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2022 College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s Never-Too-Early Predictions with Projected Spreads

2022 College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s Never-Too-Early Predictions with Projected Spreads article feature image
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Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: The Ohio State Buckeyes.

  • The 2022 college football season may seem far away, but it will be here in a few short months.
  • With the Super Bowl now in the past, our Brett McMurphy took this opportunity to share his bowl projections for 2022.
  • Check out a prediction for every bowl with a projected spread below.

2022 College Football Bowl Projections

Bowl executives may not be breaking out champagne like the ‘72 Dolphins do every season when the last undefeated team loses, but there is cause for celebration within the bowl community.

That’s because the College Football Playoff announced it will not expand before the 2025 season. The earliest the playoff can now expand is the 2026 season.

Last month, the conference commissioners couldn’t reach a unanimous agreement, and they admit they are not optimistic of expanding the four-team playoff before the current contract expires in four years.

When (if?) the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams, several smaller bowls are expected to be eliminated, sources have told The Action Network. However, no playoff expansion and the current 42-bowl lineup should remain intact.

That’s great news for the existing bowls and their immediate future. As far as this season’s bowl lineup, here are some of the differences from last year:

  • The College Football Playoff semifinals will be Dec. 31, held at the Fiesta and Peach bowls. Because Jan. 1, 2023, is a Sunday — college football secedes that day to the NFL — the Cotton and Rose (Big Ten vs. Pac-12) bowls will be played on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. The Orange Bowl (ACC vs. SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame) will be played on Dec. 30. The Sugar Bowl (SEC vs. Big 12) has been moved to Dec. 31 with a noon ET kickoff.
  • The highest ranked Group of Five champion — if not in the playoff — will play in the Cotton Bowl against an at-large team.
  • Army will play in the Independence Bowl vs. an AAC team.
  • BYU, if not selected for a New Year’s Six bowl, will play in the Hawaii Bowl or an ESPN-owned bowl.
  • In its second game with its new conference affiliations, the Las Vegas Bowl will get teams from the Pac-12 and SEC. Last year, Las Vegas had Pac-12 vs. Big Ten.
  • The Duke’s Mayo Bowl will feature the ACC vs. the Big Ten. Last year, it was SEC vs. the ACC (hopefully the ACC team comes to play this season).
  • Since the San Francisco Bowl appears kaput — it hasn’t been played in two years and doesn’t have a sponsor or network deal — ESPN would create another bowl in 2022 to take the place of the San Francisco Bowl, sources told The Action Network. This will provide a 42nd bowl. Last year, ESPN created the Frisco Bowl Classic as the 42nd bowl game. It’s unknown if ESPN will hold a second Frisco Bowl Classic this year or create a different bowl instead to replace San Francisco.
  • Finally, Friday’s news that Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss are joining the Sun Belt a year early on July 1 means those schools leave Conference USA and its seven bowl bids for the Sun Belt, which has only five bowl bids. That will make for only five bowls for the 13 Sun Belt schools (James Madison is not eligible this year), while C-USA will have seven bowls for its remaining 11 members.

Onto my never-too-early bowl projections, which were remarkably 92% accurate on Selection Sunday last year.

As always, each bowl projection includes the projected point spread for each game based on Action Network senior writer Collin Wilson’s updated college football betting power ratings.

Updated 2022 College Football Betting Power Ratings

Updated College Football Bowl Game Predictions

CFP National Championship

Monday, Jan. 9 ⋅ Los Angeles, CA
Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Ohio State
Action Spread: Ohio State -2

CFP Semifinals

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Atlanta, GA
Projection: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Clemson
Action Spread: Alabama -10.5

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ Phoenix, AZ
Projection: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Georgia
Action Spread: Ohio State -17

New Year’s Six Bowls

Capital One Orange Bowl

Friday, Dec. 30 ⋅ Miami Gardens, FL
Projection: Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin
Action Spread: Wisconsin -5.5

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 31 ⋅ New Orleans, LA
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
Action Spread: Texas A&M -6.5

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Monday, Jan. 2 ⋅ Dallas, TX
Projection: NC State vs. Houston*
Action Spread: NC State -11

Rose Bowl

Monday, Jan. 2 ⋅ Pasadena, CA
Projection: Michigan vs. Utah
Action Spread: Utah -5


Other Bowls

Texas Bowl

Projection: Texas vs. Tennessee
Action Spread: Texas -4

Vrbo Citrus Bowl

Projection: Penn State vs. Florida
Action Spread: Penn State -1.5

Outback Bowl

Projection: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky
Action Spread: Notre Dame -1

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl

Projection: Toledo vs. Fresno State
Action Spread: Toledo -7.5

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Projection: Pitt vs. LSU
Action Spread: Pitt -16.5

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Projection: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA
Action Spread: Virginia Tech -6

TransPerfect Music City Bowl

Projection: Iowa vs. Arkansas
Action Spread: Iowa -5

Duke’s Mayo Bowl

Projection: Louisville vs. Michigan State
Action Spread: Louisville -2

Las Vegas Bowl

Projection: Ole Miss vs. Washington
Action Spread: Washington -8.5

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Valero Alamo Bowl

Projection: Oklahoma vs. USC
Action Spread: Oklahoma -6.5

Cheez-It Bowl

Projection: Miami vs. Baylor
Action Spread: Miami -15.5

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Projection: North Carolina vs. Nebraska
Action Spread: Nebraska -1.5

Fenway Bowl

Projection: Syracuse vs. Cincinnati
Action Spread: Cincinnati -10.5

SDCCU Holiday Bowl

Projection: Florida State vs. Oregon
Action Spread: Florida State -3

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Projection: Purdue vs. Iowa State
Action Spread: Purdue -3.5

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Projection: TCU vs. Auburn
Action Spread: TCU -9

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Projection: Minnesota vs. Kansas State
Action Spread: Minnesota -4

TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Projection: Mississippi State vs. Maryland
Action Spread: Mississippi State -3.5

Military Bowl

Projection: Virginia vs. UCF
Action Spread: UCF -1

Quick Lane Bowl

Projection: Northwestern vs. Central Michigan
Action Spread: Northwestern -4.5

Camellia Bowl

Projection: Middle Tennessee vs. Liberty
Action Spread: Liberty -6.5

EasyPost Hawaii Bowl

Projection: BYU vs. Western Kentucky
Action Spread: BYU -24.5

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Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

Projection: South Carolina vs. Boston College
Action Spread: Boston College -10

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Projection: West Virginia vs. SMU
Action Spread: SMU -8.5

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl

Projection: Utah State vs. Troy
Action Spread: Troy -13.5

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Projection: Miami (OH) vs. San Jose State
Action Spread: San Jose State -4

Myrtle Beach Bowl

Projection: Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina
Action Spread: East Carolina -3.5

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Projection: UAB vs. Appalachian State
Action Spread: Appalachian State -4

Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl

Projection: Arizona State vs. Air Force
Action Spread: Arizona State -5

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Projection: Army vs. Tulane
Action Spread: Tulane -10

LendingTree Bowl

Projection: Western Michigan vs. Marshall
Action Spread: Marshall -12

New Mexico Bowl

Projection: San Diego State vs. Oregon State
Action Spread: Oregon State -13

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl

Projection: Memphis vs. Boise State
Action Spread: Boise State -2.5

Cure Bowl

Projection: Florida Atlantic vs. Eastern Michigan
Action Spread: Eastern Michigan -9

Bahamas Bowl

Projection: Louisiana Tech vs. Northern Illinois
Action Spread: Northern Illinois -4.5

TBA Bowl**

Projection: Louisiana vs. UTSA
Action Spread: Louisiana -8

* 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 Cotton Bowl if it does not qualify for College Football Playoff.

**ESPN will create a bowl this fall to replace the San Francisco Bowl if it is not played.

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