College football bowl projections: Amid week of chaos, Pac-12 sees greatest shakeup
A slew of unexpected results, especially in the Pac-12, has caused some minor changes to the New Year’s Six bowl matchups, although the College Football Playoff projection is unchanged at this time. Utah beating UCLA on Friday night was the only Pac-12 game where the favorite won this weekend. The result of that chaos makes the Utes as the projected league champion and Rose Bowl representative, replacing Washington. Washington State, the expected runner up, also finds a place in the New Year’s Six, replacing Texas in the Peach Bowl.
This particular collection of teams for the New Year’s Six games is problematic in the effort to leave teams close to home. The easy fix, of course, is to send Washington State to the Fiesta Bowl and UCF back to the Peach Bowl for a second straight season. The problem with that, beyond UCF repeating in the game, is that would mean the Peach Bowl will have hosted the Group of Five team three times in four years.
While it is not a written rule, I believe the bowls and the CFP Selection Committee want to ensure that the Group of Five representative is evenly distributed among the three bowls that can host it. Maybe they will make an exception in this case, but I think the Group of Five team will be sent to the Fiesta Bowl this season regardless of which team earns that spot.
Those changes to the New Year’s Six games have caused some shuffling in the bowl projections for the Pac-12 and Big 12. The most notable being Colorado, which started the season at 5-0, is now not expected to make a bowl at all after blowing a 31-3 second-half lead and losing to Oregon State at home on Saturday. Also, the high number of unexpected results has caused some other shifting around anyway. Only the SEC bowl projections are unchanged for this week.
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.
One other result of this week’s bit of chaos is that I am now projecting all 78 bowl slots to be filled with teams that are 6-6 or better. That would be bad news for Colorado and others that may finish 5-7. Of course, that may change again over the next several weeks. There are already 37 bowl-eligible teams at the moment, so we’re almost halfway there!
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