Week 1 is almost in the books, and nearly every team has play at least one game. That means it's time to overreact to this week's results. Actually, I recommend against that. There is a long way to go, so we don't want to get carried away just yet. One game is not a trend.
The top change in this week's projections is Georgia replacing Clemson in the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs' win over the Tigers on Saturday means that Clemson no longer controls its own fate regarding the playoff. Georgia has its own obstacles ahead, of course, most notably a potential SEC Championship Game with Alabama.
Clemson is not so lucky with its forthcoming opportunities. The Tigers will still be heavily favored the rest of the way, but their schedule will lack the kind of quality opponents to get the CFP Selection Committee's attention. The only other ACC teams ranked in the Preseason AP Top 25 lost this week. Miami fell to Alabama, and North Carolina lost at unranked Virginia Tech. If the teams behind Clemson beat each other up a little and nobody can beat Notre Dame, it is possible that the Tigers could get through the season without a win over a team in the top 15. Regardless, Clemson will not finish ahead of Georgia in the rankings if both are 12-1.
While one game is not a trend, LSU's problems from a season ago do not appear to have been resolved. The Tigers dropped out of the New Year's Six bowl projections and are replaced by Penn State. The Nittany Lions were impressive, especially on defense, in a 16-10 win at Wisconsin to start the season.
Looking ahead to this week, the most potentially impactful game on the schedule is Oregon at Ohio State. It was a disastrous week overall for Pac-12 North. The Ducks were the only winner, barely holding off Fresno State. They also lost Preseason All-American defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux to injury, and his availability for this week's game is in doubt.
The loss by Washington to Montana was particularly damaging to Oregon's New Year's Six prospects if it needs an at-large berth. There are not a lot of ranked opponents on the Ducks' schedule to start, so chances at quality wins are few and far between after this week. Of course, a victory over the Buckeyes, and we start talking about the Ducks as a potential CFP team.
Iowa travels to Iowa State this coming week in another game that could have New Year's Six implications. If Oklahoma qualifies for the CFP as projected, then the Sugar Bowl will get the next highest rated Big 12 team. The Cyclones would be the favorites for that spot with a win over the Hawkeyes. Iowa was impressive in dismantling Indiana and looks like a New Year's Six contender as well. This would be another quality win for the Hawkeyes in that pursuit.
College Football Playoff
|Date||Game / Loc.||Matchup||Prediction|
|Title game|| Semifinal winners|
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Oklahoma
(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Georgia
New Year's Six bowl games
|Date||Bowl / Location||Matchup||Prediction|
SEC vs. Big 12
|Texas A&M vs. Iowa State|
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Wisconsin vs. Oregon|
At-large vs. At-large
|Penn State vs. Cincinnati|
At-large vs. At-large
|Clemson vs. Notre Dame|
There are still 11 teams in this week's bowl projections that are expected to finish at 5-7. That would be a record number of sub-.500 team. In 2015, the first season sub-500 teams were eligible as fill-ins for bowl games, three were selected. There were two more in the 2016 season but none have been needed since.