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Florida threw away control of its own College Football Playoff hopes in a 37-34 loss to LSU in The Swamp. The Gators' chances of making the CFP were always dependent on beating Alabama, but prior to Saturday night, simply beating the Crimson Tide would have been enough. Now Florida will need help.

The loss does not change its bowl projection, however, which is based on a loss to Alabama. The Gators are still expected to play the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati, but Florida may end up being the lower ranked team in that game

With the schedule changes and game cancellations this week, games among the top teams were few and far between. The only game on the schedule between teams ranked in the top 20 was the battle for a likely Orange Bowl berth featuring North Carolina at Miami.

The Tar Heels ran up over 700 yards on the Hurricanes in a 62-26 win. North Carolina should now be the highest rated team from the ACC available to the Orange Bowl if both Notre Dame and Clemson participate in the College Football Playoff. That is what I am still projecting. UNC replacing Miami is the only change in this week's New Year's Six projections.

College Football Playoff

Date Game / Loc. Matchup Prediction

Jan. 11

National Championship

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.


(2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans


(1) Alabama vs. (4) Notre Dame

New Year's Six bowl games

Date Bowl / Location Matchup Prediction

Jan. 2


ACC/ND vs. SEC/Big Ten

North Carolina vs. Texas A&M

Jan. 2

Glendale, Ariz.

At-large vs. At-large

USC vs. Indiana

Jan. 1


At-large vs. At-large

Florida vs. Cincinnati

Dec. 30

Arlington, Tex.

At-large vs. At-large

Oklahoma vs. Georgia

Every team in the current top eight of the CFP Rankings is scheduled to be in action next week in conference championship games.

USC will also play in a conference championship game next week. The Trojans are the last remaining undefeated team in the Pac-12 following their 43-38 come-from-behind win over UCLA. USC is scheduled to play Washington, which clinched the title when COVID-19 issues with the Huskies canceled their game with Oregon. That game would have decided the Pac-12 North. The Ducks could still end up in that game if Washington is not cleared to play.

In recent weeks, we have seen 10 bowl games get canceled and one added. We can chalk that up to the chaos that is 2020. Another new thing in 2020 is teams opting out of bowl games. This week, Boston College and Pittsburgh, both from the ACC, have decided to take Bowl Season off. In both cases, that was driven by the players, which have been largely isolated from their families for several months to be able to play this season out. Do not be surprised to see more of this. Many players may prefer to spend their holidays with their families than in a bowl game.

There are eight bowl games scheduled to be played between championship Saturday and Christmas Day, which is six days later.  The Frisco Bowl, which has already invited SMU, is being played on championship Saturday. Expect those matchups to be announced shortly, perhaps even on Sunday.

The Mountain West is in a bit of a bind. Two of its bowls are being played next week: the Potato Bowl on Dec. 22 and the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 24. Nevada will likely end up if the Potato Bowl if the league does not get moved out of that game entirely. The championship game loser could end up in the New Mexico Bowl, but that is still a short turnaround. The bowl calendar may require at least one MWC team to play in a game not originally scheduled for its league.

Check out Jerry Palm's complete, updated 2020 bowl projections after Week 15.