- Michigan moves into the predicted College Football Playoff field after Ohio State's loss while Utah slides up to the Rose Bowl in the post-Week 8 Bowl Projections.
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
|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|
|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|