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Roberts Poll: The first bowl projection update

Will your favorite team be blessed with extra games this post-season?

NCAA Football: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl-Akron vs Utah State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

In this installment of the Roberts Poll, we revisit the issue of bowl pairings and projections. With a much clearer picture of who will make it and who will come up short, all that is left is to speculate and wait. Bear in mind that these are projections, not official bowl bids. We used the Roberts Poll and this SB Nation article on bowl tie-ins to determine reasonable pairings. We intentionally avoided same-conference games and games that previously occurred in the season.

Also in this article, we highlight the MAC bowls, as they are by far the most important to our loyal readers. We go over projected conference championship games and their winners as well.

If you are unfamiliar with the Roberts Poll, you are missing out. This is the formula we use to rank the teams. It basically comes down to a mathematical formula that takes the quality of a win or loss and combines it with margin of victory to assign a team points.

MAC Bowls:

Based on Roberts Poll rankings, only six MAC schools will attend bowls. The Buffalo Bulls are not expected to earn a final, bowl-cinching victory. The only projected loss in Bowl Week comes from Western Michigan, in an exciting match-up against Marshall. Northern Illinois is expected to get the nod to replace the ACC tie-in in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, defeating Indiana. Akron should beat Southern Miss in the awesomely-named Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, replacing the American Athletic tie-in. Toledo, Central Michigan, and Ohio are also expected to win their respective match-ups.

These are the expected MAC’s bowl games, as projected by the Roberts Poll:
Italics are used to denote projected winners.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Montgomery, AL
Dec 16
Central Michigan Chippewas vs Arkansas State Red Wolves

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
St Petersburg, FL
Dec 21
Akron Zips vs Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Nassau, BAH
Dec 22
Toledo Rockets vs North Texas Mean Green

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Boise, ID
Dec 22
Ohio University Bobcats vs Colorado State Rams

Dollar General Bowl
Mobile, AL
Dec 23
Western Michigan Broncos vs Marshall Thundering Herd

Quick Lane Bowl
Detroit, MI
Dec 26
Northern Illinois Huskies vs Indiana Hoosiers

Other Bowl Match-ups:

What would a bowl preview be without the remaining 34 bowl games? We compiled a full pairing of all bowls based on Roberts Poll rankings.

Some games of note include Alabama and the Wisconsin Badgers meeting in the CFP National Championship game. Despite a lot of moving parts from last week, the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies are still expected to compete in the ultra-patriotic Texas Bowl. The Minnesota Golden Gophers will take on the Army Black Knights in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Ordinarily that match-up may not be all that exciting, but I personally cannot wait to see what unique uniform Fleck’s Golden Gophers will wear.

The team listed as the “Home” team is also expected to win the match-up.

Roberts Poll Bowl Pairings

Date Bowl Projected Winner Opponent Spread
Date Bowl Projected Winner Opponent Spread
Dec 16 AutoNation Cure Air Force Georgia State 5
Dec 16 Gildan New Mexico Boise State Florida Atlantic 7
Dec 16 Las Vegas San Diego State Washington State 3
Dec 16 R + L Carriers New Orleans Troy Marshall 28
Dec 16 Raycom Media Camellia Appalachian State Akron 14
Dec 19 Boca Raton North Texas Central Michigan 9
Dec 20 Frisco Utah SMU 3
Dec 21 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Houston Southern Miss 12
Dec 22 Bahamas Ohio UAB 9
Dec 22 Famous Idaho Potato Northern Illinois Colorado State 2
Dec 23 Birmingham Navy Utah State 1
Dec 23 Dollar General Toledo Arkansas State 13
Dec 23 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Army Florida Int 37
Dec 24 Hawai'i South Florida Fresno State 1
Dec 26 Cactus Kansas State California 4
Dec 26 Quick Lane Oregon Western Michigan 26
Dec 26 Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Texas Tech UTSA 7
Dec 27 Foster Farms Arizona State Purdue 2
Dec 27 New Era Pinstripe Michigan Duke 35
Dec 27 Texas Texas Texas A&M 3
Dec 27 Walk-On's Independence Virginia Middle Tennesee 3
Dec 28 Camping World Louisville Iowa State 9
Dec 28 Military Memphis Notre Dame 3
Dec 28 SDCCU Holiday Stanford Northwestern 4
Dec 28 Valero Alamo USC Oklahoma State 5
Dec 29 Belk NC State Kentucky 18
Dec 29 Franklin American Mortgage Music City Iowa Missouri 9
Dec 29 Goodyear Cotton Penn State Auburn 4
Dec 29 Hyundai Sun Arizona Boston College 5
Dec 29 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Wyoming UCLA 3
Dec 30 AutoZone Liberty West Virginia Ole Miss 14
Dec 30 Capital One Orange Ohio State Miami (FL) 15
Dec 30 PlayStation Fiesta Washington TCU 3
Dec 30 TaxSlayer South Carolina Wake Forest 8
Jan 1 Chick-fil-A Peach Alabama UCF 11
Jan 1 Citrus Virginia Tech LSU Even
Jan 1 Outback Michigan State Mississippi State 3
Jan 1 Rose (CFP) Wisconsin Clemson 11
Jan 1 Sugar (CFP) Georgia Oklahoma 1
Jan 8 CFP National Championship Wisconsin Georgia 7
Spencer Roberts

Conference Championships:

This week we also projected the end-game for each conference to predict a champion.
Winners of the conference will be listed in italics.

Home team hosts
Dec 2, 12:00 PM
Memphis Tigers vs UCF Knights

Memphis has already earned their divisional berth, but Central Florida has to beat the South Florida Bulls to earn theirs. South Florida has the opportunity to earn a berth of their own with a win.

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Dec 2, 8:00 PM
Clemson Tigers vs Miami-Florida Hurricanes

The Atlantic Coastal Conference Championship Game is set and tickets are being sold. Clemson is expected to win simply because they have played more games, earning more Roberts Poll points. Miami is still ranked higher because of their average Roberts Poll points per game, and this game is not used in the determination in the College Football Playoff standings as it is such an oddity.

Big Ten:
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Dec 2, TBD
Wisconsin Badgers vs Ohio State Buckeyes

This game is also set as no other team could possibly earn more wins than Ohio State or Wisconsin. The Penn State Nittany Lions and Michigan State Spartans have an opportunity to force a tie-breaker, but Ohio State has beaten both teams already, re-assuring their Big Ten East title.

Big 12:
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Dec 2, 12:30 PM
Oklahoma Sooners vs TCU Horned Frogs

Oklahoma has secured their Big XVII Conference Championship berth, but TCU must compete with the Oklahoma State Cowboys and West Virginia Mountaineers for theirs. There is a plethora of possibilities, but the most likely scenario is TCU earning spot in the conference championship game.

Conference USA:
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Dec 2, 12:00 PM
Florida Atlantic Owls vs North Texas Mean Green

Interestingly, Conference USA is not finished with their regular season games, which continue during and after the Conference USA Championship Game. Both teams are set to play for the title, however.

Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Dec 2, 12:00 PM
Toledo Rockets vs Akron Zips

As you may or may not know, neither Toledo nor Akron have formally earned their berths into this game. Toledo is fighting Northern Illinois in the MAC West, while Ohio are still challenging Akron for the MAC East slot. This final week of conference play will dictate who visits who at Ford Field in a few weeks.

Mountain West:
Home team hosts
Dec 2, 7:45 PM
Boise State Broncos vs Fresno State Bulldogs

Although it has not been formally announced, these two teams are set to play each other in the Mountain West Conference Championship.

Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Dec 1, 8:00 PM
USC Trojans vs Stanford Cardinal

In the PAC-12, USC has earned their bid, but Stanford is only projected to participate. The Apple Bowl between the Washington Huskies and Washington State Cougars will determine if Stanford is invited. If Washington wins, Stanford earns a slot in the PAC-12 Conference Championship Game. If Washington State wins, the Cougars earn a bid of their own.

Mercedez-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Dec 2, 4:00 PM
Georgia Bulldogs vs Alabama Crimson Tide

Another big game comes down to a rivalry game. This time, the Iron Bowl between Alabama and the Auburn Tigers determines who takes on Georgia for the SEC Championship.

Sun Belt:
Appalachian St. Mountaineers
Troy Trojans

This actually took some serious calculations, because the Sun Belt will not have a conference championship game until next year. By projecting the remainder of the Sun Belt games, Troy and Appalachian State are each expected to finish 7-1 in conference play. Here’s the problem: those two teams never play head-to-head. According to John McElwain, Sun Belt’s Senior Associate Commissioner, in such a situation both teams will finish as co-champions.