Each week I’ll be updating my projected New Year’s Six bowl lineup. And this year, it took only one set of games for me to drop one of my projected playoff teams, LSU, out of the lineup completely.
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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Peach (playoff semifinal): Alabama vs. TCU
Date: Dec. 31 -- Atlanta
Bowl affiliation: CFP No. 1 vs. CFP No. 4
Alabama, 52-6 victor over USC, is the obvious projected No. 1 seed through one week. The Horned Frogs, by contrast, looked awfully shaky in a 59-41 win against South Dakota State, but I won’t jump ship just yet.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
Fiesta (playoff semifinal): Florida State vs. Clemson
Date: Dec. 31 -- Glendale, Arizona
Bowl affiliation: CFP No. 2 vs. CFP No. 3
All offseason I resisted the urge to pick two ACC teams, but both looked like playoff squads in their opening-week wins over SEC foes. FSU still has the better chance of the two at getting in without winning its division.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
Rose: Ohio State vs. Stanford
Date: Jan. 2 -- Pasadena, California
Bowl affiliation: Big Ten champ vs. Pac-12 champ
The Buckeyes, who put up 77 on Bowling Green, may move into my projected top four if they win at Oklahoma in two weeks. Stanford’s defense served a reminder against K-State why the Cardinal are favored to repeat in the Pac-12.
Getty ImagesKirk Irwin
Sugar: Tennessee vs. Oklahoma
Date: Jan. 2 -- New Orleans
Bowl affiliation: SEC vs. Big 12
Tennessee needed overtime to survive Appalachian State, but thanks to an SEC East schedule could still win 10 games. Oklahoma may have a tougher time getting there after losing to Houston, but I’m not ready to anoint Texas just yet.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY SportsRandy Sartin
Cotton: Wisconsin vs. Houston
Date: Jan. 2 -- Arlington, Texas
Bowl affiliation: at-large vs. at-large
The Badgers’ defense could not have been more dominant against LSU, causing me to rethink their entire season. Something will have gone terribly wrong if the Cougars aren’t the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion.
Orange: Louisville vs. Michigan
Date: Dec. 30 -- Miami
Bowl affiliation: ACC vs. SEC/Big Ten/ND
If two ACC teams do make the playoff, the third-highest ranked team, in this case Louisville, goes to the Orange Bowl. It then faces the highest-ranked available team from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame. Which is not going to be the Irish.