SB Nation's Jason Kirk has been on a weekly odyssey to select the four teams he'd put in the inaugural college football playoff, and just as importantly to project the match ups of 36 bowl games.
This week Jason has Ole Miss playing Baylor in the Rose Bowl and Mississippi State squaring off with Florida State in the Sugar Bowl in the final four. This will not happen, of course, because the two Magnolia State powerhouses (wow, that felt so, so weird . . .) will square off in the Egg Bowl in November and only one of them can go to the SEC Championship Game. If the playoff committee selects a team that didn't win its own division and lost a rivalry game late in the season then the villagers will be out from coast to coast with all manner of pitchforks. So I call shenanigans on that part.
The portion of Jason's predictions which is more germane to our interests is his guess that Georgia will spend New Year's Eve in Atlanta in the newly re-christened Peach Bowl against American Athletic Conference foe Eastern Carolina. The Pirates currently sit at 5-1 after a 28-17 victory over South Florida that has them atop the AAC.
You may remember that we watched them take South Carolina far into the second half before ceding a 33-23 defeat, and you may have recoiled in mock horror when they scored 70 freakin' points on North Carolina in a 70-41 victory. Ruffin McNeill's squad has the 5th ranked passing offense in the nation (371.0 ypg) and the 15th ranked scoring offense (41.0 ppg). The Pirate attack is led by senior QB Shane Carden, who has thrown for 2129 yards and 16 TDs versus 4 interceptions on the season. In other words, East Carolina is an absolute matchup nightmare for Georgia. While I like the idea of playing in the Peach Bowl if we're not in the playoff, I'd rather not play against a non-Power 5 underdog with the ability to air raid us into the stone age.
Among other interesting projections is Alabama taking on Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl in a matchup of Type A coaches who may have won their last SEC titles </troll font>. Clemson/Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl could also be appealing, especially if Deshaun Watson is able to return. Memphis versus Rutgers in the Birmingham Bowl however sounds like the saddest thing ever conceived.
Head over to SBNation.com and check out the whole list, and feel free to look heedlessly forward to bowl season in the comments below. Until later . . .