Week 11 Bowl Projections: Michigan Moves Into Position to Be Alabama's First CFP Challenger

Three of the teams in the new top four flexed their muscles in Week 10, but several ranked teams behind them fell farther off the pace.
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The nation’s best teams showed no signs of a late-season fade in the first weekend of November. Alabama dominated LSU, Clemson blew the doors off Louisville and Michigan mauled Penn State to round out a top four that still includes unbeaten Notre Dame. Having passed their final test before the season finale at Ohio State, the Wolverines deserve to slip into the coveted No. 4 spot in these unofficial rankings for now.

It was a day of upheaval for the teams just outside the current playoff mix: Seven of the 11 teams ranked between No. 9 and No. 20 lost, meaning we should see some new faces on the fringe of New Year’s Six bowl consideration when the new rankings come out on Tuesday night. (Mississippi State? Syracuse? Utah State?) As a result, the losers of Week 10’s de facto SEC division title games (LSU and Kentucky) did not fall out of the New Year’s Six bowl slate even though they both dropped to 8–2: LSU gets a matchup with Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl after the Sooners were overtaken by Michigan, while Kentucky heads west to play UCF, still the Group of Five’s presumed representative, in the Fiesta Bowl.

Below, a look at all 39 projected bowl matchups and the updated College Football Playoff field through six weeks of the 2018 season. An asterisk (*) denotes that an at-large team is filling a spot left vacant by the conference under contract with that bowl. For a rankings-format look at the nation’s best teams, check out Andy Staples’s post–Week 10 Top 10.

Dec. 15

New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque (2 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Mountain West vs. Conference USA
Nevada vs. Florida Atlantic

AutoNation Cure Bowl, Orlando (2:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
American vs. Sun Belt
Tulane vs. Georgia Southern

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Pac-12 vs. Mountain West
USC vs. Fresno State

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Montgomery, Ala. (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Sun Belt vs. MAC
Troy vs. Ohio

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Sun Belt vs. Conference USA
Louisiana-Monroe vs. Louisiana Tech

Dec. 18

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
American vs. Conference USA
Toledo* vs. Middle Tennessee

Dec. 19

Frisco Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
American vs. MAC/at-large
Temple vs. Marshall

Dec. 20

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, Tampa (8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
American vs. ACC/Conference USA
USF vs. Miami

Dec. 21

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, Nassau (12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Conference USA vs. MAC
Florida International vs. Northern Illinois

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise (4 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Mountain West vs. MAC
Utah State vs. Buffalo

Dec. 22

Birmingham Bowl (Noon ET, ESPN)
SEC vs. American
Army* vs. Memphis

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, Texas (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big 12 vs. American
Oregon* vs. Houston

Dollar General Bowl, Mobile, Ala. (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
MAC vs. Sun Belt
Western Michigan vs. Arkansas State

Hawai'i Bowl, Honolulu (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Mountain West vs. Conference USA
Hawai’i vs. UAB

Dec. 26

SERVPRO First Responders Bowl, Dallas (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big Ten vs. Conference USA
Boise State* vs. North Texas

Quick Lane Bowl, Detroit (5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big Ten vs. ACC
Maryland vs. Georgia Tech

Cheez-It Bowl, Phoenix (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big 12 vs. Pac-12
Baylor vs. Arizona

Dec. 27

Walk-On's Independence Bowl, Shreveport, La. (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Cal* vs. Virginia

New Era Pinstripe Bowl, New York (5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big Ten vs. ACC
Wisconsin vs. Pitt

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, Houston (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big 12 vs. SEC
Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M

Dec. 28

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Nashville (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
SEC vs. ACC/Big Ten
Vanderbilt vs. Syracuse

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

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

Dec. 29

Belk Bowl, Charlotte, N.C. (Noon ET, ABC)
South Carolina vs. Duke

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, Tucson (1:15 p.m. ET, CBSSN)
Mountain West vs. Sun Belt
San Diego State vs. Appalachian State

Dec. 31

Redbox Bowl, Santa Clara, Calif. (3 p.m. ET, Fox)
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Northwestern vs. Stanford

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, Annapolis, Md. (Noon ET, ESPN)
ACC vs. American
Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Memphis (3:45 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big 12 vs. SEC
Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, San Diego (7 p.m. ET, FS1)
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Purdue vs. Arizona State

TaxSlayer Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla. (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
SEC vs. ACC/Big Ten
Florida vs. Iowa

Hyundai Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas (2 p.m. ET, CBS)
ACC vs. Pac-12
Boston College vs. Utah

Jan. 1

Outback Bowl, Tampa, Fla. (Noon ET, ESPN2)
Big Ten vs. SEC
Michigan State vs. Mississippi State

Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla. (1 p.m. ET, ABC)
SEC vs. ACC/Big Ten
Auburn vs. Penn State

New Year's Six Bowls

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Atlanta (Dec. 29, Noon ET, ESPN)
At-large vs. At-large
Oklahoma vs. LSU

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz. (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN)
At-large vs. At-large
Kentucky vs. UCF

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual, Pasadena, Calif. (Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Ohio State vs. Washington State

Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans (Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN)
SEC vs. Big 12
Georgia vs. West Virginia

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Arlington, Texas (Dec. 29, 4 p.m. or 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
CFP semifinalist vs. CFP semifinalist
Alabama vs. Michigan

Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami Gardens, Fla. (Dec. 29, 4 p.m. or 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)
CFP semifinalist vs. CFP semifinalist
Clemson vs. Notre Dame

College Football Playoff National Championship, Santa Clara (Jan. 7, 8 p.m., ESPN)
CFP semifinal winner vs. CFP semifinal winner