Eleven of the country's top 25 teams lost in Week 6, including seven previously undefeated teams and three teams that were in last week's College Football Playoff predictions. And even though this weekend showed the titanic folly of trying to predict any college football anything, let's do it again!
College Football Playoff
|Rose||No. 2 Auburn||No. 3 Mississippi State||1/1/2015||Pasadena, CA|
|Sugar||No. 1 Florida State||No. 4 Oklahoma||1/1/2015||New Orleans, LA|
Florida State has been the easy No. 1 choice since January. It's good to have easy choices at times like these.
Next, the SEC West is getting at least one team in. Let's just accept that. Two from that division is also hard to avoid at this point in history. I currently have
three four teams finishing 10-2, with identical conference records: Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. How do you separate those, if they all pound on each other the rest of the way?
The Tigers have one clear edge: strength of schedule. A road trip to Kansas State should hold up as the best out-of-conference venture by anyone in the SEC West, though West Virginia continues to boost Alabama. Auburn has the toughest remaining SEC East game of any West team, though, a trip to Georgia. For what it's worth, the Tigers are also the most proven over the last year or so.
That would set up a rematch of the BCS era's final championship game, if No. 1 and No. 2 win their semifinals. "Meet the new boss" is a thing people say sometimes.
MSU is also here, by virtue of likely being one of the country's four most impressive so far and having a friendly schedule from here on out. Unless the Bulldogs suffer a major upset, MSU winning one game from among Auburn at home, Alabama on the road, and Ole Miss on the road would mean 10 wins. If three teams are deadlocked at a projected 10-2, let's go with the one likeliest to get there. (So, yes, I did just pick the team with the hardest schedule because it's the hardest and the team with the easiest schedule because it's the easiest. There is no law against my behavior.)
That would give us a semifinal rematch between Week 7's biggest game, a War Eagle trip to Starkville. While the selection committee could easily fudge its numbers and avoid that by sending MSU to face FSU, it hasn't indicated it'll do that. It hasn't indicated a lot of things.
The Sooners are also here, but slip from No. 2 to No. 4 after falling to TCU. I'd already penciled OU in for a loss at TCU (wish I'd taken a photo for you!) and think an 11-1 record is still on the way, but obviously a win against the Frogs would've increased confidence, rather than decreased it.
New Year's bowls
|Cotton||Baylor||Michigan State||1/1/2015||Arlington, TX||At-large|
|Fiesta||Oregon||Notre Dame||12/31/2014||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Orange||Clemson||Ole Miss||12/31/2014||Miami, FL||ACC 1 vs. Big Ten/Notre Dame/SEC|
|Peach||East Carolina||Alabama||12/31/2014||Atlanta, GA||At-large|
Out are Stanford and Texas A&M, for the time being, and BYU for good. Barging in are Notre Dame and Ole Miss, with Oregon tumbling down from the Playoff level (no one has any clue what to make of the Pac-12, but let's say the Ducks are able to heal up somewhat and finish 10-3 or better). Alabama and Auburn switch tiers.
Most of these are simple. The Orange takes the ACC's highest non-Playoff team and the top team from that listed cluster;
the Spartans get a slight boost due to so many teams now being likely to finish with losses [as commenter SpartanDan reminds me, the Big Ten champ can't go to the Orange]. The rest are determined more or less by geography. One of these eight teams must be from a non-power conference, and we'll ride with ECU despite a concerning showing against SMU.
All the rest
As always, bowls and conferences pick matchups based on money, not rankings.
|GoDaddy||Northern Illinois||South Alabama||1/4/2015||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Birmingham||Memphis||Northwestern*||1/3/2015||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Alamo||TCU||Stanford||1/2/2015||San Antonio, TX||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Armed Forces||Houston||Maryland||1/2/2015||Fort Worth, TX||American vs. Army/Big 12 7/Big Ten|
|Cactus||Texas||USC||1/2/2015||Tempe, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7 (MWC conditional)|
|TaxSlayer||Iowa||South Carolina||1/2/2015||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Citrus||Ohio State||Georgia||1/1/2015||Orlando, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Wisconsin||Missouri||1/1/2015||Tampa, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Belk||Georgia Tech||Arkansas||12/30/2014||Charlotte, NC||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Music City||Virginia Tech||Tennessee||12/30/2014||Nashville, TN||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|San Francisco||Minnesota||UCLA||12/30/2014||San Francisco, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Liberty||West Virginia||LSU||12/29/2014||Memphis, TN||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Russell Athletic||Louisville||Kansas State||12/29/2014||Orlando, FL||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
|Texas||Oklahoma State||Texas A&M||12/29/2014||Houston, TX||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Holiday||Nebraska||Arizona||12/27/2014||San Diego, CA||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Independence||North Carolina||Louisiana Tech||12/27/2014||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC 10 (C-USA conditional)|
|Military||Temple||NC State||12/27/2014||Annapolis, MD||American vs. ACC|
|Pinstripe||Duke||Penn State||12/27/2014||New York, NY||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|Sun||Miami||Arizona State||12/27/2014||El Paso, TX||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bitcoin||UCF||Middle Tennessee||12/26/2014||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA (ACC conditional)|
|Quick Lane||Virginia||Indiana||12/26/2014||Detroit, MI||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Heart of Dallas||Rutgers||UTEP||12/26/2014||Dallas, TX||Big Ten/Big 12 7 vs. C-USA|
|Bahamas||Marshall||Toledo||12/24/2014||Nassau, BS||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Hawaii||Western Kentucky||Fresno State||12/24/2014||Honolulu, HI||C-USA vs. MWC 2-7|
|Boca||Florida Atlantic||Ohio||12/23/2014||Boca Raton, FL||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Poinsettia||San Diego State||Navy||12/23/2014||San Diego, CA||MWC 2-7 vs. Navy|
|Miami Beach||Cincinnati||BYU||12/22/2014||Miami, FL||American vs. BYU|
|Camelia||Akron||Arkansas State||12/20/2014||Montgomery, AL||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3 (ACC conditional)|
|Las Vegas||Colorado State||Utah||12/20/2014||Las Vegas, NV||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6|
|New Mexico||UTSA||Nevada||12/20/2014||Albuquerque, NM||C-USA vs. MWC 2-7|
|New Orleans||UL Lafayette||Utah State||12/20/2014||New Orleans, LA||Sun Belt 1 vs. MWC 2-7|
|Potato||Bowling Green||Boise State||12/20/2014||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC 2-7|
Yell at me all you like, but please go easy on me for the Pac-12 parts. The Pac-12 has become impossible to pick, and it does not have enough bowl slots to go around. Oregon State and Washington are the odd teams out this time.
Shuffling abounds, with TCU making the biggest jump among the non-New Year's Six bowls. Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado State, and Georgia Tech also make noteworthy gains.
The Huskies and Pitt leave us, with Virginia and Northwestern coming aboard. Also without landing spots are Air Force, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Texas State, and ULM. Basically, more teams need to lose.
What do you think?