clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bowl projections after CHAOS WEEK: 2 teams from 1 conference in the Playoff?

How much did that wild weekend really shake things up? Let's take a look at the updated picture for all 40 bowl games.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

We're about to learn more than we ever have before about what the College Football Playoff committee thinks.

That might not sound like much, considering it's only been around for less than three years now. But 2016's Week 11, which featured three undefeated teams losing and four other top-20 teams falling to unranked teams, set up scenarios that'll finally tell us exactly how much the committee values certain things.

Below, new bowl projections for the 2016 postseason, updated after Tuesday's rankings.

Clemson lost, but remains the ACC favorite, since it holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Louisville. Where the Cardinals rank right now only tells us so much about where the Cardinals will finish, because we do not yet know the true rankings value of a conference championship.

Winning a conference is one of the committee's stated bonuses, but we've never been able to see how much it matters. We didn't in 2014, when Ohio State made it over conference co-champs Baylor and TCU, because the committee stated at the time that OSU's entry was about its dominant 13th game, which the Big 12 pair lacked. We didn't in 2015 because that field was tidy.

So teams like Louisville and Ohio State, which have one loss each but unfriendly paths to conference titles, are now fascinating.

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

Alabama's easy. Phew, an easy one!

Clemson remains a good guess, for now. If the Tigers beat Wake Forest, South Carolina, and the ACC Coastal champ, they're in.

The Big Ten likely gets a spot, but five teams have two or fewer losses. Which one? The tiebreakers are unkind to Ohio State, so Michigan still has the simplest path at the moment, despite losing to Iowa.

The Big 12 and Pac-12 have one one-loss team left each (West Virginia and Washington, respectively). I think each will lose again. That would, in theory, open the door for Louisville, if it finished with one-loss, to become the first-ever team without a conference title to make it in. The Cardinals also have to overcome a weak schedule (possibly only five opponents with .500 or better records, the committee's favored schedule metric), but if the committee favors a two-loss team over Louisville, then ... well, we'd learn a lot.

New Year's Six bowls
Jan. 2, Arlington, TX
Boise State Penn State At-large
Jan. 2, Pasadena, CA
Ohio State USC Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1
Jan. 2, New Orleans
Oklahoma LSU Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1
Dec. 30, Miami
Florida State Wisconsin ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

The Rose pairs the top-ranked Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that don't make the Playoff. As of right now, USC looks like the best team in the conference, but it needs some tiebreaker help to make the title game.

The Sugar does the same with the Big 12 and SEC. OU is 7-0 in conference. LSU has chances to beat fellow contenders Florida and Texas A&M. Auburn's also in this, but has to play Alabama, and so is Tennessee, which can't impress anybody the rest of the way.

FSU, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech would contend for the Orange, if the ACC has two in the Playoff. FSU played more highly ranked teams, so sure. Wisconsin looks likely to finish around No. 7 or so, which would assure it of a New Year's spot.

That leaves the Cotton, which this year, must take the highest-ranking mid-major champion. Boise State now ranks ahead of WMU and still has a potential game against a potentially ranked San Diego State to go, while WMU has minimal opportunity left to impress. That's all assuming Wyoming clears out of Boise's way in the MWC standings, though, because only conference champs are eligible for the autobid.

Conference selection order, not based on standings
Jan. 2, Tampa
Nebraska Auburn Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 31, Orlando
North Carolina Tennessee Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
Virginia Tech Florida ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Music City
Dec. 30, Nashville
Iowa Arkansas ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 30, Memphis
TCU Georgia Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 30, El Paso, TX
Pitt Colorado ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5
Dec. 30, Tucson
Miami (OH)* Idaho MWC vs. Sun Belt
Dec. 29, San Antonio
Oklahoma State Washington Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2
Dec. 29, Charlotte
Wake Forest South Carolina ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 29
USF Kentucky American vs. SEC 9
Foster Farms
Dec. 28, Santa Clara, CA
Indiana Utah Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4
Dec. 28, New York City
Georgia Tech Maryland ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7
Russell Athletic
Dec. 28, Orlando
Miami West Virginia ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Dec. 28, Houston
Texas Texas A&M Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
Kansas State Arizona State Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7
Heart of Dallas
Dec. 27
Northwestern WKU Big Ten vs. C-USA
Dec. 27, San Diego
Minnesota Washington State Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3
Dec. 27, Annapolis, MD
NC State** Houston ACC vs. American
Dec. 26, Shreveport, LA
MTSU* Ole Miss ACC vs. SEC
St. Petersburg
Dec. 26
Mississippi State** Temple ACC vs. American
Quick Lane
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
NIU** Army* ACC vs. Big Ten
Dec. 24, Honolulu
Southern Miss Hawaii C-USA vs. MWC
Dollar General
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
Western Michigan Arkansas State MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Armed Forces
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
Baylor 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 Air Force BYU vs. MWC
Boca Raton
Dec. 20
Memphis Old Dominion American vs. C-USA
Miami Beach
Dec. 19
SMU CMU American vs. MAC
Las Vegas
Dec. 17
San Diego State Stanford MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
Toledo Appalachian State MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3
Dec. 17, Orlando
UCF ULL American vs. Sun Belt
New Mexico
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
UTSA New Mexico C-USA vs. MWC
New Orleans
Dec. 17
Troy LA Tech Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA

* = taking another conference's unfilled spot

** here at 5-7, thanks to APR scores

What do you think?

As always, curse the Pac-12's bowl ties, which are restrictive and have no way of avoiding the appearance of punishing good teams.

The SEC is also tricky right now, since it feels like almost every fan base would hit bowl season with a decent amount of optimism and, thus, likelihood of buying tickets. I might have Florida too prominent, in that case, since I have UF losing its next two games.

Yep, I tried to sneak Texas A&M in there. Don't tell anyone. See if the powers that be just don't notice it's there and accidentally put it on the books.

CFB in your inbox, everyday, for free!

Get an original mini-column on the college football thing of the day, plus news, links, and fun stuff!