College Football Bowl Projections 2022: Illinois Fighting Illini Instigate Postseason Party in Pasadena

The Illinois Fighting Illini book a postseason berth in Pasadena in our latest college football bowl projections following Week 9 of the 2022 season.

While the big boys at the top of college football continued their path to the College Football Playoff, some moves beyond the top four teams have made some significant changes to our 2022 college football New Year’s Six bowl projections. Furthermore, the usual college football chaos has caused a ripple effect across projections for all 43 bowl games in 2022.

If you’re as excited about the 2022 bowl season as we are, you’ll love some of the projections that have been thrown together.

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 Georgia vs. No. 3 Michigan

It’s now been multiple consecutive weeks that our College Football Top 25 has thrown together Georgia and Michigan in our 2022 bowl projections. While that provides a sense of inevitability, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security that this matchup is already written in stone.

Both teams have their most significant test of the season still to come. The Bulldogs face an undefeated SEC foe in Tennessee next weekend in Athens. Meanwhile, Michigan has Illinois and “The Game” rivalry with Ohio State still on their schedule. We won’t truly know the destination of the Big Ten Championship until then.

MORE: CFN’s Midseason All-Americans List

However, at this moment in time, it’s a genuine possibility that both Georgia and Michigan reach the College Football Playoff. Their meeting in the Peach Bowl — according to our college football bowl projections — gives the Wolverines the opportunity to avenge last year’s Orange Bowl humiliation while allowing Georgia to prove that they’re every bit as good as the squad that carried them to a national title last season.

Fiesta Bowl (College Football Playoff) | No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Tennessee

Another repeat matchup from last week’s college football bowl projections pits the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes against the fourth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. There has only ever previously been one matchup between the two teams, with Tennessee emerging victorious in the 1996 Citrus Bowl. Could the Vols belittle the Buckeyes once again?

There’s no doubt that the Tennessee offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment, obliterating a strong Kentucky defense in Week 9 behind Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt‘s blossoming partnership. The question would be whether the Vols could hold the Ohio State offense, led by C.J. Stroud and a plethora of premier pass catchers headlined by 2024 NFL Draft WR1 candidate Marvin Harrison Jr.

Rose Bowl | Oregon vs. Illinois

While our bowl projections see the Pac-12 miss out on the College Football Playoff once more, if Oregon continues on their current trajectory, they will prove a very difficult program for the committee to ignore. Since their Week 1 beatdown at the hands of the Bulldogs, the Ducks have been dominant as Bo Nix has established himself as a genuine Heisman Trophy contender. Will the nature of that defeat prevent them from ascending?

MORE: Week 9 College Football Team of the Week

While that could be debated for weeks to come, there’s no denying the Ducks’ Rose Bowl candidacy. The same can be said for Illinois, who ascend into the third-ranked Big Ten spot vacated by Penn State following the Nittany Lions’ second defeat of the season. With Chase Brown and Tommy DeVito playing offense at a high level and a defense that leads the nation in several metrics, Bret Bielema’s team returns to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2007.

Cotton Bowl | Tulane vs. USC

Tulane spent the bye week watching their stranglehold on the AAC strengthen as the closest contender for the crown suffered a college football Week 9 setback. Cincinnati had been snapping at the heels of the Green Wave in our College Football Top 25, but Tulane now sits comfortably as the highest-ranked Group of Five team. The Cotton Bowl is their reward for an exciting offense and a ferocious defense that takes no prisoners.

That defense would have to be at the top of its game to stop Caleb Williams and the USC offense. The former Oklahoma quarterback threw for 411 yards and five touchdowns as the Trojans despatched Arizona and established themselves as the challenger to Oregon in the Pac-12. As the highest-ranked team without a New Year’s Six tie-in, they prepare to ride the Green Wave in the Cotton Bowl in what would be an enticing showdown.

Sugar Bowl | TCU vs. Alabama

It would be foolish to bet against Alabama finding a route to the College Football Playoff via the SEC Championship, and Nick Saban’s team has shown before that they only need the smallest opportunity to maximize their impact on the national stage. The Crimson Tide were on a bye week, refreshing and retooling for a stretch run that includes clashes with LSU and Ole Miss — teams that are ranked highly in our College Football Top 25.

Yet, at this point in time, they’re on the outside looking in when it comes to our college football bowl projections. As the third-ranked team in the SEC, according to our College Football Top 25, they face the Big 12 champion in the Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide lost in the Sugar Bowl in consecutive seasons at the climax of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

That Big 12 champion is increasingly looking likely to be the TCU Horned Frogs. Sonny Dykes’ team has taken every challenge thrown at them so far this season and emerged unscathed and undefeated through eight games.

Max Duggan vs. Bryce Young is the quarterback clash that no one knew they needed when the 2022 college football season commenced. Meanwhile, Quentin Johnston could have a career day against an Alabama secondary that has had serious struggles this season.

Orange Bowl | Clemson vs. Ole Miss

The final New Year’s Six matchup of our 2022 college football bowl projections sees an enticing matchup between Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels and Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers.

Although a bye week ensured that they head into college football Week 10 undefeated, Clemson still looks set to miss out on a College Football Playoff berth according to our 2022 bowl projections. Question marks over their offense, exacerbated by a QB controversy brewing following DJ Uiagalelei’s benching for Cade Klubnik, are clouding a team whose defense is arguably the best in the nation.

Ole Miss rebounded from a humiliating defeat to LSU by scraping past a Texas A&M team that remains rooted to the bottom of the SEC. The Rebels boast one of the top running back rooms in the nation, with Zach Evans, true freshman phenom Quinshon Judkins, and Ulysses Bentley IV combining for 24 touchdowns and averaging over five yards per carry. They’re currently the fourth-ranked SEC team in our College Football Top 25.

Projections for the Remaining 2022 College Football Bowl Games

Citrus Bowl
Penn State vs. LSU

ReliaQuest Bowl
Kentucky vs. Minnesota

Music City Bowl
Purdue vs. Arkansas

Arizona Bowl
Toledo vs. Fresno State

Gator Bowl
North Carolina vs. Mississippi State

Sun Bowl
Florida State vs. Oregon State

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Wisconsin vs. Florida

Alamo Bowl
Kansas State vs. UCLA

Cheez-It Bowl
Wake Forest vs. Oklahoma State

Pinstripe Bowl
North Carolina State vs. Iowa

Texas Bowl
Baylor vs. Auburn

Holiday Bowl
Syracuse vs. Utah

Liberty Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Missouri

Military Bowl
Duke vs. Houston

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Texas vs. Maryland

Birmingham Bowl
Cincinnati vs. UAB

First Responder Bowl
San Jose State vs. Louisville

Camellia Bowl
Southern Miss. vs. Ball State

Quick Lane Bowl
Rutgers vs. Eastern Michigan

Hawaii Bowl
Notre Dame vs. San Diego State

Gasparilla Bowl
UCF vs. Miami (FL)

Independence Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. BYU

Armed Forces Bowl
Kansas vs. Memphis

New Orleans Bowl
Coastal Carolina vs. Florida Atlantic

Boca Raton Bowl
North Texas vs. Troy

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio vs. UNLV

Myrtle Beach Bowl
Appalachian State vs. East Carolina

Frisco Bowl
UTSA vs. Wyoming

Las Vegas Bowl
Washington vs. South Carolina

Lending Tree Bowl
Rice vs. Georgia Southern

LA Bowl
Boise State vs. Washington State

New Mexico Bowl
Liberty vs. Air Force

Celebration Bowl
Florida A&M vs. North Carolina Central

Fenway Bowl
Pittsburgh vs. SMU

Cure Bowl
South Alabama vs. Buffalo

Bahamas Bowl
Florida International vs. Bowling Green

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