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Updated Bowl Projections – November 19, 2014

Every Monday and Wednesday we publish bowl projections from experts across the web.  On Mondays, we offer a bowl projection of our own that may seem crazy at first, but we’ll provide the rationale behind it, explain how it can happen.  Hopefully we’ll surprise you not with the pick, but how it falls into place as the season goes on (we invite you to check our picks from the last few years).  Each week, we’ll list our earlier picks, and after the bowls are over, we’ll review our projections.  On Wednesdays, we provide analysis of the expert projections.  Here are the expert picks, notes, our crazy bowl pick and more.  (Click here for a list of updated conference tie-ins)

R+L Carriers New Orleans

  • Mark Schlabach – Cal vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Brett McMurphy – Akron vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Zac Ellis – Temple vs. Arkansas State
Gildan New Mexico Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Air Force vs. UTEP
  • Brett McMurphy – San Diego State vs. UTEP
  • Zac Ellis – Louisiana Tech vs. Nevada
Royal Purple Las Vegas

  • Mark Schlabach – Colorado State vs. Stanford
  • Brett McMurphy – Colorado State vs. Washington
  • Zac Ellis – Boise State vs. Stanford
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Ohio vs. San Diego State
  • Brett McMurphy – Central Michigan vs. Nevada
  • Zac Ellis – Bowling Green vs. San Diego State
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Western Michigan vs. South Alabama
  • Brett McMurphy – Northern Illinois vs. South Alabama
  • Zac Ellis – Toledo vs. South Alabama
Miami Beach Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Cincinnati vs. BYU
  • Brett McMurphy – UCF vs. BYU
  • Zac Ellis –  Memphis vs. BYU
Boca Raton Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – UAB vs. Central Michigan
  • Brett McMurphy – Louisiana Tech vs. Toledo
  • Zac Ellis – Rice vs. Western Michigan
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Utah State vs. Navy
  • Brett McMurphy – Utah State vs. Navy
  • Zac Ellis – Utah State vs. Navy
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Marshall vs. Northern Illinois
  • Brett McMurphy- Rice vs. Western Michigan
  • Zac Ellis – Middle Tennessee vs. Central Michigan
Hawaii Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Middle Tennessee vs. Nevada
  • Brett McMurphy – Middle Tennessee vs. Northwestern
  • Zac Ellis –  UTEP vs. Air Force
Heart of Dallas Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Rice vs. Rutgers
  • Brett McMurphy – Marshall vs. Rutgers
  • Zac Ellis –  Marshall vs. Rice
Quick Lane Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – North Carolina vs. Michigan
  • Brett McMurphy – North Carolina State vs. Michigan
  • Zac Ellis –  Virginia Tech vs. Western Kentucky
BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – UCF vs. North Carolina State
  • Brett McMurphy – Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
  • Zac Ellis –  Cincinnati vs. Buffalo
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman

  • Mark Schlabach – Temple vs. Virginia Tech
  • Brett McMurphy – Memphis vs. Boston College
  • Zac Ellis – UCF vs. Boston College
Hyundai Sun Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Louisville vs. Utah
  • Brett McMurphy – Miami (FL) vs. Arizona State
  • Zac Ellis – Louisville vs. Utah
Duck Commander Independence Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Boston College vs. Houston
  • Brett McMurphy – Virginia Tech vs. UAB
  • Zac Ellis – North Carolina State vs. Arkansas
New Era Pinstripe Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Georgia Tech vs. Maryland
  • Brett McMurphy – Louisville vs. Penn State
  • Zac Ellis –  Notre Dame vs. Maryland
National University Holiday Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Iowa vs. USC
  • Brett McMurphy – Minnesota vs. Utah
  • Zac Ellis –  Minnesota vs. USC
Russell Athletic Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma
  • Brett McMurphy – Duke vs. Oklahoma
  • Zac Ellis – Duke vs. Kansas State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – West Virginia vs. South Carolina
  • Brett McMurphy – Texas vs. South Carolina
  • Zac Ellis –  West Virginia vs. Missouri
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Texas vs. Texas A&M
  • Brett McMurphy – West Virginia vs. Texas A&M
  • Zac Ellis –  Texas vs. Texas A&M
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Tennessee vs. Miami (FL)
  • Brett McMurphy – Tennessee vs. Iowa
  • Zac Ellis –  Tennessee vs. Clemson
Belk Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Clemson vs. Auburn
  • Brett McMurphy – Clemson vs. Missouri
  • Zac Ellis –  Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina
San Francisco Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Penn State vs. Arizona
  • Brett McMurphy – Maryland vs. USC
  • Zac Ellis –  Iowa vs. Arizona
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Georgia vs. Michigan State
  • Brett McMurphy – Georgia vs. Michigan State
  • Zac Ellis – Georgia vs. Colorado State
Fiesta Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – UCLA vs. Boise State
  • Brett McMurphy – UCLA vs. Boise State
  • Zac Ellis –  Baylor vs. Michigan State
Capital One Orange Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Duke vs. Mississippi State
  • Brett McMurphy – Georgia vs. Mississippi State
  • Zac Ellis – Clemson vs. Ole Miss
Outback Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Nebraska vs. Missouri
  • Brett McMurphy – Nebraska vs. Auburn
  • Zac Ellis –  Nebraska vs. Ole Miss
Cotton Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – TCU vs. Ohio State
  • Brett McMurphy – TCU vs. Ohio State
  • Zac Ellis –  TCU vs. UCLA
Citrus Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss
  • Brett McMurphy – Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss
  • Zac Ellis –  Wisconsin vs. Auburn
Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual

  • Mark Schlabach – Florida State vs. Oregon
  • Brett McMurphy – Alabama vs. Oregon
  • Zac Ellis –  Florida State vs. Oregon
Allstate Sugar Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Alabama vs. Baylor
  • Brett McMurphy – Florida State vs. Baylor
  • Zac Ellis – Alabama vs. Ohio State
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – East Carolina vs. Louisiana Tech
  • Brett McMurphy – Houston vs. Western Kentucky
  • Zac Ellis –  Houston vs. California
TaxSlayer Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – LSU vs. Minnesota
  • Brett McMurphy – LSU vs. Notre Dame
  • Zac Ellis –  LSU vs. Penn State
Valero Alamo Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Kansas State vs. Arizona State
  • Brett McMurphy – Kansas State vs. Arizona
  • Zac Ellis –  Oklahoma vs. Arizona State
Cactus Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Bowling Green vs. Washington
  • Brett McMurphy – Air Force vs. California
  • Zac Ellis –  Ohio vs. Washington
Birmingham Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Memphis vs. Florida
  • Brett McMurphy – East Carolina vs. Florida
  • Zac Ellis –  East Carolina vs. Florida
GoDaddy Bowl

  • Mark Schlabach – Toledo vs. Arkansas State
  • Brett McMurphy – Bowling Green vs. Arkansas State
  • Zac Ellis –  Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

The biggest losers – You’ve heard the phrase, “every week matters,” and I don’t know of a sport where that is more true than in college football. So far this year, there have been six stunning upsets that made it nearly impossible for the teams that lost to make the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State – No matter how you view it, an early-season home loss to Virgina Tech pales in comparison to a loss to at Alabama, TCU, and maybe even West Virginia.  Had the Buckeyes defeated the Hokies, they might be ranked No.1.

Arizona State – Following a defeat of playoff contender Notre Dame, the Sun Devils climbed to No. 6, and the heavens were aligned for them to have an opportunity to play No.2 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.  A win there and they’d be in.  But the road there included a stop in Corvallis, which had been hell for Pac-12 BCS Contenders.  It remains so today, as the Beavers punished the Sun Devils, and there may be no road to redemption this season.

Baylor – The trip to Morgantown is always tough, and for the Bears, it ended with a season-low 27 points and a 14-point loss.  Had the Bears beat the Mountaineers, they’d be 10-0 a shoe-in to the College Football Playoff.

Wisconsin – A wet-and-windy October day, resulted in a Northwestern upset win over the Badgers.  Following this game, Wisconsin made a change at quarterback and they’ve reeled off five consecutive wins, culminating in Saturday’s record-setting win against Nebraska.  Had the Badgers not fallen in Evanston, they would be 9-1, with games remaining at Iowa, home against No.25 Minnesota, and a prospective Big Ten Championship Game against Ohio State.

Duke – A Devil went down in Carolina last weekend, to find the Hokies at it again.  This time, Virginia Tech stunned an 8-1 Duke team that would have all-but-clinched a division title and an appearance in the ACC Championship Game with a win.  Instead, the Blue Devils must win out just to make it there, and even if they upset Florida State in the game, you just can’t believe they’ll be in the College Football Playoff.

Missouri – The Tigers are leading the SEC East, and have the inside track to appear in the SEC Championship Game.  So why does it feel like it’s been a disappointing season?  Because the 8-2 Tigers lost at home to a 3-7 Indiana team that hasn’t won a Big Ten game this season.  Without that loss, the Tigers would be 9-1.  For the last few years, they have found ways to pull out unexpected victories.  If Mizzou won the SEC Championship Game and had only one loss, they’d be a playoff shoe-in.

About the selection committee rankings:

Every Dog has it’s Day –  Maybe not in the expert projections, but according to the College Football Playoff selection committee, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are in – provided they beat Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.  Currently rated No. 4, the Bulldogs have the best chance to beat a highly-ranked opponent and maintain playoff status.  If the Dogs finish 11-1, with wins over Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas and the only blemish being a five-point loss at Alabama, how can they be left out?

These wins are not worth less – Recently, I’ve seen commentary describing wins over teams like Auburn, Ole Miss and Texas A&M as less than impressive, because they now have multiple losses.  But these teams played each other and someone had to win and someone had to lose.  They played or will play Mississippi State and Alabama, I’m not sure how many teams would have less than two losses with an SEC West schedule.

All three of the experts have Texas A&M in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, and two have them playing Texas.  With one game remaining against LSU, the Aggies could still finish 8-4, which could take them to Florida or Tennessee.  Ultimately, I think the Texas series will be remain on hold.

Our Crazy Bowl Projections *

West Virginia vs. LSU in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl (October 13)

South Carolina vs. Penn State in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (October 20)

Duke vs. Notre Dame in the Capital One Orange Bowl (October 27)

Miami (FL) vs. Tennessee in the Belk Bowl (November 3)

Nebraska vs. USC in the Holiday Bowl (November 10)

Texas vs. Florida in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (November 17)


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