Bowl Projections: Alabama poised to make College Football Playoff push?
There is another change at the top of SI.com’s bowl projections.
Alabama, which controls its destiny in the College Football Playoff race after edging LSU 20-13 in overtime on Saturday, could upend Mississippi State this week and defeat Auburn on Nov. 29. That would be enough to push the Crimson Tide into a semifinal spot at No. 2. Meanwhile, if Baylor and TCU both win out -- a distinct possibility -- the Bears would get the nod for a playoff berth, at least in these projections, thanks to a 61-58 head-to-head win over the Horned Frogs on Oct. 11. Baylor destroyed Oklahoma 48-14 in Norman on Saturday, but it still must host Kansas State on Dec. 6.
Before moving forward, a quick reminder on how this all works. The selection committee fills the two semifinal bowls based on its final rankings. It then rounds out the four non-playoff New Year’s Six bowls, while fulfilling certain contractual obligations, such as pitting an ACC team against an SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame team in the Orange Bowl. The remaining teams are then fed into each league’s contract bowls. If a league doesn’t produce enough bowl-eligible teams, bowls can invite replacement teams from other leagues.
This season the ACC, Big Ten and SEC have each pooled a select number of bowls together and will decide where to place teams. While the Big 12 and Pac-12 use a more straightforward method -- the Pac-12’s No. 2 choice would go to the Alamo Bowl, the No. 3 to the Holiday Bowl, etc. -- the process for the other three Power Five leagues is less structured. For instance, the ACC’s No. 2 choice will go to the Russell Athletic Bowl, but teams Nos. 3-6 can land anywhere among the Sun, Belk, Music City/Taxslayer or Pinstripe bowls.
Keep in mind, “Pac-12 No. 2” doesn't mean the Pac-12’s second-place team. Fan travel and geographical location factor into bowl selection as much as conference standings. Thus, leagues aren't obligated to fill bowls based on records.
|Peach||Dec. 31||Atlanta||TBD vs. TBD||Auburn vs. Colo. State|
|Fiesta||Dec. 31||Glendale, Ariz.||TBD vs. TBD||Ariz. State vs. Mich. St.|
|Orange||Dec. 31||Miami||ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND||Duke vs. Miss. State|
|Cotton||Jan. 1||Arlington, Texas||TBD vs. TBD||TCU vs. Ohio State|
|Rose (semifinal)||Jan. 1||Pasadena, Calif.||TBD vs. TBD||Alabama vs. Baylor|
|Sugar (semifinal)||Jan. 1||New Orleans||TBD vs. TBD||Florida State vs. Oregon|
|New Orleans||Dec. 20||New Orleans||MWC vs. Sun Belt||Temple* vs. Ark. State|
|New Mexico||Dec. 20||Albuquerque, N.M.||C-USA vs. MWC||La. Tech vs. Nevada|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 20||Las Vegas||MWC vs. Pac-12||Boise State vs. Stanford|
|Idaho Potato||Dec. 20||Boise, Idaho||MAC vs. MWC||BGSU vs. SDSU|
|Camellia||Dec. 20||Montgomery, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Toledo vs. So. Alabama|
|Miami Beach||Dec. 22||Miami||AAC vs. BYU||Memphis vs. BYU|
|Boca Raton||Dec. 23||Boca Raton, Fla.||C-USA vs. MAC||Rice vs. Ohio|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 23||San Diego||MWC vs. Navy||Utah State vs. Navy|
|Bahamas||Dec. 24||Nassau, Bahamas||C-USA vs. MAC||Middle Tenn. vs. Akron|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||Honolulu||C-USA vs. MWC||UTEP vs. Air Force|
|Heart of Dallas||Dec. 26||Dallas||Big Ten vs. C-USA||California* vs. Marshall|
|Quick Lane||Dec. 26||Detroit||ACC vs. Big Ten||Pitt vs. W. Kentucky*|
|Bitcoin||Dec. 26||St. Petersburg||AAC vs. ACC||Cincinnati vs. Virginia|
|Military||Dec. 27||Annapolis, Md.||AAC vs. ACC||UCF vs. Miami|
|Sun||Dec. 27||El Paso, Texas||ACC vs. Pac-12||Louisville vs. Utah|
|Independence||Dec. 27||Shreveport, La.||ACC vs. SEC||NC State vs. UAB*|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 27||Bronx, N.Y.||ACC vs. Big Ten||BC vs. Maryland|
|Holiday||Dec. 27||San Diego||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Minnesota vs. Arizona|
|Liberty||Dec. 29||Memphis||Big 12 vs. SEC||West Virginia vs. Georgia|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 29||Orlando, Fla.||ACC vs. Big 12||Notre Dame vs. Okla.|
|Texas||Dec. 29||Houston||Big 12 vs. SEC||Okla. St. vs. Texas A&M|
|Music City||Dec. 30||Nashville||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Clemson vs. Tennessee|
|Belk||Dec. 30||Charlotte, N.C.||ACC vs. SEC||Ga. Tech vs. So. Carolina|
|San Francisco||Dec. 30||Santa Clara, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Iowa vs. USC|
|Citrus||Jan. 1||Orlando, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Wisconsin vs. Ole Miss|
|Outback||Jan. 1||Tampa, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Nebraska vs. LSU|
|Armed Forces||Jan. 2||Fort Worth, Texas||ACC vs. Army||Houston vs. W. Michigan*|
|TaxSlayer||Jan. 2||Jacksonville, Fla.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Penn State vs. Missouri|
|Alamo||Jan. 2||San Antonio||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Kansas State vs. UCLA|
|Cactus||Jan. 2||Tempe, Ariz.||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||C. Michigan* vs. Wash.|
|Birmingham||Jan. 3||Birmingham, Ala.||AAC vs. SEC||Florida vs. E. Carolina|
|GoDaddy||Jan. 4||Mobile, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||NIU vs. UL-Lafayette|
* -- Replacement team