College football bowl projections: Notre Dame gains from Virginia Tech's massive upset loss

Virginia Tech made its debut in the New Year's Six bowl projections last week, but it was a short stay.  The Hokies were stunned at Old Dominion 49-35 in the biggest upset of the season so far.  To add injury to insult, quarterback Josh Jackson was carried off the field in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.  His prognosis is unknown, but the Hokies' next two games are at Duke and at home against Notre Dame.  That game against the Irish could have huge postseason implications for both teams.

For now, Notre Dame has replaced Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl projection, but the Irish cannot look ahead. They face Stanford in South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday after the Cardinal came back from a 17-point halftime deficit to win at Oregon in overtime.  If Notre Dame can beat Stanford, it will be time to start talking about the Irish as a serious contender for the College Football Playoff. The Cardinal are a contender as well but have to navigate a schedule that not only includes the road trips to Oregon and Notre Dame but also Washington and Arizona State.

Oklahoma also got a scare on Saturday.  The Sooners needed overtime to defeat Army 28-21.  Oklahoma had a chance to win it in regulation, but kicker Austin Seibert pulled a 33-yard field goal attempt wide as time ran out.  Army had the ball for almost three full quarters and ran 87 plays to just 40 for Oklahoma.

Alabama keeps on rolling.  The Crimson Tide easily dispatched Texas A&M, 45-23, and are unlikely to be seriously challenged until the trip to LSU on Nov. 3. With the Virginia Tech loss and the injury to Jackson, Clemson seems so far beyond the rest of the ACC that the debate is more about which team is second best.  The Tigers cruised past Georgia Tech 49-21.

Ohio State blew out Tulane in a warm up for what many feel is the real Big Ten Championship Game.  OSU travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State next Saturday.  That's the only game on next week's schedule that has a good chance to shake up the CFP projection, which has remained unchanged since the preseason.

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) Oklahoma

Dec. 29

Orange Bowl
Miami

4/8 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State

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. West Virginia

Jan. 1

Rose
Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m.
ESPN

Big Ten vs. Pac-12

Penn State vs. Washington

Jan. 1

Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.

1 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Stanford vs. UCF

Dec. 29

Peach
Atlanta

Noon
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

LSU vs. Notre Dame

The number of projected 5-7 teams needed to fill the bowls this season continues to climb.  This week, I have five such teams in the bowl projections.  Just two weeks ago, I did not have any.  The Big Ten is well represented with both Indiana and Northwestern projected to fill open spots.  Arizona State, Nevada and Wake Forest are the other 5-7 teams in this week's projections.  Iowa State and Southern Miss each had games canceled this season due to severe weather and are projected to only have five wins.  If they are able to reschedule games and win them, they could knock out a couple of 5-7 teams.

Check out the rest of Jerry Palm's college football bowl projections after Week 4.   

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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