College Football Playoff Projections: Week 7 Rankings and Bowl Forecast | Bleacher Report

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Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard

Oklahoma State RB Chuba HubbardBrody Schmidt/Associated Press

Here is the full breakdown of bowl projections, listed alphabetically by conference. New Year’s Six games have been italicized and underlined to help those of you who just scrolled to the bottom to find the marquee games.  

American (9 teams): Cincinnati (Peach Bowl), Houston (Armed Forces Bowl), Memphis (Fenway Bowl), Navy (Military Bowl), SMU (Birmingham Bowl), Temple (Boca Raton Bowl), Tulane (First Responder Bowl), Tulsa (Myrtle Beach Bowl), UCF (Gasparilla Bowl)

ACC (11 teams): Boston College (Fenway Bowl), Clemson (Sugar Bowl), Florida State (Military Bowl), Georgia Tech (Holiday Bowl), Miami (Gator Bowl), NC State (Duke’s Mayo Bowl), North Carolina (Cotton Bowl), Notre Dame (Orange Bowl), Pittsburgh (Pinstripe Bowl), Virginia (Sun Bowl), Virginia Tech (Cheez-It Bowl)

Big 12 (7 teams): Baylor (First Responder Bowl), Iowa State (Cheez-It Bowl), Kansas State (Cactus Bowl), Oklahoma (Alamo Bowl), Oklahoma State (Cotton Bowl), Texas (Texas Bowl), West Virginia (Liberty Bowl)

Big Ten (9 teams): Iowa (Cactus Bowl), Michigan (Citrus Bowl), Michigan State (Pinstripe Bowl), Minnesota (Duke’s Mayo Bowl), Nebraska (Music City Bowl), Ohio State (Rose Bowl), Penn State (Fiesta Bowl), Purdue (Quick Lane Bowl), Wisconsin (Outback Bowl)

Conference USA (5 teams): Florida Atlantic (Boca Raton Bowl), Louisiana Tech (Armed Forces Bowl), Marshall (New Orleans Bowl), UAB (New Mexico Bowl), UTSA (Frisco Bowl)

Independents (4 teams): Army (Independence Bowl), BYU (Peach Bowl), Liberty (Myrtle Beach Bowl)

Mid-American (6 teams): Ball State (Cure Bowl), Buffalo (Quick Lane Bowl), Central Michigan (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl), Miami-Ohio (Camellia Bowl), Ohio (LendingTree Bowl), Toledo (Arizona Bowl)

Mountain West (5 teams): Air Force (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl), Boise State (Los Angeles Bowl), Nevada (New Mexico Bowl), San Diego State (Arizona Bowl), Wyoming (Frisco Bowl)

Pac-12 (7 teams): Arizona State (Sun Bowl), California (Los Angeles Bowl),


How an up-and-down SEC will shape the College Football Playoff

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Go ahead, Big 12 fans, have at it.

It’s not often the SEC earns the dubious distinction of playing the worst defense of the weekend — even on an October Saturday when the Red River Showdown went into four overtimes and produced the highest-scoring game in the history of the rivalry, a 53-45 win for Oklahoma over Texas.

No, the wild weekend in the SEC topped it because while the Big 12 has already become an afterthought in the College Football Playoff race, the SEC’s top-ranked teams in the Associated Press poll — No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Florida — showed glaring defensive weaknesses that could ultimately shape the selection committee’s top four on Dec. 20.

No. 3 Georgia was the exception on Saturday — seemingly to just about everyone but No. 1 Clemson. Defense is a stark difference separating both Clemson and Georgia from the rest of the playoff contenders after six weeks, and it could mean the difference down the stretch for the SEC’s hopes of getting two teams into the playoff again.

We will learn more about that possibility quickly — Georgia and Alabama face each other Saturday. The loser of that game will be under pressure to win out and hope that undefeated contenders such as Notre Dame slip, and that the Pac-12 doesn’t produce an undefeated team or the Big Ten doesn’t have both Ohio State and Penn State in the mix.

If No. 1 Clemson and Ohio State follow the script this season, and No. 3 Georgia finds a way to slow down Mac Jones and Najee Harris on Saturday, who would be the committee’s fourth team? Alabama certainly wouldn’t be eliminated from the debate with a loss to a top-four Georgia team — and it would certainly be in with an SEC


What will it take for a Pac-12 team to make the College Football Playoff?

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Don’t completely rule out the Pac-12 from the 2020 College Football Playoff race.

Despite just a seven-game schedule including the conference championship game — on top of a three-year playoff-less streak — the Pac-12 has a 34% chance to put a team in the playoff, per the Allstate Playoff Predictor. Oregon (19%) and USC (13%) are the conference’s two real shots at getting in.

While it’s far from ideal for any conference to have that low of a shot at the playoff before playing a single game, this is actually a slightly better chance than the same model gave the conference back in May (then 28%), working at the time under the assumption of a normal schedule.

Given the circumstances of the Pac-12’s season it’s reasonable to ask: How?

Let’s start with the bad: The Pac-12’s schedules are easy due to their abbreviated nature.

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An average top-25 team would have a 37% chance to go 6-0 against Oregon’s regular-season schedule. That’s high! In fact, that’s the same chance that the average top-25 team would have to go 8-2 against Alabama’s regular-season schedule. And a decent bit harder than the chance to go 7-1 against Penn State’s.

But here’s a secret about the selection committee, at least historically: It over-emphasizes the number of losses a team has. I say “over” because theoretically, the number of losses shouldn’t matter beyond strength of record, which is the top predictor of a team’s playoff chances. To the committee, however, that number is important beyond strength of record, which is why we include it in our model.

And that works to the Pac-12’s advantage. Because there’s a very real chance the Pac-12 champion is undefeated. In fact, it’s a 44% chance.

When it comes to selection day, an undefeated champion will surely at


Week 6 games that will impact the College Football Playoff

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For the moment, the College Football Playoff picture is the exclusive property of two conferences. That will change in a couple of weeks when the Big Ten kicks off, but for now the SEC and ACC have the spotlight to themselves with the Big 12 still struggling to find its footing.

Amway Coaches Poll: Alabama’s Mac Jones has been on point



Week 6 offers a solid lineup of games in both the SEC and ACC with the top four teams in the Amway Coaches Poll all facing intriguing matchups that could boost or hurt their title chances.

Here are this week’s five games with the most potential impact on the playoff race.

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No. 7 Miami (Fla.) at No. 1 Clemson

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC

There’s a generally accepted narrative among college football pundits that Clemson, in addition to having championship-quality talent, has an easier path to the playoff as a member of the ACC than its counterparts from the SEC. But the Tigers’ conference appears to be significantly deeper this year, and this home date against the surging Hurricanes will begin to test that thesis.

Miami will come to Clemson well rested after doing whatever it wanted to against hapless Florida State two weeks ago. Transfer QB D’Eriq King has made an immediate impact, accounting for nearly 300 yards of total offense per game. He’ll want to steer clear of freshmen Myles Murphy and Bryan Bresee, who have emerged quickly as the next big stars on the Clemson defensive line. Tigers QB Trevor Lawrence was efficient if not flashy in last week’s victory against Virginia as he stayed pick-free in 2020. DBs Amari Carter and Bubba


Washington coach Jimmy Lake’s College Football Playoff plan would solve one tricky Pac-12 problem

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Jimmy Lake has a plan for a more perfect playoff.

It’s a six-team field, and the seeding is simple: All Power Five conference champions are automatic entrants in the field, with the College Football Playoff committee ranking them using the same criteria it currently employs. The sixth and final spot goes to a “wild card” — whether an independent (like Notre Dame in 2018), a Group of Five champion (like undefeated and subsequently snubbed Central Florida in 2017) or a second-place finisher in a Power Five conference (like Alabama in 2017).

In the first of three rounds, the top two seeds receive a bye and the winners of a 3-6 and 4-5 matchup advance to the semifinals. Then, same as the existing format, the final four teams play for a spot in the title game.

Of course, the JLP (Jimmy Lake Plan) would essentially solve one prickly problem — a Pac-12 program has not been selected for the College Football Playoff since Washington in 2016. It would also put significantly less pressure on the committee, with the foremost responsibility being ranking the conference champions and selecting a single wild card.

“I think that way you take all the subjectivity out of it, all the politics, the East Coast (bias), all of that,” Lake, the Huskies’ first-year head coach, said in a Pac-12 coaches media webinar Wednesday. “Let the champions move on. Let the teams play, and we’ll see who the best team is at the end of the year.”

Lake is so passionate about the JLP, in fact, that he and his oldest son — Jimmy Jr. — recently reseeded every playoff since the CFP came into existence in 2014, using their system. (The coronavirus pandemic, without a doubt, has provided time for passion projects.) Lake declared Wednesday that fans

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