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.
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.
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
|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 21||Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla||Houston||Southern Miss||12|
|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|
This week we also projected the end-game for each conference to predict a champion.
Winners of the conference will be listed in italics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although it has not been formally announced, these two teams are set to play each other in the Mountain West Conference Championship.
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.
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.
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.