Category Archives: College Football Playoff

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

SATURDAY, 12/31

MORNING

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

MIDDAY

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

NIGHT

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

MONDAY, 1/2

MORNING

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

AFTERNOON

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

NIGHT

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

MONDAY, 1/9

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

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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.

PICK RESULTS

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.

BOWL OF THE YEAR 

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

FIVE-STAR BOWL

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

FOUR-STAR BOWLS

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

THREE-STAR BOWLS 

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

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POSSIBILITIES

#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.

SIX-TEAM PLAYOFF

  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.
  5. TEAMS ARE RE-SEEDED AFTER FIRST ROUND.
  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.

EIGHT-TEAM PLAYOFF

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.

NEW YEAR’S EVE (THU., DEC. 31)

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

NEW YEAR’S DAY (FRI., JAN. 1)

Morning

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

Afternoon/Night

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

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

SATURDAY (JAN. 2)

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

Bowl Teams by the Numbers

Using a composite ranking of Bill Connelly’s, Brian Fremeau’s, and ESPN’s 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: Ohio St. (#4)
Worst Team in the CFP: Michigan St. (#8) – rated worse than four teams that not in the CFP

Worst Team in a New Year’s Six Bowl: Houston (#32) – rated worse than 20 teams that are not in the NY6 bowls
Best Teams Not in a New Year’s Six Bowl: Baylor (#10), TCU (#11), LSU (#12) – rated better than three teams that are in NY6 bowls

Worst Bowl Teams:
Nevada (#99) – rated worse than 19 non-bowl teams
New Mexico (#98) – rated worse than 19 non-bowl teams
Tulsa (#95) – rated worse than 17 non-bowl teams

Best Non-Bowl Teams:
Georgia Tech (#56) – rated better than 25 bowl teams
Texas (#62) – rated better than 19 bowl teams
Illinois (#68) – rated better than 15 bowl teams

College Football Superlatives – BOWLS EDITION

Here are some of the projected best and worst of the upcoming bowl games.

BOWLS OF THE YEAR

Power 5

Orange (CFP): #1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma
Fiesta: #8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio St.

Group of 5

Boca Raton: #24 Temple vs. Toledo
Miami Beach: South Florida vs. Western Kentucky

UPSET SPECIALS

Games with a ranked team most likely to be upset
Outback: #13 Northwestern vs. #23 Tennessee
Russell Athletic: #17 Baylor vs. #10 North Carolina
Citrus: #19 Florida vs. #14 Michigan
Las Vegas: BYU vs. #22 Utah
Boca Raton: #24 Temple vs. Toledo
Orange: #1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma

BEST GAMES W/ TWO UN-RANKED TEAMS

Power 5

San Francisco: Nebraska vs. UCLA
Belk: Mississippi St. vs. NC State
Music City: Louisville vs. Texas A&M
Gator: Georgia vs. Penn St.
Birmingham: Auburn vs. Memphis
Cactus: Arizona St. vs. West Virginia
Sun: Miami vs. Washington St.
Heart of Dallas: Southern Miss vs. Washington

Group of 5

Miami Beach: South Florida vs. Western Kentucky
Poinsettia: Boise St. vs. Northern Illinois
Hawai’i: Cincinnati vs. San Diego St.
New Orleans: Arkansas St. vs. Louisiana Tech
Go Daddy: Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern
Bahamas: Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan
St. Petersburg: Marshall vs. UConn
Camellia: Appalachian St. vs. Ohio
Idaho Potato: Akron vs. Utah St.

OVERTIME BOWLS

Most likely to go into overtime / Best Match-Up

Power 5

Orange: #1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma
Fiesta: #8 Notre Dame vs. #7 Ohio St.

Group of 5

New Orleans: Arkansas St. vs. Louisiana Tech
Hawai’i: Cincinnati vs. San Diego St.

BLOWOUT BOWLS

Most likely to have a huge margin of victory / Worst Match-Up

Power 5

Liberty: Arkansas over K-State
Independence: Virginia Tech over Tulsa

Group of 5

Go Daddy: Bowling Green over Georgia Southern
Camellia: Appalachian St. over Ohio

TOILET BOWLS

Worst combined ratings of the two teams

Power 5

Pinstripe: Duke vs. Indiana

Group of 5

Cure: Georgia St. vs. San Jose St.