After one weekend in the books, Action Network’s Brett McMurphy provided his updated bowl game predictions for the 2023 season.
Ahead of Week 1, there were some minor changes, but the College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six games stayed the same as they were prior to Week Zero. As far as the big brands in action, only USC and Notre Dame got wins the first weekend, but everyone’s in action as we head to Labor Day Weekend.
Below are McMurphy’s bowl game predictions ahead of Week 1 of the season.
A rematch two years in the making right here, per McMurphy’s projections. The two met in the semifinals two seasons ago, a blowout win by Georgia.
This time, McMurphy has the two schools meeting in the national championship game as the Bulldogs go for a third straight title. Meanwhile, Michigan could finally conquer college football after two straight semifinal losses.
Rose Bowl (CFP Semifinal) – Michigan vs. Florida State
Here’s where Michigan finally gets over the CFP semifinal hump. Cap off a Big Ten title a few weeks prior with a parade of roses.
Florida State gets here by virtue of winning the ACC going 12-1 or even 13-0 this year. The Seminoles are a popular pick to really break out and this should be quite the game if it happens in Pasadena.
Sugar Bowl (CFP Semifinal) – Georgia vs. Ohio State
The rematch we all want right? These two met in last year’s semifinals and Georgia won by a hair, or a missed field goal to be exact.
This time, both could easily get back to the playoff. However, McMurphy has Georgia winning again, keeping Ohio State out of the national championship for the second straight year. This could have instant classic written all over it though.
Fiesta Bowl – Washington vs. Alabama
While it’s not a playoff game, this is certainly an intriguing matchup on paper since Alabama might be out for blood at this point. Missing the playoff again? Buckle up Washington.
The Huskies won 11 games in Year 1 under Kalen Deboer and could easily do so again. This is a playoff caliber team so it’ll be fascinating to watch a highly flying offense against Nick Saban’s defense.
Tulane played major spoiler last season when the Green Wave took down USC to end Lincoln Riley’s first year with the Trojans. Can they do so again against another Pac-12 opponent?
Oregon has bigger fish to fry, such as a potential playoff appearance with a Pac-12 title. But based on the projections, the Ducks won’t get that far. Don’t underestimate Tulane at the end of the year.
Orange Bowl – Clemson vs. Penn State
Oh man, this is a good one on paper, per McMurphy. Clemson got here last season against Tennessee but fell short while Penn State won the Rose Bowl as part of the New Year’s Six.
These two are high quality programs that could very well be playing for a national title. But for now, this is a top tier New Year’s Six matchup, arguably the best one outside of the playoff games.
Cotton Bowl – Texas Tech vs. LSU
LSU fell one game short of an SEC title last season and maybe being the first team ever to make the playoff with two losses. But the Tigers are a projected New Year’s Six team this season, at minimum.
Texas Tech is very intriguing coming out of the Big 12. Joey McGuire’s crew could very well win a whacky Big 12 before Texas and Oklahoma leave for the SEC in 2024.
Projections for remaining bowl games
Cheez-It Citrus Bowl – Tennessee vs. Wisconsin
ReliaQuest Bowl – Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M
Arizona Bowl – San Diego State vs. Northern Illinois
Music City Bowl – Arkansas vs. Illinois
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Kentucky vs. TCU
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl – Duke vs. Arizona
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl – Auburn vs. Louisville
Valero Alamo Bowl – Texas vs. USC
Pop-Tarts Bowl – North Carolina vs. Kansas State
Pinstripe Bowl – NC State vs. Iowa
Fenway Bowl – Memphis vs. Boston College
TaxAct Texas Bowl – Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma
Holiday Bowl – Pittsburgh vs. Oregon State
Duke’s Mayo Bowl – Ole Miss vs. Miami
Military Bowl – Syracuse vs. Navy
Guaranteed Rate Bowl – Maryland vs. Baylor
First Responder Bowl – Oklahoma State vs. Michigan State
Quick Lane Bowl – Minnesota vs. Central Michigan
EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl – UNLV vs. SMU
Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Nebraska
68 Ventures Bowl – South Alabama vs. San Jose State
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Air Force vs. Miami (Ohio)
Armed Forces Bowl – Fresno State vs. BYU
Camellia Bowl – Appalachian State vs. Rice
Birmingham Bowl – Florida vs. Wake Forest
Gasparilla Bowl – South Carolina vs. Kansas
Boca Raton Bowl – Marshall vs. South Florida
Frisco Bowl – Colorado State vs. Louisiana
Myrtle Beach Bowl – Florida Atlantic vs. Ohio
Independence Bowl – UCF vs. North Texas
LA Bowl – UCLA vs. Boise State
New Mexico Bowl – Wyoming vs. UTSA
Cure Bowl – Toledo vs. Coastal Carolina
New Orleans Bowl – Western Kentucky vs. Troy
Bahamas Bowl – Liberty vs. Ball State