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Bowl projections are usually based on everything going to plan. Nothing ever goes to plan.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Just like Hannibal, I love it when a plan comes together. In college football, the plan never comes together.

The plan was for LSU to beat Alabama and cruise to the SEC Championship. TCU was also supposed to lose a game...but not in embarrassing fashion to Oklahoma State. What's up Memphis? Why yes, David Pollack, I do actually think Iowa could beat Memphis. If a team that runs a one-dimensional offense can beat Memphis, I think a team that actually throws the ball can too.

The best news came out of Lincoln, where Nebraska upset Michigan State and gave Iowa an even better shot at making the Rose Bowl should it lose the Big Ten Championship game. The Spartans fell all the way to 13th in the Playoff rankings, one spot ahead of Big Brother. Sparty's loss raises serious questions as to whether or not a third Big Ten team will make a NY6 Bowl. Should the Spartans lose to Ohio State they'll finish the season an impressive 10-2...but that Nebraska loss is bad.

If Michigan State misses out, what about Wisconsin? If the Badgers win out and finish 10-2 their only losses will be to Alabama and Iowa. That's a damn impressive resume if everything goes to plan (it won't).

As for the Big 12...welp. TCU dropped all the way to 15th following their disembowelment at the hands of Oklahoma State, who jumped to 8th. Baylor held steady at 6th and Oklahoma moved to 12th. All three of these teams will play each other in the next three and I can guarantee that no one will escape unscathed. What is the contingency plan for Bowlsby when three Big 12 teams finish 11-1 (8-1)? NO TRUE CHAMPION.

As far as seeding goes for the Playoff I'm interested to see how the Committee slots Alabama and Ohio State. Are they going to create a rematch of last year's Sugar Bowl or will they drop Ohio State in the seeding so that they'll take on Clemson? I'm going with the latter. TCU fell off, meaning Oklahoma State will take their place in the NY6. Florida will get in because they'll finish the regular season 11-1, lose the Championship and life simply wouldn't be fair if the SEC runner up didn't get a NY6 Bowl.

Houston is back as the best of the Group of Five. The Cougars are currently 9-0 and get Memphis and Navy at home. Their first test will come this weekend, when the Tigers come to town. Go Cougs.

This week on Twitter I saw some rumblings about 5-7 teams making bowls. I always thought it a possibility but never considered it a reality. Are...are we really gonna do it this year? I hope not.

The Rules:

  • Four teams are chosen for the College Football Playoff.
  • Six bowls rotate for the semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, and Peach.
  • The bowls hosting the semifinals this year are the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.
  • As the Rose Bowl is not hosting a semi-final, it will select the Big Ten Champion. However, if the Big Ten Champion is a playoff team, the Rose Bowl will select a Big Ten replacement.
  • The highest ranked champion from the Group of Five mid-majors (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in the non-playoff bowls if they fail to make the playoff.
  • The Big Ten has a six-year contract with the eight non-playoff bowl games (aside from the Pinstripe, which is an eight-year contract). Per the terms of that contract, the bowls are to select at least five different Big Ten schools over six years.
  • The non-playoff bowl games are informally broken down into three tiers. Tier 1: Holiday, Citrus and Outback. Tier 2: Pinstripe, Music City/TaxSlayer and Foster Farms. Tier 3: Quick Lane and Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces.
  • Over a six-year agreement, signed in 2013, the Big Ten and ACC must appear in three Music City and three TaxSlayer Bowls.
  • Over a six-year agreement, signed in 2013, the Big Ten and Big 12 must appear in three Heart of Dallas and three Armed Forces Bowls. In 2015 the Big 10 will play in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Bowl Projections:

Last 2 Matchups

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX


Alabama (2) v. Stanford (3)

MSU v. Baylor
Okie State v. Mizzou

Capital One Orange Bowl
Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL


Clemson (1) v. Ohio State (4)

Miss St. v. G-Tech
Ohio State v. Clemson

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, NOLA


Baylor v. LSU
Big 12 v. SEC

Ohio State v. Alabama
OU v. Alabama

Rose Bowl Game
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA


Iowa v. Utah
Big 10 v. Pac-12

Oregon v. FSU
MSU v. Stanford

Fiesta Bowl
U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ


Oklahoma State v. Notre Dame
At-Large v. At-Large

Boise State v. Arizona
UCF v. Baylor

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Georgia Dome, ATL, GA


Florida v. Houston
At-Large v. At-Large

TCU v. Ole Miss
Texas A&M v. Duke

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL


Wisconsin v. Georgia
Big 10 v. SEC

Minnesota v. Mizzou
Wisconsin v. SCar

Outback Bowl
Raymond James, Tampa, FL


Michigan v. Mississippi State
Big 10 v. SEC

Wisconsin v. Auburn
Iowa v. LSU

National University Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA


Michigan State v. UCLA
Big 10 v. Pac-12

Nebraska v. USC

TaxSlayer/Music City Bowl
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL or
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN


Northwestern v. Ole Miss
Big 10/ACC v. SEC

Iowa v. Tennessee*
Nebraska v. Georgia

Foster Farms Bowl
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA


Penn State v. USC
Big 10 v. Pac-12

Maryland v. Stanford

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium, NY, NY


Illinois v. NC State
Big 10 v. ACC

Penn State v. BC
Notre Dame v. Rutgers

Quick Lane Bowl
Ford Field, Detroit, MI


Indiana v. Louisville
Big 10 v. ACC

Rutgers v. UNC

Armed Forces Bowl
AGC Stadium, Fort Worth, TX


Washington v. Air Force
Big 10 v. MWC

New Bowl

* - Last 2 refers to appearances in the TaxSlayer Bowl.