowl Teams:
North Texas (#117) – rated worse than 38 non-bowl teams
Hawai’i (#110) – rated worse than 32 non-bowl teams
Louisiana-Lafayette (#105) – rated worse than 28 non-bowl teams
Idaho (#104) – rated worse than 28 non-bowl teams
South Alabama (#98) – rated worse than 23 non-bowl teams

Best Non-Bowl Teams:
Ole Miss (#29) – rated better than 51 bowl teams
Notre Dame (#35) – rated better than 46 bowl teams
UCLA (#52) – rated better than 30 bowl teams
Texas (#54) – rated better than 29 bowl teams
Michigan St. (#57) – rated better than 27 bowl teams

Tightest Match-Ups:
Quick Lane Bowl: Boston College (#84) vs. Maryland (#85)
Sugar Bowl: Auburn (#11) vs. Oklahoma (#10)
Sun Bowl: North Carolina (#19) vs. Stanford (#18)
Camellia Bowl: Appalachian St. (#47) vs. Toledo (#40)
Citrus Bowl: Louisville (#11) vs. LSU (#6)

Biggest Mismatches:
Potato Bowl: Colorado St. (#53) vs. Idaho (#104)
Arizona Bowl: Air Force (#58) vs. South Alabama (#98)
Birmingham Bowl: South Carolina (#77) vs. South Florida (#36)
Military Bowl: Temple (#30) vs. Wake Forest (#72)
St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (OH) (#92) vs. Mississippi St. (#50)

What to Watch – Bowl Edition

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

The games are ranked using a zero- to five-star scale. Five stars meaning that you should make every human effort possible aside from committing a crime to watch this game (it’s time your children learned to feed themselves) and zero stars meaning you probably shouldn’t waste your time.

Games are ranked using a super-scientific system comparing the overall quality of the two teams and the closeness of the match-up. The quality of each team is found using Brian Fremeau’s, Bill Connelly’s, ESPN’s, and Ed Feng’s advanced stats ranking systems.


All Games Pct. Upset Picks Pct.
Last Week 3-2 .600 1-0 1.000
Overall 103-43 .705 18-13 .581

Without further ado: the games. All times AZ. Picks in CAPS.


Fiesta Bowl: #2 Clemson vs. #3 OHIO ST.**
Sat., Dec. 31, 5:00 PM, ESPN
College Football Playoff / Overtime Watch


Sugar Bowl: #14 Auburn vs. #7 OKLAHOMA
Mon., Jan. 2, 6:30 PM, ESPN
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch


UPDATE: Changed Sun Bowl pick to UNC.

Citrus Bowl: #13 Louisville vs. #20 LSU**
Sat., Dec. 31, 9:00 AM, ABC
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

The Rose Bowl Game: #5 Penn St. vs. #9 USC**
Mon., Jan. 2, 3:00 PM, ESPN
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Sun Bowl: NORTH CAROLINA* vs. #18 Stanford
Fri., Dec. 30, 12:00 PM, CBS
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Hall of Fame Bowl: #17 Florida vs. IOWA*
Mon., Jan. 2, 11:00 AM, ABC
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Peach Bowl: #1 ALABAMA vs. #4 Washington
Sat., Dec. 31, 1:00 PM, ESPN
College Football Playoff

Orange Bowl: #11 Florida St. vs. #6 MICHIGAN
Fri., Dec. 30, 6:30 PM, ESPN


Alamo Bowl: #10 COLORADO vs. #12 Oklahoma St.
Thu., Dec. 29, 7:00 PM, ESPN
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

Cotton Bowl Classic: #15 Western Michigan vs. #8 WISCONSIN
Mon., Jan. 2, 11:00 AM, ESPN

Pinstripe Bowl: Northwestern vs. #23 PITT
Wed., Dec. 28, 12:00 PM, ESPN
Upset Alert

Russell Athletic Bowl: MIAMI** vs. #16 West Virginia
Wed., Dec. 28, 3:30 PM, ESPN

Boca Bowl: Memphis vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY
Tue., Dec. 20, 5:00 PM, ESPN

Camellia Bowl: Appalachian St. vs. TOLEDO
Sat., Dec. 17, 3:30 PM, ESPN
Overtime Watch

Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. TCU*
Fri., Dec. 30, 10:00 AM, ESPN
Overtime Watch

Holiday Bowl: Minnesota vs. WASHINGTON ST.
Tue., Dec. 27, 5:00 PM, ESPN

Music City Bowl: Nebraska vs. #21 TENNESSEE
Fri., Dec. 30, 1:30 PM, ESPN

Independence Bowl: NC STATE vs. Vanderbilt
Mon., Dec. 26, 3:00 PM, ESPN2

Texas Bowl: K-State vs. TEXAS A&M
Wed., Dec. 28, 7:00 PM, ESPN

Belk Bowl: Arkansas vs. #22 VIRGINIA TECH
Thu., Dec. 29, 3:30 PM, ESPN


#2 CLEMSON vs. #4 Washington
Upset Alert / Overtime Watch

#3 OHIO ST. vs. #4 Washington
Upset Alert

#1 ALABAMA vs. #3 Ohio St.

#1 ALABAMA vs. #2 Clemson

*Upset picks
**Vegas favorite despite lower ranking
***Vegas underdog despite higher ranking

Guide to Creating a Six- and Eight- Team College Football Playoff

Using my plan from a few years ago to replace the BCS, here’s how I would create expanded college football playoffs using six and eight teams.


  1. Using the College Football Playoff Committee rankings, the #1 and #2 teams would have a first-round bye and automatically be in the semi-finals (Alabama to the Peach Bowl and Clemson to the Fiesta.)
  2. Conference champions ranked in the top 10 will automatically qualify for the playoff (Washington, Penn St., and Oklahoma). If there are more than four conference champions ranked #3-#10, the highest-ranked champions will be in the playoff.
  3. Any remaining spots will be filled by highest-ranking teams (Ohio St.).
  4. The first round will happen the weekend following Championship Week (this weekend) and will be hosted by the higher-ranked team.
  6. Bowl games are not selected until the Sunday after the first round (deal with it, New Mexico Bowl).

This year we would have #7 Oklahoma at. #3 Ohio St. (interesting!) and #5 Penn St. at #4 Washington with #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson having byes. After the games were played, the higher-ranked team would go to the Fiesta Bowl to play Clemson and the lower-ranked team would go to the Peach Bowl against Bama.

If Washington loses to Penn St., the Rose Bowl would feature Washington and Ohio St. or Wisconsin while a Washington victory would give us the actual match-up we’ll see this year (USC/Penn St.)

A win by Ohio St. would keep Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl and a win by Oklahoma would put Ohio St. in the Rose Bowl and Oklahoma St. in the Sugar.


With eight teams, the same rules would apply as above with two major exceptions: the highest-ranked Group of Five champion ranked in the top 16 would get an automatic first-round bid (Western Michigan) and there would be no byes for #1 and #2.

#15 Western Michigan at #1 Alabama
#7 Oklahoma at #2 Clemson (rematch!)
#6 Michigan at #3 Ohio St. (what?!)
#5 Penn St. at #4 Washington

I’d still advocate for a re-seeding after the first round.

Plan Accordingly: College Football Bowl Viewing Guide – NEW YEAR’S EDITION

The top three games during each time slot are listed below starting with the highest projected “watchability.” All times AZ.


Peach: #9 Florida St. vs. #18 Houston
10:00 AM, ESPN

Orange: #1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma
2:00 PM, ESPN
College Football Playoff Game / BOWL OF THE YEAR / Upset Special / Overtime Bowl

Cotton Bowl Classic: #2 Alabama vs. #3 Michigan St.
6:00 PM, ESPN
College Football Playoff Game



Fiesta: #8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio St.
11:00 AM, ESPN
Overtime Bowl

Citrus: #19 Florida vs. #14 Michigan
11:00 AM, ABC
Upset Special

Outback: #13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee
10:00 AM, ESPN2
Upset Special


Rose Bowl Game: #5 Iowa vs. #6 Stanford
3:00 PM, ESPN

Sugar: #16 Oklahoma St. vs. #12 Ole Miss
6:30 PM, ESPN


Gator: Georgia vs. Penn St.
10:00 AM, ESPN

Liberty: Arkansas vs. K-State
1:20 PM, ESPN

Alamo: #15 Oregon vs. #11 TCU
4:45 PM, ESPN

Cactus: Arizona St. vs. West Virginia
8:15 PM, ESPN