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July 27, 2021

BYU up to No. 16 in final CFP rankings of regular season; Semifinals, NY6 set (+bowl game schedule)

PROVO — With three days left in the 2020 season, the BYU football team will finish with its first 10-win season since 2001 and a spot in the top 15.

That was confirmed Sunday, when voters inched the Cougars up at No. 13 in the last Associated Press Top 25 of the regular season, released a day after most conference championships were played and an hour before ESPN’s broadcast of the final College Football Playoff top 25 selection.

BYU (10-1, No. 17 CFP) inched up to its highest ranking since falling outside the top-10 following a 22-15 loss at Coastal Carolina in the penultimate game of the regular season. BYU also closes out the regular season at No. 15 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, and moved up marginally to No. 16 in the final Playoff selection poll.

The Cougars will close out the 2020 campaign Tuesday against UCF (6-3) in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame claim the top-four in the AP poll, and held the same designation by the CFP selection committee.

Alabama (11-0) will face Notre Dame (10-1) in one semifinal, and Clemson (10-1) and Ohio State (6-0) will mark the other semifinal. Texas A&M (8-1) and Oklahoma (8-2) finished in the top six.

The Sooners (8-2) jumped over Group of Five challenger Cincinnati by virtue of their win over Iowa State in the Big 12 championship game. The Bearcats stayed undefeated with a last-second field goal against Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference title game.

“The committee has great respect for Cincinnati. They’re undefeated, they won their conference championship last night on a last-second field goal. They’re a terrific team,” said CFP selection committee chair Gary Barta, who is also the athletic director at Iowa. “It’s comparing them to the six teams you see on your board, and it was just believed by the committee that those resumes are stronger overall than Cincinnati’s resume.”

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Barta later added that Cincinnati was hurt by a lack of scheduling down the stretch — the Bearcats canceled games against Temple and Tulsa due to COVID-19 concern before beating the Golden Hurricane in the AAC championship — while Sun Belt co-champion Coastal Carolina had more top-25 wins (2) than Cincinnati (1), as well.

Still, any attempts to extrapolate data from this year’s CFP rankings for future years should be taken with a grain of salt, he added. It is, after all, a pandemic.

“As somebody who lives on campus and deals with scheduling, I can tell you there’s never been a season like 2020 coming into this year and I certainly hope for a lot of reasons there will never be a season like 2020 again,” Barta told ESPN. “I think it would be a challenge to use this year — the pandemic year — to estimate how one should schedule their football seasons in the future, and I don’t think that would happen, as most people understand the circumstances of this situation.”

The Tigers and Buckeyes will meet in a national semifinal for the second-straight year.

The Guaranteed Rate, Birmingham, Independence and Military bowls were canceled due to a high number of teams that opted out of the bowl season, as first reported by Stadium’s Brett McMurphy. That leaves 15 of originally scheduled 42 bowl games canceled, plus a game added in Montgomery, Alabama.

Army will not play in a bowl game after finishing with a 9-2 record. The Black Knights committed to the Independence Bowl on Oct. 24, becoming the first FBS program to sign on with a bowl game.

But when teams began opting out, it left bowl games to honor contracts with conferences and Army could not find a replacement bowl when the Shreveport, Louisiana-based game was formally called off.

College football bowl games

College Football Playoff

Jan. 1, CFP semifinals:

Rose Bowl in Arlington, Texas: Alabama vs. Notre Dame, 2 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Sugar Bowl in New Orleans: Clemson vs. Ohio State, 6 p.m. MT (ESPN)

New Year’s Six

Dec. 30

Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Florida, 5:15 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Jan. 1

Peach Bowl: No. 8 Cincinnati vs. No. 9 Georgia, 10:30 a.m. MT (ESPN)

Jan. 2

Fiesta Bowl: No. 25 Oregon vs. No. 10 Iowa State, 2 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Orange Bowl: No. 5 Texas A&M vs. No. 13 North Carolina, 6 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Full bowl game schedule

Dec. 21

Myrtle Beach Bowl: North Texas vs. Appalachian State, 12:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 22

Idaho Potato Bowl: Tulane vs. Nevada, 1:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Boca Raton Bowl: BYU vs. UCF, 5 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 23

New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Georgia Southern, 1:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Montgomery Bowl: Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic, 5 p.m. MT (ESPN/ESPN2)

Dec. 24

New Mexico Bowl: Hawaii vs. Houston, 1:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 25

Camellia Bowl: Buffalo vs. Marshall, 12:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 26

Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. No. 12 Coastal Carolina, 10 a.m. MT (ESPN)

First Responder Bowl: Louisiana vs. UTSA, 1:30 p.m. (ABC)

LendingTree Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State, 1:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 29

Cheez-It Bowl: No. 21 Oklahoma State vs. No. 18 Miami (Fla.), 3:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Alamo Bowl: No. 20 Texas vs. Colorado, 7 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 30

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Wisconsin, 10 a.m. MT (ESPN)

Music City Bowl: Missouri vs. Iowa, 1:30 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Cotton Bowl Classic: No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Florida, 5:15 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Dec. 31

Armed Forces Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Tulsa, 10 a.m. MT (ESPN)

Arizona Bowl: Ball State vs. San Jose State, 12:30 p.m. MT (CBS)

Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Tennessee, 2 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Texas Bowl: TCU vs. Arkansas, 6 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Jan. 1

Peach Bowl: No. 8 Cincinnati vs. No. 9 Georgia, 10:30 a.m. MT (ESPN)

Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Northwestern vs. Auburn, 11 a.m. MT (ABC)

Jan. 2

Gator Bowl: North Carolina State vs. TBD, 10 a.m. MT (ESPN)

Outback Bowl: TBD, 10:30 a.m. MT (ESPN)

Fiesta Bowl: No. 25 Oregon vs. No. 10 Iowa State, 2 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Orange Bowl: No. 5 Texas A&M vs. No. 13 North Carolina, 6 p.m. MT (ESPN)

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