College football bowl projections: Pac-12 has already taken a hit after just one week
USC's big injury and Arizona's tough road loss have hit the Pac-12 where it hurts
With few of the nation's top teams playing competitive games to start the season in Week 1, there are no changes to those projected to play in the College Football Playoff and New Year's Six. We've had some pretty good made-for-TV games on Week 1 in recent years, but it seemed like there were fewer this year with Auburn-Oregon the only matchup between top 25 teams.
One such game was actually in Week 0: No. 8 Florida vs. Miami. That was competitive and exciting … just not elegant football. Each team went through bouts of stupidity with Florida trying to play Miami into a victory at the end. The Gators failed though and hung on for a 24-20 win. The Hurricanes were the only projected New Year's Six participant to lose their opening game, but that loss was already part of the projection, so the Canes retain their spot for now.
The Auburn-Oregon game was not only competitive, but it had an exciting finish with the No. 16 Tigers scoring late for a 27-21 win over the No. 11 Ducks. Neither of those teams was projected into one of the top bowl games, and that hasn't changed. That was a much needed win for the Tigers when you consider their brutal schedule; it was only the sixth-toughest game on their slate. Auburn still has games at No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 6 LSU and Florida along with home games against No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia. A loss to the Ducks, and there would have been at least a chance that the Tigers would not make a bowl game at all.
2020 College Football Playoff
|Date||Game / Loc.||Matchup||Prediction|
|Title game|| Semifinal winners|
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Georgia
(2) Clemson vs. (3) Oklahoma
Selection committee bowl games
|Date||Bowl / Location||Matchup||Prediction|
SEC vs. Big 12
| LSU vs. Texas|
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
|Ohio State vs. Washington|
ACC vs. SEC/B1G/ND
|Miami vs. Notre Dame|
At-large vs. At-large
| UCF vs. Michigan|
It was a tough week for many of the Power Five teams that played Mountain West foes. Missouri, Florida State, Purdue and Arizona all lost to MWC teams in their respective season openers. The Seminoles were the only one of those to lose at home, blowing an 18-point lead against Boise State. Purdue led by 17 late in the third quarter and gagged that away to Nevada. Arizona's Khalil Tate was stopped at the Hawaii 1-yard line on the final play. Mizzou gave up 27 second-quarter points in a loss to Wyoming. Even USC, which beat Fresno State, found the victory painful as Trojans lost quarterback JT Daniels for the season with a knee injury.
The bowl projection impact of those games was not too significant, in part because I do not overreact to Week 1. One game is not a trend. However, significant injuries are the exception. USC fell out of the bowl projections after the loss of Daniels. Arizona's loss dropped the Wildcats out entirely because their projected record fell below 6-6.
The current projection only has 76 eligible teams, meaning there are two teams listed that are expected to finish 5-7. Such teams are selected based on the current APR rankings. Pitt and Middle Tennessee are those two teams in this week's projections. There has not been a need for a team that finished below .500 in a bowl game since 2016.
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