College football predictions for 2021 bowl games, playoff semi-finals, national championship
Bowl Season returns in 2021-2022 with a schedule that includes 43 bowl games between FBS teams.
While college football playoff expansion may be in the works, this year marks the eighth season of the four-team playoffs. This year’s college football playoff championship game is on January 10 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The semifinals of the year will take place on December 31 at the Capital One Orange Bowl and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
Sporting News’ playoff picks are more or less the same. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma have combined for 20 of 28 total playoff appearances. Yet these four schools have yet to all make the playoffs in the same season.
SN has projections for all 43 bowl games here, and they will be updated throughout the season:
2021 College Football Bowl Predictions
|December 17||Bahamian Bowl||Ball State vs. FAU|
|December 17||Cure bowl||Arkansas State vs. Tulsa|
|December 18||Boca Raton Bowl from RoofClaim.com||UCF against Liberty *|
|December 18||New Mexico Bowl||Nevada vs. Marshall|
|December 18||Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl||BYU vs. UTSA|
|December 18||Lendingtree bowl||Toledo v Appalachian State|
|December 18||Los Angeles Bowl||Boise State vs. UCLA|
|December 18||New Orleans R&L Carriers Bowl||South Alabama vs. Louisiana Tech|
|December 20||Myrtle Beach Bowl||Georgia State vs. Memphis|
|December 21||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Buffalo vs. Colorado State|
|December 21||Frisco Café Tropical Smoothie Bowl||Miami, Ohio vs. UAB|
|December 21||Bowl of the Armed Forces||Army * vs. Western Kentucky|
|23 december||Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl||San Diego State vs. CRF|
|December 24||Hawaii Bowl||San José State vs. SMU|
|December 25th||Camellia bowl||Kent State vs. Louisiana|
|December 27||Fast Lane Bowl||Tulane vs. Michigan State|
|December 27||Military bowl||Marine vs. Wake Forest|
|December 28||TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl||Houston vs. Tennessee|
|December 28||First Responder Bowl||Baylor vs. Virginia|
|December 28||Liberty AutoZone bowl||TCU vs. Auburn|
|December 28||Guaranteed rate bowl||Maryland v Kansas State|
|December 29||Fenway bowl||Cincinnati vs. Pitt|
|December 29||Pinstripe bowl||Northwest vs. Louisville|
|December 29||Cheez-It Bowl||West Virginia vs. Florida State|
|December 29||Valero Alamo Bowl||Oregon v State of Oklahoma|
|December 30||Duke Mayo Bowl||Indiana vs. North Carolina State|
|December 30||Transparent Musical City Bowl||Nebraska vs. Kentucky|
|December 30||SRS Las Vegas Bowl||Cal vs. Iowa|
|December 31st||TaxSlayer alligator bowl||Missouri vs. Virginia Tech|
|December 31st||Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl||Utah vs. Boston College|
|January 1st||Outback Bowl||Michigan vs. LSU|
|January 1st||Vrbo citrus bowl||Penn State vs. Florida|
|January 4th||Texas Bowl||Texas vs. Ole Miss|
|To be determined||Holiday Bowl||Arizona State vs. Miami|
|To be determined||RedBox bowl||Washington vs. Minnesota|
|To be determined||Arizona Bowl||Ohio vs. Wyoming|
* Indicates not related to pétanque
College Football New Year’s Predictions
|December 30||Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl||Notre-Dame vs. Texas A&M|
|January 1st||PlayStation Fiesta Bowl||Coastal Carolina vs. North Carolina|
|January 1st||Rose Bowl game||USC vs. Wisconsin|
|January 1st||Allstate sugar bowl||Iowa State vs. Georgia|
|December 31st||Capital One Orange Bowl (semi-final)||Ohio State vs. Alabama|
|December 31st||Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (semi-final)||Oklahoma vs. Clemson|
College Football Playoff Championship Prediction
|January 10||College Football Playoff Championship||Alabama vs. Clemson|
Six New Year’s Choices
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M
The Aggies and the Irish get to settle last year’s playoffs a year too late on a smaller stage. Both teams have quarterback fights worth watching at fall camp, but we’d be more interested in running backs in this one. Isaiah Spiller and Kyren Williams are both candidates for Heisman. It’ll be a fun placemat for the rest of New Years Six.
PlayStation First Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. North Carolina
The Chanticleers are our pick of the Group of 5, and part of that is based on Cincinnati’s difficult non-conference schedule against Indiana and Notre Dame. The Sun Belt gets its due, and Grayson McCall finds himself facing North Carolina’s Sam Howell, who leads the Tar Heels to their second straight NY6 bowl appearance under Mack Brown.
Rose Bowl game: USC vs. Wisconsin
USC and Wisconsin met at the Rose Bowl in 1953 and 1963, pitting the Pac-12 champion against the Big Ten finalist. Kedon Slovis and Graham Mertz make it an intriguing game, but with these teams it’s all about who can have the ball. It will also be nice to see the Tournament of Roses Parade again.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Iowa State vs. Georgia
The Bulldogs are forced to settle for a fourth consecutive New Years Six Bowl appearance unless JT Daniels can lead a playoff run. Will this put pressure on Kirby Smart? The Cyclones, meanwhile, are in a full year considering the number of players who returned from last year’s Fiesta Bowl winner. Considering the hype around the two teams, it would feel a bit like a consolation game.
College football playoff pick
Capital One Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Alabama
Didn’t we just watch this game? Both programs have sent 10 players to the 2021 NFL Draft, but there is more than enough talent on both sides for a third CFP playoff clash. The Buckeyes are loaded at the receiver level and Alabama should be better in defense. What will Ryan Day do differently after losing the CFP Championship last year?
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Oklahoma vs. Clemson
It would be the most entertaining game considering it features two of the top three quarterbacks in SN’s top 25 QB standings. Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler would put on an offensive show in this one. Which program is facing more pressure? The Sooners are 0-4 in the CFP semifinals and the Tigers have been routed in their last two appearances.
Choice of CFP championship
CFP Championship Game: Alabama vs. Clemson
More of the same. Until the CFP expands to 12 teams, this game will continue to show up given the level of talent brought together on both sides. The Crimson Tide and Tigers have shared four playoff games in the past seven years, and this time the two schools go to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. We had Ohio State against Clemson in last year’s championship game.