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2014 College Football Playoff and bowl projections: Oklahoma gaining ground

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If the Sooners can survive a tough road game this Saturday, their College Football Playoff chances are sparkling. In the 32 lesser bowls, we're finally rid of Michigan.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff

Rose No. 2 Oklahoma No. 3 Alabama 1/1/2015 Pasadena, CA
Sugar No. 1 Florida State No. 4 Oregon 1/1/2015 New Orleans, LA

Only one minor shuffle this week: Oklahoma ahead of Alabama. That's based on the SEC West looking tougher and tougher, while OU only has one especially challenging road game left: following a bye, this Saturday at TCU. Since we still have no idea how much the Playoff committee will actually value strength of schedule, we have to assume a team's chances of going undefeated remain by far the biggest factor.

(This shuffle is especially minor because there's no difference between the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds. The No. 1 seed gets to go to the Playoff bowl that's closer to its campus, and everything else locks into place without regard for geography.)

Last week's projections, for posterity.

New Year's bowls

Cotton Baylor Michigan State 1/1/2015 Arlington, TX At-large
Fiesta BYU Stanford 12/31/2014 Glendale, AZ At-large
Orange Clemson Texas A&M 12/31/2014 Miami, FL ACC 1 vs. Big Ten/Notre Dame/SEC
Peach East Carolina Auburn 12/31/2014 Atlanta, GA At-large

No changes since last week.

Everything else

As always, bid order has only so much to do with win-loss records and conference standings. The most important consideration is how rich everyone can get.

GoDaddy Northern Illinois South Alabama 1/4/2015 Mobile, AL MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Birmingham Memphis Arkansas 1/3/2015 Birmingham, AL American vs. SEC 9
Alamo Kansas State UCLA 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 Washington 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 Wisconsin Georgia 1/1/2015 Orlando, FL Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2
Outback Ohio State Missouri 1/1/2015 Tampa, FL Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Belk Louisville Tennessee 12/30/2014 Charlotte, NC ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Music City Virginia Tech Mississippi State 12/30/2014 Nashville, TN ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
San Francisco Minnesota Arizona 12/30/2014 San Francisco, CA Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4
Liberty West Virginia Ole Miss 12/29/2014 Memphis, TN Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8
Russell Athletic Notre Dame Oklahoma State 12/29/2014 Orlando, FL ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Texas TCU LSU 12/29/2014 Houston, TX Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Holiday Nebraska USC 12/27/2014 San Diego, CA Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3
Independence Pitt Louisiana Tech 12/27/2014 Shreveport, LA ACC vs. SEC 10 (C-USA conditional)
Military Temple Georgia Tech 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)
Detroit North Carolina 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 NC State* 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 Utah 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 Boise State 12/20/2014 Boise, ID MAC 2 vs. MWC 2-7

* Filling an unfilled spot.

Leaving us this week: Boston College, which lost a projected win at home to Colorado State; Florida, with a game at Tennessee suddenly looking like a loss; Michigan, which is horrible; and Oregon State, which I have going 7-5, but without anywhere to put it -- the Pac-12 doesn't have enough bids, and almost every other conference fills its spots this time around. Also crowded out is ULM.

Joining: Maryland and Rutgers, both of which get to play Michigan; NC State, which only needs two more wins, just played Florida State tough, and gets Wake Forest at home (in other words, it only needs one more win); and Temple, finally emerging from the AAC's big potential 5-7 cluster.

Pitt plummets after losing to Akron, Boise State's no longer the MWC champ after falling at Air Force, the Big Ten gets a decent reorganizing, and other gentle tweaks abound. This week was not one for big moves.

Your turn!

What have I horribly botched here?