Bowl Projections: Michigan enters predicted playoff field after Week 8

0:50 | College Football
Unranked Penn State knocks off No. 2 Ohio State in front of 'white out' crowd
Tuesday October 25th, 2016

For the first time in three weeks, a new team has entered the projected College Football Playoff field. Ohio State’s loss to Penn State makes Michigan the favorite to emerge from the Big Ten with a playoff-worthy résumé. While the Buckeyes could certainly win the spot back—winning out and beating Wolverines would surely do it—they’ll have to settle for a Rose Bowl berth for now.

The other significant change this week is the continuing revolution of the carousel to determine who is the second best team in the Pac-12. Last week’s projection, Stanford, drops following the Cardinal’s home defeat to Colorado, allowing Utah to move into the Pac-12’s Rose Bowl slot. The Buffaloes, however, are hot on the heels of the Utes and would be next in line if coach Kyle Whittingham’s squad slips. Imagine that: Colorado could snap an eight-season bowl drought with, of all things, a trip to the Granddaddy of Them All.

Before we get to the bowl projections, a reminder about how the college football postseason works. The playoff selection committee will choose the teams for the two CFP 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.

New Year's Six bowls

Bowl

Date

Location

Matchup

Pick

Peach (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Atlanta

TBD vs. TBD

Alabama vs. Washington

Fiesta (semifinal)

Dec. 31

Glendale, Ariz.

TBD vs. TBD

Michigan vs. Clemson

Orange

Dec. 30

Miami

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Louisville vs. Wisconsin

Cotton

Jan. 2

Arlington, Texas

TBD vs. TBD

Boise State vs. Tennessee

Rose

Jan. 2

Pasadena, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Ohio State vs. Utah

Sugar

Jan. 2

New Orleans

SEC vs. Big 12

Texas A&M vs. Baylor

College Football
Louisville reenters top five of Power Rankings after Week 8

bowl

date

location

matchup

pick

New Mexico

Dec. 17

Albuquerque, N.M.

C-USA vs. MW

Southern Miss vs. New Mexico

Las Vegas

Dec. 17

Las Vegas

MW vs. Pac-12

San Diego State vs. Arizona State

Camellia

Dec. 17

Montgomery, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Eastern Michigan vs. Georgia Southern

Cure

Dec. 17

Orlando, Fla.

AAC vs. Sun Belt

UCF vs. South Alabama

New Orleans

Dec. 17

New Orleans

Sun Belt vs. C-USA

Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee

Miami Beach

Dec. 19

Miami

AAC vs. MAC

Houston vs. Central Michigan

Boca Raton

Dec. 20

Boca Raton, Fla.

AAC vs. C-USA

Memphis vs. Western Kentucky

Poinsettia

Dec. 21

San Diego

BYU vs. MW

BYU vs. Air Force

Famous Idaho Potato

Dec. 22

Boise, Idaho

MAC vs. MW

Toledo vs. Wyoming

Bahamas

Dec. 23

Nassau, Bahamas

AAC vs. MAC

Cincinnati vs. Akron

Armed Forces

Dec. 23

Fort Worth, Texas

Big 12 vs. Navy

Texas vs. Navy

Dollar General

Dec. 23

Mobile, Ala.

MAC vs. Sun Belt

Western Michigan vs. Troy

Hawaii

Dec. 24

Honolulu

C-USA vs. MW

Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii

St. Petersburg

Dec. 26

St. Petersburg, Fla.

ACC vs. AAC

Wake Forest vs. South Florida

Quick Lane

Dec. 26

Detroit

ACC vs. Big Ten

Georgia Tech vs. Maryland

Independence

Dec. 26

Shreveport, La.

ACC vs. SEC

NC State vs. Ohio*

Heart of Dallas

Dec. 27

Dallas

Big Ten vs. C-USA

Arkansas State* vs. Old Dominion

Military

Dec. 27

Annapolis, Md.

ACC vs. AAC

Ball State* vs. Temple

Holiday

Dec. 27

San Diego

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Iowa vs. Washington State

Cactus

Dec. 27

Phoenix

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Kansas State vs. Cal

Pinstripe

Dec. 28

New York

ACC vs. Big Ten

Miami vs. Northwestern

Russell Athletic

Dec. 28

Orlando, Fla.

ACC vs. Big 12

Florida State vs. West Virginia

Foster Farms

Dec. 28

Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Minnesota vs. USC

Texas

Dec. 28

Houston

Big 12 vs. SEC

Oklahoma State vs. Georgia

Birmingham

Dec. 29

Birmingham, Ala.

AAC vs. SEC

Tulsa vs. North Texas*

Belk

Dec. 29

Charlotte, N.C.

ACC vs. SEC

North Carolina vs. Arkansas

Alamo

Dec. 29

San Antonio

Big 12 vs. Pac-12

Oklahoma vs. Colorado

Arizona

Dec. 30

Tucson, Ariz.

MW vs. Sun Belt

Colorado State vs. Idaho

Liberty

Dec. 30

Memphis, Tenn.

Big 12 vs. SEC

TCU vs. Kentucky

Sun

Dec. 30

El Paso, Texas

ACC vs. Pac-12

Pittsburgh vs. Stanford

Music City

Dec. 30

Nashville, Tenn.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Indiana vs. Ole Miss

TaxSlayer

Dec. 31

Jacksonville, Fla.

ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC

Virginia Tech vs. LSU

Citrus

Dec. 31

Orlando, Fla.

Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC

Nebraska vs. Auburn

Outback

Jan. 2

Tampa, Fla.

Big Ten vs. SEC

Penn State vs. Florida

*Replacement team

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