The first round of Playoff committee rankings came out Tuesday, which makes this weekly thing a whole lot easier. Not that it's easy, but pairing those numbers with Week 10's results takes out at least some of the blind guesswork. Like, we now know the committee really loves Notre Dame.
So, below are some new picks for every bowl game, based on all that stuff.
One change to the Playoff itself this week, as Ohio State slides down for the moment.
I already had the Buckeyes at No. 4 because I had them winning the Big Ten after losing at Michigan, which is a much better team than its current ranking and record suggest. But Michigan State losing to Nebraska on Saturday was actually bad for the Buckeyes, because it potentially removed the Playoff rankings as a Big Ten tiebreaker safety net in the event of a loss to Michigan. The season's most-hyped rivalry game will likely now be the Big Ten East championship and a total must-win for the defending champs.
|College Football Playoff|
|National Championship||Alabama||Clemson||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 Baylor||December 31||Miami||Playoff rankings top 4|
As for who moves up, the Big 12 is still as hard to guess as ever. We got our first look at new QB Jarrett Stidham on Thursday, and it sure suggested the Bears' offense won't fall off. Right now I have the Big 12's big four continuing to eat each other, with Baylor making it out as a one-loss.
|New Year's Six bowls|
|Fiesta||Notre Dame||Iowa||January 1||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Rose||Michigan||USC||January 1||Pasadena, CA||Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1|
|Sugar||Oklahoma||LSU||January 1||New Orleans||Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1|
|Peach||Ohio State||Houston||December 31||Atlanta||At-large|
TCU and Michigan State leave, with shuffling elsewhere. Hey, Ohio State against beloved former OC Tom Herman, if he sticks around! Hey, Bob Stoops talking about the SEC again! Hey, all of America rooting for the Hawkeyes, again!
The New Year's Six matchups are made by the committee, and if the Sooners are among multiple Big 12 teams who've all beaten each other, they could rank best, given their road win at Tennessee likely becoming a high-quality win by season's end. Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU don't have anything anywhere near that good on their out-of-conference records.
I have Iowa losing at Nebraska on a short week after the Huskers have a bye to prepare, then losing to Michigan. The Fiesta Bowl's a good apology for that, right? And yes, the Hawkeyes over Florida for now, because by season's end, Iowa might've beaten more bowl teams.
Thought about keeping Michigan State in here over Iowa, since MSU has a lot of wins against decent teams already, but the committee ranked MSU a surprisingly low No. 7 even before its (controversial) loss to a 4-6 team.
Been riding with Houston as my non-power autobid since Week 2, and this was a great weekend for the Cougars, so no change there. Only kind of bragging.
|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||Kansas State||Arkansas||January 2||Memphis||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
|TaxSlayer||Penn State||Ole Miss||January 2||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Citrus||Michigan State||Florida||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||Mississippi State||December 30||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Holiday||Wisconsin||UCLA||December 30||San Diego||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Music City||NC 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||Florida State||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||Minnesota||December 28||Detroit||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Foster Farms||Nebraska||Oregon||December 26||Santa Clara, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Heart of Dallas||Washington*||Western Kentucky||December 26||Dallas||Big 12 7 vs. C-USA|
|Independence||Akron*||Louisiana-Lafeytte*||December 26||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC (C-USA backup)|
|Pinstripe||Duke||Indiana||December 26||New York City||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|St. Petersburg||USF||Southern Miss||December 26||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA|
|Sun||Pitt||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||Northern Illinois||Georgia Southern||December 23||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Poinsettia||San Diego State||Central Michigan*||December 23||San Diego||MWC vs. Army|
|Boca Raton||Temple||Western Michigan||December 22||Boca Raton, FL||American vs. MAC|
|Potato||Toledo||Colorado State||December 22||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
|Miami Beach||Cincinnati||Marshall||December 21||Miami||American vs. C-USA|
|Camelia||Bowling Green||Appalachian 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||Arizona 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||Arkansas State||Louisiana Tech||December 19||New Orleans||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|
Leaving us: Kentucky, which got blown out by a Georgia that still doesn't know who its quarterback is. Therefore, Kentucky is bad.
Joining us: Indiana, Nebraska and USF. I'm reaching a little on the Big Ten West having a lot of madness, and that is in part to help fill in some holes. There's a chance we won't have enough six-win teams to fill every spot.
Oklahoma State fans, you can be mad at me if you want. I understand. My guess is that if TCU and Oklahoma State are available for the San Antonio bowl, that game picks the closer fan base with the star quarterback, whether you beat his team and hurt his Heisman chances or not.
San Jose State-BYU is a rematch, but life is hard.