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2015 PRE-SEASON BOWL PROJECTIONS: FOSTER FARMING

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Because America Needs Foster Farmers.

Happier, simpler times.
Happier, simpler times.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As part of my newfangled responsibilities here at Black Heart Gold Pants, I'll be providing you, loyal reader, with bowl projections.I started doing these projections at Off Tackle Empire back in 2012 and am continuing the tradition here at BHGP. In reality, they should be called "bowl forecasts" because much like forecasts made by professionals, they're quite often inaccurate and aggravating to the observer but at the end of the day the meteorologist gets to keep his job. God bless America.

The projections will be published weekly and updated based upon the results of the prior weekend's games. The methodology is relatively simple and can be broken down into a few different steps. First, predict the entirety of the Big Ten schedule. Second, predict the conference champions and at-large bids. Third, make her open the box. Fourth, start at the playoffs and move your way down, taking into account previous matchups.. Fifth, assign frequently overrated SEC teams as opponents. Voila. BOWL PROJECTIONS.

The consensus across the nation is that Ohio State is hands down the best team in America. Can't argue with that logic (unless they lose to Virgina Tech again). Naturally, that would make them the #1 team in the College Football Playoff. The safe pick for #2 is TCU, the projected One True Champion of the Big 12. The Horned Frogs return almost the entirety of their offense, have a manageable schedule and get the only other possible title contender, Baylor, at home. Remember the days when Oklahoma and Texas used to be the only realistic choices for Big 12 Champion? Unfortunately, Bob Stoops is in the Steve Spurrier IDGAF stage of his career and Texas won't have enough players to field a football team come November.

The remaining two slots will likely be occupied by the Pac-12 and SEC Champions. The ACC gets the short end of the stick as they're likely to eat themselves alive. Florida State only returns four offensive starters and has to play Georgia Tech and Clemson on the road. Georgia Tech could very well win the conference, but a loss to either Notre Dame or Georgia would knock them out. Clemson only returns 3 defensive starters and is incredibly prone to Clempsoning. There're too many questions in the ACC to be comfortable about one of the teams making the Playoff.

While the same could be said about the SEC, it's the SEC so everyone knows that at least one team will get the call to appear in the Playoff. Contenders include Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia. Should Alabama win they'll be slotted at #3 as the Committee will not want a rematch of last year's Sugar Bowl. If Auburn or Georgia are chosen it will likely be at #4 so the media can feed off of the Big 10 vs. SEC narrative. Of all three, Auburn appears to have the easiest path. The Tigers get Alabama and Georgia at home and their toughest road test is at LSU in September.

Should Auburn win, what happens to Alabama and Georgia? The Sugar Bowl will be put in the awkward position of selecting the Crimson Tide to play in their game or picking the SEC Championship game loser. Thinking the Dwags come out victorious in that scenario.

Oregon, much like Florida State, has the delightful task of replacing a Heisman Trophy winner. Senior Vernon Adams, a transfer from Eastern Washington, is eligible to start this fall and the Ducks are banking on Adams to be just as effective on the FBS level. Coincidentally, Oregon opens their season against Eastern Washington.

USC didn't lose a tremendous amount of talent from last year (please ignore Leonard Williams and act as if you don't know who he is) and is favored to win the Pac-12 South by respected publications such as the Sporting News, Hustler and A Mouthful of Sark, which is Steve Sarkisian's personal blog that he only works on when he's been hitting the schnapps. The greater concern for the Trojans is playing in one of the deepest divisions in college football. UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, and Utah are either ranked or receiving votes in the AP Poll. The margin for error is slim to none in the South.

It hurts to say but looking at Notre Dame, they really don't have an excuse to not win 10 games. They return 19 starters, get USC at home and their toughest road tests are at Clemson and Stanford. If they go 1-3 in those selected games they should still finish the year at 10-2. That will get them a New Year's Bowl.

It's almost customary that the Group of Five "champion" gets slotted in the Fiesta Bowl. The problem is that Boise State will likely be the best of the Group of Five and they played in the Fiesta last season. Interesting tidbit: Boise State has appeared in 15 bowl games and only one of those was east of the Mississippi. And we're talking barely east of the Mississippi: It was in Memphis. Despite the Broncos appearance in Glendale last year, it's tough for me to believe that the Committee is going to send them all the way to ATL. Considering Boise State's incredibly loyal, but regionalized fanbase, I think they'll go back to the Fiesta as Notre Dame v. Boise State could be a fun game. I mean really, who wouldn't want to watch a past its prime football program lose on a hook and ladder play?

The Peach will feature ACC Champion Clemson vs. Alabama. I could also see Big Ten runner-up Wisconsin getting an at-large in this spot but when looking at Wisconsin's schedule you can't do much but LOL and think that they're going to get passed over by the Crimson Tide.

Regarding our fair conference, it looks something like this: Ohio State over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game and Michigan State in the Rose Bowl. After Wisconsin, the West finishes Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, and Purdue. After Ohio State, the East finishes Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, Indiana, and Rutgers. Only eight Big Ten teams are eligible for bowls but considering three teams are predicted to finish at 5-7, an upset along the way could have them bowling.

Finally, let's get to it.

The Rules:

  • Four teams are chosen for the College Football Playoff.
  • Six bowls rotate for the semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, and Peach.
  • The bowls hosting the semifinals this year are the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.
  • As the Rose Bowl is not hosting a semi-final, it will select the Big Ten Champion. However, if the Big Ten Champion is a playoff team, the Rose Bowl will select a Big Ten replacement.
  • The highest ranked champion from the Group of Five mid-majors (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in the non-playoff bowls if they fail to make the playoff.
  • The Big Ten has a six-year contract with the eight non-playoff bowl games (aside from the Pinstripe, which is an eight-year contract). Per the terms of that contract, the bowls are to select at least five different Big Ten schools over six years.
  • The non-playoff bowl games are informally broken down into three tiers. Tier 1: Holiday, Citrus and Outback. Tier 2: Pinstripe, Music City/TaxSlayer and Foster Farms. Tier 3: Quick Lane and Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces.

College Football Playoffs:

Bowl
Location
Date
Opponents

Championship

Glendale, AZ

1/11/16

Semi Winner v. Semi Winner

Cotton

Arlington, TX

12/31/15

No. 2 v. No. 3

Orange

Miami, FL

12/31/15

No. 1 v. No. 4

New Year's Bowls (Non-Playoff Bowls):

Bowl
Location
Date
Opponents

Peach

Atlanta, GA

12/31/15

At-Large

Fiesta

Glendale, AZ

1/1/16

At-Large

Rose

Pasadena, CA

1/1/16

Big Ten v. Pac-12

Sugar

New Orleans, LA

1/1/16

Big 12 v. SEC

Big Ten Bowls:

Bowl
Location
Date
Opponent

Rose Bowl

Pasadena, CA

1/1/16

Pac-12

Citrus Bowl

Orlando, FL

1/1/16

SEC

Outback Bowl

Tampa, FL

1/1/16

SEC

Holiday Bowl

San Diego, CA

12/30/15

Pac-12

Music City or TaxSlayer Bowl*

Nashville, TN or Jacksonville, FL

12/30/15 or 1/2/16

SEC

Foster Farms Bowl

San Francisco, CA

12/26/15

Pac-12

Pinstripe Bowl

New York City, NY

12/26/15

ACC

Quick Lane Bowl

Detroit, MI

12/28/15

ACC

Heart of Dallas or Armed Forces Bowl**

Fort Worth, TX or Dallas, TX

12/26/15 or 12/29/15

C-USA or MWC

* - Over the six-year agreement the Big Ten and ACC must appear in three Music City and three TaxSlayer Bowls.

** - Over the six-year agreement the Big Ten and Big 12 must appear in three Heart of Dallas and three Armed Forces Bowls.

Bowl Projections:

Bowl
Matchup
Last Year/Last 5 (B1G)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

TCU (2) v. Oregon (3)

MSU v. Baylor

Capital One Orange Bowl

Ohio State (1) v. Auburn (4)

Miss St. v. G-Tech

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Georgia v. Baylor

Ohio State v. Alabama

Rose Bowl Game

Michigan State v. USC

MSU, UW, UW, UW, OSU

Fiesta Bowl

Notre Dame v. Boise State

Boise State v. Arizona

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Clemson v. Alabama

Ole Miss v. TCU

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

Wisconsin v. LSU

MN, UW, NU, NU, MSU

Outback Bowl

Nebraska v. Missouri

UW, IA, UM, MSU, PSU

National University Holiday Bowl

Penn State v. UCLA

NU

TaxSlayer/Music City Bowl

Minnesota v. Ole Miss

IA, NU, NW, OSU, UM*

Foster Farms Bowl

Iowa v. Arizona State

MD

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Michigan v. Virginia Tech

PSU

Quick Lane Bowl

Pittsburgh v. ULM***

RU

Heart of Dallas Bowl/ Armed Forces Bowl

Marshall v. Texas Tech***

IL, PU, PSU, NW**

* - Last 5 refers to appearances in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

** - Last 5 refers to appearances in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

*** - Replacement team.