College Football Bowl Projections 2022: Clemson and Alabama Collide in the Orange Bowl

Alabama and Clemson rekindle old battles, but not on the grand stage that they're used to in our latest 2022 college football bowl projections.

Before we get into the post-college football Week 12 projections, an apology. Last week, we projected the pride of Provo — the BYU Cougars — to face the Utah State Aggies in the Hawaii Bowl. Since the two teams met in late September, this simply cannot happen. Standard bowl season rules apply. We apologize profusely for an error that angered Cougars fans and media alike. Now, to the action!

2022 College Football Bowl Projections | New Year’s Six

Our 2022 CFB bowl projections are comprised of a combination of our own College Football Top 25, and the teams that fall outside of those are selected based on their current standing within their respective conferences.

If you don’t see your favorite team here, there’s a solid chance that they’re not going bowling in 2022. Let’s kick off with the Crown Jewels of CFB bowl season, the College Football Playoff, and other New Year’s Six games.

Peach Bowl (College Football Playoff) | No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 TCU

Following a jam-packed college football Week 12 that promised a substantial shakeup to the College Football Playoff rankings, very little has changed at the top of our 2022 college football bowl projections. Ohio State, fresh off a scare against Maryland, remain as the second-ranked team in our CFB Top 25 and book a berth in the Peach Bowl.

The Buckeyes have never played in the marquee bowl game since its inception in 1968. However, with just one regular season game and a potential Big Ten Championship Game appearance between now and “Selection Sunday,” it seems unlikely that they’ll topple Georgia from their place at the head of the nation. A date with history awaits, but who will meet them there?

MORE: CFN’s Midseason All-Americans List

Following another come-from-behind win that has become the ultimate conversation piece as it pertains to their CFP candidacy, the TCU Horned Frogs currently hold on to their fourth-place ranking according to our latest College Football Playoff prediction. However, for the purposes of separating two Big Ten contenders, Sonny Dykes’ team gets a bump into the Peach Bowl in our college football bowl projections.

How this matchup would play out ultimately depends on which version of the TCU defense shows up. Because, if the one that allowed 232 rushing yards to Baylor on Saturday shows up, Dallan Hayden and TreVeyon Henderson might just set Peach Bowl rushing records. Don’t sleep on Kendre Miller giving the Buckeyes nightmares, however.

Fiesta Bowl (College Football Playoff) | No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Michigan

It wasn’t always the domination that we’ve come to expect from Georgia as they overcame a Will Levis-led Kentucky team in college football Week 12, but the Bulldogs continue their almost inevitable collision course with the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings.

With Michigan relegated to the fourth spot in these bowl projections, it sets ups a tasty repeat of last season’s Orange Bowl. Although the College Football Playoff semifinal location changes this season, is there any reason to suspect a different result than Georgia’s dominant 34-11 win that catapulted them to a national title?

After watching Michigan struggle to overcome Illinois on Saturday, possibly not. Without star running back Blake Corum, the Wolverines faltered on offense, and only kicker Jake Moody kept them on track for a date with the Fiesta Bowl.

If the injury proves to be season-ending, it’s difficult to envisage Michigan keeping pace with a Stetson Bennett IV-led Georgia offense in what is essentially a game of two defensive juggernauts. The Bulldogs’ march to a second consecutive national title continues with a win in the Fiesta Bowl.

Rose Bowl | USC vs. Penn State

After beating UCLA in a pivotal test of Pac-12 cannibalization, USC could be poised to make the College Football Playoff if they can win their final two games. History teaches us not to expect the Trojans to triumph under these set of circumstances, with a berth in the Pac-12’s annual date in Pasadena are much more likely scenario.

MORE: Week 12 College Football Team of the Week

In a repeat of our college football bowl projections following CFB Week 11, they’ll face Penn State in the Rose Bowl with a two-pronged Big Ten playoff attack leaving the Nittany Lions as the conference’s highest-ranked team. A quartet of touchdown types (rushing, passing, kickoff return, fumble return) saw Penn State comfortably despatch Rutgers, and they have the ground game to trouble the Trojans.

Cotton Bowl | Coastal Carolina vs. Tennessee

Tennessee continues to tumble down our College Football Top 25 after a shellacking by South Carolina, taking them out of CFP consideration and potentially the other SEC-affiliated NY6 bowls. However, their slide stops at the Cotton Bowl, where they’ll provide the at-large opponent for the best Group of Five team in the nation.

Understandably, the University of Virginia opted to cancel their game with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the wake of the murder of Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler, and D’Sean Perry. As a result, Coastal remains as the top-ranked Group of Five team in our rankings, meeting Tennessee in these college football bowl projections for a first-ever Cotton Bowl appearance in their short FBS lifetime.

The Chants have several teams snapping at their heels, with UTSA, Tulane, Troy, and Cincinnati all within striking distance. However, there’s an exciting appeal to this Coastal vs. Tennessee matchup with two struggling secondaries likely to lead to a high-scoring game if mulleted magician Grayson McCall returns from injury to face off against Hendon Hooker.

Sugar Bowl | Kansas State vs. LSU

The Big 12 has a team in the College Football Playoff in these bowl projections, so the second-ranked team takes up the conference berth in the Sugar Bowl. That neither team is Texas or Oklahoma speaks to the craziness of college football this season, and we absolutely love it.

With Deuce Vaughn and transfer QB Adrian Martinez, Kansas State has been an exciting program to watch this season. In the first quarter of their Week 12 win over West Virginia, there were over 60 points scored and over 500 total yards of offense amassed. Mind-blowing stuff. The reward for their success is a first-ever Sugar Bowl appearance for the program.

Although LSU has a shot at the “final four” if they overcome Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, it would be a brave man to bet against the Bulldogs. Instead, LSU takes up a spot in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 2007. JaMarcus Russell was named MVP after leading the Tigers past Notre Dame in a 41-14 beatdown.

Orange Bowl | Clemson vs. Alabama

We’ve become so accustomed to seeing these two great programs battling it out for a national title that Clemson vs. Alabama in the Orange Bowl is almost anti-climactic. While both reside in the top 10 in our latest rankings, their seasons have fallen short of expectations. However, this matchup has electric potential if all the NFL-bound players decide to suit up for one final time rather than sit this one out.

Watching Clemson’s defensive front go to work against an Alabama offensive line that has shown promise but has lacked the dominance of recent years would be something special. Meanwhile, D.J. Uiagalelei won’t face a much tougher test than having Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner in his face.

Although the players on the field would make this Orange Bowl clash an appetizing spectacle, seeing Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban pit their tactical nouse against one another once more would be the icing on the cake of what has been a sensational college football season for ardent fans and armchair spectators alike.

Projections for the Remaining 2022 College Football Bowl Games

Citrus Bowl
Iowa vs. Ole Miss

ReliaQuest Bowl
South Carolina vs. Minnesota

Music City Bowl
Illinois vs. Mississippi State

Arizona Bowl
Toledo vs. Wyoming

Gator Bowl
North Carolina vs. Arkansas

Sun Bowl
Duke vs. UCLA

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Louisville vs. Michigan State

Alamo Bowl
Texas vs. Washington

Cheez-It Bowl
Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State

Pinstripe Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. Wisconsin

Texas Bowl
Baylor vs. Florida

Holiday Bowl
Florida State vs. Oregon

Liberty Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Kentucky

Military Bowl
North Carolina State vs. UCF

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Texas Tech vs. Purdue

Birmingham Bowl
Tulane vs. Miami (FL)

First Responder Bowl
Marshall vs. Syracuse

Camellia Bowl
Miami (OH) vs. Appalachian State

Quick Lane Bowl
Maryland vs. Air Force

Hawaii Bowl
BYU vs. San Jose State

Gasparilla Bowl
Cincinnati vs. Oregon State

Independence Bowl
East Carolina vs. UConn

Armed Forces Bowl
Kansas vs. Memphis

New Orleans Bowl
Troy vs. North Texas

Boca Raton Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Eastern Michigan vs. Utah State

Myrtle Beach Bowl
Liberty vs. Houston

Frisco Bowl
UTSA vs. Fresno State

Las Vegas Bowl
Utah vs. Vanderbilt

Lending Tree Bowl
UAB vs. Lousiana

LA Bowl
Boise State vs. Washington State

New Mexico Bowl
Buffalo vs. San Diego State

Celebration Bowl
North Carolina Central vs. Jackson State

Fenway Bowl
Wake Forest vs. SMU

Cure Bowl
Ohio vs. Georgia Southern

Bahamas Bowl
Middle Tennessee State vs. Bowling Green

FEATURED
PFN NEWSLETTER

Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!