Three quick things:
1. Stanford smothered an OK Washington on Saturday and has a chance to juuust about lock up the Pac-12 North next week at Washington State. Meanwhile, Baylor lost starting quarterback Seth Russell for a period that could include the Bears' tough games. Gotta wait and see how Baylor does without him before moving them back up. Can't really pencil a team in for a one-loss season when it's trotting out an unknown QB, because when has a Playoff team ever done that before?
2. At this point, we can start thinking about how the Playoff committee really evaluates things. The Cardinal should have an excellent schedule by committee metrics, with as many as nine bowl-eligible opponents (seriously, that's the committee's standard for a quality opponent) and perhaps five in the top 25. Alabama could have about 10 and five, while Ohio State's likely to finish a bit behind in both. Clemson, with perhaps only six bowl opponents, could have a tough case for No. 1 if everybody has a loss. I'll put the Tigers down for 13-0 at the moment, but I've got Ohio State losing at Michigan.
3. This is all just guessing based on what we've seen and how things could shake out. Let's have fun thinking about the Playoff we're gonna get to see soon.
|College Football Playoff|
|National Championship||Alabama||Ohio State||January 11||Glendale, AZ||Cotton winner vs. Orange winner|
|Cotton||No. 2 Alabama||No. 3 Stanford||December 31||Arlington, TX||Playoff rankings top 4|
|Orange||No. 1 Clemson||No. 4 Ohio State||December 31||Miami||Playoff rankings top 4|
Hey, Ohio State fans mad about ranking No. 4 here, your team is pretty good at winning national championships when it ranks No. 4 in the Playoff, right?
|New Year's Six bowls|
|Fiesta||Notre Dame||Houston||January 1||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Rose||Michigan State||USC||January 1||Pasadena, CA||Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1|
|Sugar||Baylor||LSU||January 1||New Orleans||Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1|
The hardest question here is basically, "Who wins the Pac-12 South: UCLA, USC or Utah?" The Trojans now have a tiebreaker edge over the Utes and get the Bruins at home right after those Bruins have to travel to Utah. They're probably a good bit better than their 4-3 record suggests anyway.
Baylor doesn't fall too far, because it's still loaded everywhere and because one Big 12 tiebreaker element (hooray, the Big 12 has tiebreakers now!) kind of comes down to margin of victory, a Bears specialty.
Ole Miss beating Texas A&M probably removes the Aggies from Sugar Bowl contention, while also raising the spectre of a team that lost to Memphis taking the spot. The SEC East champion could also take it, but I think the Gators would enjoy replacing Florida State in the Peach Bowl just fine.
Houston remains my non-power autobid as the AAC's top teams just keep piling up resumes for when they eventually start knocking each other off. Toledo's still in it, as is mayyybe Appalachian State, but that's about it.
Notre Dame's here. Sure.
|Bowl (* = filling another conference's bid)||Conferences ties, not based on standings|
|Alamo||TCU||Utah||January 2||San Antonio||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Cactus||West Virginia||Arizona||January 2||Tempe, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7|
|Liberty||Texas||Tennessee||January 2||Memphis||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
|TaxSlayer||Penn State||Kentucky||January 2||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Citrus||Iowa||Ole Miss||January 1||Orlando||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Wisconsin||Georgia||January 1||Tampa||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Belk||Duke||Auburn||December 30||Charlotte||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Birmingham||Memphis||Arkansas||December 30||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Holiday||Northwestern||UCLA||December 30||San Diego||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Music City||North Carolina||Mississippi State||December 30||Nashville||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Arizona||Rice||Utah State||December 29||Tucson||C-USA vs. MWC|
|Armed Forces||Oregon*||Air Force||December 29||Fort Worth, TX||Big Ten vs. MWC|
|Russell Athletic||Florida State||Oklahoma||December 29||Orlando||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
|Texas||Oklahoma State||Texas A&M||December 29||Houston||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Military||Boston College||Navy||December 28||Annapolis, MD||ACC vs. American|
|Quick Lane||NC State||Central Michigan*||December 28||Detroit||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Foster Farms||Minnesota||Arizona State||December 26||Santa Clara, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Heart of Dallas||Texas Tech||Western Kentucky||December 26||Dallas||Big 12 7 vs. C-USA|
|Independence||Akron*||Louisiana-Lafeyette*||December 26||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC (C-USA backup)|
|Pinstripe||Pitt||Nebraska||December 26||New York City||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|St. Petersburg||Buffalo*||Southern Miss||December 26||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA|
|Sun||Louisville||Cal||December 26||El Paso||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bahamas||Old Dominion||Ohio||December 24||Nassau, BS||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Hawaii||San Jose State*||BYU||December 24||Honolulu||American vs. MWC/BYU|
|GoDaddy||Toledo||Georgia Southern||December 23||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Poinsettia||San Diego State||Kansas State*||December 23||San Diego||MWC vs. Army|
|Boca Raton||Temple||Northern Illinois||December 22||Boca Raton, FL||American vs. MAC|
|Potato||Bowling Green||Colorado State||December 22||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
|Miami Beach||Cincinnati||Marshall||December 21||Miami||American vs. C-USA|
|Camelia||Western Michigan||Arkansas State||December 19||Montgomery, AL||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3|
|Cure||East Carolina||South Alabama||December 19||Orlando||American vs. Sun Belt|
|Las Vegas||Boise State||Washington State||December 19||Las Vegas||MWC 1/BYU vs. Pac-12 6|
|New Mexico||Middle Tennessee||New Mexico||December 19||Albuquerque||C-USA vs. MWC|
|New Orleans||Appalachian State||Louisiana Tech||December 19||New Orleans||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|
Leaving us: Illinois, Missouri and Virginia Tech, depriving us of a 3-0 25OT VT-Mizzou bowl.
Joining us: Buffalo, CMU and Washington State, which suddenly has five wins and hosts Colorado.
Elsewhere: Boise State remains up top in the MWC, as one of Utah State's forecasted losses indeed happened. Oklahoma State and Texas A&M reunite, as do TCU and Utah. Texas Tech and WKU strive for 200 points. Hey Rich Rodriguez, remember WVU?
[Update: Switched this up a little bit since publish. Wasn't happy with UCLA in the New Year's Six over Michigan. This has meant Oregon plummeting past teams with excited fans and/or obvious geographic ties.]