I usually don’t do this so early in the season. We aren’t even at Halloween yet. I am very thankful that Halloween doesn’t land on a Saturday like it did last year. As a college football fan, it does not make things very easy. At least my kids got a lot of candy.
So anyway, as I was saying, I don’t usually do this type of thing this early…well, at least publicly. I do this from the end of week one to be honest with you. Once I have the template up it makes it easier to swap teams in and out as I see fit.
First, let’s look at how the teams I originally projected to be in the College Football Playoff are doing:
- LSU – LSU looked like a horrible pick early on with their two early losses. They have come on strong since then. No real chance at the CFP but a very good chance at the New Year’s Six. They would put the college football world on its ear if they could upset Bama in primetime in a couple of weeks.
- Florida State – If it wasn’t for Louisville and North Carolina, the Noles would still be looking like a good pick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an upset of Clemson this Saturday with the game in Tallahassee.
- Michigan State – Ugh.
- Oklahoma – I can honestly see the Sooners running the table now and winning the Big XII. Problem is, Houston has fallen off and even Ohio State lost meaning their strength of schedule has taken a hit. So no CFP for them.
So there you go. 0-for-4. Terrible.
Let’s look forward now. First of all, my UPDATED College Football Playoff projections:
|December 31, 2016||Fiesta Bowl||#2 Washington||#3 Ohio State|
|December 31, 2016||Peach Bowl||#1 Alabama||#4 Clemson|
I think that is what almost everyone has at this point, although I know some will pick Michigan at this point. I think Ohio State will win The Game and the Big Ten Championship to get in as the #3 seed. The Big XII will be left out again so everyone will go on and on about how the conference is a mess (which isn’t altogether untrue) and if they had just expanded they would have got in or some shit like that. I don’t think that’s the case but I do believe they should have expanded for other reasons.
Now, the New Year’s Six which is where the bulk of the debate will lie:
|January 2, 2017||Sugar Bowl||#7 Texas A&M||#9 Oklahoma|
|January 2, 2017||Rose Bowl||#8 Michigan||#15 Utah|
|January 2, 2017||Cotton Bowl||#6 Boise State||#5 Baylor|
|December 30, 2016||Orange Bowl||#11 Louisville||#12 Tennessee|
The two highest ranked teams not in the CFP, at this point, would be the two at-large teams going to the Cotton Bowl: Boise State and Baylor. Boise is obvious. I think Baylor will lose to Oklahoma (and thus the Big XII title) but win everything else, putting them at #6. Oklahoma would get the Big XII’s Sugar Bowl spot and face old Big XII running mate Texas A&M. Michigan and Louisville are easy calls, as is Utah who, other than Washington State, is the only team even close to Washington out in the Pac-12. That last spot in the Orange Bowl will be interesting as it is contractually obligated to take the best Big Ten or SEC team left after the other bowls have selected. I see it being Tennessee but there are upwards of five other teams (Wisconsin, Georgia, Penn State, LSU, Nebraska) who could be in play for that spot. Much will be determined in the next couple of weeks as at least two of these teams will probably be out of luck for a NY6 spot.
Finally, here are the rest of the bowls:
|January 2, 2017||Outback Bowl||#20 LSU||#19 Penn State|
|December 31, 2016||TaxSlayer Bowl||Florida||#16 North Carolina|
|December 31, 2016||Citrus Bowl||#18 Georgia||#14 Wisconsin|
|December 30, 2016||Arizona Bowl||Colorado State||Idaho|
|December 30, 2016||Music City Bowl||Arkansas||#23 Nebraska|
|December 30, 2016||Sun Bowl||USC||#25 Miami|
|December 30, 2016||Liberty Bowl||Ole Miss||Kansas State|
|December 29, 2016||Alamo Bowl||#24 Washington State||#22 West Virginia|
|December 29, 2016||Belk Bowl||Auburn||Pittsburgh|
|December 29, 2016||Birmingham Bowl||NC State||Temple|
|December 28, 2016||Texas Bowl||Kentucky**||Oklahoma State|
|December 28, 2016||Russell Athletic Bowl||TCU||#13 Florida State|
|December 28, 2016||Pinstripe Bowl||Northwestern||Virginia Tech|
|December 27, 2016||Cactus Bowl||UCLA||South Carolina**|
|December 27, 2016||Holiday Bowl||#21 Iowa||Colorado|
|December 27, 2016||Military Bowl||Wake Forest||USF|
|December 27, 2016||Heart of Dallas Bowl||Maryland||Southern Miss|
|December 26, 2016||Independence Bowl||Western Kentucky||Georgia Tech|
|December 26, 2016||Quick Lane Bowl||Indiana||#10 Western Michigan|
|December 26, 2016||St. Petersburg Bowl||Notre Dame||Houston|
|December 24, 2016||Hawaii Bowl||Hawaii||Middle Tennessee|
|December 23, 2016||GoDaddy Bowl||Toledo||Arkansas State|
|December 23, 2016||Armed Forces Bowl||Navy||Texas**|
|December 23, 2016||Bahamas Bowl||UCF**||Central Michigan|
|December 22, 2016||Foster Farms Bowl||Minnesota||Stanford|
|December 22, 2016||Idaho Potato Bowl||New Mexico||Ohio|
|December 21, 2016||Poinsettia Bowl||BYU||South Alabama*|
|December 20, 2016||Boca Raton Bowl||Cincinnati||Louisiana Tech|
|December 19, 2016||Miami Beach Bowl||Memphis||Eastern Michigan|
|December 17, 2016||New Orleans Bowl||Old Dominion||Georgia Southern|
|December 17, 2016||Camellia Bowl||Ball State||Appalachian State|
|December 17, 2016||Cure Bowl||Tulsa||Troy|
|December 17, 2016||Las Vegas Bowl||Arizona State||#17 San Diego State|
|December 17, 2016||New Mexico Bowl||Air Force||UTEP**|
Just like last season, I foresee some tie-ins not being filled. Basically the bowl system is a bit broken (as I outlined HERE) and no one wants to fix it. So you will see teams filling spots thanks to APR (Academic Progress Rate) and not based on performance on the field. As of this time I see five spots (denoted by the ol’ double asterisk (**)) being filled by at-large teams with 5-7 records. Really it’s a crapshoot at this point since I have no idea which schools do better with their students and which don’t. All I know is that some schools will get a national audience for basically the first time ever and let’s hope they run with it. Right now I have got Old Dominion going to their first bowl ever and Eastern Michigan, of all schools, getting to a bowl for the first time in about three decades. Good for those two schools if that does, in fact, happen. I will keep updating this the rest of the season. Then we can look back and have a laugh at how wrong I was even with only six weeks left in the season.
Tomorrow I will post the college schedule and Friday, the NFL’s. Have a happy hump day everyone!