Alabama Crimson Tide
Bowl projections: Oklahoma draws Clemson, Alabama takes on Ohio State in playoff
Alabama Crimson Tide

Bowl projections: Oklahoma draws Clemson, Alabama takes on Ohio State in playoff

Published Nov. 17, 2015 12:00 p.m. ET

The Pac-12 may not boast a playoff team this year but it’s not exactly lacking for depth. As many as 10 teams may get eligible by season’s end, and if only the champion (in the Rose Bowl) makes a New Year’s Six game, three of those 10 will have to find spots in non-Pac-12 bowls. Possibilities currently range from New York to Hawaii.

All of the power conferences’ lower-tier bowls will be sweating out Selection Sunday. The Big 12 could earn as many as three or as few as one New Year’s Six spot. The Big Ten might get three. The ACC might get two. Whatever the case, the ripple effect will extend through the entire system.

One bit of good news for bowl organizers: This week for the first time I projected there to be exactly enough six-win teams (80). But that includes quite a few teams that still have work to do – most notably 3-6 Kansas State. The Wildcats have yet to win a Big 12 game but close with 3-7 Iowa State, 0-10 Kansas and 5-4 West Virginia. The whole system is counting on you, Bill Snyder.


Dec. 31 Peach Atlanta Michigan St. (at-large) vs. Houston (Group of 5)
Dec. 31   Cotton (semifinal) Arlington, Texas Ohio St. (CFP No. 2) vs. Alabama (CFP No. 3) 
Dec. 31   Orange (semifinal) Miami  Clemson (CFP No. 1) vs. Oklahoma (CFP No. 4)
Jan. 1  Fiesta  Glendale, Ariz. Notre Dame (at-large) vs. Baylor (at-large)
Jan. 1  Rose  Pasadena, Calif. Iowa (B1G) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)
Jan. 1    Sugar New Orleans Florida (SEC) vs. Oklahoma St. (Big 12)


Dec. 19   Cure Orlando, Fla. Tulsa (American) vs. Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)
Dec. 19  New Mexico Albuquerque New Mexico (MWC) vs. Rice (C-USA)
Dec. 19 Las Vegas Las Vegas San Diego St. (MWC No. 1 or BYU) vs. UCLA (Pac-12 No. 6) 
Dec. 19 Camellia Montgomery, Ala. South Alabama (Sun Belt) vs. Buffalo (MAC)
Dec. 19 New Orleans  New Orleans Arkansas State (Sun Belt) vs. Southern Miss (C-USA)
Dec. 21 Miami Beach Miami Temple (American) vs. W. Kentucky (C-USA)
Dec. 22 Idaho Potato Boise Utah State (MWC) vs. Akron (MAC)
Dec. 22 Boca Raton Boca Raton, Fla. USF (American) vs. NIU (MAC)
Dec. 23 Poinsettia San Diego Boise State (MWC) vs. W. Michigan (MAC)
Dec. 23  GoDaddy  Mobile, Ala. Bowling Green (MAC) vs. Appalachian St. (Sun Belt)
Dec. 24 Bahamas Nassau Ohio (MAC) vs. Middle Tennessee (C-USA)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Honolulu Washington* (American) vs. BYU (MWC or BYU)
Dec. 26 St. Petersburg  St. Petersburg Memphis (American) vs. La. Tech (C-USA)
Dec. 26  Sun El Paso, Texas Louisville (ACC Nos. 3-6) vs. Washington St. (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 26 Heart of Dallas Dallas Arizona State* (Big 12) vs. Marshall (C-USA)
Dec. 26 Pinstripe Bronx, N.Y. Pittsburgh (ACC Nos. 3-6) vs. Arizona* (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 26 Independence Shreveport, La. NC State (ACC Nos. 7-9) vs. Missouri (SEC Nos. 9-10)
Dec. 26 Foster Farms Santa Clara, Calif. USC (Pac-12 No. 4) vs. Indiana (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 28  Military Annapolis, Md. Duke (ACC Nos. 7-9) vs. Navy (American)
Dec. 28 Quick Lane Detroit C. Michigan* (B1G Nos. 8-9) vs. Miami (ACC Nos. 7-9)
Dec. 29 Arizona Tucson Nevada (MWC) vs. Old Dominion (C-USA)
Dec. 29 Armed Forces Fort Worth, Texas  Air Force (MWC) vs. La.-Lafayette* (B1G Nos. 8-9)
Dec. 29 Russell Athletic Orlando, Fla. Florida St. (ACC No. 2) vs. West Virginia (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 29 Texas Houston Texas A&M (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 4)
Dec. 30 Birmingham Birmingham, Ala. Cincinnati (American) vs. Auburn (SEC No. 9-10)
Dec. 30 Belk Charlotte, N.C. Ole Miss (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Va. Tech (ACC Nos. 3-6)
Dec. 30 Music City Nashville, Tenn. Mississippi St. (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Penn State (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 30 Holiday San Diego Oregon (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Wisconsin (B1G Nos. 2-4)
Jan. 1 Outback Tampa, Fla. Northwestern (B1G Nos. 2-4) vs. Georgia (SEC Nos. 3-8)
Jan. 1 Citrus Orlando, Fla. Arkansas (SEC No. 2) vs. Michigan (B1G Nos. 2-4)
Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Jacksonville, Fla. LSU (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. North Carolina (ACC Nos. 3-6)
Jan. 2 Liberty Memphis, Tenn. Tennessee (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Kansas St. (Big 12 No. 5)
Jan. 2 Alamo San Antonio TCU (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Utah (Pac-12 No. 2)
Jan. 2 Cactus Tempe, Ariz. Toledo* (Big 12 No. 6) vs. Cal (Pac-12 No. 7)

* -- replacement for a conference without enough eligible teams

Stewart Mandel is a senior college sports columnist for He covered college football and basketball for 15 years at Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter @slmandel and Facebook. Send emails and Mailbag questions to


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