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Updated 2016 bowl projections after the year's first College Football Playoff rankings

[Update! Sunday's bowl projections have been tweaked, now that we have rankings to work with. Auburn jumps up and replaces LSU in the New Year's Six!]

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College football just got its closest thing yet to a 2016 mayhem Saturday, with four unbeaten teams falling in late October, leaving us with just five in FBS.

Wisconsin knocked off Nebraska lateCharlie Strong bought himself time by wrecking BaylorOklahoma State beat up West Virginia, and Wyoming's dancing after beating Boise State for the first time ever.

Below, updated College Football Playoff picks and bowl projections, with the top of the postseason looking more eerily established as time goes on. Always trust in college football to provide chaos, but we're running out of opportunities for it to strike this year's group of early rulers.

Elsewhere, Clemson survived at Florida State amid a call that has Jimbo Fisher ragingLamar Jackson added his Heisman MomentTM, and Washington passed its first actual test of the year.

To the bowl game picks, and then a bunch more stuff from Saturday! The year's first official Playoff rankings come out on Tuesday night, which should help change up next week's edition of projections.

College Football Playoff
Dec. 31, Glendale, AZ
Clemson Michigan Playoff rankings top 4
Dec. 31, Atlanta
Alabama Washington Playoff rankings top 4
National Championship
Jan. 9, Tampa
Alabama Michigan Fiesta winner vs. Peach winner

So, like, yeah, that's super obvious. Those are the last four unbeaten Power 5 conference teams, a tidy one per non-Big 12 league.

The thing is: it's even more stratified than it looks, at least until conference championships. It's easy to see how any of the four could absorb a loss, as long as it's not to a specific division contender.

  • The exception is Clemson, which can now lose one regular season game and likely still make it in.
  • Auburn or LSU could still stop Bama, but would have to win out.
  • Michigan's game at Ohio State would count as the division championship, if OSU didn't lose again beforehand, so that remains on course to be the regular season's most important game.
  • And Washington-Washington State could be the same for the Pac-12 North, albeit without Playoff stakes for the Cougars.

But otherwise, it's not easy to see exactly how things shake up. So we'll wait.

To be honest, the dream scenario at this point is for all four to hit the Playoff at 13-0. Can you imagine? Ain't gonna happen, but that's why it's a dream.

New Year's Six bowls
Jan. 2, Arlington, TX
Western Michigan Auburn At-large
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 Wisconsin ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

And there's the other undefeated team, WMU, in as the New Year's Six bowls' mid-major autobid. With Boise State no longer undefeated and the AAC fresh out of one-loss teams, WMU is the easy favorite here. And its win over Northwestern is becoming decent, with NU taking Ohio State to the wire and probably making a bowl.

The others are set up according to the committee's top-ranked teams from certain conferences. WMU-Wisconsin would probably be more fun than WMU-whoever, since the Broncos already have two Big Ten West wins this season and would deserve a shot at the division's best team, but the Badgers ranking behind an LSU team they've beaten doesn't seem too likely, if records are comparable.

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 Tennessee Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
Miami Kentucky ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Music City
Dec. 30, Nashville
Indiana South Carolina ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 30, Memphis
Texas 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
Air Force Troy MWC vs. Sun Belt
Dec. 29, San Antonio
Oklahoma State Washington State Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2
Dec. 29, Charlotte
Virginia Tech LSU ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 29
USF Ole Miss American vs. SEC 9
Foster Farms
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
Russell Athletic
Dec. 28, Orlando
Florida State West Virginia ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Dec. 28, Houston
Baylor Arkansas Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
Texas Tech Stanford Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7
Heart of Dallas
Dec. 27
Army* 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
Kansas State* Temple* ACC vs. SEC
St. Petersburg
Dec. 26
Wake Forest Cincinnati ACC vs. American
Quick Lane
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
Boston College** Northwestern ACC vs. Big Ten
Dec. 24, Honolulu
Idaho* Hawaii C-USA vs. MWC
Dollar General
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
Toledo South Alabama MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Armed Forces
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
TCU Navy Big 12 vs. Navy
Dec. 23, Nassau
Tulsa EMU American vs. MAC
Dec. 22, Boise, ID
Ohio Wyoming MAC 2 vs. MWC
Dec. 21, San Diego
BYU San Diego State BYU vs. MWC
Boca Raton
Dec. 20
Memphis Southern Miss American vs. C-USA
Miami Beach
Dec. 19
SMU Akron American vs. MAC
Las Vegas
Dec. 17
Boise 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
New Mexico
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
MTSU New Mexico C-USA vs. MWC
New Orleans
Dec. 17
UL Lafayette LA Tech Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA

* = filling another conference's spot
** = here at 5-7 thanks to APR scores

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More stuff to know!

  1. Michigan State tried to score two meaningless points to send a message. Michigan scored them instead.
  2. The lights literally went out on Mark Dantonio after the game. He seemed to recognize the metaphor.
  3. Here are Michigan State fans on ESPN chanting "f*** Jim Harbaugh." That sentiment probably still stands.
  4. One Wolverines star says UM took the foot off the pedal against Michigan State. That'll be remembered.
  5. Is Clemson this year's 2013 Auburn/2014 Florida State? You know, the team that just cannot be put away?
  6. Swag of the Week honors go to Dalvin Cook, who found time on one touchdown run to both wave bye bye to Clemson's defense and break the tape like a sprinter.
  7. We are all this FSU fan who's not in the mood for this Clemson fan's high five.
  8. Just the important stuff from Florida-Georgia: a fan became a tailgate god by climbing a lofty tentpole,UGA's QB drilled a pylon from 55 yards away (seriously the Dawgs' best offensive play of the day). andpolice hauled off $500 in plastic liquor bottles from just one tailgate. The Gators won easily.
  9. Every QB who's ever thrown for 400 or more yards against Auburn has lost. Chad Kelly joins the list.
  10. These Virginia fans had the presence of mind to reenact the Sad Virginia Fan meme immediately after Lamar Jackson stole their souls. That's incredible.
  11. A former Longhorn tight end dressed up as Hot Seat Charlie Strong for Halloween. Um, about that!
  12. Tennessee is now 0-5 against Will Muschamp.
  13. A South Carolina player was ejected for this Double Dragon-lookin' two-punch combo.
  14. Notre Dame is 3-5, but was nearly 2-6 after almost blowing a 20-point lead to Miami.
  15. Penn State responded to letdown talk and an early scare by heaving 62 points at Purdue.
  16. Washington State came back from 21 down against Oregon State to keep Rose Bowl hopes alive.
  17. Texas Tech-TCU went to double overtime. That makes sense. But only 34 points in regulation? What? (TCU lost after this wayward field goal.)
  18. Funniest thing of the week might be the Oregon punter's frantic acting job on this fake punt.
  19. The Ducks are still in rough shape on the year, but they've got a record-tying QB of the future now.
  20. Two morons at Nebraska-Wisconsin had the following as a costume: Donald Trump lynching Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
  21. Hello, here's a Division II, triple-lateral, Piesman touchdown by a former Mizzou player. (Mizzou could've used the points against Kentucky, which is still second in the SEC East.)
  22. Frank Caliendo's nine lightning-round impressions on College GameDay: actually good!