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Final bowl projections for the College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six, and more

Who will play where to finish this wild college football season? We make some projections ahead of the announcements later today.

Najee Harris of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after rushing for a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the first half of the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

UPDATE: Bowl game announcements are happening. We started with the CFP teams and will move on to NY6 and other bowl games. We’ll be updating the full list of games here.

The college football regular season, and it’s time to start slotting where we think teams end up in the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six bowls for 2020. Between the rankings and contract affiliations here are no rules with contracts, records, or affiliations this year and that’s basically an impossible task.

We won’t get too deep into all the esoteric contracts here, but suffice it to say the Sugar Bowl gets SEC & Big 12 teams and the Rose Bowl always wants Big Ten vs. Pac-12, but not this year: Both those games are College Football Playoff semifinals via rotation in 2020. However the ACC/Orange Bowl tradition stands.

All rankings are where teams are placed currently, not where we think they’ll be come Selection Sunday.

Sugar Bowl

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC Champion) vs. #4 Texas A&M Aggies (At-Large)

I’m not sure what the committee is going to do, but putting a Notre Dame team that just got their heads caved in by Clemson is just too tough a lift. If the Irish lose by 10 points, they’re in this spot. But they weren’t remotely competitive in any phase of football on Saturday, and failed the eye test like they went drinking the night before the LSAT.

New Orleans will get Alabama because that’s what Bama will want over playing wherever the Rose Bowl be this year.

Rose Bowl (In Dallas)

#2 Clemson Tigers (ACC Champion) vs. #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten Champion)

Ohio State certainly didn’t look impressive in limping to a 6-0 record and a Big Ten title, and they’ll get what looked like a well-oiled machine in the Tigers in Jerry World. The Buckeyes will be an underdog in a rematch of last year’s Fiesta Bowl, a game in which they outplayed Trevor Lawrence and Clemson but still game up short.

Orange Bowl

#10 Iowa State Cyclones (At-Large) vs. #6 Florida Gators (At-Large)

I mean if we’re here for the fun, let’s have the best non-rivalry rivalry in the state of Florida The ‘Canes get a home game, inciting visions of Howard Schnellenberger and Jimmy Johnson roaming the sidelines in The OB. And the Gators get a chance to recruit in the talent-rich 305 while having no problem motivating the players to get up for a game against so many players they already know.

Fiesta Bowl

#12?? Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 Champion) vs. #11?? Indiana Hoosiers (At-Large)

It’s the traditional Rose Bowl matchup of Big Ten vs. Pac-12, just not in Pasadena. The Ducks go from their season being over on Monday to the New Year’s Six because Washington couldn’t play in the Pac-12 Championship Game due to Covid-19, so they just went out and won it. They get America’s Darlings from Bloomington, who were one touchdown against Ohio State from perfection themselves.

Peach Bowl

#7 Georgia Bulldogs (At-Large) vs. #8 Cincinnati Bearcats (Group of Five Champion)

Two teams that can sell tickets in Atlanta (if that was a thing that was allowed), and it’s the best possible reward for both. UGA can make it feel like a real bowl game and post up on Peachtree, and Cinci gets a name-brand opponent as a reward for an undefeated American Conference season.

It’s a shame the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers weren’t able to claim the Sun Belt Championship on the field, because the pedestrian performance by UC in the AAC Championship could have been overtaken for the G5 slot.

Cotton Bowl

#9 Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 Champion) vs. #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (At-Large)

Oklahoma gets the Big 12 title, and the right to rule all of the Midwest if they can knockoff OSU. This would be a bit of a surprise to flip Texas A&M and Ohio State in these spots, especially because the Aggies didn’t even play for their conference title, but they are playing like the better football team right now and have a better schedule. We’ll see if the selection committee agrees.