By Zac Ellis
November 11, 2014

There is another change at the top of’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.

STAPLES: Could the selection committee have a style bias?

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
bowl date Location Matchup Pick
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

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