Bowl projections: Cincinnati should simply need two wins to get to the College Football Playoff

·5 min read

Where has the season gone?

We're already in the final week of the 2021 regular season. That means one more chance at bowl eligibility for 19 teams across the country. Not all of them are going to make it to bowl games, however. Eight of them play each other. At most, 15 of those 19 teams will become bowl eligible. 

And even if we get 15 wins from those 19 teams, not all of them may go to a bowl game. There are 82 bowl spots available in 41 games. With 72 teams already at six wins, there's a chance that a six-win team from a Group of Five conference could miss a bowl game if 83 or more teams get to .500 or better. Conversely, if nine or fewer 5-6 teams get a win on Saturday, some 5-7 Power Five teams could get selected for bowl games.

Here are those teams currently sitting at 5-6 and their opponents for the final week of the season. USC and Cal are both 4-6 with two games to go because their game earlier in November was postponed due to COVID-19. With USC facing BYU on Saturday and Cal at UCLA, the chances of one of the two teams getting to .500 are not great. 

Teams needing a win to get to 6-6 

  • Tulsa (vs. SMU)

  • Memphis (vs. Tulane)

  • Florida State (vs. Florida)

  • Syracuse (vs. Pitt)

  • Virginia Tech (vs. Virginia)

  • West Virginia (vs. Kansas)

  • TCU (vs. Iowa State)

  • Maryland (vs. Rutgers)

  • Rutgers (vs. Maryland)

  • Charlotte (vs. Old Dominion)

  • Old Dominion (vs. Charlotte)

  • Middle Tennessee (vs. Florida Atlantic)

  • Florida Atlantic (vs. Middle Tennessee)

  • North Texas (vs. UTSA)

  • San Jose State (vs. Fresno State)

  • Florida (vs. Florida State)

  • LSU (vs. Texas A&M)

  • Troy (vs. Georgia State)

  • South Alabama (vs. Coastal Carolina)

Here are our post-Week 12 bowl projections.

College Football Playoff semifinals

Orange Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Georgia vs. Cincinnati

It’s time to pencil in a rematch of last season’s Peach Bowl after seeing Tuesday night's rankings. We’re keeping both Georgia and Cincinnati in the playoff until further notice.

Cotton Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Ohio State vs. Oklahoma State

Let’s get nuts. We’ve finally talked ourselves out of the idea of a two-loss Alabama team in the playoff and it seems like Oklahoma State can get into the top four with wins over Oklahoma and Baylor in the next two weeks.

New Year's Six games

Peach Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • Wake Forest (ACC champion) vs. Michigan State (at-large)

Wake Forest is still in line to win the ACC title in our eyes, though this could end up being Pitt. A Wake-Pitt ACC title game could be really, really fun.

Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Notre Dame (at-large) vs. Ole Miss (at-large)

This would be a great New Year’s Day prequel to the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

Rose Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Michigan (Big Ten) vs. Oregon (Pac-12)

Oregon drops down to the Rose Bowl after losing to Utah, but this is no guarantee. The Ducks need to beat Oregon State and then Utah again in the Pac-12 championship game to get back to the Rose Bowl.

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Alabama (SEC)

Ho-hum, another Oklahoma vs. Alabama matchup. We could see Baylor slot into the Big 12’s spot here. It depends on how much the committee would drop Oklahoma after a loss to Oklahoma State and how much it would drop a three-loss Baylor after a second loss to Oklahoma State.

Other bowl games

Bahamas Bowl (Dec. 17)

  • Charlotte vs. Ball State

Cure Bowl (Dec. 17)

  • Tulsa vs. Wyoming

Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • Coastal Carolina vs. Western Kentucky

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • UTEP vs. Air Force

Independence Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • BYU vs. UTSA

LendingTree Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • South Alabama vs. Toledo

L.A. Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • Oregon State vs. San Diego State

New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 18)

  • UAB vs. Louisiana

Myrtle Beach Bowl (Dec. 20)

  • Miami (Ohio) vs. Middle Tennessee

Potato Bowl (Dec. 21)

  • Boise State vs. Kent State

Frisco Bowl (Dec. 21)

  • SMU vs. Appalachian State

Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 22)

  • Army vs. East Carolina

Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23)

  • South Carolina vs. Marshall

Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24)

  • Fresno State vs. Houston

Camellia Bowl (Dec. 25)

  • Georgia State vs. Eastern Michigan

Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 27)

  • Maryland vs. Western Michigan

Military Bowl (Dec. 27)

  • Memphis vs. Miami

Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Florida vs. Liberty

First Responder Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • West Virginia vs. Northern Illinois

Liberty Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Kansas State vs. Tennessee

Holiday Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Virginia vs. UCLA

Guaranteed Rate Bowl (Dec. 28)

  • Troy vs. Nevada

Fenway Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • UCF vs. Boston College

Pinstripe Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • Louisville vs. Minnesota

Cheez-It Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • Pitt vs. Iowa State

Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29)

  • Baylor vs. Utah

Duke’s Mayo Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • North Carolina vs. Missouri

Music City Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • Auburn vs. Penn State

Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 30)

  • Purdue vs. Arizona State

Gator Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • N.C. State vs. Kentucky

Sun Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Clemson vs. Washington State

Arizona Bowl (Dec. 31)

  • Utah State vs. Central Michigan

Outback Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Iowa vs. Arkansas

Citrus Bowl (Jan. 1)

  • Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M

Texas Bowl (Jan. 4)

  • Texas Tech vs. Mississippi State

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