It might seem like the college football season just started, but we’ve just past the midpoint of the season. And that means one thing: playoffs are coming.
As the new year approaches, the best teams in the country will be facing off across the Rose, Sugar, and Orange bowls. And by now, there have been enough games to see where the teams might stack up.
And as those rankings are coming in, people are already making their bowl projections.
If you like watching your football games with an extra side of stakes, Bowl season is a great time to win some extra money.
But you can’t go in blind. Here are some predictions that you can take to the bank.
How Are The Bowls Determined?
First things first: how do they determine which teams face each other in which games?
Short answer: they’re sorted by team rankings. But that’s a little oversimplified.
The Bowl Championship Series matches up college football teams across different conferences and pits them against each other in one big tournament.
Each bowl has its own methods of how to pick the teams.
Some bowls are chosen strictly by team rankings. The teams are chosen according to their win-loss record in the regular season.
Some bowls have automatic bids based on season records. Other conferences are put into pools, and the bowls take turns picking which teams they want.
And then there’s Notre Dame, which doesn’t belong to a single conference. So they can end up in whichever bowl wants them, depending on how good their season has been.
However, rankings aren’t everything. A more cynical person would tell you that bowl teams are chosen based on which teams will make the most money. It’s not uncommon for a popular team to edge out a team with a better record.
In short, there’s no set method for determining which teams will play which games.
This makes bowl predictions a bit difficult to pin down. But when you figure out how each bowl generally operates, you can identify the patterns to make safe bets.
The New Year’s Six
While there are dozens of bowl games, only six really matter. These are called the New Year’s Six.
The Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl take place on December 29th. The winners of these bowls will face each other in the championship. The Peach Bowl happens the same day, but it has nothing to do with the championship.
There are three additional bowl games that take place on January 1st. Like the Peach Bowl, these teams are not in contention for the championship.
These are the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl.
Scenario one: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Anyone who knows college football knows that Alabama is always in contention.
The Crimson Tide has claimed 17 championships since 1892 and is one of the most dominant football teams in the history of college football.
In fact, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is favored by many to win this year’s Heisman Trophy. He’s a big reason why Alabama is currently ranked number 1.
On the other hand, you have Notre Dame University’s famous Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame has one of the most legendary football teams ever, and is the only team to have their games broadcasted nationally.
That said, their record hasn’t always lived up to their legacy. But even in bad seasons, they still usually get a placement in a bowl game.
But this year, they’ve made a strong showing. They’re currently ranked number 4 and are in contention for the championship. Depending on the rest of their season, they could end up in the Cotton Bowl.
Scenario two: Alabama vs. Michigan
If Notre Dame isn’t in the Cotton Bowl, it will be because the University of Michigan is. The Wolverines have a dominant reputation of their own right.
In the course of their history, Michigan has earned more wins than any other team.
This season, they’re ranked number 3 and could face Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.
But whether they face the Fighting Irish or the Wolverines, the Crimson Tide is expected to win the Cotton Bowl and head to the championship.
Depending on which team plays the Cotton Bowl, either Notre Dame or Michigan will play in the Orange Bowl. Most experts are still in the air about this, so watch the rest of the season closely.
But what isn’t up for debate is that that team will face number 2 Clemson. The Tigers have been absolutely unstoppable this year, smashing their opponents with massive margins.
Clemson is projected to win the Orange Bowl, regardless of who they face.
College Football Championship
That said, the national championship will pit Alabama and Clemson against each other.
Looking at their records, the game is sure to be close. But the edge goes to Alabama.
The Rose Bowl is one of four bowl games that take place on New Years Day. This year, fans expect number 10 Ohio State to play number 8 Washington State.
At this point, both teams are 8-1, so it’s a tight matchup. That said, Ohio State has scored more overall points, which gives them a slight edge.
Number 5 Georgia and number 6 Oklahoma have both had great years. They’re both ranked 8-1, so expect this game to be a close.
Louisiana State University is currently ranked at number 7, which will likely give them a spot at the Fiesta Bowl. They’re expected to take on number 20 Penn State. Bet on LSU to win.
Fans expect number 12 University of Central Florida to face off against number 15 Florida Gators in the Peach Bowl. Putting your money down on UCF should be a good bet.
Put Your Bowl Projections to Work
The season isn’t over, so there’s still a chance that there can be a big shakeup.
Like all bets, nothing is for sure. But what is for sure is that if you put money down on the ride bowl projections, you can be looking at a massive payout.
If you love to gamble, gamble smart. Read our other gaming guides to make smart bets that will pay off.