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New 2016 bowl projections and College Football Playoff predictions with 2 weeks to go

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Let's predict every college football bowl game, now that we're one Rivalry Weekend and one Championship Weekend away from seeing the final picture.

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Hey, the college football season is almost done. This one's flying by really quickly, isn't it?

Below, picks for every bowl, from the National Championship through the New Orleans Bowl. Two more of these weekly updates, and then we'll get the real thing.

Week 12's business changed things a little bit, with Houston knocking Louisville out of the Playoff conversation, Oklahoma doing the same to West Virginia, Florida dumping LSU from the Sugar Bowl race, division races firming up, and Wyoming (!) continuing to impact the New Year's Six.

This weekend, we get rivalries that'll decide everything from the Big Ten East to the Pac-12 North, followed by conference championship weekend, and then Selection Sunday. Next thing you know, you'll be watching a team you didn't watch all year play some team you've never heard of in a city you've never been to in a bowl sponsored by a company you're pretty sure isn't real, and then the season will be over. Treasure these weird moments.

Okay, here are some picks, updated slightly to account for Tuesday's new rankings.

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

  • Yep, we're right back to this simpleton Playoff projection that I've been rocking with all season long!
  • Bama gets Florida in the SEC Championship. Next.
  • Clemson gets the ACC Coastal champion. Sure.
  • Washington has to beat Washington State, which sounds treacherous, and would probably be better off getting Colorado in the Pac-12 title game, rather than USC. If CU beats Utah at home, then it's CU. UW is shaky, but fair enough.
  • Oh right, the Big Ten. I was hoping you'd forget. So, if Michigan wins at Ohio State, it's going to the Big Ten Championship. If Ohio State wins and Penn State beats Michigan State, it's Penn State. If OSU wins and PSU loses, it's OSU. The West champ is likely Wisconsin. I almost want to pick UW, just to avoid all this, but UM winning is the simplest path. Sure.

New Year's Six bowls
Cotton
Jan. 2, Arlington, TX
Western Michigan Penn State At-large
Rose
Jan. 2, Pasadena, CA
Ohio State USC Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1
Sugar
Jan. 2, New Orleans
Oklahoma Tennessee Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1
Orange
Dec. 30, Miami
Louisville Wisconsin ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

  • The Rose should be pretty simple, taking the highest-ranked teams from the B1G and Pac-12. I'm aware PSU beat OSU, but recall OSU's well-regarded win over Oklahoma and tougher overall schedule. That could keep the Buckeyes ranked ahead. CU losing to Washington could make way for USC, though the committee doesn't punish division champs too hard for not being conference champs.
  • The Sugar is also easy, on one side: OU-Oklahoma State will decide one spot. The SEC side could be Auburn or Florida (especially if the Gators beat FSU), but remember that NASCAR game from Week 2? Ha! It ended up mattering! Tennessee's win over Virginia Tech is the SEC's best out-of-conference win besides Bama's over USC.
  • The Orange is easy. Let's pencil Louisville in; even after a surprising fall in the rankings, I don't think the committee will rank a two-loss team behind a three-loss team it beat. Whichever Big Ten team doesn't make the Rose is likely set here.
  • The Cotton is the tricky one. One spot will go to the top-ranked mid-major champion. At the moment, Boise State ranks higher than Western Michigan, but if Wyoming beats New Mexico and thus wins Boise's division, Boise won't be eligible. The other side of the Cotton is the one true at-large, and Wisconsin currently ranks higher than Penn State with a chance at a better upcoming win (Minnesota) than PSU has (Michigan State).

Conference selection order, not based on standings
Outback
Jan. 2, Tampa
Nebraska Auburn Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Citrus
Dec. 31, Orlando
North Carolina Florida Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2
TaxSlayer
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
Virginia Tech LSU 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
Liberty
Dec. 30, Memphis
Kansas State Georgia Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8
Sun
Dec. 30, El Paso, TX
Pitt Stanford ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5
Arizona
Dec. 30, Tucson
Air Force Idaho MWC vs. Sun Belt
Alamo
Dec. 29, San Antonio
Oklahoma State Colorado Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2
Belk
Dec. 29, Charlotte
Miami South Carolina ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Birmingham
Dec. 29
Houston Kentucky American vs. SEC 9
Foster Farms
Dec. 28, Santa Clara, CA
Indiana Utah Big Ten 5-7 vs. Pac-12 4
Pinstripe
Dec. 28, New York City
Georgia Tech Maryland ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7
Russell Athletic
Dec. 28, Orlando
Florida State West Virginia ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Texas
Dec. 28, Houston
TCU Texas A&M Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Cactus
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
Texas Vanderbilt** Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7
Heart of Dallas
Dec. 27
Northwestern WKU Big Ten vs. C-USA
Holiday
Dec. 27, San Diego
Minnesota Washington State Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3
Military
Dec. 27, Annapolis, MD
Wake Forest USF ACC vs. American
Independence
Dec. 26, Shreveport, LA
Colorado State* Mississippi State** ACC vs. SEC
St. Petersburg
Dec. 26
MTSU* Temple ACC vs. American
Quick Lane
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
Boston College** Army* ACC vs. Big Ten
Hawaii
Dec. 24, Honolulu
Southern Miss Hawaii C-USA vs. MWC
Dollar General
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
Toledo Troy MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Armed Forces
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
Baylor Navy Big 12 vs. Navy
Bahamas
Dec. 23, Nassau
Tulsa Miami (OH) American vs. MAC
Potato
Dec. 22, Boise, ID
CMU Wyoming MAC 2 vs. MWC
Poinsettia
Dec. 21, San Diego
BYU San Diego State BYU vs. MWC
Boca Raton
Dec. 20
Memphis Old Dominion American vs. C-USA
Miami Beach
Dec. 19
UCF Ohio American vs. MAC
Las Vegas
Dec. 17
Boise State Arizona State MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6
Camelia
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
EMU Appalachian State MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3
Cure
Dec. 17, Orlando
SMU ULL American vs. Sun Belt
New Mexico
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
UTSA New Mexico C-USA vs. MWC
New Orleans
Dec. 17
Arkansas State LA Tech Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA
* = Filling another conference's spot
** = Here at 5-7, thanks to APR scores

If the Big Ten gets an Orange Bowl spot, it gives up its Citrus Bowl spot to the ACC. I don't know why. It's the rule.

If we have one or two more APR-eligible teams, we could end up with NC State and Oregon tying for the last spot. The NCAA would have to announce which one finished decimal points higher in its academics stat in order to decide which one made a bowl. That'd be fun!

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Ohio State's questionable first down against Michigan