We've seen one week of college football. We knew little coming in, and anything we think we've learned so far is tainted with some combination of overreaction and confirmation bias, chances are. But glimpses are glimpses, and we can assemble the pieces we have.
For comparison, the preseason picks.
College Football Playoff
|Rose||No. 2 Georgia||No. 3 Oregon||1/1/2015||Pasadena, CA|
|Sugar||No. 1 Florida State||No. 4 Oklahoma||1/1/2015||New Orleans, LA|
Only one change in the projected top four this week. Alabama slides out, and Georgia enters.
College football rankings
College football rankings
I wanted to wait and make sure UGA handled South Carolina before trying this out, but there's slim proof to this point that Alabama is the better team in 2014. We might believe it is, and it very well might be. But Bama has room for growth in the passing game on both sides of the ball, whereas the Bulldogs just might not fool with passing. Georgia's beating of Clemson, and beating is the right word, was the most impressive all-around victory we've seen since some point last season.
After next weekend, either the Ducks remain or Michigan State takes their place -- the two play each other in Eugene. We'll be waiting a while for Oklahoma's first test, and if Florida State's close call against Oklahoma State was an aberration, the same goes for the Noles.
And if FSU hangs onto No. 1 for the year, it gets the only award the committee can grant a team already in the top four: quasi-home-field advantage. It gets to play in New Orleans instead of California, basically.
New Year's bowls
|Fiesta||USC||Michigan State||12/31/2014||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Orange||Virginia Tech||Texas A&M||12/31/2014||Miami, FL||ACC 1 vs. Big Ten/Notre Dame/SEC|
|Peach||East Carolina||Wisconsin||12/31/2014||Atlanta, GA||At-large|
As always, the Orange is the simple choice here, since it takes the ACC's best non-Playoff team. Louisville shows signs of being that good, but the Hokies have a very friendly schedule and could solidify with an out-of-conference knockout of a wounded Ohio State next week.
The other side of the Orange goes to the top team in that listed pileup, and ... I really don't know who's going to shut down the Aggies. Sure, South Carolina's biggest weakness, its young secondary, lines up perfectly with A&M's biggest strength, its massive receivers, meaning that game might not've meant that much. But let's ride the wave for now.
The rest of these games will be decided by the selection committee's rankings and geography, as long as one mid-major makes it. I'm sticking with ECU, which has a reasonable AAC schedule and has three shots at taking down a power-conference team.
Wisconsin's smooth schedule and proven performance against LSU when at full strength make it a better bet right now than Ohio State to reach 10 or 11 wins, and USC looked something like unstoppable against Fresno State, or at least like the opposite of however UCLA looked against Virginia.
South Carolina's back in the Belk, which is where I had it in January before moving it higher and higher all offseason. If offseasons lasted a couple months longer, I might've had South Carolina in the Super Bowl.
And everything else
|GoDaddy||Northern Illinois||South Alabama||1/4/2015||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Birmingham||UCF||Tennessee||1/3/2015||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Alamo||Oklahoma State||UCLA||1/2/2015||San Antonio, TX||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Armed Forces||Houston||UTEP*||1/2/2015||Fort Worth, TX||American vs. Army/Big 12 7/Big Ten|
|Cactus||West Virginia||Arizona State||1/2/2015||Glendale, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7 (MWC conditional)|
|TaxSlayer||Minnesota||Florida||1/2/2015||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7* vs. SEC 3-8|
|Capital One||Michigan||LSU||1/1/2015||Orlando, FL||Big Ten 2-4/ACC* vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Ohio State||Auburn||1/1/2015||Tampa, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Belk||North Carolina||South Carolina||12/30/2014||Charlotte, NC||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Music City||Clemson||Mississippi State||12/30/2014||Nashville, TN||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7* vs. SEC 3-8|
|San Francisco||Iowa||Stanford||12/30/2014||San Francisco, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Liberty||TCU||Ole Miss||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||Texas||Missouri||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||Georgia Tech||UL Monroe*||12/27/2014||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC 10 (C-USA conditional)|
|Military||Texas State*||Miami||12/27/2014||Annapolis, MD||American vs. ACC|
|Pinstripe||Pitt||Maryland||12/27/2014||New York, NY||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|Sun||Duke||Washington||12/27/2014||El Paso, TX||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bitcoin||Rice*||Middle Tennessee||12/26/2014||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA (ACC conditional)|
|Detroit||Notre Dame*||Akron*||12/26/2014||Detroit, MI||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Heart of Dallas||Oregon State*||North Texas||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||Ball State||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||Ohio||Arkansas State||12/20/2014||Montgomery, AL||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3 (ACC conditional)|
|Las Vegas||Boise 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||Colorado State||12/20/2014||New Orleans, LA||Sun Belt 1 vs. MWC 2-7|
|Potato||Bowling Green||Utah State||12/20/2014||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC 2-7|
* Filling in for another conference.
Some fiddling throughout, but nothing drastic. The Big 12 sees the most internal juggling, mainly due to Oklahoma State not missing a beat and Texas' sudden injury issues. Ball State, Colorado State, Tennessee, UTEP, and West Virginia crowd their way in, with Buffalo, Northwestern, Texas Tech, Troy, and Washington State leaving for the time being.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.