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POST WEEK EIGHT BOWL PROJECTIONS: FROG OF WAR

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The injury to Seth Russell knocks Baylor out of the Playoff. Also, Iowa is so going to the Rose Bowl.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Of the list of things that really hurt, I'm going to assume that breaking a vertebra in the neck is pretty high up there. That's what happened to Baylor starting QB Seth Russell against Iowa State and now he's out for the remainder of the season. Teams are obviously bigger than just one player but when you lose someone as important as the quarterback, minor concerns develop into legitimate problems. Word around the blogosphere is that freshman Jarrett Stidham is a more than capable replacement, though I can't help but think that losing Russell will cost the Bears the TCU game...if not more. Thus, TCU will now be appearing in the playoff instead of Baylor.

I see it's hip to now project Clemson as a one seed in the playoff. Too bad they aren't number one in any polls and aren't even getting half the votes that Ohio State is. Seriously, unless Ohio State loses a game, which they won't, they aren't going to be anything less than a one seed.

The continued dominance of Stanford has elevated them back into the Rose Bowl. I never really thought Utah was a Playoff contender, but I at least expected them to win the Pac-12. Then they lost to a football team without a head coach. Assuming Utah continues their winning ways and ultimately loses the Pac-12 Championship game to Stanford, I think they're still good enough for a NY6 game.

Should Stanford make the Rose Bowl and Iowa ultimately finishes 12-1, I think it will be the Hawkeyes vs. the Cardinal. I was willing to give Michigan State the Rose Bowl against Utah, but I don't see the committee/bowl reliving 2014 all over again. They'll slot Michigan State in the Fiesta against Utah.

An interesting story will be who ultimately makes the NY6 bowl out of the G5 schools. I was high on Houston for a while there, but they got no love from voters. Now, they're only two spots away from Memphis, ranked 18th in the nation. Two spots from Houston at 20th is Toledo. Behind them is Temple at 21. There was a time when only Boise State was ranked in the polls. Now four G5 teams are ranked. Things should become clearer in November when Memphis takes on Houston and Temple. Personally, I'm going with Toledo as they have a much easier schedule remaining.

Unless Nebraska beats Iowa I can't see them making a bowl game. They should beat Rutgers and Purdue, lose to Michigan State and enter the Iowa game 5-6. Fortunately, I don't see Old Kirk beating New Kirk so I think we're OK on that front. Nebraska finishing 5-7? Burn it all down.

I didn't see Minnesota making a bowl game and with the retirement of Coach Kill I don't think it's any more likely.

Finally, I still believe in you, Indiana. Even if you don't believe in yourself.

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:

Bowl
Date
Matchup
Last 2 Matchups

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

12/31/15

Clemson (2) v. LSU (3)

MSU v. Baylor
Okie State v. Mizzou

Capital One Orange Bowl
Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL

12/31/15

Ohio State (1) v. TCU (4)

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

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, NOLA

1/1/16

Baylor v. Alabama
Big 12 v. SEC

Ohio State v. Alabama
OU v. Alabama

Rose Bowl Game
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

1/1/16

Iowa v. Stanford
Big 10 v. Pac-12

Oregon v. FSU
MSU v. Stanford

Fiesta Bowl
U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

1/1/16

Michigan State v. Utah
At-Large v. At-Large

Boise State v. Arizona
UCF v. Baylor

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

12/31/15

Notre Dame v. Toledo
At-Large v. At-Large

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

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL

1/1/16

Wisconsin v. Ole Miss
Big 10 v. SEC

Minnesota v. Mizzou
Wisconsin v. SCar

Outback Bowl
Raymond James, Tampa, FL

1/1/16

Michigan v. Georgia
Big 10 v. SEC

Wisconsin v. Auburn
Iowa v. LSU

National University Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

12/30/15

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

Nebraska v. USC

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

1/2/16
12/30/15

Northwestern v. Auburn
Big 10/ACC v. SEC

Iowa v. Tennessee*
Nebraska v. Georgia

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

12/26/15

Illinois v. UCLA
Big 10 v. Pac-12

Maryland v. Stanford

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium, NY, NY

12/26/15

Indiana v. UNC
Big 10 v. ACC

Penn State v. BC
Notre Dame v. Rutgers

Quick Lane Bowl
Ford Field, Detroit, MI

12/28/15

Western Michigan v. Louisville
Big 10 v. ACC

Rutgers v. UNC

Armed Forces Bowl
AGC Stadium, Fort Worth, TX

12/29/15

Arizona v. Air Force
Big 10 v. MWC

New Bowl

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