We are entering the last month of the 2023 college football regular season, and what does that mean? It means the playoff rankings are here, and the conference title races are heating up. But, most importantly, it means that bowl season is on the horizon. Yes, that includes the College Football Playoff Semifinal bowl games plus the four additional bowl games that all combine to make up the New Year's Six. But it also includes one additional game for college football fans whose teams just did not have enough this year but get one more game to cheer on their school — or scream at their TV.
While some of you are not fans of the overly exaggerated number of bowl games that have entirely too long of names due to sponsorships, it does mean that we get football on a random Tuesday or Wednesday night to hold us over during the playoff race in the NFL and to the lead-up of the College Football Playoff.
So, with all that being said, here are our current projections for the 2023-24 bowl season.
The New Year's Six
Cotton Bowl (Dec. 29) - Washington Huskies vs. Oklahoma Sooners
If both of these two teams meet in a bowl game, it is most likely because one thing — the same thing — happened to both the Huskies and Sooners: They both lost in their conference title game to a team they beat in the regular season. Regardless of that, this would be an excellent bowl game with two Heisman candidate quarterbacks airing it out in what should be a high-scoring matchup. While both teams would much rather be playing for a national title, a New Year's Six Bowl Game would still be huge for each program.
Orange Bowl (Dec. 3o) - Louisville Cardinals vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Whether the Nittany Lions lose to Michigan or beat them, odds are they will end up in a New Year's Six Bowl Game, and that could land them in the Orange Bowl against the potential Atlantic Coast Conference runner-up, the Louisville Cardinals. Both teams have a defense that ranks inside the top 20 in total yards, points allowed, rush defense and turnovers, but they also have offenses that come up short in the clutch when it matters. This would be a defensive showdown between two teams just on the cusp of making the playoffs.
Peach Bowl (Dec. 3o) - Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan Wolverines
One of these teams, if not both, could be sitting on the outside of the playoff looking in as the fifth and/or sixth ranking, but they could also find themselves in the playoff if they win out and win their respective conferences. However, if they both lose, this is the most likely landing point and matchup. giving us two stingy defenses with heavy running attacks going head-to-head in Atlanta, Georgia. But at this point, the question is: Will Michigan be playing in any bowl game when all is said and done?
Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1) - Oregon Ducks vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Ducks are the best team in the Pac-12, and all roads are leading to them winning the Pac-12 with a revenge victory over Washington in the conference title game. They would be taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who deserve a spot in the New Year's Six given their current resumé. Each team has a talented quarterback, a great offensive line, and a defense that can make big plays and put up points of its own. This would be one of the top games of the season if these two have a showdown during the postseason.
Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal) (Jan. 1) - Georgia Bulldogs vs. Texas Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns could have the perfect resumé for a one-loss team to make the playoffs: a win over a ranked non-conference opponent and a conference title win with revenge over the one team that beat them. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, will most likely be undefeated come playoff time as they prepare for their postseason run at a third straight title. The Longhorns are set to join the Southeastern Conference next year, have already beaten one SEC powerhouse this season and are ready to beat another. But Georgia is the back-to-back champion for a reason and is starting to play its best football this season.
Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal) (Jan. 1) - Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida State Seminoles
The Buckeyes are No. 1 in the first playoff rankings of 2023 and should hold on to that spot when it comes to playoff time. Meanwhile, the Seminoles have lived up to the preseason hype and look better and better as the weeks go on. The Big Ten champ and the ACC champ meeting in the grandaddy of them all will provide everything you want in a College Football Playoff game. Two programs that have stellar defenses and NFL-level talent at their skill positions — particularly at wide receiver — will give us a top-tier showdown to see who goes to the national championship game in Houston.
The Rest of the Bowls
|Dec. 16||Arizona||Wyoming||Miami (OH)||MWC vs. MAC||Tucson, Ariz.|
|Dec. 16||Music City||Maryland||Missouri||Big Ten vs. SEC||Nashville, Tenn.|
|Dec. 16||Liberty||West Virginia||Auburn||Big 12 vs. SEC||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Dec. 16||Sun||Miami (FL)||Utah||ACC vs. Pac-12||El Paso, Texas|
|Dec. 16||Gator||UCLA||Tennessee||Big Ten vs. SEC||Jacksonville, Fla.|
|Dec. 16||Alamo||Kansas||Colorado||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||San Antonio, Texas|
|Dec. 18||Pop-Tarts||Virginia Tech||Oklahoma State||ACC vs. Big 12||Orlando, Fla.|
|Dec. 19||Pinstripe||NC State||Rutgers||ACC vs. Big Ten||New York, N.Y.|
|Dec. 21||Fenway||Boston College||South Florida||ACC vs. AAC||Boston, Mass.|
|Dec. 22||Texas||Kansas State||Texas A&M||Big 12 vs. SEC||Houston, Texas|
|Dec. 23||Holiday||Duke||Oregon State||ACC vs. Pac-12||San Diego, Calif.|
|Dec. 23||Duke's Mayo||Clemson||Florida||ACC vs. SEC||Charlotte, N.C.|
|Dec. 23||Military||Syracuse||Navy||ACC vs. AAC||Annapolis, Md.|
|Dec. 23||Guaranteed Rate||Iowa State||Nebraska||Big 12 vs. Big Ten||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|Dec. 23||First Responder||Tulane||Fresno State||AAC vs. Pool||Dallas, Texas|
|Dec. 23||Quick Lane||Minnesota||Eastern Michigan||Big Ten vs. MAC||Detroit, Mich.|
|Dec. 23||Hawaii||Boise State||FAU||MWC vs. AAC||Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Dec. 26||Las Vegas||Iowa||USC||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Las Vegas, Nev.|
|Dec. 26||68 Ventures||UTSA||Georgia Southern||Pool vs. Sun Belt||Mobile, Ala.|
|Dec. 26||Idaho Potato||Central Michigan||San Jose State||MAC vs. MWC||Boise, Idaho|
|Dec. 27||Armed Forces||BYU||Rice||Big 12 vs. Pool||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Dec. 27||Camellia||Memphis||Old Dominion||Pool vs. Pool||Montgomery, Ala.|
|Dec. 27||Birmingham||Marshall||Kentucky||Pool vs. ACC/SEC||Birmingham, Ala.|
|Dec. 27||Gasparilla||Mississippi State||Georgia Tech||ACC/SEC vs. Pool||Tampa, Fla.|
|Dec. 28||Boca Raton||Coastal Carolina||Northern Illinois||Pool vs. Pool||Boca Raton, Fla.|
|Dec. 28||Frisco||SMU||Texas State||Pool vs. Pool||Frisco, Texas|
|Dec. 28||Bahamas||Jacksonville State||Bowling Green||C-USA vs. MAC||Charlotte, N.C.|
|Dec. 28||Independence||TCU||Washington St.||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Shreveport, La.|
|Dec. 29||Los Angeles||Air Force||Arizona||MWC vs. Pac-12||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Dec. 29||New Mexico||New Mexico State||UNLV||C-USA vs. MWC||Albuquerque, N.M.|
|Dec. 29||Cure||Georgia State||Ohio||Pool vs. Pool||Orlando, Fla.|
|Dec. 30||New Orleans||Liberty||James Madison||C-USA vs. Sun Belt||New Orleans, La.|
|Dec. 30||Myrtle Beach||Troy||Western Kentucky||Pool vs. Pool||Myrtle Beach, S.C.|
|Jan. 1||Citrus||Wisconsin||Ole Miss||Big Ten vs. SEC||Orlando, Fla.|
|Jan. 1||ReliaQuest||North Carolina||LSU||Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC||Tampa, Fla.|
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