Bowl projections: Florida, Missouri benefit from top 25 wins as College Football Playoff holds despite hiccups

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In a week where 18 of the teams ranked in the AP Top 25 were either playing FCS opponents or favored by at least three touchdowns, it should not be surprising that there are no changes to the New Year’s Six bowl projections. However, there were some close calls.

Most notably, Alabama got indifferent performances from quarterbacks Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson in a 17-3 win at South Florida. The Crimson Tide have played three games and still do not have a quarterback who coach Nick Saban completely trusts. They better find one soon because conference play starts on Saturday when Ole Miss visits. In the meantime, the Tide are still projected to the Peach Bowl against Penn State.

Texas played with its food for three quarters before a three-touchdown outburst in the fourth propelled the Longhorns to a 31-10 win over Wyoming. The Longhorns jumped into the College Football Playoff projections last week on the strength of their win at Bama. I guess both teams had hangovers from that game.

Things will definitely be more interesting next week as we get back to having big games on the schedule. Florida State travels to Clemson in the biggest game on the ACC calendar. The Seminoles only face two other teams in the current rankings the rest of the way, getting Duke and Miami at home.

Ohio State also visits Notre Dame in a huge game for each team’s CFP chances because they have other challenging games ahead. The Fighting Irish will also host USC in three weeks. The Buckeyes’ other tough games come in conference play. They host Penn State and travel to Michigan at the end of the regular season. 

College Football Playoff

Jan. 8

National Championship

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.


(2) Michigan vs. (3) Texas

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans


(1) Georgia  vs. (4) Florida State

New Year’s Six bowl games

The highest ranked team to lose Saturday was then-No. 11 Tennessee, which fell at Florida, 29-16, for the Volunteers’ 10th consecutive loss in The Swamp. The only other ranked team to fall this weekend was then-No. 15 Kansas State. The reigning Big 12 champions lost 30-27 at Missouri on a 61-yard field goal as time expired.

As such, the Gators jumped into the bowl projections for the first time this season with nabbing a spot in the Gasparilla Bowl against South Alabama, while the Tigers leveled up to the Music City Bowl against Minnesota.

Another notable change was Oklahoma replacing Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl projection, where the Sooners would face Oregon. OU routed Tulsa 66-17 on Saturday, while shockingly fell to USA 33-7 at home.

There are a whopping six teams projected to be 5-7 and still get into a bowl game. Since the rule allowing 5-7 teams to be eligible came to be in 2015, there have been a total of six 5-7 teams to receive bowl bids. This excludes the pandemic year and Rutgers’ 2021 appearance in the Gator Bowl as a last minute fill in for Texas A&M.

Don’t see your team? Check out Jerry Palm’s bowl projections after Week 3.

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