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Updated bowl and Playoff projections, plus 29 other college football things to know

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That was the first Saturday of the year to actually follow a College Football Playoff rankings reveal. And the teams at the top of the rankings acted like it.

This was partly a scheduling thing, as several top-eight teams weren't exactly facing their hardest challenges of the year, but that group included two top-15 matchups (Alabama over LSU and Ohio State way over Nebraska) and an upset loss by Texas A&M.

Below are new bowl projections, from the New Orleans Bowl through the National Championship, and after that is a bunch of quick links.

The combined Week 10 margin of victory by Bama, Clemson, Michigan, Washington, Ohio State, Louisville, and Wisconsin: 324-47, a 46-7 average.

Now we get the spectacle of the committee sorting that carnage out, which could mean everybody pretty much holding steady, other than A&M. The impossible dream of entering the Playoff with four unbeaten teams is looking slightly less impossible, but college football chaos will always provide.

College Football Playoff
Dec. 31, Glendale, AZ
Michigan Clemson 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

These particular teams won by a combined 189-30 this weekend, so nah, this doesn't feel like the right weekend to make any changes up top.

Ohio State's still in it, as are In Case Of Emergency teams like Auburn, Florida, West Virginia, Western Michigan, and Wisconsin. Louisville could be the first team to ever crash as a conference non-champion, if enough goes sideways, though we'll never know how much chaos that'd take until it happens.

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

Six of these are based on the highest-ranked available team in each conference, and the highest-ranked mid-major champion will get a spot in the Cotton this year.

(Some are asking how Ohio State could get the "better" bowl than Penn State, since PSU won the head-to-head. These bowls technically have some amount of choice, and last year, the Rose made a point of mentioning that it was taking the higher-ranked Iowa over OSU. We'll say they stick with precedent and use Playoff rankings, not conference standings. Remember, the Buckeyes beat Oklahoma and could thus rank higher than PSU.)

All these spots feel pretty right at the moment, except for the one true at-large, currently taken by Wisconsin. A half-dozen teams look likely to finish in the nine- or 10-win range. Wisconsin has a win over LSU, played Michigan more competitively than anybody else has, and took Ohio State to overtime.

Conference selection order, not based on standings
Jan. 2, Tampa
Nebraska LSU Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 31, Orlando
Florida State Tennessee Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
Miami Florida 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 Kentucky Big 12 5 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 30, El Paso, TX
Wake Forest Arizona State ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5
Dec. 30, Tucson
Air Force Idaho MWC vs. Sun Belt
Dec. 29, San Antonio
Oklahoma State Washington State Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2
Dec. 29, Charlotte
Virginia Tech Arkansas ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 29
USF Georgia 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
Pitt Maryland ACC 3-6 vs. Big Ten 5-7
Russell Athletic
Dec. 28, Orlando
North Carolina West Virginia ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Dec. 28, Houston
Baylor Texas A&M Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
TCU Army* Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7
Heart of Dallas
Dec. 27
Utah State** 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
Syracuse** Ole Miss ACC vs. SEC
St. Petersburg
Dec. 26
Temple* Old Dominion* ACC vs. American
Quick Lane
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
Vanderbilt** Northwestern ACC vs. Big Ten
Dec. 24, Honolulu
Southern Miss Hawaii C-USA vs. MWC
Dollar General
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
Toledo Arkansas State MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Armed Forces
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
Kansas State Navy Big 12 vs. Navy
Dec. 23, Nassau
Tulsa Akron 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 MTSU American vs. C-USA
Miami Beach
Dec. 19
Charlotte* CMU American vs. MAC
Las Vegas
Dec. 17
Boise State Stanford MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
EMU Appalachian State MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3
Dec. 17, Orlando
UCF Georgia Southern 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

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

If it was up to me, Texas and A&M would have to play in the Texas Bowl every year until they just start scheduling home-and-homes again. Nothing's up to me.

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  1. No. 13 LSU had the best chance anybody's had all year to beat No. 1 Alabama, Ole Miss included. The Tigers offense failed to take advantage. This looked like an NFL game except at QB (Jalen Hurts is a freshman who contributed well on the ground, and Danny Etling still has Purdue in his system), which is to say it looked like Bama-LSU.
  2. Ed Orgeron still has a chance at the job, yeah.
  3. Still think this probably should've been a safety on Bama.
  4. No. 6 Ohio State beat the unholy daylights out of Nebraska, allegedly a top-10 team.
  5. Most surreal thing of the season so far: Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. laying motionless, being carted off to a hospital, and then jogging back onto the field in sweatpants. Very relieving to see.
  6. The Buckeye defense outscored Nebraska's offense, and Urban Meyer hit the Huskers with a vintage Tim Tebow jump pass.
  7. Texas A&M being ranked at No. 4 over Washington was a thing of concern for not even four entire days, thanks to Mississippi State.
  8. No. 2 Clemson dumped 54-0 on Syracuse as No. 3 Michigan piled 59-3 on Maryland. The latter is better in committee math, due to the Terps' record, so don't be shocked if the Wolverines jump the Tigers this week.
  9. Yeah, that's a legit suplex by Clemson.
  10. But did Jim Harbaugh lose his freaking mind while his team was up by several touchdowns? You better believe it.
  11. No. 5 Washington made its case for No. 4 with a 66-27 squashing at Cal, though it seems likely Ohio State's taking that spot this week, which should go over a little better than A&M taking it.
  12. Marshawn Lynch returned to Cal in glory to nearly run over the band in his beloved medical cart, after the crowd lined up for his bobblehead.
  13. Former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford is on Washington's staff now. Think this specific trick play TD was a wink at the Bears?
  14. No. 7 Louisville put 52-7 on Boston College. The committee's gonna have to anger at least one team that won by like a billion touchdowns this week.
  15. No. 8 Wisconsin now has a share of the Big Ten West lead and a reasonable Playoff path.
  16. The SEC's last team with a realistic shot at beating Alabama (No. 9 Auburn) escaped Vanderbilt with quarterback weirdness afoot.
  17. The SEC West's fifth-ranked team destroyed the team that still leads the SEC East.
  18. That game can be summed up with this gigantic hit by Arkansas, which we gave the Jim Ross treatment.
  19. No. 12 Penn State took care of business and cruised past Iowa. This is still taking some getting used to.
  20. Tremendous moment: PSU's and Iowa's cheerleaders getting tangled up in pregame, with their flags looking like a damn sailboat melee.
  21. TCU knocked No. 17 Baylor out of the Playoff race entirely with a 40-point beatdown, on a day when some Baylor fans were protesting in support of Art Briles.
  22. No. 18 Oklahoma State weathered Kansas State, despite a weird play at the end that was actually called correctly.
  23. Texas Tech's couldn't stop Texas' D'Onta Foreman, but at least got his shoe during this long TD run.
  24. Wildest play of the weekend (year?): this Texas-TTU thing.
  25. Behold the gross swag of Mizzou's QB, who picked up a bottle that was heaved at him by a fan and immediately downed it.
  26. Tommy Tuberville hits a heckling fan with some of the choicest old-dude comebacks available.
  27. Become aware of the Mannequin Challenge, a thing young people are doing to celebrate things. It was all over college football on Saturday.
  28. The best GameDay signs were all the ones about Cleveland blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series.
  29. Preseason top-10 Notre Dame went to Jacksonville, and all it got was a Jaguars-y record. Notre Dame is 3-6.