College football bowl projections: Is Ohio State now a viable playoff threat?
Is Ohio State suddenly a viable College Football Playoff threat? After Week 12 of the 2014 college football season, that appears to be the case.
The Buckeyes fell out of the playoff conversation for much of the year following a 35-21 home loss to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6, but they might have a better case than people expect by season’s end. If one-loss Ohio State wins out, that would mean its résumé features a Big Ten title -- perhaps over a solid Wisconsin team -- and a win over a top-10 Michigan State. The question is how that’d compare to the résumés of one-loss TCU or Baylor, neither of which would play in a league title game. As a result, Ohio State could look better to the selection committee.
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||Georgia vs. Colo. State|
|Fiesta||Dec. 31||Glendale, Ariz.||TBD vs. TBD||Baylor vs. Mich. State|
|Orange||Dec. 31||Miami||ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND||Ga. Tech vs. Miss. State|
|Cotton||Jan. 1||Arlington, Texas||TBD vs. TBD||TCU vs. UCLA|
|Rose (semifinal)||Jan. 1||Pasadena, Calif.||TBD vs. TBD||Oregon vs. Florida State|
|Sugar (semifinal)||Jan. 1||New Orleans||TBD vs. TBD||Alabama vs. Ohio State|
|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. W. Michigan|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 23||San Diego||MWC vs. Navy||Utah State vs. Navy|
|Bahamas||Dec. 24||Nassau, Bahamas||C-USA vs. MAC||MTSU vs. C. Michigan|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||Honolulu||C-USA vs. MWC||UTEP vs. Air Force|
|Heart of Dallas||Dec. 26||Dallas||Big Ten vs. C-USA||Rutgers vs. Marshall|
|Quick Lane||Dec. 26||Detroit||ACC vs. Big Ten||Va. Tech vs. W. Kentucky*|
|Bitcoin||Dec. 26||St. Petersburg||AAC vs. ACC||Cincinnati vs. Buffalo*|
|Military||Dec. 27||Annapolis, Md.||AAC vs. ACC||UCF vs. BC|
|Sun||Dec. 27||El Paso, Texas||ACC vs. Pac-12||Louisville vs. Utah|
|Independence||Dec. 27||Shreveport, La.||ACC vs. SEC||NC State vs. Arkansas|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 27||Bronx, N.Y.||ACC vs. Big Ten||Notre Dame vs. Maryland|
|Holiday||Dec. 27||San Diego||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Minnesota vs. USC|
|Liberty||Dec. 29||Memphis||Big 12 vs. SEC||West Virginia vs. Missouri|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 29||Orlando, Fla.||ACC vs. Big 12||Duke vs. Kansas State|
|Texas||Dec. 29||Houston||Big 12 vs. SEC||Texas 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||Miami vs. So. Carolina|
|San Francisco||Dec. 30||Santa Clara, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Iowa vs. Arizona|
|Citrus||Jan. 1||Orlando, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Wisconsin vs. Auburn|
|Outback||Jan. 1||Tampa, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Nebraska vs. Ole Miss|
|Armed Forces||Jan. 2||Fort Worth, Texas||ACC vs. Army||Houston vs. Cal*|
|TaxSlayer||Jan. 2||Jacksonville, Fla.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Penn State vs. LSU|
|Alamo||Jan. 2||San Antonio||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Oklahoma vs. Ariz. St.|
|Cactus||Jan. 2||Tempe, Ariz.||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||Ohio* vs. Washington|
|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