2023 College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s Early Predictions & Projected Spreads
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. Pictured: The Rose Bowl.
Since my final bowl projections of 2022 finished with a 95% accuracy rate (78-of-82 teams in the correct bowl), a lot of weird things have happened in college football.
In the past six months:
- There have been approximately five billion players enter the transfer portal — but enough about Colorado.
- The powers that be decided to expand the College Football Playoff to 12 teams in 2024. I’m told they did this for three reasons: money, money and to lower my bowl projection accuracy. Here’s a quick sneak preview of my 2024 bowl projections: 13 SEC teams will qualify for the 12-team playoff except for Vanderbilt, Oklahoma and Texas.
- Several conference commissioners were in the news: Kevin Warren left for the Chicago Bears. And like the Big Ten, the Bears won’t win it all either. Just the other day, George Kliavkoff saw his shadow, so that means another six weeks without a Pac-12 media rights deal. Brett Yormark continues to be aggressive in Big 12 expansion — but enough about Colorado. Actually, the Big 12 has targeted Mexico City Tech, Cancun State and Acapulco A&M. And finally, Mike Aresco of the AAC pleaded for the removal of “Power 5” terminology. Ironically, by the time I finished reading Aresco’s 2,587-word “open letter,” three more teams left his conference.
Hopefully no one has left yet. If you’re still with me, here’s the good stuff: my never-too-early 2023 bowl projections. But first, let’s update some changes from last year’s bowl lineup.
The Independence Bowl, which was contracted to select BYU this year, instead will be filled by a Big 12 team. In these projections, I have BYU in the Independence, but it can be filled by any Big 12 team. That guarantees the Big 12 seven bowl tie-ins in addition to whatever teams qualify for the College Football Playoff and/or New Year’s 6 bowls.
Other bowl changes since last season:
The College Football Playoff semifinals will be Jan. 1, 2024, at the Rose and Sugar Bowls. The Orange Bowl will feature the ACC champion (if not in the playoff or the ACC’s highest-ranked team if the ACC champ is in the playoff) vs. the highest-ranked available team from SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame.
The remaining New Year’s 6 bowls — Cotton, Fiesta and Peach — will feature the five highest-ranked at-large teams (or Power 5 champions if not in the playoff) and the highest-ranked Group of Five champion if not in the playoff. The Group of Five champion will play in either the Fiesta or Peach Bowls.
Also, there are new pairings for Las Vegas (Big Ten vs. Pac-12), Music City (SEC vs. Big Ten), Duke’s Mayo (SEC vs. ACC) and Independence (Big 12 vs. Pac-12). Trying to confirm the Independence Bowl halftime entertainment will feature a no-holds-barred wrestling match between Kliavkoff and Yormark.
Now onto my long-awaited, never-too-early 2023 bowl projections — sorry, there’s no Colorado punchline here. The Buffaloes are not among my 82 bowl teams.
So, who made the cut?
Here you go, and as always, each projection includes the projected point spread for each bowl based on Action Network senior writer Collin Wilson’s updated college football betting power ratings.
CFP National Championship Prediction
College Football Playoff Semifinals Projections
New Year’s Six Bowl Games
Projections for All Other 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 either the Peach or Fiesta Bowl if it does not qualify for College Football Playoff.
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