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|
Dec. 31, Glendale, AZ
|Michigan||Clemson||Playoff rankings top 4|
Dec. 31, Atlanta
|Alabama||Washington||Playoff rankings top 4|
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|
Jan. 2, Arlington, TX
|Western Michigan||Penn State||At-large|
Jan. 2, Pasadena, CA
|Ohio State||USC||Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1|
Jan. 2, New Orleans
|Oklahoma||Tennessee||Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1|
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|
Jan. 2, Tampa
|Nebraska||Auburn||Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 31, Orlando
|North Carolina||Florida||Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2|
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
|Virginia Tech||LSU||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, Nashville
|Iowa||Arkansas||ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, Memphis
|Kansas State||Georgia||Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 30, El Paso, TX
|Pitt||Stanford||ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5|
Dec. 30, Tucson
|Air Force||Idaho||MWC vs. Sun Belt|
Dec. 29, San Antonio
|Oklahoma State||Colorado||Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2|
Dec. 29, Charlotte
|Miami||South Carolina||ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8|
|Houston||Kentucky||American vs. SEC 9|
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|
Dec. 28, Orlando
|Florida State||West Virginia||ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3|
Dec. 28, Houston
|TCU||Texas A&M||Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8|
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
|Texas||Vanderbilt**||Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7|
|Heart of Dallas
|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
|Wake Forest||USF||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Shreveport, LA
|Colorado State*||Mississippi State**||ACC vs. SEC|
|MTSU*||Temple||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
|Boston College**||Army*||ACC vs. Big Ten|
Dec. 24, Honolulu
|Southern Miss||Hawaii||C-USA vs. MWC|
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
|Toledo||Troy||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
|Baylor||Navy||Big 12 vs. Navy|
Dec. 23, Nassau
|Tulsa||Miami (OH)||American vs. MAC|
Dec. 22, Boise, ID
|CMU||Wyoming||MAC 2 vs. MWC|
Dec. 21, San Diego
|BYU||San Diego State||BYU vs. MWC|
|Memphis||Old Dominion||American vs. C-USA|
|UCF||Ohio||American vs. MAC|
|Boise State||Arizona State||MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6|
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
|EMU||Appalachian State||MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3|
Dec. 17, Orlando
|SMU||ULL||American vs. Sun Belt|
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
|UTSA||New Mexico||C-USA vs. MWC|
|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!
* * *