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It’s a very telling indicator how deep my addiction to college football runs that I am predicting it’s end before it’s even begun. It’s not like saying in August who you think will be in the Super Bowl, because there’s only one. For the college football addict/prognosticator, there’s 40 different games to deal with. If that weren’t complicated enough, it’s not simply a matter of taking the top 80 teams and seeding them tourney-style.
Not only are the vast majority of these games stand-alone events with no connections, but trying to understand the process of picking the participants is like attempting to comprehend an M.C. Escher print after you’ve chugged a Sam’s Club-sized pack of NyQuil.
The recipe for getting to the Escher-esque dimension-warping that is the college football bowl selection process goes like this. First, cherry-pick the four “best” teams off the top for the college football play-off. Then, add a layer of conference-based contractual obligations, some of which are standings-based while others are “first-come, first serve.”
When the selections are left to individual bowl selection committees, you can bet they will ALWAYS pick the schools with the largest traveling fan bases and/or creating a match-up with local/regional interest. While ESPN created most of these games so it can populate the December sports doldrums with easy programming, the bowl selection committees are usually members of the local Chambers of Commerce who are looking to fill up their hotels and restaurants for a few days.
That all goes in the blender when conferences don’t produce enough bowl-eligible team to meet the aforementioned obligations. After all that, this list of bowl predictions is based of Dubsism’s pre-season team rankings, which gives all of this an accuracy factor somewhere between your local weatherman and a Democratic campaign pollster.
All times U.S. Eastern
New Mexico Bowl: Mountain West vs. Conference USA, Albuquerque, NM, ESPN, 2 p.m.
Cure Bowl: American vs. Sun Belt, Orlando, FL, CBSSN, 2:30 p.m.
Las Vegas Bowl: Mountain West vs. Pac-12, Las Vegas, NV, ABC, 3:30 p.m.
Camellia Bowl: MAC vs. Sun Belt, Montgomery, AL, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.
New Orleans Bowl: Sun Belt vs. Conference USA, New Orleans, LA, ESPN, 9 p.m.
Boca Raton Bowl: American/Conference USA/MAC, Boca Raton, FL, ESPN, 7 p.m.
Frisco Bowl: American vs. At-large, Frisco, TX, ESPN, 8 p.m.
Gasparilla Bowl: American vs. Conference USA, Tampa, FL, ESPN, 8 p.m.
Bahamas Bowl: MAC vs. Conference USA, Nassau, Bahamas, ESPN, 12:30 p.m.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: MAC vs. Mountain West, Boise, ID, ESPN, 4 p.m.
Birmingham Bowl: SEC vs. American, Birmingham, AL, ESPN, noon
Armed Forces Bowl: Big 12 vs. American, Fort Worth, TX, ESPN, 3:30 p.m.
Dollar General Bowl: MAC vs. Sun Belt, Mobile, AL, ESPN, 7 p.m.
Hawaii Bowl: Conference USA vs. Mountain West, Honolulu, HI, ESPN, 10:30 p.m.
First Responder Bowl: Big Ten vs. Conference, USA, Dallas, TX, ESPN, 1:30 pm.
Quick Lane Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big Ten, Detroit, MI, ESPN, 5:15 p.m.
Cheez-It Bowl: Big 12 vs. Pac-12, Phoenix, AZ, ESPN, 9 p.m.
*- Georgia Tech takes the Big 12 spot as it won’t have enough bowl-eligible teams to meet it’s obligations
Independence Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. SEC, Shreveport, LA, ESPN, 1:30 p.m.
Pinstripe Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big Ten, New York, NY, ESPN, 5:15 p.m.
Texas Bowl: Big 12 vs. SEC, Houston, TX, ESPN, 9 p.m.
Music City Bowl: ACC/Big Ten/Notre Dame vs. SEC, Nashville, TN,ESPN, 1:30 p.m.
Camping World Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. Big 12, Orlando, FL, ESPN, 5:15 p.m.
Arizona Bowl: Mountain West vs. Sun Belt, Tucson, AZ, CBSSN, 5:30 p.m.
Alamo Bowl: Big 12 vs. Pac-12, San Antonio, TX, ESPN, 9 p.m.
Peach Bowl: At-large vs. At-large, Atlanta, GA, ESPN, noon
Belk Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. SEC, Charlotte, NC, ABC, noon
*- UCLA takes the place of #49 Mississippi which is on a self-imposed bowl ban.
Military Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. American, Annapolis, MD, ESPN, noon
San Francisco Bowl: Big Ten vs. Pac-12, San Francisco. Fox, 3 p.m.
Liberty Bowl: Big 12 vs. SEC, Memphis, TN, ESPN, 3:45 p.m.
Holiday Bowl: Big Ten vs. Pac-12, San Diego, CA, FS1, 7 p.m.
Gator Bowl: ACC/Big Ten/Notre Dame vs. SEC, Jacksonville, FL, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.
Sun Bowl: ACC/Notre Dame vs. Pac-12, El Paso, TX, CBS, TBA
Outback Bowl: Big Ten #3* vs. SEC #3, Tampa, FL, ESPN2, noon
* – The agreement for the Outback Bowl is is for five different teams in six years, they would prefer not selecting Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Northwestern.
Citrus Bowl: Big Ten #2* vs. SEC #2, Orlando, FL, ABC, 1 p.m.
* – The agreement for the Citrus Bowl is for five different teams in six years, they would prefer not selecting either Minnesota or Michigan.
Fiesta Bowl: At-large vs. At-large, Phoenix, AZ, ESPN, 1 p.m.
Rose Bowl: Big Ten #1 vs. Pac-12 #1, Pasadena, CA ESPN, 5 p.m.
Sugar Bowl: Big 12 #1 vs. SEC #1, New Orleans, LA, ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET
Cotton Bowl: College Football Playoff semifinals, Dallas, TX, ESPN, 4 or 8 p.m.
Orange Bowl: College Football Playoff semifinals, Miami, FL, ESPN, 4 or 8 p.m.
Monday, January 7th
College Football Playoff Championship Game: Semifinal winners, Santa Clara, CA, ESPN, 8 p.m. ET
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