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Bowl projections: Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty on track to meet

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There are an unprecedented 38 bowls this season, and there was some angst among bowl organizers that there would not be enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the available slots.

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That concern has eased.

Remember that four bowls have been added this season, so when you include the two playoff semifinal games that will be played in bowls, 76 teams will be in the postseason -- or 59 percent of the 128 teams in the FBS ranks.

Thus far, 72 teams have reached bowl eligibility -- 11 in the SEC (including the entire seven-team West Division), nine in the ACC and Big Ten, eight in the Pac-12, six in the Big 12, Conference USA and Mountain West, five in the AAC, Mid-American and Sun Belt and two in the independent ranks. There are 17 teams that need one more victory, so bowl organizers can rest easy that there will be enough bowl-eligible teams.

There are two games matching two 5-6 teams: Virginia at Virginia Tech and Illinois at Northwestern; that means those rivalry games have a little more at stake than usual, as the winning team heads to the postseason and the loser settles in for a long offseason.


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Other power-conference teams needing a victory in a rivalry game to get to the needed six wins are Tennessee (vs. Vanderbilt), Kentucky (vs. Louisville), Oregon State (vs. Oregon) and Michigan (vs. Ohio State). California (vs. BYU) and Pittsburgh (vs. Miami) are other five-win Power Five schools needing a win in their regular-season finale to become bowl-eligible.

Another thing to remember is that the selection committee responsible for choosing the four teams for the playoff also will select the eight teams that will be involved in the four other bowls associated with the playoff. This season, the playoff semifinals are in the Rose and Sugar bowls, meaning the 12-person playoff selection committee also will pick the matchups in the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Peach bowls. While there are 12 teams involved in the six games, it's not necessarily the 12 highest-ranked teams by committee; instead, the highest-ranked team from outside of the Power Five conferences is guaranteed a slot in one of the games, even if it falls outside the top 12.


» Scout's Take: Hundley playing as well as anyone in CFB


When looking over these bowl projections, remember that a bowl's tie-in with a league doesn't necessarily mean it will get the third- or fourth-, etc., place team from the league; instead, it means it gets the third or fourth, etc., selection from that league. You'll also notice that there is no clear-cut designation for some of the league tie-ins; that's because the leagues and bowl organizers want a lot of leeway to put together what they consider the best possible matchup. For instance, Georgia and Nebraska have met in the past two postseasons; it's hard to imagine bowl organizers would match them for a third consecutive season.

All times listed are Eastern.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

ROSE BOWL

Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 5 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Semifinal game this season.
Projection: Florida State vs. Oregon

SUGAR BOWL

Site: New Orleans
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Semifinal game this season.
Projection: Alabama vs. Mississippi State

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Site: Arlington, Texas
Date: Jan. 12
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Semifinal winners.
Projection: Alabama vs. Oregon

THE OTHER BOWLS

NEW ORLEANS BOWL

Site: New Orleans
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 11 a.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West No. 6 vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Fresno State vs. Arkansas State

NEW MEXICO BOWL

Site: Albuquerque
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 2:20 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West No. 3/4
Projection: UTEP vs. Utah State

LAS VEGAS BOWL

Site: Las Vegas
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Mountain West No. 1 vs. Pac-12 No. 6/7
Projection: Boise State vs. Washington

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL

Site: Boise, Idaho
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 5:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Mountain West No. 5
Projection: Central Michigan vs. Nevada

CAMELLIA BOWL

Site: Montgomery, Ala.
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 9:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Bowling Green vs. South Alabama

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MIAMI BEACH BOWL

Site: Miami
Date: Dec. 22
Time/TV: 2 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. BYU if bowl-eligible
Projection: Memphis vs. BYU
Note: BYU already has accepted its bid.

BOCA RATON BOWL

Site: Boca Raton, Fla.
Date: Dec. 23
Time/TV: 6 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mid-American
Projection: Western Kentucky vs. Toledo

POINSETTIA BOWL

Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 23
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West No. 2 vs. Navy if bowl-eligible
Projection: San Diego State vs. Navy

POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL

Site: Nassau
Date: Dec. 24
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mid-American
Projection: Middle Tennessee State vs. Western Michigan

HAWAII BOWL

Site: Honolulu
Date: Dec. 24
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West No. 3/4
Projection: Rice vs. Air Force
Note: One thing to remember about this game is that it makes sense to take a Mountain West team that does not play at Hawaii during the regular season. Air Force does not.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Site: Dallas
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 9 vs. Conference USA
Projection: Rutgers vs. Louisiana Tech

QUICK LANE BOWL

Site: Detroit
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 7 vs. Big Ten No. 8
Projection: Boston College vs. Northwestern

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL

Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. ACC No. 8
Projection: UCF vs. North Carolina

MILITARY BOWL

Site: Annapolis, Md.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. ACC No. 9
Projection: Cincinnati vs. Virginia

SUN BOWL

Site: El Paso, Texas
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 2 p.m., CBS
Matchup: ACC No. 3/4/5/6 vs. Pac-12 No. 5
Projection: Clemson vs. Utah

INDEPENDENCE BOWL

Site: Shreveport, La.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN2
Matchup: ACC No. 10 vs. SEC No. 10
Projection: North Carolina State vs. Arkansas

PINSTRIPE BOWL

Site: New York
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 3/4/5/6 vs. Big Ten No. 7
Projection: Miami vs. Penn State

HOLIDAY BOWL

Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 4 vs. Pac-12 No. 3
Projection: Nebraska vs. USC

LIBERTY BOWL

Site: Memphis
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 2 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 No. 5 vs. SEC No. 3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: West Virginia vs. LSU

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL

Site: Orlando
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 2 vs. Big 12 No. 3
Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Kansas State

TEXAS BOWL

Site: Houston
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 No. 4 vs. SEC No. 3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Texas vs. Texas A&M

MUSIC CITY BOWL

Site: Nashville
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 3 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 3/4/5/6 vs. SEC No. 3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Notre Dame vs. Auburn

BELK BOWL

Site: Charlotte, N.C.
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC No. 3/4/5/6 vs. SEC No. 3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Duke vs. South Carolina

FOSTER FARMS BOWL

Site: Santa Clara, Calif.
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 10 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 6 vs. Pac-12 No. 4
Projection: Iowa vs. Arizona

PEACH BOWL

Site: Atlanta
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Peach will play host to a national semifinal in the 2016 season.
Projection: Marshall vs. Michigan State

FIESTA BOWL

Site: Glendale, Ariz.
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Fiesta will play host to a national semifinal in the 2016 season. (This site also will play host to the national title game after the 2015 season.)
Projection: Ohio State vs. TCU

ORANGE BOWL

Site: Miami
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Orange will play host to a national semifinal in the 2015 season. The bowl has a contractual agreement with the ACC.
Projection: Georgia vs. Louisville

OUTBACK BOWL

Site: Tampa
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN2
Matchup: Big Ten No. 3 vs. SEC No. 3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Minnesota vs. Mississippi

COTTON BOWL

Site: Arlington, Texas
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Cotton will play host to a national semifinal in the 2016 season. (This site also is the site of the national title game this season.)
Projection: Baylor vs. UCLA

CITRUS BOWL

Site: Orlando
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Big Ten No. 2/ACC vs. SEC No. 2
Projection: Wisconsin vs. Missouri
Note: The bowl went back to its old name; it recently had been known as the Capital One Bowl.

ARMED FORCES BOWL

Site: Fort Worth, Texas
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. Army if bowl-eligible
Projection: Houston vs. Texas State
Note: Army won't be eligible. Texas State is the fill-in pick.

TAXSLAYER BOWL

Site: Jacksonville
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 3:20, ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 5 vs. SEC No. 3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Maryland vs. Florida

ALAMO BOWL

Site: San Antonio
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 6:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 No. 2 vs. Pac-12 No. 2
Projection: Oklahoma vs. Arizona State

CACTUS BOWL

Site: Tempe, Ariz.
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 10:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 No. 6 vs. Pac-12 No. 6/7
Projection: Colorado State vs. Stanford
Note: The projection is that the Big 12 won't be able to fill its slot. The Mounatin West has a secondary agreement with the bowl, which gives the bowl the first pick of available MWC teams after the league champ is slotted for the Las Vegas Bowl.

BIRMINGHAM BOWL

Site: Birmingham, Ala.
Date: Jan. 3
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. SEC No. 9
Projection: East Carolina vs. Tennessee

GODADDY.COM BOWL

Site: Mobile, Ala.
Date: Jan. 4
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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