2023 College Football Bowl Projections: Fresno State Stays on Course for a New Year’s Six Berth

Following an enthralling weekend of college football action, the latest 2023 college football bowl projections throw together some instant classics.

Just like that, Week 5 of the 2023 college football season is over and we’re barrelling towards the halfway point at breakneck speed. Before we know it, the CFB Playoff committee will be selecting the final four and allocating teams to bowl games. How will that look? Our latest 2023 college football bowl projections dive into the possible permutations for bowl season.

Our college football bowl projections are partly a reflection of the CFN college football power rankings and partly a reflection of the current state of play in each conference. As such, they’re expected to evolve between now and the start of December.

2023 College Football Bowl Projections | New Year’s Six

Rose Bowl (College Football Playoff) | #1 Washington vs. #4 Georgia

As the number one ranked team in our latest College Football Top 25 Power Rankings, the Washington Huskies remain on track to take the number one seed in the College Football Playoff.

Kalen DeBoer’s team has all the ingredients needed to go undefeated to a Pac-12 title, from high-scoring offense to playmaking defensive capability.

In these latest college football bowl projections, they’ll take on a Georgia Bulldogs team that overcame early setbacks to squeeze past the Auburn Tigers in Week 5.

While they may not be an offensive juggernaut like the Huskies, their defense would arguably be the toughest one that Michael Penix Jr. may face this fall.

Sugar Bowl (College Football Playoff) | #2 Michigan vs. #3 Texas

The model of consistency this season, the Michigan Wolverines are on a collision course with a Big Ten title and a place in the College Football Playoff. They scored 30+ points every game this year, while no team has put more than 10 points past the Wolverines’ defense after a convincing 45-7 win over Nebraska in Week 5.

They’re yet to face a team of the caliber of the Texas Longhorns, however, making this game in our college football bowl projections an intriguing affair. Steve Sarkisian’s team seems to be getting better with every passing week, not missing a beat on offense with the departure of Bijan Robinson and suffocating opposition offenses into submission with a dangerous defense.

Cotton Bowl | Oregon vs. Penn State

This matchup in our latest 2023 college football bowl projections has all the potential of a classic Rose Bowl matchup between the Pac-12 and Big Ten. With the Rose Bowl hosting the College Football Playoff, the Oregon Ducks and Penn State Nittany Lions swap Pasadena for the plush surroundings of AT&T Stadium and a berth in the Cotton Bowl.

This game would showcase two of the best defenses that we’ve seen so far in the 2023 college football season. Meanwhile, a game featuring Nicholas Singleton and Bucky Irving — were they both to play given the Oregon rusher’s eligibility for the 2024 NFL Draft — would allow us to witness two of the very best running backs in the nation. A fascinating potential matchup.

Fiesta Bowl | Ohio State vs. USC 

Week 5 shook up the order of our College Football Top 25 Power Rankings so much that there are changes to almost every single New Year’s Six matchup in our 2023 college football bowl projections — except one. Ohio State vs. USC is a repeat matchup in the Fiesta Bowl, and here’s what we wrote about this potentially mouth-watering clash last week:

“The Fiesta Bowl would be scant consolation for two teams with College Football Playoff aspirations, but it would make for an awesome matchup for the neutral. Ohio State has perhaps their best defensive unit for several seasons and would face a stern test against the Caleb Williams-led Trojans offense. Could Alex Grinch’s defense halt an Ohio State offense that is yet to ignite?”

Peach Bowl | Notre Dame vs. Fresno State

The Fresno State Bulldogs are all set to defend their Mountain West crown in consummate fashion, sweeping all before them so far and adding a fifth consecutive win of the season with a 27-9 win over Nevada in Week 5. The Bulldogs are currently the highest-ranked team who are eligible to take the Group of Five place in the New Year’s Six slate of bowl games.

In our latest college football bowl projections, Jeff Tedford’s Bulldogs team face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who climb back into the top 10 of our power rankings after a late win over the Duke Blue Devils in Week 5. Fresno State has a top-50 rush defense in the nation, but would it be enough to stop the rampant Audric Estime in the Peach Bowl?

Orange Bowl | FSU vs. Alabama

With presumed SEC champion Georgia currently set to feature in the College Football Playoff, the conference is represented in the Orange Bowl by the next highest-ranked team. Despite some struggles offensively and a Week 2 defeat to Texas, that projects to be the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Saban’s team has appeared in the game nine times, with a 5-4 record.

Awaiting them in our college football bowl projections is ACC champion Florida State, who narrowly missed out on a playoff spot in our recent College Football Top 25. Jordan Travis facing off against a relentless Alabama defense while a suspect Crimson Tide offensive line tries to fight off the advances of Jared Verse and a plethora of talented pass rushers would be must-see TV.

Projections for the Remaining 2023 College Football Bowl Games

Bahamas Bowl
New Mexico State vs. James Madison
* James Madison gains bowl eligibility due to a lack of six-win teams.

Celebration Bowl
North Carolina Central vs. Florida A&M

New Orleans Bowl
Western Kentucky vs. Georgia Southern

Cure Bowl
Liberty vs. Marshall

New Mexico Bowl
FIU vs. New Mexico

LA Bowl
UCLA vs. Air Force

Independence Bowl
Colorado vs. UCF

Myrtle Beach Bowl
Troy vs. Rice

Frisco Bowl
Louisiana Tech vs. UNLV

Boca Raton Bowl
Appalachian State vs. Ohio

Gasparilla Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas

Birmingham Bowl
SMU vs. South Carolina

Camellia Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Georgia State

Armed Forces Bowl
Jacksonville State vs. Army
*Jacksonville State gains bowl eligibility due to a lack of six-win teams.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Miami (OH) vs. Wyoming

68 Ventures Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Texas State

Las Vegas Bowl
Iowa vs. Utah

Hawaii Bowl
Colorado State vs. Tulsa

Quick Lane Bowl
Northwestern vs. Bowling Green

First Responder Bowl

Guaranteed Rate Bowl
BYU vs. Purdue

Military Bowl
Tulane vs. Clemson

Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Syracuse vs. Tennessee

Texas Bowl
Kansas State vs. Ole Miss

Fenway Bowl
Memphis vs. Wake Forest

Pinstripe Bowl
NC State vs. Minnesota

Pop-Tarts Bowl
Louisville vs. West Virginia

Alamo Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Oregon State

Gator Bowl
Texas A&M vs. Duke

Sun Bowl
Miami (FL) vs. Arizona

Liberty Bowl
Kansas vs. Auburn

Music City Bowl
LSU vs. Rutgers

Arizona Bowl
Toledo vs. Boise State

Reliaquest Bowl
Missouri vs. Wisconsin

Citrus Bowl
Maryland vs. Kentucky

Holiday Bowl
North Carolina vs. Washington State