Saturday, November 25News That Matters

Bowl projections: USC's loss is Big Ten's gain as College Football Playoff shifts


#Pac12AfterDark strikes again.  After playing with fire every week so far this season, No. 5
Southern California Trojans
finally got burned at No. 16
Washington State Cougars
in a 30-27 loss.  The upset of the Trojans undoubtedly shakes up my College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six projections.

USC drops out of the CFP and gets replaced by
Ohio State Buckeyes
. The Buckeyes are projected to be the Big Ten champion —
Penn State Nittany Lions
still has to go to Columbus, Ohio — and the new No. 4 playoff seed. 
Oklahoma Sooners
, which won at Ohio State earlier this season, is now projected to be the No. 3 seed.

2018 College Football Playoff

Date Game / Loc. Time / TV Matchup Prediction

Jan. 8

National Championship
Atlanta

8 p.m.
ESPN

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.

5 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(2)
Clemson Tigers
vs. (3) Oklahoma

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans

8:45 p.m.
ESPN

Semifinal

(1)
Alabama Crimson Tide
vs. (4) Ohio State

The Trojans are still the pick to win the Pac-12 and stay in the New Year’s Six projections, but now they will play in the Fiesta Bowl against Group of Five representative
San Diego State Aztecs

Washington Huskies
moves over to the Cotton Bowl against
TCU Horned Frogs
,
Wisconsin Badgers
gets shifted to Ohio State’s former spot in the Orange Bowl to take on
Louisville Cardinals
, and Penn State is slotted to play
Georgia Bulldogs
in the Peach Bowl.

Selection committee bowl games

Date Game / Loc. Time / TV Matchup Prediction

Jan. 1

Peach
Atlanta

12:30 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

Georgia vs. Penn State

Dec. 30

Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.

4 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

USC vs. San Diego State

Dec. 30

Orange
Miami

8 p.m.
ESPN

ACC vs. Big Ten/SEC/ND

Louisville vs. Wisconsin

Dec. 29

Cotton
Arlington, Texas

8:30 p.m.
ESPN

At-large vs. At-large

TCU vs. Washington


Florida State Seminoles
picked up an enormous win, its first of the season, at
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
this week. The Seminoles are a team that was expected to win the ACC and play in the CFP this year, but the injury to quarterback
Deondre Francois
has made that no longer a likelihood. Because of that and Hurricane Irma, even qualifying for a bowl is in doubt for the Noles.  FSU still needs six wins, but because its game with
Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
was canceled, that means it can have no more than five losses.  The Seminoles have two already and games left with Miami, Louisville, Clemson and
Florida Gators
, the last two of which are on the road.  Florida State next hosts Miami in Tallahassee.  FSU would be a longshot to qualify at 5-6 via APR.

The Big 12 is still in a position where it will very likely struggle to fill its bowl spots.  However, instead of filling their empty places with lower-rated teams from other leagues, I would expect better teams to go there instead.  I have the Big 12 missing out on the Cactus and Heart of Dallas Bowls, where the opponents are from the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively.  In an effort to create better matchups, I have
Colorado State Rams
taking the spot in the Cactus Bowl and Texas-San Antonio playing in Dallas.

Those two teams represent the Mountain West and Conference USA, which is where the teams with 5-7 records in this projection come from this week. 
Air Force Falcons
and
North Texas Mean Green
are the two highest-rated teams in the APR that I project to finish with five wins.  For the first time this season, there are no Big Ten teams on this list.  Also, this is the first time I have projected a need for so few 5-7 teams.

Check out my full slate of bowl projections after Week 5 here.

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