Each week I’ll be updating my projected New Year’s Six bowl lineup. After picking two SEC teams in the preseason (Alabama and LSU) and two ACC teams last week (Florida State and Clemson), I’m now going with four conferences for four spots. Which four those will be, though, is unclear.
Getty ImagesDon Juan Moore
Peach (playoff semifinal): Alabama vs. Washington
Date: Dec. 31 -- Atlanta
Bowl affiliation: CFP No. 1 vs. CFP No. 4
The Big 12 is treading dangerously, so I need a Pac-12 playoff team. The Huskies have won their first two games by a combined score of 107-27, and QB Jake Browning is the highest-rated Power 5 passer. So sure, I’ll jump on board.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Fiesta (playoff semifinal): Florida State vs. Ohio State
Date: Dec. 31 -- Glendale, Arizona
Bowl affiliation: CFP No. 2 vs. CFP No. 3
I would not have expected the Buckeyes’ young defense to hold their first two opponents out of the end zone. We’ll see how they fare against Oklahoma’s big-time offense, but they remain my Big Ten favorites for now.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY SportsGreg Bartram
Rose: Michigan vs. Stanford
Date: Jan. 2 -- Pasadena, California
Bowl affiliation: Big Ten champ vs. Pac-12 champ
Oh goodness, it’s the Harbaugh Bowl. The Wolverines have clobbered overmatched foes Hawaii and UCF, though surprisingly more so with QB Wilton Speight’s arm than with Harbaugh’s preferred rushing attack.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsRick Osentoski
Sugar: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
Date: Jan. 2 -- New Orleans
Bowl affiliation: SEC vs. Big 12
Who would you guess right now will end up the second-highest ranked SEC team? I could go with any of Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas and LSU, but A&M is the choice for now. I’ll revisit Oklahoma’s Big 12 title chances after this weekend.
Cotton: Louisville vs. Houston
Date: Jan. 2 -- Arlington, Texas
Bowl affiliation: at-large vs. at-large
As I’ve discussed before, the Cotton Bowl will have no flexibility in its matchup due to being the only bowl with a spot for the Group of 5 champ. Louisville would be the third ACC team in this scenario after Florida State and Clemson.
Getty ImagesBrett Carlsen
Orange: Clemson vs. Wisconsin
Date: Dec. 30 -- Miami
Bowl affiliation: ACC vs. SEC/Big Ten/ND
The Big Ten currently has five teams ranked among the AP’s top 13. That’s not likely to hold up, but it does indicate the conference is deeper at the top than any other, which could put it in position to land a highly ranked team in Miami.