Updated College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s New Championship Week Bowl Predictions

Updated College Football Bowl Projections: Brett McMurphy’s New Championship Week Bowl Predictions article feature image

Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Miami’s Markeith Williams.

Since my last projections on Wednesday, there has been massive “negotiating” and behind-the-scenes trading of potential teams between bowls and conferences — with much more still to come.

As of Friday morning, here are my latest projections, which I expect could — and will — be jostled around even more before Sunday’s official pairings are announced.

While the conferences and bowls try to pencil in their expected matchups entering conference championship weekend, there usually are some last-minute plot twists and upsets that create some late chaos on Sunday.

Reminder, these projections are based on Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Washington winning their conference title games and advancing to the College Football Playoff.

Here are some yet-to-be-determined plot lines that could impact multiple teams and bowls:

  • Notre Dame: Will the Irish end up in the ReliaQuest Bowl? If so, will the Irish face LSU in the Brian Kelly Bowl or Tennessee, if the SEC sends the Tigers to the Gator Bowl instead?
  • Miami: The Hurricanes finished only 7-5, but they might be one of the nation’s most coveted bowl teams. Who wins the battle for Miami? It’s a battle royale between the Pinstripe and Sun Bowls.
  • Arizona Bowl: Who ultimately ends up in the Arizona Bowl after multiple teams have indicated this week a preference to play elsewhere because of the bowl’s sponsor?
  • The Sun Belt 12: The news broke Thursday that Coastal Carolina will become the first Sun Belt team to play in the Hawaii Bowl. Also, I reported Friday that Louisiana will play Jacksonville State in the New Orleans Bowl. Where will the league’s remaining 10 teams wind up? Will the Sun Belt’s record crop of bowl teams include any intriguing matchups vs. Power 5 teams?
  • Where does FBS newbie James Madison end up? I’m projecting James Madison in the Armed Forces Bowl vs. Air Force.
  • What if Tulane tumbles? A Tulane win over SMU sends the Green Wave to a New Year’s Six bowl (I’m projecting the Peach Bowl). However, what if SMU upsets the Green Wave? No. 24 Liberty is currently the only other ranked Group of 5 team by the selection committee, but could unranked SMU, potential Sun Belt champ Troy or potential MAC champ Toledo leap-frog 13-0 Liberty?

My projections will be updated again late Saturday night following the conference championship games. All of the official pairings will be announced Sunday afternoon.

Here are my latest projections, along with the projected point spread of each matchup from Action Network senior writer Collin Wilson’s betting power ratings.

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.

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