Bowl projections: Four top-10 upsets create chaos starting with College Football Playoff

Remember when Alabama-Clemson III was considered a foregone conclusion?  Well, that conclusion -- for now -- is gone as Clemson on Friday became the second top-four team in two weeks to suffer a major upset.  The No. 2 Tigers lost at Syracuse, 27-24, to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Make no mistake, this is a bad loss.  It is not as bad as the one Oklahoma took last week to Iowa State, but it is still pretty bad.

The difference is that Clemson has a better chance of overcoming this loss than the Sooners do theirs.  The Tigers already have three high-quality wins under their belt, two of which came on the road.  They also have other ranked opponents ahead of them on the schedule.

Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant left the game with a concussion in the first half.  The Tigers have a bye week coming up for him to hopefully heal and right the ship.  Coach Dabo Swinney has earned the benefit of any doubt, and Clemson has looked too good so far to write them off entirely.

This loss will hurt, but for now, I am keeping Clemson in the projected top four of the College Football Playoff.

As for Alabama-Clemson III, that is now a projected Sugar Bowl semifinal with the Crimson Tide as the top seed and the Tigers as No. 4.  The Rose Bowl becomes an all-Big Ten affair between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Penn State.

2018 College Football Playoff

DATEGAME / LOC.TIME / TVMATCHUPPREDICTION

Jan. 8

National Championship
Atlanta

8 p.m.
ESPN

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Penn State

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans

8:45 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Clemson

Saturday was just as crazy as Friday with top 10 teams Washington and Auburn losing on the road.  The Huskies fell at Arizona State 13-7, which is the score you might expect from one quarter between those two teams.  Auburn blew a 20-0 lead and lost at LSU, 27-23.  It was just two weeks ago that Troy won at LSU, but the Bayou Bengals have rebounded with two big wins since.

The result is that both Washington and Auburn are out of the New Year's Six, but they are not the only dropouts.  San Diego State was a late-night upset victim as well, losing at home to Boise State in a likely preview of the Mountain West title game.  That knocks the Aztecs out and puts South Florida in.

Washington and Auburn have been replaced by two Big 12 teams.  Oklahoma, which rebounded from its miserable game against Iowa State with a win over Texas, is back and joined by TCU.  That gives the league three spots in the New Year's Six but none in the playoff.   That is a lot of shuffling around, but it was that kind of week.

I bet Penn State was glad to have the week off.

Selection committee bowl games

DATEGAME / LOC.TIME / TVMATCHUPPREDICTION

Jan. 1

Peach
Atlanta

12:30 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

TCU vs. South Florida

Dec. 30

Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.

4 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

USC vs. Oklahoma State

Dec. 30

Orange
Miami

8 p.m.
ESPN

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Miami vs. Georgia

Dec. 29

Cotton
Arlington, Texas

8:30 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin

All the chaos of this weekend had one other unexpected result.  There are now not only enough eligible teams to fill all the bowls, I am actually projecting there will be one too many.  I will be surprised if this holds up all season long, but for now, I have FIU bowl eligible but without a game to play in.

For the rest of my updated bowl projections after Week 7, please click here.

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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