College Football Playoff, bowl projections: Houston's loss is Washington's gain

Houston's College Football Playoff hopes came to a crushing end on Saturday in a 46-40 loss at Navy, and that loss could end up costing the Cougars even more.

A game with Louisville is still left on Houston's schedule. If the Cougars lose that one as well, it's likely that they will be left out of the New Year's Six bowl games altogether. An undefeated team like Boise State or even Western Michigan could surpass Houston in the rankings despite each of those teams playing an inferior schedule.

With the Cougars dropping out of contention, Washington moves into the projected fourth seed in the CFP. The Huskies continued to assert their dominance in the Pac-12 by hanging 70 on the former beast of the league, Oregon.

College Football Playoff projections
Bowl Date Location Matchup
Peach Bowl Dec. 31 Atlanta, Ga. (1) Alabama vs. (4) Washington
Fiesta Bowl Dec. 31 Glendale, Ariz. (2) Clemson vs. (3) Ohio State

Louisville is also hurt by Houston's loss Saturday because now a victory next month over the Cougars would be devalued some. The Cardinals, which had the week off, are hoping to still get into playoff contention by finishing 11-1 and having their only loss be to undefeated Clemson.

The current prediction is that no Group of Five team will finish unbeaten and that Houston will still earn that spot in the New Year's Six. Note that at this point, that requires Navy to lose twice to open the door for Houston to even win its division. The Group of Five spot goes to the highest ranked conference champion from those conferences. Stanford moves over to the Rose Bowl to replace Washington, despite its back-to-back losses.

New Year's Six bowl projections
Bowl Date Location Matchup
Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 New Orleans, La. Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Texas A&M (SEC)
Rose Bowl Jan. 2 Pasadena, Calif. Michigan (Big Ten) vs. Stanford (Pac-12)
Cotton Bowl Jan. 2 Arlington, Tex. Houston (At-large) vs. Tennessee (At-large)
Orange Bowl Dec. 30 Miami, Fla. Louisville (ACC) vs. Wisconsin

The number of otherwise ineligible teams needed to fill the 80 bowl spots is down to six this week. Army gets a spot with a 6-6 record, but two wins over FCS teams. Hawaii projects to 6-7 in a 13-game regular season, and that also gets priority over 5-7 teams. That means the only teams in this week's bowl projections that are expected to finish 5-7 are Boston College, Missouri, Northwestern and Utah State.

To view the rest of Jerry Palm's bowl projections, please click here.

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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