With three games between teams ranked in the top 10, there was sure to be a shakeup in the bowl projections this week.
Clemson was not overly impressive beating Louisville at home, but it was enough for the Tigers to hold on to control of the ACC and the projected No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff. The Cardinals still look good for a spot in the Orange Bowl, assuming they win the remainder of their ACC games.
Washington announced itself as the team to beat in the Pac-12 with a resounding win over Stanford on Friday. The Huskies still have some tough tasks ahead, but for now, they are projected to face Michigan in the Rose Bowl. The Cardinal could still make an appearance in one of the New Year's Six games, and obviously, the Huskies are a factor in the CFP chase.
Washington's win has opened the door again for Houston to be projected into the fourth seed in the CFP. Of course, the Cougars will have to beat Louisville at home next month to have a chance to make that dream a reality.
|College Football Playoff projections|
|Peach Bowl||Dec. 31||Atlanta, Ga.||(1) Alabama vs. (4) Houston|
|Fiesta Bowl||Dec. 31||Glendale, Ariz.||(2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State|
Michigan has the inside track now to the Rose Bowl as the second-ranked Big Ten team behind Ohio State after its win at home over Wisconsin. Another reason for that move was Michigan State losing its second game in a row, this time at Indiana. The Badgers still have at least one game left with Ohio State, but they still look good enough to project into the Orange Bowl against the Cardinals.
Tennessee's miraculous comeback win over Georgia, right after the Bulldogs miraculously took the lead in that game, gives the Volunteers a good chance to win the SEC's East Division. They still have cross-division games with Texas A&M and Alabama ahead, so it's not exactly clear sailing. Still, I think Tennessee can do enough to earn a spot opposite Stanford in the Cotton Bowl.
|New Year's Six bowl projections|
|Sugar Bowl||Jan. 2||New Orleans, La.||Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Texas A&M (SEC)|
|Rose Bowl||Jan. 2||Pasadena, Calif.||Michigan (Big Ten) vs. Washington (Pac-12)|
|Cotton Bowl||Jan. 2||Arlington, Tex.||Stanford (At-large) vs. Tennessee (At-large)|
|Orange Bowl||Dec. 30||Miami, Fla.||Louisville (ACC) vs. Wisconsin|
There are still 11 (!) teams in the bowl projections that would not otherwise be eligible. Army is the only one of those expected to win six games, which puts the Black Knights at the top of the pecking order should there not be enough eligible teams. Army is not eligible at six wins because it will have two wins over FCS schools. Teams can only count one such win toward bowl eligibility. That also means that Army cannot be eligible even as an exception at 5-7 unless it beats five FBS opponents.