By Zac Ellis
December 02, 2014

Championship week is here, and the bowl picture is taking shape. We’re on the verge of finding out the teams that will play in the first College Football Playoff.

Nothing changed at the top of’s Bowl Projections after rivalry week. The most notable fallout occurred among the participants in the other New Year’s Six bowls. Losses by Georgia and UCLA paved the way for Arizona and Ole Miss to potentially sneak into the mix. The Group of Five’s representative also changed, with Boise State moving ahead of Marshall following’s the Thundering Herd’s 67-66 overtime defeat to Western Kentucky.

STAPLES: Lessons, questions from debut season in playoff system

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.

Bowl Date Location Matchup Pick
Peach Dec. 31 Atlanta TBD vs. TBD Ole Miss vs. Ohio State
Fiesta Dec. 31 Glendale, Ariz. TBD vs. TBD Arizona vs. Boise 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. Mich. State
Rose (semifinal) Jan. 1 Pasadena, Calif. TBD vs. TBD Oregon vs. Florida State
Sugar (semifinal) Jan. 1 New Orleans TBD vs. TBD Alabama vs. Baylor
bowl date location matchup pick
New Orleans Dec. 20 New Orleans MWC vs. Sun Belt Fresno State vs. UL-Laf.
New Mexico Dec. 20 Albuquerque, N.M. C-USA vs. MWC La. Tech vs. Utah State
Las Vegas Dec. 20 Las Vegas MWC vs. Pac-12 Colo. State vs. Stanford
Idaho Potato Dec. 20 Boise, Idaho MAC vs. MWC Nevada vs. Toledo
Camellia Dec. 20 Montgomery, Ala. MAC vs. Sun Belt BGSU vs. Ark. State
Miami Beach Dec. 22 Miami AAC vs. BYU Memphis vs. BYU*
Boca Raton Dec. 23 Boca Raton, Fla. C-USA vs. MAC WKU vs. W. Michigan
Poinsettia Dec. 23 San Diego MWC vs. Navy SDSU vs. Navy
Bahamas Dec. 24 Nassau, Bahamas C-USA vs. MAC Rice 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. Illinois
Bitcoin Dec. 26 St. Petersburg AAC vs. ACC Cincinnati vs. Pitt
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 UNC vs. Arkansas
Pinstripe Dec. 27 Bronx, N.Y. ACC vs. Big Ten Notre Dame vs. PSU
Holiday Dec. 27 San Diego Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Nebraska vs. USC
Liberty Dec. 29 Memphis Big 12 vs. SEC WVU vs. Tennessee
Russell Athletic Dec. 29 Orlando, Fla. ACC vs. Big 12 Clemson vs. Oklahoma
Texas Dec. 29 Houston Big 12 vs. SEC Texas vs. Auburn
Music City Dec. 30 Nashville ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC Miami vs. Texas A&M
Belk Dec. 30 Charlotte, N.C. ACC vs. SEC Duke vs. So. Carolina
Foster Farms Dec. 30 Santa Clara, Calif. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Iowa vs. UCLA
Citrus Jan. 1 Orlando, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Wisconsin vs. Missouri
Outback Jan. 1 Tampa, Fla. Big Ten vs. SEC Minnesota vs. Georgia
Armed Forces Jan. 2 Fort Worth, Texas ACC vs. Army Houston vs. NC State**
TaxSlayer Jan. 2 Jacksonville, Fla. ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC Maryland vs. LSU
Alamo Jan. 2 San Antonio Big 12 vs. Pac-12 K-State vs. Ariz. State
Cactus Jan. 2 Tempe, Ariz. Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Tex. State** vs. Wash.
Birmingham Jan. 3 Birmingham, Ala. AAC vs. SEC E. Carolina vs. Florida
GoDaddy Jan. 4 Mobile, Ala. MAC vs. Sun Belt NIU vs. So. Alabama

* -- Accepted bowl bid

** -- Replacement team

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