Never listen to anyone who tells you the college football season is proceeding in too orderly a fashion. We go through this ever year: people look up at the rankings in mid-October and declare there are too many unbeaten teams, too many teams with obvious paths to the Playoff, or what have you. Always have faith in college football chaos.
Below, updated picks for every bowl and Playoff game, after Week 8 unloaded its blessings upon us.
This week's biggest developments: Ohio State and Texas A&M are no longer unbeaten (only nine undefeated FBS teams are left, which is fewer than last year at this point), and the American seems to be down to just Navy in the New Year's Six mid-major race after Houston got destroyed by lil ole SMU.
We're running out of chances for Alabama to lose, and the Tide are almost to the point at which a loss wouldn't matter anyway, even without accounting for the annual Zombie Bama hulk-up that comes after an L.
Anyway, let's take a look at all of bowl season and how things might shape up in December.
|College Football Playoff|
Dec. 31, Glendale, AZ
|Clemson||Michigan||Playoff rankings top 4|
Dec. 31, Atlanta
|Alabama||Washington||Playoff rankings top 4|
Jan. 9, Tampa
|Alabama||Michigan||Fiesta winner vs. Peach winner|
I know I just said that thing about chaos, but these teams are still the best choices to win Power 5 conferences. Once mayhem strikes, we'll adapt.
Something tells me this will be the first week of the year in which my pick of either Michigan or Ohio State to represent the Big Ten will be uncontroversial. Just have a sense.
OSU can still make it in. Winning out and beating Michigan would likely win the East, since Penn State's overall record would hurt it in a three-way tiebreaker scenario. But UM's the clear favorite now.
Bama and Washington dominated opponents of wildly varying quality (A&M and Oregon State, respectively), and Clemson was off, thanking the heavens it's already beaten Lamar Jackson.
|New Year's Six bowls|
Jan. 2, Arlington, TX
Jan. 2, Pasadena, CA
|Ohio State||Utah||Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1|
Jan. 2, New Orleans
|Oklahoma||Texas A&M||Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1|
Dec. 30, Miami
|Louisville||Tennessee||ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND|
One change in this group this week: Wisconsin in for Baylor. I think there's little separation at the top of the Big 12, where some records are about to get muddied. The Badgers have a good shot at 10-2 or 10-3, and the committee's shown it doesn't punish division champions much for losing conference title games. Nebraska's obviously right there as well.
Considered Wisconsin over Tennessee as well, but UT's strength of schedule should rank better, based on the committee's stated preference for bowl-eligible opponents.
|Conference selection order, not based on standings|
Jan. 2, Tampa
|Penn State||Florida||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 31, Orlando
|Nebraska||LSU||Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2|
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
|Miami||Arkansas||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, Nashville
|Indiana||Ole Miss||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, Memphis
|Oklahoma State||Georgia||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, El Paso, TX
|Pitt||Arizona State||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
Dec. 30, Tucson
|Utah State||Troy||MWC vs. Sun Belt|
Dec. 29, San Antonio
|TCU||Washington State||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
Dec. 29, Charlotte
|Virginia Tech||Auburn||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|USF||Army*||American vs. SEC 9|
Dec. 28, Santa Clara, CA
|Iowa||USC||Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4|
Dec. 28, New York City
|North Carolina||Maryland||ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7|
Dec. 28, Orlando
|Florida State||West Virginia||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
Dec. 28, Houston
|Baylor||Missouri**||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
|Texas||Stanford||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7|
|Heart of Dallas
|Idaho*||WKU||Big Ten vs. C-USA|
Dec. 27, San Diego
|Minnesota||Colorado||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
Dec. 27, Annapolis, MD
|Georgia Tech||Houston||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Shreveport, LA
|UTEP**||Akron*||ACC vs. SEC|
|Wake Forest||Cincinnati||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
|Syracuse**||Northwestern||ACC vs. Big Ten|
Dec. 24, Honolulu
|Temple*||Hawaii||C-USA vs. MWC|
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
|WMU||South Alabama||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
|Kansas State||Navy||Big 12 vs. Navy|
Dec. 23, Nassau
|Tulsa||Ohio||American vs. MAC|
Dec. 22, Boise, ID
|Toledo||Air Force||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
Dec. 21, San Diego
|BYU||Wyoming||BYU vs. MWC|
|Memphis||Southern Miss||American vs. C-USA|
|SMU||EMU||American vs. MAC|
|San Diego State||UCLA||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6|
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
|CMU||Appalachian State||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3|
Dec. 17, Orlando
|UCF||Georgia Southern||American vs. Sun Belt|
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
|MTSU||New Mexico||C-USA vs. MWC|
|UL Lafayette||LA Tech||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|
* = taking another conference's unfilled bid
** = here at 5-7, thanks to APR scores
Todd Graham Bowl!
Any thoughts on all that?