The country is down to 11 undefeated teams. The SEC's remaining two will be whittled to one within two weeks, when Texas A&M travels to Alabama. The Big 12 and Big Ten will be down to only one each by selection Sunday. The ACC and Pac-12 are already down to only one each. Only Boise State and Western Michigan remain unbeaten among mid-majors.
So right now, the Playoff picture looks suspiciously clear. The winners of the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC are likely in, and the Pac-12 looks like it has the inside track for the fourth spot. The Big 12 certainly isn't out, though. And Boise's strength of schedule has gotten a couple key boosts lately, so we might not want to count out the entire Group of 5 just because Houston lost.
That's right now, though. This season's true Madness Weekend has yet to strike. It's always out there, circling.
For now, here's how I think things line up. As always, these are picks for how every bowl game could look at the end of the season, with adjustments sure to come next weekend and all weekends thereafter. Have a nice Sunday!
|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|
Sticking with the same top four formula as last week: the obvious champions in three of the four favored conferences, with Michigan winning the weekly toss-up over Ohio State this time. I mean, UM did just give Rutgers the worst FBS loss of this millennium.
"But Rutgers is bad," one might say, to which I'd reply, "OF THE MILLENNIUM."
(In case you're just joining us, I've basically been switching the Buckeyes and Wolverines every week. There's no great argument for either team being clearly better or likelier to beat the other, but half the comment section will likely be about this anyway. That's fine.)
|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|
These could all be pretty good on the field.
- Michigan or OSU would probably destroy Utah, but we said the same about the Utes against Bama a few years ago.
- Oklahoma-A&M would be a Big 12 reunion and a rematch of that time Johnny Manziel dunked on the Sooners.
- Louisville-Tennessee should probably happen more often anyway.
- Sure, I'll take Boise over Houston, Navy, San Diego State, USF, and WMU right now. The number of potential bowl teams on the Broncos' schedule has been slowly increasing, and that win over Washington State could soon be a win over a top-25 team, roughly on par with what Houston did against Oklahoma. Life's pretty funny!
- Yeah, Baylor. I still figure the committee will try to avoid the Bears, but if they're 11-1, that's hard to do.
|Conference selection order, not based on standings|
Jan. 2, Tampa
|Wisconsin||Florida||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 31, Orlando
|Penn State||Ole Miss||Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2|
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
|Florida State||Georgia||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, Nashville
|Indiana||Arkansas||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, Memphis
|Oklahoma State||LSU||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, El Paso, TX
|Pitt||UCLA||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
Dec. 30, Tucson
|Utah State||Georgia Southern||MWC vs. Sun Belt|
Dec. 29, San Antonio
|Texas||Colorado||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
Dec. 29, Charlotte
|Virginia Tech||Missouri||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Houston||Arkansas State*||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
|Miami||West Virginia||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
Dec. 28, Houston
|TCU||Auburn||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
|Texas Tech||Arizona State||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7|
|Heart of Dallas
|Minnesota||WKU||Big Ten vs. C-USA|
Dec. 27, San Diego
|Nebraska||Washington State||Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3|
Dec. 27, Annapolis, MD
|Wake Forest||USF||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Shreveport, LA
|Northwestern**||Syracuse**||ACC vs. SEC|
|Georgia Tech||Cincinnati||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
|Akron*||Michigan State||ACC vs. Big Ten|
Dec. 24, Honolulu
|MTSU||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||EMU||American vs. MAC|
Dec. 22, Boise, ID
|CMU||Air Force||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
Dec. 21, San Diego
|BYU||San Diego State||BYU vs. MWC|
|Memphis||Southern Miss||American vs. C-USA|
|UConn||Ohio||American vs. MAC|
|Wyoming||Stanford||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6|
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
|Toledo||Troy||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3|
Dec. 17, Orlando
|Temple||UL Lafayette||American vs. Sun Belt|
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
|UCF**||New Mexico||C-USA vs. MWC|
|Appalachian State||LA Tech||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|
* = filling another conference's bid
** = bowl-eligible at 5-7 because of APR scores
Leaving us this week: Notre Dame.