Time for SBNation.com'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|
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
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|
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|
|USF||Army*||American vs. SEC 9|
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|
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
|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|
|Rice*||Cincinnati||ACC vs. American|
Dec. 26, Detroit, MI
|Wake Forest||Indiana||ACC vs. Big Ten|
Dec. 24, Honolulu
|MTSU||Colorado State||C-USA vs. MWC|
Dec. 23, Mobile, AL
|WMU||South Alabama||MAC 1 vs. Sun Belt 2|
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|
|Memphis||Southern Miss||American vs. C-USA|
|UConn||NIU||American vs. MAC|
|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|
Dec. 17, Albuquerque
|Marshall||New Mexico||C-USA vs. MWC|
|Appalachian State||LA Tech||Sun Belt 1 vs. C-USA|