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College Football Bowl Projections for Week 13: Brett McMurphy’s Bowl Predictions With Projected Spreads

College Football Bowl Projections for Week 13: Brett McMurphy’s Bowl Predictions With Projected Spreads article feature image

Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: The Texas Longhorns.

Only one week remains in the college football season, and there are 67 bowl-eligible teams to fill 82 spots with another 24 teams still alive in the fight for bowl eligibility.

Of those 24 teams, 12 are underdogs in their finales, so if there are no upsets — Upsets in college football? Never! — there would be 79 bowl-eligible teams with three openings.

Two of those spots would be filled by James Madison and Jacksonville State since both have six-plus wins and are eligible in their second year reclassifying from FCS to FBS.

Then that would leave room for only one 5-7 team. The 5-7 teams will be based on APR rankings. Here’s my breakdown of which teams are still trying to reach bowl eligibility and an in-depth look at the APR rankings.

I’m projecting Minnesota will be the only 5-7 team needed, but if more were needed, those bids would go to these teams in order if they finish 5-7: Minnesota, Wake Forest, Rice, Mississippi State, UCF and South Carolina.

The biggest challenge projecting this year’s bowl lineup is — surprise, surprise — because of conference realignment. There are some leagues with way more bowl-eligible teams than tie-ins (yes, Fun Belt, I’m specifically talking to you!).

The Sun Belt could have 12 of its 14 teams, including James Madison, in a bowl. Trying to place 12 Sun Belt teams in the available bowls isn’t easy, and that's why one source told me they wouldn’t shocked if a pair of Sun Belt teams may have to face other each in a bowl game.

Regarding the Power 5 leagues, the SEC likely will not fill all of its bowl obligations, in part because I’m projecting three SEC teams in the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six bowls, and only nine league teams may reach six wins.

The Big Ten could get 11 teams to six wins, while the ACC could have 12, including Notre Dame.

And then there’s USC.

One fascinating item I’ve heard from sources in the past 24-48 hours is where USC could land. I had been projecting the Trojans for the Alamo Bowl, which selects first from the Pac-12 after the Pac-12 playoff/New Year’s Six bowl teams. However, a three-game slide to close the season could plummet USC down to the Sun Bowl, which has the fourth Pac-12 pick.

“They’re a mess,” a bowl executive said. “And no one (in the bowl community) thinks (last year’s Heisman Trophy winner) Caleb Williams will be playing in USC’s bowl.”

Onto the bowl projections, which are based on my playoff picks of Georgia, Michigan and Florida State all finishing 13-0 and Oregon winning the Pac-12 at 12-1.

CFP National Championship Prediction

National Championship
Jan. 8
Houston, TX

College Football Playoff Semifinals Projections

New Year's Six Bowl Games

Projections for All Other Bowl Games

*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 the College Football Playoff.
**James Madison and Jacksonville State are in their second-year transitioning from FCS to FBS. They can only receive a bid if there are not enough teams with at least six wins to fill all the bowls. This week, I do not project enough six-win teams, allowing the Dukes and Gamecocks to receive a bowl berth.

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