Almost every FBS team is just one-sixth of the way through its regular season. This is not enough evidence to tell us exactly who's going where in the postseason, but that's the fun part.
The picture becomes clearer after every Saturday, no matter what. The goal of all this is to get the right teams into the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl, and getting to see essentially a Rose Bowl in September is at least a big step toward that. And, as always, the really, really fun part is that this is college football, where nothing is ever capable of being projected.
With 13 weeks to go, the two upper levels see a couple adjustments, but most of the action takes place below them.
College Football Playoff
|Rose||No. 2 Oregon||No. 3 Georgia||1/1/2015||Pasadena, CA|
|Sugar||No. 1 Florida State||No. 4 Oklahoma||1/1/2015||New Orleans, LA|
Holding steady, albeit with Oregon and Georgia flipping. The Ducks beat Michigan State more convincingly than anyone (that I know of) projected, and the Ducks' biggest remaining threats (UCLA, Washington, Stanford) all looked more beatable than we've thought. They seem like a decent bet to go undefeated, while the SEC champ would probably make it in with one loss anyway.
Not that it matters, since seeds 2 and 3 are playing in the same place no matter which team is ranked where.
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||Auburn||12/31/2014||Atlanta, GA||At-large|
Only one major change this time around: Wisconsin, which had replaced Ohio State last week, is bumped down to the regular-folk bowls.
The hard thing about forecasting the Big Ten West at this point is finding enough losses to go around. I'm not trying to be mean. It's seriously hard. You try it. The Badgers could still hit 10 or 11 wins, but now that half of their eight quarters this year have been truly terrible, we're giving UW a break from this portion of the postseason for now.
Auburn fills the void, and yes, that's yet another SEC team. It's either Auburn or LSU, and if they end up with 10 wins each, I think the Plainsmen have the schedule edge to take the spot. Especially if, as noted, that Wisconsin team LSU beat continues doing as it's doing.
The Hokies solidified their way-too-early grasp on the ACC's No. 2 spot by winning at Ohio State, the Aggies still look like a fine pick to finish No. 5 or so and take the Orange's other spot, and geography sorts the rest of the committee's top 12 or so. ECU remains the designated mid-major pick, as its 10-point loss at South Carolina still inspires confidence in an upset vs., say, UNC at home and a tear through the AAC.
And of course USC's still in. The Trojans got a big win over Stanford, and we also don't want Pat Haden storming the office.
As always, a team's standing in the bowl pecking order does not correlate exactly to its projected rank in the conference standings. Bowls and conferences factor in geography, marketability, attendance, and more when pairing up teams.
[Note: This has been updated to account for the NCAA's sudden elimination of Penn State's bowl ban. The Nittany Lions bump down Michigan, which crowds out Maryland, which moves Oregon State, which gives us no Rice this time around. :(]
|GoDaddy||Northern Illinois||South Alabama||1/4/2015||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Birmingham||Memphis||ULM*||1/3/2015||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Alamo||Oklahoma State||Stanford||1/2/2015||San Antonio, TX||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Armed Forces||Houston||Oregon State*||1/2/2015||Fort Worth, TX||American vs. Army/Big 12 7/Big Ten|
|Cactus||TCU||Arizona State||1/2/2015||Tempe, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7 (MWC conditional)|
|TaxSlayer||Iowa||Florida||1/2/2015||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7* vs. SEC 3-8|
|Capital One||Penn State||LSU||1/1/2015||Orlando, FL||Big Ten 2-4/ACC* vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Ohio State||South Carolina||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||Clemson||Mississippi State||12/30/2014||Nashville, TN||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7* vs. SEC 3-8|
|San Francisco||Nebraska||UCLA||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||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||Wisconsin||Arizona||12/27/2014||San Diego, CA||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Independence||Georgia Tech||UTEP*||12/27/2014||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC 10 (C-USA conditional)|
|Military||UCF||Miami||12/27/2014||Annapolis, MD||American vs. ACC|
|Pinstripe||Pitt||Michigan||12/27/2014||New York, NY||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|Sun||North Carolina||Washington||12/27/2014||El Paso, TX||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bitcoin||Akron*||Middle Tennessee||12/26/2014||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA (ACC conditional)|
|Detroit||Duke||Minnesota||12/26/2014||Detroit, MI||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Heart of Dallas||Maryland||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|
* Taking another conference's unfilled tie.
Minor adjustments. Joining us this week is Memphis, which had UCLA on the ropes in Los Angeles. Notre Dame jumps up and ruins the ACC's pecking order (the Irish can do that, as part of their quasi-membership in the conference), Stanford displaces UCLA, the whole Big Ten slides backward as Wisconsin tumbles down, the Big 12 continues to be the most shufflable ... and BYU's juuust about to find a way to ditch its personal bowl tie and cram itself into the New Year's games.
Now, what do you think?