2021 College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s Predictions With Projected Spreads After Week 1

2021 College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s Predictions With Projected Spreads After Week 1 article feature image

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1).

While I take a break from ordering a new “sissy blue shirt” in honor of UCLA’s win over LSU, it’s that time of the week to roll out my updated college football bowl projections.

The biggest differences in my projections from last week involve UCLA and Notre Dame. The Bruins — and their sissy blue shirts — are now my pick to represent the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl. Also, I’m now projecting Notre Dame in a New Year’s Six Bowl, in part because of its win at Florida State on Sunday and upset losses by North Carolina and Wisconsin.

After the Irish’s overtime victory at Florida State, Irish coach Brian Kelly tried a new take on an old joke by former Tampa Bay Bucs coach John McKay.

Created as an NFL expansion team in 1976, the Bucs lost their first 26 games. During that stretch, McKay was asked by a reporter what he thought of his team’s execution. “I’m in favor of it,” McKay said.

Sunday night, Kelly joked: “I'm in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team should be executed tonight.”

Kelly’s delivery didn’t work as well as McKay’s, but at least Kelly didn’t reference another McKay joke. After the Bucs ended their NFL-record 26-game losing streak, McKay said “three or four plane crashes and we’re in the playoffs.”

Speaking of playoffs — how’s that for a transition? — I’m projecting the same four teams as last week for the College Football Playoff. However, I did move Georgia up to the No. 3 seed and dropped Oklahoma to No. 4.

Onto this week’s bowl projections, including the projected point spread for each game based on Collin Wilson’s updated college football betting power ratings.

College Football Betting Power Ratings

2021 College Football Bowl Projections

College Football Playoff National Championship

Monday, Jan. 10 ⋅ Indianapolis, IN

Projection: Alabama vs. Georgia

Proj. Spread: Alabama -9

College Football Playoff Semifinals

Capital One Orange Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Miami Gardens, FL

Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Proj. Spread: Alabama -10.5

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Arlington, TX

Projection: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia

Proj. Spread: Ohio State -3

New Year's Six Bowls

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Saturday, Jan. 1 ⋅ New Orleans, LA

Projection: Iowa State vs. Texas A&M

Proj. Spread: Texas A&M -2.5

Rose Bowl

Saturday, Jan. 1 ⋅ Pasadena, CA

Projection: UCLA vs. Penn State

Proj. Spread: Penn State -3

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

Saturday, Jan. 1 ⋅ Glendale, AZ

Projection: Notre Dame vs. UCF*

Proj. Spread: UCF -3.5

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Thursday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Atlanta, GA

Projection: Clemson vs. Iowa

Proj. Spread: Clemson -6.5

Other Bowls

Texas Bowl

Tuesday, Jan. 4 ⋅ Houston, TX

Projection: Kansas State vs. Mississippi State

Proj. Spread: Mississippi State -2

Vrbo Citrus Bowl

Saturday, Jan. 1 ⋅ Orlando, FL

Projection: Michigan vs. Florida

Proj. Spread: Florida -4

Outback Bowl

Saturday, Jan. 1 ⋅ Tampa, FL

Projection: Wisconsin vs. LSU

Proj. Spread: Wisconsin -6.5

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Tucson, AZ

Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State

Proj. Spread: Fresno State -12

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Jacksonville, FL

Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Auburn

Proj. Spread: Auburn -1

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Friday, Dec. 31 ⋅ El Paso, TX

Projection: Boston College vs. USC

Proj. Spread: USC -5.5

TransPerfect Music City Bowl

Thursday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Nashville, TN

Projection: Indiana vs. Missouri

Proj. Spread: Indiana -5

Duke's Mayo Bowl

Thursday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Charlotte, NC

Projection: Pitt vs. Ole Miss

Proj. Spread: Ole Miss -3.5

Las Vegas Bowl

Thursday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Las Vegas, NV

Projection: Michigan State vs. Utah

Proj. Spread: Utah -11

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Valero Alamo Bowl

Wednesday, Dec. 29 ⋅ San Antonio, TX

Projection: Texas vs. Oregon

Proj. Spread: Texas -2.5

Cheez-It Bowl

Wednesday, Dec. 29 ⋅ Orlando, FL

Projection: North Carolina vs. TCU

Proj. Spread: North Carolina -1.5

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Wednesday, Dec. 29 ⋅ Bronx, NY

Projection: Rutgers vs. Miami

Proj. Spread: Miami -12.5

Fenway Bowl

Wednesday, Dec. 29 ⋅ Boston, MA

Projection: Virginia vs. SMU

Proj. Spread: Virginia -0.5

SDCCU Holiday Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ San Diego, CA

Projection: NC State vs. Arizona State

Proj. Spread: Arizona State -1.5

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Phoenix, AZ

Projection: Minnesota vs. Baylor

Proj. Spread: Minnesota -3

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Memphis, TN

Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Kentucky

Proj. Spread: Oklahoma State -4.5

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Dallas, TX

Projection: Wake Forest vs. Army

Proj. Spread: Wake Forest -1.5

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 28 ⋅ Birmingham, AL

Projection: Memphis vs. Tennessee

Proj. Spread: Tennessee -3

Military Bowl

Monday, Dec. 27 ⋅ Annapolis, MD

Projection: Florida State vs. Cincinnati

Proj. Spread: Cincinnati -13.5

Quick Lane Bowl

Monday, Dec. 27 ⋅ Detroit, MI

Projection: Purdue vs. Toledo

Proj. Spread: Purdue -6.5

Camellia Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 25 ⋅ Montgomery, AL

Projection: San Jose State vs. Appalachian State

Proj. Spread: Appalachian State -7

EasyPost Hawaii Bowl

Friday, Dec. 24 ⋅ Honolulu, HI

Projection: Hawaii vs. UTSA

Proj. Spread: UTSA -8

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Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

Thursday, Dec. 23 ⋅ Tampa, FL

Projection: Houston vs. Arkansas

Proj. Spread: Arkansas -5.5

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Wednesday, Dec. 22 ⋅ Fort Worth, TX

Projection: Tulane vs. Texas Tech

Proj. Spread: Tulane -0.5

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 21 ⋅ Frisco, TX

Projection: Rice vs. South Alabama

Proj. Spread: South Alabama -1

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Tuesday, Dec. 21 ⋅ Boise, ID

Projection: Buffalo vs. San Diego State

Proj. Spread: Pick 'em

Myrtle Beach Bowl

Monday, Dec. 20 ⋅ Myrtle Beach, SC

Projection: Coastal Carolina vs. Central Michigan

Proj. Spread: Coastal Carolina -11.5

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 18 ⋅ New Orleans, LA

Projection: Marshall vs. Louisiana

Proj. Spread: Louisiana -1.5

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 18 ⋅ Inglewood, CA

Projection: Washington vs. Boise State

Proj. Spread: Washington -8

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 18 ⋅ Shreveport, LA

Projection: BYU vs. Western Kentucky

Proj. Spread: BYU -2.5

LendingTree Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 18 ⋅ Mobile, AL

Projection: Eastern Michigan vs. Troy

Proj. Spread: Troy -9.5

New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 18 ⋅ Albuquerque, NM

Projection: Nevada vs. Western Michigan

Proj. Spread: Nevada -7.5

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 18 ⋅ Boca Raton, FL

Projection: UAB vs. Utah State

Proj. Spread: UAB -10

Cure Bowl

Friday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Orlando, FL

Projection: Florida Atlantic vs. Liberty

Proj. Spread: Liberty -11

Bahamas Bowl

Friday, Dec. 17 ⋅ Nassau, Bahamas

Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Ball State

Proj. Spread: Ball State -10

Redbox Bowl

TBD ⋅ San Francisco, CA

Projection: Maryland vs. Colorado

Proj. Spread: Maryland -1

* The highest-rated champion from the Group of Five conferences (American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) will be selected to play in the Fiesta Bowl.

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