Despite a season that has already been filled with upsets, change finally comes to the College Football Playoff projection for the first time following Week 4 action. Falling 41-34 to Kansas State on Saturday night, Oklahoma has been bounced from the field of four and replaced by Clemson.
While the Sooners' loss to the Wildcats for the third time in four seasons does not put them out of the running for the Big 12 championship, the Tigers are now far more likely to end their regular season as an undefeated conference champion out of the ACC. Clemson beat Wake Forest 51-45 Saturday afternoon and looks to only have one ranked opponent remaining on its schedule, which it gets at home (NC State next week).
Michigan beat Maryland 34-27 this week and was the first team out of the last projection; however, it still has top-15 programs Penn State at home and Ohio State on the road over the second half of the season.
Check back Sunday for Jerry Palm's complete bowl projections after Week 4.
College Football Playoff
|Date||Game / Loc.||Matchup||Prediction|
|Title game|| Semifinal winners|
(1) Georgia vs. (4) Clemson
(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Alabama
The swap of Clemson for Oklahoma has impacted the New Year's Six bowls. The Sooners are still projected to win the Big 12 and will now play in the Sugar Bowl against Tennessee. Baylor had previously been in the Big 12 spot in that game, but it now falls out of the New Year's Six.
Clemson had been targeted for the ACC spot in the Orange Bowl, but that is now projected to be NC State. If this comes to fruition, it would be the first appearance by the Wolfpack in a New Year's Six game. Penn State is still projected to take the other spot in that game as the highest-ranked team remaining from among the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame.
The Cotton Bowl has a change as well. Appalachian State suffered its second loss of the season at home to FBS newcomer James Madison. The Dukes are one of only two Group of Five teams that are still undefeated four weeks into the season, but they are ineligible for the postseason because they are still transitioning to FBS. The other undefeated team is Coastal Carolina, which is now projected into the Group of Five spot in the Cotton Bowl to face Oregon. The Ducks replaced USC after winning at Washington State despite the Trojans surviving Oregon State on Saturday night.
Memphis in 2019 is the only team to qualify for the Group of Five spot in the New Year's Six without being undefeated since 2015. Only the Rose Bowl projection is unchanged this week. That is still expected to be Michigan against Utah.
New Year's Six bowl games
|Date||Bowl / Location||Matchup||Prediction|
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Michigan vs. Utah|
at-large vs. at-large
|Oregon vs. Coastal Carolina|
SEC vs. Big 12
|Tennessee vs. Oklahoma|
ACC vs. SEC/B1G/ND
|NC State vs. Penn State|
Penn State being projected to the Orange Bowl has an interesting impact on the other bowl games for the Big Ten and ACC. If the Big Ten does place a team in the Orange Bowl, the ACC gets the Big Ten's spot in the ReliaQuest Bowl in Tampa. That is why you see Wake Forest in what is normally a Big Ten vs. SEC game.
This week's projection has four teams that are expected to be 5-7. Of those, only Rutgers is new to this set of bowl projections.