2022 College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s Never-Too-Early Predictions with Projected Spreads
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 College Football Bowl Game Predictions
New Year’s Six Bowls
* 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.