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  • It's still early in the 2016 college football season, but it's not too early to project which games teams will be playing in during the postseason.
By Colin Becht
September 27, 2016

With many teams a third of the way through their regular-season schedules, the College Football Playoff and bowl pictures are starting to come into focus. Obviously a lot will change between now and the kickoff to bowl season on Dec. 17, but after making initial bowl projections before the season, we now have an idea of how things will shake out.

Here’s a reminder about how the college football postseason works. The playoff selection committee will choose the teams for the two playoff semifinals—the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl this year—and the four other marquee bowls that are part of the New Year’s Six.  The highest ranked Group of Five conference champion must play in one of those six games, and other games, such as the Rose Bowl, have conference tie-ins.

The remaining bowl games are also governed by agreements with the 10 FBS conferences, though if a league doesn’t produce enough bowl-eligible teams to fulfill all of its tie-ins, that bowl can select another conference’s representative. In some cases, leagues will pool together their bowl tie-ins to create more flexibility. The Music City Bowl, for example, can choose either an ACC or Big Ten team to face an SEC opponent.

And lastly, just because a bowl may be designated to have a particular order of selection among a conference’s teams doesn’t mean it has to adhere exactly to the standings. The Alamo Bowl’s second choice among Pac-12 teams, for example, does not require it to choose the No. 2 available team from the Pac-12 standings or from the playoff committee’s rankings. Other factors, such as location, the matchup, the size of a school’s fan base and the willingness of that fan base to travel, can influence bowls’ decisions.

College Football
Wisconsin climbs into top five in Power Rankings after Week 4

New Year's Six bowls

Bowl

Date

Location

Matchup

Pick

Peach (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Atlanta

TBD vs. TBD

Alabama vs. Stan.

Fiesta (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Glendale, Ariz.

TBD vs. TBD

Ohio St. vs. FSU

Orange

Dec. 30

Miami

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Clemson vs. Tenn.

Cotton

Jan. 2

Arlington, Texas

TBD vs. TBD

Houston vs. Baylor

Rose

Jan. 2

Pasadena, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Mich. vs. Wash.

Sugar

Jan. 2

New Orleans

SEC vs. Big 12

Texas A&M vs. TCU

Biggest takeaways from Week 4

bowl

date

location

matchup

pick

New Mexico

Dec. 17

Albuquerque, N.M,

C-USA vs. MW

WKU vs. Colo. St.

Las Vegas

Dec. 17

Las Vegas

MW vs. Pac-12

Boise St. vs. ASU

Camellia

Dec. 17

Montgomery, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Cen. Mich. vs. Troy

Cure

Dec. 17

Orlando, Fla.

AAC vs. Sun Belt

Temple vs. ULL

New Orleans

Dec. 17

New Orleans

Sun Belt vs. C-USA

App. St. vs. USM

Miami Beach

Dec. 19

Miami

AAC vs. MAC

Cinci. vs. Ball St.

Boca Raton

Dec. 20

Boca Raton, Fla.

AAC vs. C-USA

ECU vs. MTSU

Poinsettia

Dec. 21

San Diego

BYU vs. MW

BYU vs. Air Force

Famous Idaho Potato

Dec. 22

Boise, Idaho

MAC vs. MW

Toledo vs. SDSU

Bahamas

Dec. 23

Nassau, Bahamas

AAC vs. MAC

UConn vs. Ohio

Armed Forces

Dec. 23

Fort Worth, Texas

Big 12 vs. Navy

Tex. Tech vs. Navy

Dollar General

Dec. 23

Mobile, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

WMU vs. GSU

Hawaii

Dec. 24

Honolulu

C-USA vs. MW

Old Dom. vs. Nev.

St. Petersburg

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg, Fla.

ACC vs. AAC

Army* vs. USF

Quick Lane

Dec. 26

Detroit

ACC vs. Big Ten

W. Forest vs. PSU

Independence

Dec. 26

Shreveport, La.

ACC vs. SEC

NC State vs. Cal*

Heart of Dallas

Dec. 27

Dallas

Big Ten vs. C-USA

Maryland vs. Marshall

Military

Dec. 27

Annapolis, Md.

ACC vs. AAC

Ga. Tech vs. Mem.

Holiday

Dec. 27

San Diego

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Mich. St. vs. UCLA

Cactus

Dec. 27

Phoenix

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Kansas St. vs. USC

Pinstripe

Dec. 28

New York

ACC vs. Big Ten

Pitt. vs. Minn.

Russell Athletic

Dec. 28

Orlando, Fla.

ACC vs. Big 12

U of L vs. Ok. St.

Foster Farms

Dec. 28

Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Indiana vs. Oregon

Texas

Dec. 28

Houston

Big 12 vs. SEC

Texas vs. Missouri

Birmingham

Dec. 29

Birmingham, Ala.

AAC vs. SEC

Tulsa vs. FAU*

Belk

Dec. 29

Charlotte, N.C.

ACC vs. SEC

UNC vs. Auburn

Alamo

Dec. 29

San Antonio

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Oklahoma vs. Utah

Arizona

Dec. 30

Tucson, Ariz.

MW vs. Sun Belt

E. Mich.* vs. Idaho

Liberty

Dec. 30

Memphis, Tenn.

Big 12 vs. SEC

W. Virginia vs. LSU

Sun

Dec. 30

El Paso, Texas

ACC vs. Pac-12

VT vs. Colo.

Music City

Dec. 30

Nashville, Ten..

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Iowa vs. Georgia

TaxSlayer

Dec. 31

Jacksonville, Fla.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Miami vs. Ole Miss

Citrus

Dec. 31

Orlando, Fla.

Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC

Wisc. vs. Arkansas

Outback

Jan. 2

Tampa, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Neb. vs. Florida

*Replacement team

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