College football bowl projections: Lack of upsets leads to status quo except for West Virginia

There were several big games this weekend that impacted the College Football Playoff, New Year's Six games and conference title races, but the general lack of upsets means that there is only one change to the New Year's Six roster. West Virginia's dramatic win at Texas, combined with Utah's loss to Arizona State, means that the Mountaineers have replaced the Utes in a New Year's Six game. Specifically, West Virginia is projected to play in the Peach Bowl against Kentucky.  Washington State moves over to the Rose Bowl, replacing Utah.

With all the talk of the importance of the 13th game, we may see some of those games either hold little importance at all, or conversely, run the risk of teams with relatively poor records getting into the big bowl games.

In the ACC, where Clemson in running roughshod over everyone, the Coastal is led by Pittsburgh.  The Panthers have a one-game lead over Virginia and Virginia Tech.  They just beat the Cavaliers on Friday night and host the Hokies this Saturday.  However, Pitt already has four total losses because it lost three nonconference games.  No team in the division has fewer than three overall losses, which means the best Clemson can hope for is to get a 9-3 opponent in the ACC title game.

The same thing is going on in the Big Ten West, where leader Northwestern's loss to Notre Dame on Saturday means the Wildcats went 0-3 in nonconference play, all at home.  The Cats hold a one-game lead and the tiebreakers over Wisconsin and Purdue.  They can win the division even with a loss at Iowa this week if they beat Minnesota and Illinois to finish the regular season.  They could go to the Big Ten title game with a 7-5 record.

Arizona State beating Utah helped create a four-way tie of teams with three conference losses in the Pac-12 South.  The Sun Devils will win the division if they win out, which would require beating UCLA at home and winning at Oregon and Arizona.  Washington State, which needs all the strength of schedule help it can get, won't get it regardless.  Utah is the only team that can enter the Pac-12 title game with a record as good as 9-3.

Everything is normal in the SEC though, where Alabama and Georgia clinched spots in the SEC title game with a month to go.

Buckle up.  It's November, when strange stuff happens in college football.

2019 College Football Playoff

Date Game / Loc. Time / TV Matchup Prediction

Jan. 7

National Championship
Santa Clara, Calif.

8 p.m.
ESPN

Title game Semifinal winners

Dec. 29

Cotton Bowl
Arlington, Tex.

4/8 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Michigan

Dec. 29

Orange Bowl
Miami

4/8 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(2) Clemson vs. (3) Notre Dame

Selection committee bowl games

Date Bowl / Loc. Time / TV Matchup Prediction

Jan. 1

Sugar
New Orleans

8:45 p.m.
ESPN

SEC vs. Big 12

Georgia vs. Oklahoma

Jan. 1

Rose
Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m.
ESPN

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Ohio State vs. Washington State

Jan. 1

Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.

1 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

LSU vs. UCF

Dec. 29

Peach
Atlanta

Noon
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Kentucky vs. West Virginia

Click here for for the rest of Jerry Palm's college football bowl projections.  

It's funny how things change over the course of a few weeks. Not long ago, I was expecting to need six teams with 5-7 records to fill the bowls.  Now, I am now projecting all 78 bowl slots to be filled with teams that are 6-6 or better and have two teams to spare.  The teams that I am projecting to be bowl eligible, but left out, are Coastal Carolina and Wyoming. There are currently 48 bowl-eligible teams.

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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