There were several big games this weekend that impacted the College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six games and conference title races, but the general lack of upsets means that there is only one change to the New Year’s Six roster. West Virginia’s dramatic win at Texas, combined with Utah’s loss to Arizona State, means that the Mountaineers have replaced the Utes in a New Year’s Six game. Specifically, West Virginia is projected to play in the Peach Bowl against Kentucky. Washington State moves over to the Rose Bowl, replacing Utah.
With all the talk of the importance of the 13th game, we may see some of those games either hold little importance at all, or conversely, run the risk of teams with relatively poor records getting into the big bowl games.
In the ACC, where Clemson in running roughshod over everyone, the Coastal is led by Pittsburgh. The Panthers have a one-game lead over Virginia and Virginia Tech. They just beat the Cavaliers on Friday night and host the Hokies this Saturday. However, Pitt already has four total losses because it lost three nonconference games. No team in the division has fewer than three overall losses, which means the best Clemson can hope for is to get a 9-3 opponent in the ACC title game.
The same thing is going on in the Big Ten West, where leader Northwestern’s loss to Notre Dame on Saturday means the Wildcats went 0-3 in nonconference play, all at home. The Cats hold a one-game lead and the tiebreakers over Wisconsin and Purdue. They can win the division even with a loss at Iowa this week if they beat Minnesota and Illinois to finish the regular season. They could go to the Big Ten title game with a 7-5 record.
Arizona State beating Utah helped create a four-way tie of teams with three conference losses in the Pac-12 South. The Sun Devils will win the division if they win out, which would require beating UCLA at home and winning at Oregon and Arizona. Washington State, which needs all the strength of schedule help it can get, won’t get it regardless. Utah is the only team that can enter the Pac-12 title game with a record as good as 9-3.
Everything is normal in the SEC though, where Alabama and Georgia clinched spots in the SEC title game with a month to go.
Buckle up. It’s November, when strange stuff happens in college football.
2019 College Football Playoff
Santa Clara, Calif.
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Michigan
(2) Clemson vs. (3) Notre Dame
Selection committee bowl games
SEC vs. Big 12
Big Ten vs. Pac-12
At-large vs. At-large
At-large vs. At-large
Click here for for the rest of Jerry Palm’s college football bowl projections.
It’s funny how things change over the course of a few weeks. Not long ago, I was expecting to need six teams with 5-7 records to fill the bowls. Now, I am now projecting all 78 bowl slots to be filled with teams that are 6-6 or better and have two teams to spare. The teams that I am projecting to be bowl eligible, but left out, are Coastal Carolina and Wyoming. There are currently 48 bowl-eligible teams.
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