BCS/playoff projections: Winner drops out, loser moves in

Wait, what? Yes, Notre Dame loses to Michigan but moves into a BCS bowl while Michigan drops out. (USATSI)
Wait, what? Yes, Notre Dame loses to Michigan but moves into a BCS bowl while Michigan drops out. (USATSI)

The changes to this week's bowl projections may seem counterintuitive, but I can explain.  Maybe.

Michigan beat Notre Dame in Ann Arbor this past weekend, but the Wolverines have dropped out of the Rose Bowl projection.  The reason for that is that Michigan now projects to be the division champion, not because they beat the Irish, but because Michigan State looks pretty anemic right now, and that's a team I had projected to beat the Wolverines.  Nebraska replaces Michigan in the projection because I expect the Cornhuskers to be higher rated after the Wolverines lose back-to-back to <span data-shortcode= State" data-canon="Ohio Bobcats" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0">.

Notre Dame moves into the BCS for much the same reason.  I never had the Irish winning this week, but some of their future opponents are really struggling.  Besides the Spartans, USC looks awful and may not even have their current coach by the time the Trojans visit South Bend.  Also, Oklahoma's offense is struggling to put up points on mediocre opponents.  There are still some roadblocks for the Irish, but the schedule doesn't look as tough now as it did two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, South Carolina, despite the loss to Georgia, remains in the Sugar Bowl projection as the replacement for Alabama.  Obviously, I had Georgia projected to win this week, so the result doesn't change anything.  This is another case of a team (Georgia) losing a conference championship game and missing out on the BCS, which is typically what happens.

This week's if-we-had-a-playoff-this-year projection:

Sugar Bowl: 1. Alabama vs 4. Clemson

Rose Bowl: 2. Oregon vs 3. Ohio State

Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs Michigan

Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs LSU

Chick-Fil-A: Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville

There are only minor changes this week.  The Buckeyes and Ducks change uniform colors in their semifinal game, and Michigan replaces South Carolina in the Orange Bowl.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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