Hello! How are you today? I'm fine, thanks, and have just put some bowl game thoughts below for you to look at.
The weekly College Football Playoff swapping of Notre Dame and UCLA continues here. The Bruins had an easier time at No. 16 Arizona than the banged-up Fighting Irish did at home against UMass, and ND's marquee win against Georgia Tech doesn't look like much after Duke beat the Yellow Jackets as well. UCLA beat Virginia more convincingly too, FWIW. That's not worth much.
The Bruins still have three tough road trips (Stanford, Utah, USC) to go, so they're still the shakiest Playoff inclusion. And the Rebels struggled with Vanderbilt, but we're just gonna have to get used to good teams struggling with Vanderbilt.
It's easy to expect big changes next Sunday, with Alabama-Georgia and Notre Dame-Clemson just the two biggest games in what's easily the biggest weekend of the season so far. But for now, here's where we are.
|College Football Playoff|
|National Championship||Ole Miss||Ohio State||January 11||Glendale, AZ||Cotton winner vs. Orange winner|
|Cotton||No. 2 Ohio State||No.3 UCLA||December 31||Arlington, TX||Playoff rankings top 4|
|Orange||No. 1 Ole Miss||No. 4 Baylor||December 31||Miami, FL||Playoff rankings top 4|
|New Year's Six bowls|
|Fiesta||Houston||Notre Dame||January 1||Glendale, AZ||At-large|
|Rose||Michigan State||Utah||January 1||Pasadena, CA||Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1|
|Sugar||Oklahoma||Alabama||January 1||New Orleans, LA||Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1|
|Peach||Clemson||Texas A&M||December 31||Atlanta, GA||At-large|
The Utes make the big move up this week, replacing Oregon. This spot could go to Cal, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, or USC, but the Utes have a humiliating road win over the Ducks, get the Bears and Bruins at home and likely avoid the Cardinal altogether. Utah's Michigan win should end up looking excellent to the Playoff committee, which helps arrange these bowls as well.
The American broke even on the week (East Carolina upset Virginia Tech, but SMU fell to James Madison), while the MAC gained ground with Bowling Green's win at Purdue. But I still think the AAC champ has the best shot, and Houston's schedule remains friendly.
Would like to get Leonard Fournette in here, but A&M has the less-grueling schedule ... and LSU's quarterback did just duel pretty evenly with Syracuse's fifth-stringer.
|Bowl (* = filling another conference's bid)||Conferences ties, not based on standings|
|Alamo||TCU||Oregon||January 2||San Antonio, TX||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
|Cactus||Texas Tech||Arizona||January 2||Tempe, AZ||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7|
|Liberty||Oklahoma State||Kentucky||January 2||Memphis, TN||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
|TaxSlayer||Penn State||Florida||January 2||Jacksonville, FL||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Citrus||Michigan||Georgia||January 1||Orlando, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 2|
|Outback||Nebraska||LSU||January 1||Tampa, FL||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Belk||Duke||Tennessee||December 30||Charlotte, NC||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Birmingham||Memphis||Akron*||December 30||Birmingham, AL||American vs. SEC 9|
|Holiday||Wisconsin||USC||December 30||San Diego, CA||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
|Music City||Virginia Tech||Mississippi State||December 30||Nashville, TN||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Armed Forces||Minnesota||Air Force||December 29||Fort Worth, TX||Big Ten vs. MWC|
|Russell Athletic||Florida State||West Virginia||December 29||Orlando, FL||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
|Texas||Kansas State||Missouri||December 29||Houston, TX||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Military||Georgia Tech||Navy||December 28||Annapolis, MD||ACC vs. American|
|Quick Lane||Pitt||Indiana||December 28||Detroit, MI||ACC vs. Big Ten|
|Foster Farms||Iowa||Stanford||December 26||Santa Clara, CA||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
|Heart of Dallas||New Mexico*||Marshall||December 26||Dallas, TX||Big 12 7 vs. C-USA|
|Independence||Louisville||Middle Tennessee||December 26||Shreveport, LA||ACC vs. SEC (C-USA backup)|
|Pinstripe||NC State||Northwestern||December 26||New York, NY||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
|St. Petersburg||Miami*||Old Dominion||December 26||St. Petersburg, FL||American vs. C-USA|
|Sun||North Carolina||Cal||December 26||El Paso, TX||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
|Bahamas||Southern Miss||Ohio||December 24||Nassau, BS||C-USA vs. MAC 4/5|
|Hawaii||Temple||BYU||December 24||Honolulu, HI||American vs. MWC/BYU|
|GoDaddy||Toledo||Georgia Southern||December 23||Mobile, AL||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
|Poinsettia||San Diego State||Boston College*||December 23||San Diego, CA||MWC vs. Army|
|Boca Raton||East Carolina||Western Michigan||December 22||Boca Raton, FL||American vs. MAC|
|Potato||Northern Illinois||Colorado State||December 22||Boise, ID||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
|Miami Beach||Cincinnati||Western Kentucky||December 21||Miami, FL||American vs. C-USA|
|Camelia||Bowling Green||Arkansas State||December 19||Montgomery, AL||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3|
|Cure||Tulane||South Alabama||December 19||Orlando, FL||American vs. Sun Belt|
|Las Vegas||Boise State||Arizona State||December 19||Las Vegas, NV||MWC 1/BYU vs. Pac-12 6|
|New Mexico||Rice||Nevada||December 19||Albuquerque, NM||C-USA vs. MWC|
|New Orleans||Appalachian State||Louisiana Tech||December 19||New Orleans, LA||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|
The two big exits this week: preseason SEC favorite Auburn and Texas, which has the country's richest athletic department. Life comes at you fast.
The most noteworthy addition is Indiana, which fell short of landing College GameDay next Saturday (it's going to Irish-Tigers) but is a perilous 4-0 with Rutgers, Maryland and Purdue ahead.