ESPN releases 2023 College Football Playoff, full bowl projections after Week 3

On3-Social-Profile_GRAYby:On3 Staff Report09/17/23
J.D.'s CFP Rankings After Week 3

There weren’t quite as many marquee games on the college football schedule in Week 3, but that didn’t stop ranked upsets from happening and shaking up the latest college football bowl projections from ESPN.

No. 11 Tennessee fell to Florida, while No. 15 Kansas State fell to Missouri, two of the bigger upsets on this weekend’s docket.

How did those two games, as well as dozens of others over the weekend, help shake up this week’s college football bowl projections from ESPN experts Mark Schlabach and Kyle Bonagura? Let’s take a look inside.

CFP National Championship

Top 25 college football
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

NRG Stadium (Houston)
Monday, Jan. 8, 7:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Georgia vs. Michigan
Schlabach: Georgia vs. Michigan

The national championship game projection didn’t change for Schlabach from Week 2 to Week 3, but it did shift for Bonagura. Bonagura previously had Florida State reaching the national title game to take on Georgia, but after a close call for Florida State at Boston College this weekend, he has changed his tune. Both ESPN experts now agree on a Georgia vs. Michigan final.

CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California)
Monday, Jan. 1, 5 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Michigan vs. USC
Schlabach: Michigan vs. USC

Both ESPN writers had Michigan in their semifinal last week, but the opponent has changed for both of them at this juncture. Instead of Florida State for Bonagura, it’s now USC taking the nod to reach the playoff. And instead of Texas for Schlabach, it’s also now USC that has cemented itself as a favorite for one of the last playoff spots.

CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl

(Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
Monday, Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Georgia vs. Florida State
Schlabach: Georgia vs. Florida State

Schlabach’s Week 2 bowl projection of Georgia vs. Florida State in the semifinal at the Sugar Bowl hasn’t changed, as he’s kept consistent with those two picks. However, Bonagura has moved around his matchups a bit in the playoff despite keeping the same four teams from a week ago. Clearly there’s still some jockeying for position among the top teams as we begin to get a better handle on what they can do.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Friday, Dec. 29
AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
8 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Tennessee vs. Texas
Schlabach: Notre Dame vs. Texas

Schlabach has changed his pick in the Cotton Bowl from Penn State facing Notre Dame to Texas facing Notre Dame. That would be quite a fun matchup for the fans. Bonagura, meanwhile, did not adjust his Cotton Bowl projections from a week ago, still taking Tennessee to face Texas despite the Volunteers losing this weekend. Though it’s worth noting here that Bonagura also has Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, so likely just a goof in the editing process.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Saturday, Dec. 30
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
Noon, ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Alabama vs. Memphis
Schlabach: LSU vs. Penn State

Bonagura holds pat here with the projection of Alabama and Memphis in the Peach Bowl, even given Alabama’s quarterback rotation and struggles against USF over the weekend. Schlabach, on the other hand, has thrown out his previous picks for this bowl and pitted LSU against Penn State, another matchup that would be great for the fans.

Capital One Orange Bowl

(Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Saturday, Dec. 30
Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens, Florida)
4 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Duke vs. Ohio State
Schlabach: Miami vs. Ohio State

For the second straight week, both ESPN writers have Ohio State heading to the Orange Bowl, though the matchups have changed from last week’s bowl projections. Instead of Notre Dame taking on Ohio State in Bonagura’s picks, this time it’s Duke, which has gotten off to a 3-0 start and risen to its highest ranking in the AP Top 25 since 1994. Schlabach stays consistent with a Miami vs. Ohio State projection here.

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl

VRBO Fiesta Bowl
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Monday, Jan. 1
State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Arizona)
1 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Washington vs. Penn State
Schlabach: Washington vs. Tulane

Neither ESPN writer opted to change his pick here, following another dominant offensive outing by Washington. The Huskies seem headed to a good bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl would be quite the reward. Projections have Washington taking on either Penn State or Tulane.

Remaining Bowl Projections:

Saturday, Dec. 16
Bahamas Bowl
Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium (Nassau, Bahamas)
11 a.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Ohio vs. Liberty
Schlabach: Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty

Cricket Celebration Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
Noon, ABC and the ESPN App
Bonagura: Florida A&M vs. North Carolina Central
Schlabach: Florida A&M vs. North Carolina Central

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)
2:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama
Schlabach: Louisiana Tech vs. Georgia State

Cure Bowl
Exploria Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
3:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Texas State vs. UNLV
Schlabach: Appalachian State vs. Florida Atlantic

New Mexico Bowl
University Stadium (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
5:45 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: New Mexico State vs. Troy
Schlabach: Arizona vs. San Diego State

LA Bowl
SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, California)
7:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: UCLA vs. Fresno State
Schlabach: UCLA vs. Wyoming

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl
Independence Stadium (Shreveport, Louisiana)
9:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Texas Tech vs. Colorado
Schlabach: Texas Tech vs. Washington State

Monday, Dec. 18
Myrtle Beach Bowl
Brooks Stadium (Conway, South Carolina)
2:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Navy vs. San José State
Schlabach: Florida International vs. South Alabama

Tuesday, Dec. 19
Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl
Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas)
9 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Appalachian State vs. San Diego State
Schlabach: West Virginia vs. Air Force

Thursday, Dec. 21
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl
FAU Stadium (Boca Raton, Florida)
8 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Florida International vs. Utah State
Schlabach: Temple vs. Georgia Southern

Friday, Dec. 22
Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
6:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Coastal Carolina vs. Auburn
Schlabach: Army vs. Auburn

Saturday, Dec. 23
Birmingham Bowl
Protective Stadium (Birmingham, Alabama)
Noon, ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Texas A&M vs. Cal
Schlabach: Mississippi State vs. North Texas

Camellia Bowl
Cramton Bowl (Montgomery, Alabama)
Noon, ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Georgia State vs. Eastern Michigan
Schlabach: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas)
3:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Kansas vs. South Florida
Schlabach: UTSA vs. Western Kentucky

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Albertsons Stadium (Boise, Idaho)
3:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Miami (Ohio) vs. Air Force
Schlabach: Ball State vs. Fresno State

68 Ventures Bowl
Hancock Whitney Stadium (Mobile, Alabama)
7 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Louisiana vs. Middle Tennessee State
Schlabach: Coastal Carolina vs. Toledo

SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl
Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
7:30 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Rutgers vs. Utah
Schlabach: Wisconsin vs. Colorado

EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl
Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex (Honolulu)
10:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: UTSA vs. Wyoming
Schlabach: BYU vs. Boise State

Tuesday, Dec. 26
Quick Lane Bowl
Ford Field (Detroit)
2 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Michigan State vs. Toledo
Schlabach: Michigan State vs. Ohio

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl
Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas)
5:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Marshall vs. Rice
Schlabach: Cincinnati vs. Cal

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Chase Field (Phoenix)
9 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Illinois vs. TCU
Schlabach: Minnesota vs. Kansas

Wednesday, Dec. 27
Military Bowl
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Annapolis, Maryland)
2 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Wake Forest vs. Tulane
Schlabach: Illinois vs. Memphis

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, North Carolina)
5:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Clemson vs. Mississippi State
Schlabach: Wake Forest vs. Kentucky

Holiday Bowl
Petco Park (San Diego)
8 p.m., Fox

Bonagura: Syracuse vs. Oregon
Schlabach: Duke vs. Utah

TaxAct Texas Bowl
NRG Stadium (Houston)
9 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: BYU vs. Kentucky
Schlabach: UCF vs. Missouri
(FUN FACT: There were 13 instances this week in the bowl projections where both Bonagura and Schlabach penciled in the same team to the same bowl, excluding the New Year’s Six bowls.)

Thursday, Dec. 28
Wasabi Fenway Bowl
Fenway Park (Boston)
11 a.m., ESPN and the ESPN App
Bonagura: Pitt vs. SMU
Schlabach: Boston College vs. SMU

Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium (New York)
2:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: NC State vs. Minnesota
Schlabach: NC State vs. Rutgers

Pop-Tarts Bowl
Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
5:45 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: North Carolina vs. UCF
Schlabach: Clemson vs. Kansas State

Valero Alamo Bowl
Alamodome (San Antonio)
9:15 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Oklahoma vs. Oregon State
Schlabach: Oklahoma vs. Oregon

Friday, Dec. 29
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl
TIAA Bank Field (Jacksonville, Florida)
Noon, ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Miami vs. Florida
Schlabach: Louisville vs. Texas A&M

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl Stadium (El Paso, Texas)
2 p.m., CBS

Bonagura: Louisville vs. Washington State
Schlabach: Syracuse vs. Oregon State

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (Memphis, Tennessee)
3:30 p.m., ESPN and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Kansas State vs. Missouri
Schlabach: TCU vs. Florida

Saturday, Dec. 30
TransPerfect Music City Bowl
Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tennessee)
2 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Maryland vs. Tennessee
Schlabach: Maryland vs. Tennessee

Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl
Arizona Stadium (Tucson, Arizona)
4:30 p.m.

Bonagura: Northern Illinois vs. Boise State
Schlabach: Miami (Ohio) vs. UNLV

Monday, Jan. 1
ReliaQuest Bowl
Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)
Noon, ESPN2 and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Wisconsin vs. LSU
Schlabach: North Carolina vs. Alabama

Cheez-It Citrus Bowl
Camping World Stadium (Orlando, Florida)
1 p.m., ABC and the ESPN App

Bonagura: Iowa vs. Ole Miss
Schlabach: Iowa vs. Ole Miss

There you have it, another week’s worth of bowl projections from ESPN. Most of the movement came outside of the four College Football Playoff spots, but there is a whole lot of jockeying going on for the coveted New Year’s Six bowl slots at the moment. Of course, some of the teams in legitimate NY6 contention could play themselves into the playoff mix as time goes on. In any case, plenty to chew on for another week.