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College football bowl projections: Penn State over Ohio State in Rose Bowl leads to New Year’s Six reshuffle


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One of the biggest news to emerge from the sport in recent days, aside from the College Football Playoff being expanded to 12 teams starting in 2024-25, involves this year’s bowl game lineup. Specifically, it involves the Rose Bowl potentially selecting No. 8 Penn State over No. 5 Ohio State to fill its Big Ten vacancy should No. 2 Michigan win the Big Ten Championship Game as a favorite.

The Buckeyes have appeared in two of the last four Rose Bowl games, including last season’s epic 48-45 win over Utah. There is also the possibility that Utah will be the representative of the Pac-12, even if it loses to USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, which would set up a potential replay of the matchup. (My current projection lists the Rose Bowl taking Washington over what would be a four-loss Utah team.)

Notably, Ohio State did not sell its allotment of tickets to last year’s Rose Bowl, so game organizers are concerned that the Buckeyes’ fan base, which normally travels as well as anyone, may not be interested in return to Pasadena, California for a third consecutive year.

Meanwhile, Penn State’s last appearance in the Rose Bowl was in 2016, and the Nittany Lions’ fan base is also traveling very well.

The reasoning is sound, and one wonders why the Rose Bowl would broadcast this information to the public if it wasn’t reasonably sure it wanted to go in this direction. As such, I am adjusting my projection and placing Penn State in the Rose Bowl as a representative of the Big Ten.

That results in more trades as Ohio State advances to the Orange Bowl as the top-ranked team from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame. Tennessee therefore shifts to the Cotton Bowl against as the highest rated remaining team.

Another result of this change: Because the Big Ten is in the Orange Bowl, the ACC gets the Big Ten’s spot in the ReliaQuest Bowl. As a result, there have been some significant changes to the bowl spots for teams in both leagues.

College Football Playoff

January 9th

National Championship
Inglewood, Calif.

title game semifinal winners

December 31

peach bowl


(1) Georgia vs. (4) USC

December 31

party bowl
Glendale, Ariz.


(2) Michigan vs. (3) TCU

Sets of six New Year’s bowls

There are also some new screenings in other places. Notably, Syracuse has withdrawn from the Fenway Bowl due to a conflict with the school’s academic calendar. Pittsburgh moved from the Pinstripe Bowl to Fenway, while Syracuse projects to the Pinstripe as these teams swap ballparks.

In addition, the only unchanged bowl projection since the beginning of the season was finally changed. The New Mexico Bowl had an Air Force vs. North Texas matchup from the start, but now I’ve moved the Air Force to the Armed Forces Bowl for the 20th anniversary of that game. North Texas has also moved to the Myrtle Beach Bowl, so the projected New Mexico Bowl matchup is now BYU vs. Fresno State.

More changes may follow as more information becomes known.

Don’t see your team? Verify Updated Jerry Palm Bowl Projections just like him CBS Sports Bowl Eligibility Tracker for updates on what your team needs to do to go bowling this season.

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