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Bowl Projections: How Week 1 Might Have Changed the New Year's Six Picture

From the top of the rankings to college football's middle class, Week 1 gave us a clearer picture of how this year's bowl slate might shake out, even if it's still too early to tell who will make the six-win cutline.

One week’s worth of data isn’t enough to move many teams on either side of the six-win line, but there were a few performances that merited slight adjustments to our preseason bowl projections. Baylor’s stunning loss to Liberty caused a shakeup lower down in the Big 12 pecking order, while Maryland’s upset of Texas earned the Terps a spot in the bowl roster. Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Indiana arrives after giving Ohio State a scare in the Thursday night opener, but the Hoosiers may get all too familiar with the way the Buckeyes pulled away in the second half later on in their brutal Big Ten schedule.

• The Big Ten is still shut out of the playoff field for now, a nod to the very real possibility that its top three contenders cannibalize each other’s chances in the coming months. That could change Saturday night, when Ohio State hosts Oklahoma in one of the weekend’s marquee games. The winner should find itself in everyone’s projected top four next week.

• I clearly can’t get the 2014 Texas Bowl out of my head. Last week I brought Arkansas and Texas back together, and this week I’m sending the Razorbacks to Birmingham, where Bret Bielema squares off against ... Charlie Strong. South Florida’s sloppy starts in the first two games of the season have me worried that the Group of Five’s best hope for an undefeated season lies elsewhere, knocking the Bulls out of the New Year’s Six picture.

Go ahead and read Chris Johnson’s Intro to James Blackman course syllabus if you want more proof, but Florida State’s season is not necessarily heading into the tank just because quarterback Deondre Francois is out for the year with a knee injury. Still, it’s hard to believe Blackman will be able to generate enough firepower to outduel Lamar Jackson and Louisville or trade blows with a Clemson offense at full strength. That leaves the Seminoles with a fascinating but low-stakes matchup with Georgia in Orlando on New Year’s Day.

Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Teams at the Center of Week 1's Biggest Plot Twists

The full slate as Week 2 approaches:

Saturday, Dec. 16

R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, New Orleans (1 p.m., ESPN)
Sun Belt vs. C-USA
Louisiana Monroe vs. UAB

AutoNation Cure Bowl, Orlando, Fla. (2:30 p.m., CBSSN)
AAC vs. Sun Belt
Temple vs. Georgia Southern

Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas (3:30 p.m., ABC)
​MWC vs. Pac-12
San Diego State vs. Colorado

Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque (4:30 p.m., ESPN)
Middle Tennessee vs. Colorado State

Raycom Media Camelia Bowl, Montgomery, Ala. (8 p.m., ESPN)
MAC vs. Sun Belt
Western Michigan vs. Troy

Tuesday, Dec. 19

Boca Raton Bowl, Boca Raton, Fla. (7 p.m., ESPN)
SMU vs. Old Dominion

Wednesday, Dec. 20

Frisco Bowl, Frisco, Texas (8 p.m., ESPN)
AAC vs. Sun Belt
Memphis vs. Arkansas State

Thursday, Dec. 21

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, St. Petersburg, Fla. (8 p.m., ESPN)
Southern Miss vs. Tulsa

Friday, Dec. 22

Bahamas Bowl, Nassau, Bahamas (12:30 p.m., ESPN)
Western Kentucky vs. Northern Illinois

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise (4 p.m., ESPN)
Ohio vs. Wyoming

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Saturday, Dec. 23

Birmingham Bowl, Birmingham, Ala. (12 p.m., ESPN)
South Florida vs. Arkansas

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, Texas (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
Army vs. C-USA
Army vs. UTSA

Dollar General Bowl, Mobile, Ala. (7 p.m., ESPN)
MAC vs. Sun Belt
Toledo vs. Appalachian State

Sunday, Dec. 24

Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu, (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
UCF vs. Hawaii

Tuesday, Dec. 26

Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas (1:30 p.m., ESPN)
Big 12 vs. C-USA
Texas Tech vs. Louisiana Tech

Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit (5:15 p.m., ESPN)
ACC vs. Big Ten
Wake Forest vs. Iowa

Cactus Bowl, Phoenix (9 p.m., ESPN)
Big 12 vs. Pac-12
Iowa State vs. Oregon

Wednesday, Dec. 27

Independence Bowl, Shreveport, La. (1:30 p.m., ESPN)
Georgia Tech vs. Missouri

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, New York (5:15 p.m., ESPN)
ACC vs. Big Ten
Syracuse vs. Michigan State

Foster Farms Bowl, Santa Clara, Calif. (8 p.m., FOX)
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Indiana vs. Washington State

Texas Bowl, Houston (9 p.m., ESPN)
Big 12 vs. SEC
Texas vs. Texas A&M

Thursday, Dec. 28

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, Annapolis, Md. (1:30 p.m., ESPN)
Pittsburgh vs. Navy

Camping World Bowl, Orlando, Fla. (5:15 p.m., ESPN)
ACC vs. Big 12
NC State vs. West Virginia

Valero Alamo Bowl, Big 12 vs. Pac-12, San Antonio, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Pac-12 vs. Big 12

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, San Diego (9 p.m., FS1)
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Nebraska vs. Stanford

Friday, Dec. 29

Belk Bowl, Charlotte, N.C. (1 p.m., ESPN)
Notre Dame vs. Vanderbilt

Hyundai Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas (2 p.m., CBS)
ACC vs. Pac-12
Miami vs. USC

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Nashville, Tenn. (4:30 p.m., ESPN)
SEC vs. Big Ten or ACC
Kentucky vs. Maryland

Arizona Bowl, Tucson, Ariz. (5:30 p.m., CBSSN)
Sun Belt vs. MWC
Idaho vs. New Mexico

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Saturday, Dec. 30

TaxSlayer Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla. (12 p.m., ESPN)
SEC vs. Big Ten or ACC
South Carolina vs. Virginia Tech

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn. (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Big 12 vs. SEC
Kansas State vs. Tennessee

Monday, Jan. 1, 2018

Outback Bowl, Tampa, Fla. (12 p.m., ESPN2)
Big Ten vs. SEC
Wisconsin vs. Mississippi State

Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla. (1 p.m., ABC)
Georgia vs. Florida State

New Year's Six Bowls

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Arlington, Texas (Dec. 29, 8:30 p.m., ESPN)
At-large vs. At-large
Boise State vs. Oklahoma State

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz. (Dec. 30, 4 p.m., ESPN)
At-large vs. At-large
Michigan vs. LSU

Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN)
ACC vs. Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame
Louisville vs. Ohio State

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Atlanta (Jan. 1, 12:30 p.m., ESPN)
At-large vs. At-Large
Auburn vs. Penn State

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual, Pasadena, Calif. (Jan. 1, 5 p.m., ESPN)
CFP semifinalist vs. CFP semifinalist
Clemson vs. Washington

Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans (Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m., ESPN)
CFP semifinalist vs. CFP semifinalist
Alabama vs. Oklahoma

College Football Playoff National Championship, Atlanta (Jan. 8, 8 p.m., ESPN)
CFP semifinal winner vs. CFP semifinal winner