College football bowl projections: Bowl Season releases first ‘official’ predictions for 2020-21

Back in October, college football’s postseason received a new, albeit simple, rebrand called “Bowl Season.” The Bowl Season organization is the one-stop shop for all things bowls in major college football. With the start of bowl season less than a month away — the Frisco Bowl is first up on Dec. 19 — the coalition, as it is self-described, has released its first set of bowl projections. These are, of course, separate from the projections released by CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm every week. 

These projections will be released each Wednesday moving forward for the next three weeks, leading up to the official College Football Playoff selections on Sunday, Dec. 20. They are made with considerations to current standings, CFP rankings, conference tie-ins and “discussions between bowl and conference leadership”. That would appear to peel back the curtain on the inner workings of where teams actually could be headed this winter. 

“We are very excited to unveil the first-ever projections,” Nick Carparelli, executive director of Bowl Season, said in a statement. “Speaking to bowl administrators, conference commissioners and TV network leadership every day, these projections are a result of pooling all of those resources to compile the most educated forecast for the 35 active bowl games. There is much football to be played and, like the rankings, the projections will probably change each week. Bowl Season is truly a celebration of college football and we can’t wait for the first bowl games in less than a month.”

Among the more notable matchups in the first projections, Clemson and Notre Dame are slated to meet in the Rose Bowl, one of the College Football Playoff semifinals. That would theoretically mark the third time the two teams will have met this year. They’ve played once already, a 47-40 double-overtime win for the Irish, and presumably will meet again in the ACC Championship Game. The other semifinal, played at the Sugar Bowl, pairs Alabama and Ohio State. 

In the New Year’s Six bowls, Florida and Miami are projected to meet in the Orange Bowl, Georgia and Cincinnati are projected to meet in the Peach Bowl and Texas A&M and Iowa State would meet in the Cotton Bowl. That would give the SEC three teams in the New Year’s Six and projects Iowa State as the Big 12 champ. 

Notably, BYU is projected to participate in the Birmingham Bowl on New Year’s Day, representing just how stark the difference is for the Cougars between a New Year’s Six berth and a lower-tier bowl. 

You can check out the entire bowl projections below. 

Bowl Season

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