College football bowl projections: Oklahoma State hops into New Year’s Six thanks to Big 12 carnage

Another week, another disaster for the big two in the Big 12 as the conference actively tries to play its way out of College Football Playoff contention. Oklahoma lost its second game in a row to an unranked opponent, this time a 37-30 defeat at the hands of Iowa State that realistically eliminated the Sooners from the CFP. It was Oklahoma’s first loss in Ames, Iowa, since 1960 — 60 years!  It is the first time OU has lost first back-to-back regular-season games since 1999, which makes this the first season since 2014 that the Sooners have more than one conference loss.

After a great escape at Texas Tech last week, Texas coughed one up at home to TCU. The Longhorns lost 33-31 to the Horned Frogs, which are now 7-2 against Texas since joining the Big 12. Texas had a chance to grab the lead late, but Keaontay Ingram fumbled it away at the TCU 1-yard-line with 2:32 to go. The Longhorns never saw the ball again. Oklahoma State is the only remaining undefeated team in the Big 12 after a 47-7 win over Kansas. As such, the Cowboys are now the projected league champion and representative in the New Year’s Six bowl games.

In the most anticipated matchup of the day, Georgia throttled Auburn 27-6 between the hedges. The Bulldogs have been my projected division champion in the SEC East, and that result did nothing to dissuade me. Their chief competition is Florida, which was also impressive in a 38-24 win over South Carolina. I still have both teams taking a back seat to Alabama, however.  The Crimson Tide were dominant in 52-24 win over Texas A&M.  Alabama will have to face Georgia in the regular season before a possible SEC Championship Game rematch. That first game is set for Oct. 17.

That left no changes to the College Football Playoff this week, though the New Year’s Six bowl games did get shaken up with Penn State changing spots and Oklahoma State entering the fold.

College Football Playoff

Jan. 11

National Championship
Miami

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.

Semifinal

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Alabama

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans

Semifinal

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Oregon

New Year’s Six bowl games

Elsewhere, UCF saw its 21-game home winning streak fall to the last team to beat it in Orlando, Tulsa.  The Golden Hurricane won 34-26, making it two straight victories over the Knights overall. UCF committed 19 penalties, including a whopping 11 false starts.  The Knights have now committed 25 false starts in their first three games. That would be a lot for a season.

BYU is trying to make a case for inclusion in the playoff — or at least a New Year’s Six game.  The Cougars pummeled Louisiana Tech 45-14 on Friday night to improve to 3-0.  BYU has won those games by an average of just over 41 points. The problem BYU will have with the CFP Selection Committee is that its cobbled-together schedule is not good. The Cougars will take a trip to Boise State on Nov. 7 and are supposed to go to Houston on Oct. 16. They just announced a home game on Dec. 12 vs. San Diego State, but the Aztecs are expected to be a bit down from their usual standard this season. Nobody else grabs your attention.

If BYU can manage to go undefeated, especially if it continues to dominate, I would be surprised if it was left out of the New Year’s Six. Unlike the Group of Five teams, there is no automatic entry for the Cougars. As an independent, they have to get high enough in the rankings to earn an at-large spot.  Having the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl as semifinals this season helps because it takes away a potential second contracted spot in the New Year’s Six for the four conferences normally tied to those bowls.

Finally, we lost two more bowl games this week. ESPN Events announced the cancelation of games in Hawaii and the Bahamas due to the travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Back in July, the Redbox bowl announced it would not host a game this season.

There are now a total of 39 bowls for 78 teams.  Still, because there are no bowl eligibility standards, I have three projected two-win teams in bowl games this season.

Check out Jerry Palm’s complete 2020 bowl projections.

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