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Updated bowl projections: Hard not to have Louisville in the College Football Playoff!

Hey, let's predict how all these dozens of bowls will look three months from now!

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Time for's first bowl projections update of the 2016 season. Updating them is a good thing, because my preseason version is in complete tatters, thanks in part to LSU and TCU, whom I had in the Playoff. I say this to you honestly, as a friend, because I know that you can forgive me.

Below are better picks, made stronger by the passing of time. We now know that LSU is not extremely good, that Louisville might be extremely good, and that Alabama is still as Alabama as it can be, among other things.

Included below each group are a few notes. We'll do this again each Sunday morning until they announce actual bowl pairings in December.

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

Alabama's an easy choice for No. 1.

Clemson-Louisville is now looking like a huge Playoff game, and unless you're betting on a Lamar Jackson injury, I don't really know how you pick against the Cardinals at this exact moment.

Michigan's there from the Big Ten over Ohio State for now. It's a coin flip. Yell at me if you want. It's not that serious. I'll probably swap UM and OSU weekly all year long, more or less. The Wolverines have an easier-looking schedule, which means fewer potential slips along the way. Michigan State is also very good again, apparently.

All offseason, the Pac-12 looked like it'd be the odd Power 5 conference out of the Playoff, but the Big 12's had a terrible non-conference run. If the Big 12 were out, that'd leave either the Pac-12, an independent (out), a mid-major (not out yet, but a looong way to go), or a second team from a Power 5 conference (will believe it when I see it). Defending Pac-12 champ Stanford's looked steady against two decent teams, so sure.

New Year's Six bowls
Jan. 2, Arlington, TX
Houston Clemson At-large
Jan. 2, Pasadena, CA
Ohio State Washington Big Ten 1 vs. Pac-12 1
Jan. 2, New Orleans
Baylor Ole Miss Big 12 1 vs. SEC 1
Dec. 30, Miami
Florida State Tennessee ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

This year, three of the other four New Year's Six bowls are automatically set by conference ties. They'll just take the highest-ranked teams.

The other bowl, the Cotton, will have to take the highest-ranked mid-major conference champion, which is automatically guaranteed a spot. This means we might only have one spot in the Six with any drama to it.

I feel okay about most of these teams at this point. Someone has to win the Big 12, I guess.

Yeah, that Sugar Bowl. That's one the committee and its brand partners will be quietly rooting against, but unless the committee fiddles with the rankings in order to avoid it, it could happen. Having Ole Miss here does mean I'm not burying the Rebels after two early, competitive losses to good teams.

Bowl (* = filling another conference's bid) Conference selection order, not based on standings
Jan. 2, Tampa
Wisconsin Georgia Big Ten 2-4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 31, Orlando
Michigan State Florida Big Ten 2-4/ACC vs. SEC 2
Dec. 31, Jacksonville
Notre Dame West Virginia* ACC 3-6/Big Ten 5-7 vs. SEC 3-8
Music City
Dec. 30, Nashville
Penn State 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
North Carolina Utah ACC 3-6 vs. Pac-12 5
Dec. 30, Tucson
Utah State Georgia Southern MWC vs. Sun Belt
Dec. 29, San Antonio
Texas USC Big 12 2 vs. Pac-12 2
Dec. 29, Charlotte
Virginia Tech Texas A&M ACC 3-6 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 29
USF Army* American vs. SEC 9
Foster Farms
Dec. 28, Santa Clara, CA
Iowa Oregon 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
Miami Oklahoma ACC 2 vs. Big 12 3
Dec. 28, Houston
TCU Missouri Big 12 4 vs. SEC 3-8
Dec. 27, Tempe, AZ
Kansas State Washington State Big 12 6 vs. Pac-12 7
Heart of Dallas
Dec. 27
Minnesota WKU Big Ten vs. C-USA
Dec. 27, San Diego
Nebraska UCLA Big Ten 2-4 vs. Pac-12 3
Dec. 27, Annapolis, MD
Georgia Tech Temple ACC vs. American
Dec. 26, Shreveport, LA
UL Lafayette* Tulsa* ACC vs. SEC
St. Petersburg
Dec. 26
Rice* Cincinnati ACC vs. American
Quick Lane
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
Wake Forest Indiana ACC vs. Big Ten
Dec. 24, Honolulu
MTSU Colorado State C-USA vs. MWC
Dollar General
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
WMU South Alabama MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2
Armed Forces
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, TX
Texas Tech Navy Big 12 vs. Navy
Dec. 23, Nassau
FAU* Akron 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
Boca Raton
Dec. 20
Memphis Southern Miss American vs. C-USA
Miami Beach
Dec. 19
UConn NIU American vs. MAC
Las Vegas
Dec. 17
Boise State Cal MWC 1 vs. Pac-12 6
Dec. 17, Montgomery, AL
Toledo Troy MAC 3 vs. Sun Belt 3
Dec. 17, Orlando
Ohio* Arkansas State American vs. Sun Belt
New Mexico
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
Marshall New Mexico C-USA vs. MWC
New Orleans
Dec. 17
Appalachian State LA Tech Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA


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