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New bowl projections, with College Football Playoff business about to pick up in a hurry

Hey, let's predict how alllll the bowl games will look, now that another Saturday's in the books and the official rankings are inbound.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tuesday, the College Football Playoff committee will release its first rankings of the season. That'll give this weekly venture a lot more to work with, but for now, here are some guesses anyway!

The Playoff itself remains the same as last week, with lots of changes in the other games. The Playoff reasoning, detailed a little bit more last week, is that based on the way the Playoff committee handles resumes, Alabama and Stanford have great shots if everybody has a loss. Clemson and Ohio State likely won't have quite the same number of quality wins or ranked wins, not that the seeding matters a whole lot. The No. 1 seed gets the closer of the two locations, then plays a hard game just like the other three.

The only thing here is I think the Tigers reach 13-0 and trump the other teams' superior lists of opponents.

So, on to some guessin', with the Playoff first.

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

Next week, this could either be totally different or even more firmed up.

Sure, OSU has QB drama all over again now, but Cardale Jones should be able to get the Buckeyes past Minnesota, especially if the Golden Gophers do this kind of stuff again.

Alabama's toughest game until the SEC Championship, at least, is on Saturday against LSU at home. Similar story for Clemson, which hosts Florida State. Stanford gets the relatively easy game among this group, going to Colorado, though the Buffaloes just nearly beat UCLA in Los Angeles.

New Year's Six bowls
Fiesta Baylor Houston January 1 Glendale, AZ At-large
Rose Michigan State USC January 1 Pasadena, CA Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1
Sugar TCU Florida January 1 New Orleans Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1
Peach LSU Iowa December 31 Atlanta At-large

The Rose and Sugar get to pick, if each's champion is in the Playoff. The Pac-12 is the hardest to guess. Going with TCU in the Big 12, for now, until we see how Baylor does with its true freshman QB.

The other two will likely be based on geography from among the Playoff's highest-ranked teams, including the top non-power champ. Right now, there are a half dozen other teams you could throw in both of these mixes.

Notre Dame added a resume-boosting win over Temple (read that again 100 times, and it will be no less amazing), while Houston destroyed an SEC opponent (fine, it was Vanderbilt). So no changes to my non-power pick, though Temple, Memphis, Toledo and others are certainly in it.

However, the rest of ND's schedule isn't holding up well.

Iowa's here! I kind of think Michigan's still more likely, but that feels like a silly thing to try and tell you right now. MSU likely ranks ahead and takes the Rose, due to a slightly better list of opponents (all four of MSU's out-of-conference opponents might be bowl-eligible, while Iowa's OOC is basically just Pitt).

Bowl (* = filling another conference's bid, and ? = I ran out of bowl-eligible teams) Conferences ties, not based on standings
Alamo Oklahoma 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 Kansas State Mississippi State January 2 Memphis Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8
TaxSlayer Minnesota Kentucky January 2 Jacksonville, FL ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Citrus Michigan Ole Miss January 1 Orlando Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2
Outback Northwestern Tennessee January 1 Tampa Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Belk North Carolina Auburn December 30 Charlotte ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Birmingham Memphis Arkansas December 30 Birmingham, AL American vs. SEC 9
Holiday Penn State UCLA December 30 San Diego Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3
Music City Florida State Georgia 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 Washington State* Air Force December 29 Fort Worth, TX Big Ten vs. MWC
Russell Athletic Notre Dame Oklahoma State December 29 Orlando ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Texas Texas Tech Texas A&M December 29 Houston Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Military Louisville Navy December 28 Annapolis, MD ACC vs. American
Quick Lane Miami Central Michigan* December 28 Detroit ACC vs. Big Ten
Foster Farms ? Oregon December 26 Santa Clara, CA Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4
Heart of Dallas Akron* Western Kentucky December 26 Dallas Big 12 7 vs. C-USA
Independence NC State Louisiana-Lafeytte* December 26 Shreveport, LA ACC vs. SEC (C-USA backup)
Pinstripe Duke Wisconsin 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 Pitt Arizona State 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 Washington* 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 ? 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 Cal 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

Note: After thinking some more, switched Northwestern and Wisconsin after publish, to avoid a couple repeats, and swapped Baylor and Oklahoma. The committee is going to *hate* OU's loss to Texas.

Joining us are Miami, thanks to the third PLAY OF THE CENTURY of the season so far, and Washington, because all we do is celebrate 1991's split national title.

Among those leaving us are Texas and Nebraska, because all we do is remember the 2009 Big 12 Championship.


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