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Updated 2018 bowl projections after Week 3, complete with — FINE — the obvious Playoff

Here are picks for all 40 bowl games, including the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State v TCU Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Week 3’s in the books, with a couple upsets and a couple ranked games changing the bowl and Playoff picture quite a bit.

Each week, I go through and update a board of projected winners for every FBS game, tally up records, and guess what the Playoff committee and bowl committees would do with the results. Things get closer and closer to eventual accuracy as Selection Sunday nears, but just as importantly, it’s a little weekly fun.

Below, projections for all 40 2018 bowl games. A lot of these will change dramatically over the next three months, so if you don’t like where your team is listed, I bet a few wins on the field will change things!

The College Football Playoff

  • Cotton (Arlington, TX): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
  • Orange (Miami): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Smh, fine. This is the boring, obvious Playoff. Each week, I try to avoid putting in a chalky Playoff, and I’d really wanted to keep it weird all year long, but this is requiring a little too much creativity for me right now.

Auburn doesn’t appear likely to win out after losing to LSU, Alabama looks like the best team in the country, Ohio State and Clemson tower above their conferences, and ... more on the Big 12 in a second.

The rest of the New Year’s Six

  • Sugar (New Orleans): TCU vs. Georgia
  • Rose (Pasadena, CA): Penn State vs. Washington
  • Peach (Atlanta): Miami vs. Auburn
  • Fiesta (Glendale, AZ): Boise State vs. Notre Dame

In this year’s rotation, most of these will be based on conference auto-bids, and then we’ll likely see whether the MWC or AAC champ takes the non-power spot. Due to geography, that’ll likely determine whether the mid-major goes to the Fiesta or Peach. And then there’ll only be a couple at-large spots.

TCU looked awesome against Ohio State. Look beyond the final score. The Frogs can beat anyone on their schedule, including Oklahoma in Fort Worth, buuuuut can they beat Oklahoma again in the Big 12 Championship? Lot to ask. The Frogs are the team I really want to put in the CFP.

Not moving the Broncos out of the at-large spot yet. A loss at a pretty good Oklahoma State won’t end their New Year’s Six chances, and their win over Troy might end up being a really good one. I’m aware of all other currently unbeaten non-power teams, though.

Everything else

  • Citrus (Orlando): Michigan vs. Mississippi State
  • Outback (Tampa): Michigan State vs. LSU
  • Gator (Jacksonville): Indiana vs. Missouri
  • Holiday (San Diego): Wisconsin vs. Stanford
  • Liberty (Memphis): Baylor vs. Kentucky
  • Military (Annapolis, MD): Navy vs. Duke
  • Sun (El Paso): Louisville vs. Utah
  • Belk (Charlotte): Boston College vs. South Carolina
  • Alamo (San Antonio): Texas vs. Oregon
  • Arizona (Tucson): Fresno State vs. BYU*
  • Camping World (Orlando): NC State vs. West Virginia
  • Music City (Nashville): Virginia Tech vs. Florida
  • Texas (Houston): Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
  • Pinstripe (New York City): Syracuse vs. Minnesota
  • Independence (Shreveport, LA): Pitt vs. Vanderbilt
  • Cheez-It (Phoenix): Iowa State vs. Arizona State
  • Quick Lane (Detroit): Army* vs. Akron*
  • SERVPRO (Dallas): Washington State* vs. North Texas
  • Foster Farms (Santa Clara, CA): Iowa vs. USC
  • Hawaii: Marshall vs. Hawaii
  • Dollar General (Mobile): Ohio vs. Arkansas State
  • Armed Forces (Fort Worth): Houston vs. Cal*
  • Birmingham: UCF vs. Tennessee
  • Potato (Boise): EMU vs. Utah State
  • Bahamas: Southern Miss vs. Buffalo
  • Gasparilla (Tampa): USF vs. Wake Forest
  • Frisco (TX): Memphis vs. Toledo
  • Boca Raton: Cincinnati vs. FAU
  • New Orleans: Louisiana Tech vs. Troy
  • Camellia (Montgomery, AL): NIU vs. Appalachian State
  • Las Vegas: San Diego State vs. Colorado
  • Cure (Orlando): Temple vs. Georgia Southern
  • New Mexico (Albuquerque): UAB vs. UNLV

* = Taking another conference’s unfilled bid.

As always, remember bowl ties are not necessarily based on merit. A few conferences have rules that prevent bowls from taking teams with clearly lesser records over more deserving teams, but bowls care about one thing: putting butts in seats. If you beat a bigger program that’s closer to a bowl both of you want, then I have some bad news about who’ll likely get it.

That NC State-West Virginia Camping World Bowl rematch I’d been trying to avoid: no longer need to avoid it, since they canceled their Week 3 game.

I couldn’t find space for Colorado State, WMU, or Wyoming this week.