Bowl projections, predictions: Playoff set, Michigan vs. Florida State a big-time game
Predictions for how the College Football Playoff and rest of the 2016 bowl games will look on Sunday
Championship weekend didn't provide us with many upsets, but it did create at least one interesting situation for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
I expect the No. 1 Crimson Tide to face No. 4 Washington in the Peach Bowl. The Huskies pounded Colorado to win the Pac-12 and finish 12-1, but their strength of schedule doesn't measure up to the other playoff teams, thus I expect they will be the fourth seed.
The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds should be Clemson and Ohio State, after the Tigers beat Virginia Tech. Clemson's schedule won't be quite as good as that of the Buckeyes, but the extra win and conference championship should give the Tigers choice of uniform in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal.
|College Football Playoff projections|
|Peach Bowl||Dec. 31||Atlanta||(1) Alabama vs. (4) Washington|
|Fiesta Bowl||Dec. 31||Glendale, Ariz.||(2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State|
Penn State won the Big Ten by beating Wisconsin but will probably miss the playoff because the Nittany Lions lost to Pittsburgh in nonconference play. Teams are judged for the playoff based on their entire seasons, not just the conference portion. Penn State finished well, but the four playoff teams started and finished well.
Penn State should be headed for the Rose Bowl then, where it will probably face Colorado. The Buffaloes didn't look good against the Huskies, but unless the committee drops them below USC, they will end up in Pasadena, California.
Oklahoma won the Big 12 championship by going undefeated in conference play after a big win over Oklahoma State in Bedlam. The Sooners will face Auburn, the next-highest ranked team in the SEC. (The Tigers started the week ranked ahead of the Gators.)
Western Michigan completed its undefeated season with a win in the MAC title game over Ohio on Friday and then watched on as Temple knocked off Navy in the AAC Championship Game on Saturday to erase any doubt that the Broncos would represent the Group of Five in the Cotton Bowl. They will face Wisconsin, the highest-ranked team not already placed.
|New Year's Six bowl projections|
|Sugar Bowl||Jan. 2||New Orleans||Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Auburn (SEC)|
|Rose Bowl||Jan. 2||Pasadena, Calif.||Penn State (Big Ten) vs. Colorado (Pac-12)|
|Cotton Bowl||Jan. 2||Arlington, Texas||Western Michigan (At-large) vs. Wisconsin (At-large)|
|Orange Bowl||Dec. 30||Miami||Florida State (ACC) vs. Michigan (SEC/Big Ten/ND)|
There are 75 eligible teams for the 80 bowl spots. Army and South Alabama will get bowl bids by virtue of having six wins, even though two came against FCS opposition. Hawaii will also get a berth by finishing 6-7 in a 13-game regular season. The other spots will go to the two 5-7 teams that are highest rated in the most recent multi-year APR. Those are North Texas and Mississippi State.
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