- High-profile results like Ohio State's win over Michigan and Washington's win over Washington State brought some clarity to the College Football Playoff race while upsets sunk some teams' bowl hopes.
While the College Football Playoff drama may still have to play out this week in conference championship games, Week 13 brought the down-to-wire drama for bowl eligibility, including some massive blows inflicted by rivals.
Arizona stunned Arizona State for just its third win of the season and kept the Sun Devils from going bowling. Vanderbilt, which would have likely made a bowl with five wins due to its high Academic Progress Rate, sealed the deal with an upset of Tennessee.
But the biggest strike of all came in the Egg Bowl. A rivalry that in recent years often had Sugar Bowl and other major postseason implications was reduced to a death match with only one bowl berth available. Mississippi State’s 55–20 victory not only denied Ole Miss a sixth win, but it also bumped the Bulldogs’ win total up to five, enough for their APR to get them into a bowl game.
See, Nick Saban, we don’t only talk about the playoff.
Before we get to the full projections, a reminder about how the college football bowl selection 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.
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||Ohio State vs. Clemson|
|Orange||Dec. 30||Miami||ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND||Louisville vs. Michigan|
|Cotton||Jan. 2||Arlington, Texas||TBD vs. TBD||Western Michigan vs. Penn State|
|Rose||Jan. 2||Pasadena, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Wisconsin vs. USC|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||New Orleans||SEC vs. Big 12||Auburn vs. Oklahoma|
|New Mexico||Dec. 17||Albuquerque, N.M.||C-USA vs. MW||UTSA vs. New Mexico|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 17||Las Vegas||MW vs. Pac-12||San Diego State vs. Mississippi State*|
|Camellia||Dec. 17||Montgomery, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Miami (OH) vs. Arkansas State|
|Cure||Dec. 17||Orlando, Fla.||AAC vs. Sun Belt||UCF vs. Louisiana-Lafayette|
|New Orleans||Dec. 17||New Orleans||Sun Belt vs. C-USA||Appalachian State vs. Middle Tennessee|
|Miami Beach||Dec. 19||Miami||AAC vs. MAC||Tulsa vs. Central Michigan|
|Boca Raton||Dec. 20||Boca Raton, Fla.||AAC vs. C-USA||Memphis vs. Louisiana Tech|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 21||San Diego||BYU vs. MW||BYU vs. Wyoming|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 22||Boise, Idaho||MAC vs. MW||Ohio vs. Boise State|
|Bahamas||Dec. 23||Nassau, Bahamas||C-USA vs. AAC/MAC||Old Dominion vs. Eastern Michigan|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 23||Fort Worth, Texas||Big 12 vs. Navy||North Texas* vs. Navy|
|Dollar General||Dec. 23||Mobile, Ala.||MAC vs. Sun Belt||Toledo vs. Troy|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||Honolulu||C-USA vs. MW||Southern Miss vs. Hawaii|
|St. Petersburg||Dec. 26||St. Petersburg, Fla.||ACC vs. AAC||South Alabama* vs. Houston|
|Quick Lane||Dec. 26||Detroit||ACC vs. Big Ten||Boston College vs. Maryland|
|Independence||Dec. 26||Shreveport, La.||ACC vs. SEC||NC State vs. Vanderbilt|
|Heart of Dallas||Dec. 27||Dallas||Big Ten vs. C-USA||Army* vs. Western Kentucky|
|Military||Dec. 27||Annapolis, Md.||ACC vs. AAC||Wake Forest 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. Colorado State*|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||New York||ACC vs. Big Ten||Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||Orlando, Fla.||ACC vs. Big 12||Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma State|
|Foster Farms||Dec. 28||Santa Clara, Calif.||Big Ten vs. Pac-12||Indiana vs. Utah|
|Texas||Dec. 28||Houston||Big 12 vs. SEC||TCU vs. Texas A&M|
|Birmingham||Dec. 29||Birmingham, Ala.||AAC vs. SEC||South Florida vs. South Carolina|
|Belk||Dec. 29||Charlotte, N.C.||ACC vs. SEC||North Carolina vs. Tennessee|
|Alamo||Dec. 29||San Antonio||Big 12 vs. Pac-12||West Virginia vs. Colorado|
|Arizona||Dec. 30||Tucson, Ariz.||MW vs. Sun Belt||Air Force vs. Idaho|
|Liberty||Dec. 30||Memphis, Tenn.||Big 12 vs. SEC||Baylor vs. Kentucky|
|Sun||Dec. 30||El Paso, Texas||ACC vs. Pac-12||Georgia Tech vs. Stanford|
|Music City||Dec. 30||Nashville, Tenn.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Minnesota vs. Georgia|
|TaxSlayer||Dec. 31||Jacksonville, Fla.||ACC/Big Ten vs. SEC||Miami vs. Arkansas|
|Citrus||Dec. 31||Orlando, Fla.||Big Ten/ACC vs. SEC||Florida State vs. LSU|
|Outback||Jan. 2||Tampa, Fla.||Big Ten vs. SEC||Nebraska vs. Florida|