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College Football Playoff Standings 2014: Week 2 Rankings & Bowl Game Projections

Ben KerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterSeptember 3, 2014

College Football Playoff Standings 2014: Week 2 Rankings & Bowl Game Projections

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 1 of the 2014 college football season is in the books, but at Bleacher Report we're always looking ahead. That's why bowl projections are already up. 

    Projections are based on an equal split between Week 1 results, what problems or questions those results answer and strength of schedule for the remaining season. 

    Here's how the two major Top 25 polls looked after Week 1.

     

    Associated Press Top 25

    1. Florida State
    2. Alabama
    3. Oregon
    4. Oklahoma
    5. Auburn
    6. Georgia
    7. Michigan State
    8. Ohio State
    9. Texas A&M
    10. Baylor
    11. UCLA
    12. LSU
    13. Stanford
    14. USC
    15. Ole Miss
    16. Notre Dame
    17. Arizona State
    18. Wisconsin
    19. Nebraska
    20. Kansas State
    21. South Carolina
    21. North Carolina
    23. Clemson
    24. Missouri
    25. Louisville

     

    USA Today Amway Coaches Poll 

    1. Florida State
    2. Alabama
    3. Oklahoma
    4. Oregon
    5. Auburn
    6. Michigan State
    7. Ohio State
    8. Georgia
    9. Baylor
    10. Stanford
    11. UCLA
    12. LSU
    13. Texas A&M
    14. USC
    15. Notre Dame
    16. Arizona State
    17. Ole Miss
    18. Nebraska
    19. Wisconsin
    20. Kansas State
    21. South Carolina
    22. Missouri
    23. North Carolina
    24. Clemson
    25. Texas

New Orleans Bowl

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Dec. 20, New Orleans

    Predicted Matchup: Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt No. 1) vs. Air Force (Mountain West No. 6) 

    It may get repetitive, but when possible New Orleans loves to host nearby school Louisiana-Lafayette. Mark Hudspeth is one of the bright coaches in college football who seems destined to move up the ladder sooner rather than later. He'll have the Ragin' Cajuns bowling again. 

    Meanwhile, Air Force gets back to a bowl game with a 6-6 record. The Falcons' rushing attack can be hard to prepare for in a week's time, but ULL has the athletes to stop it with enough preparation. It really comes down to a matter of discipline. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Projected Winner: Louisiana-Lafayette

New Mexico Bowl

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Dec. 20, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Predicted Matchup: San Diego State (Mountain West No. 4) vs. North Texas (C-USA)

    The Aztecs, picked second in the West Division of the Mountain West, turn in a respectable 7-5 record given their tough out-of-conference slate. 

    North Texas' offense was putrid in the season opener against Texas with just 94 total yards. The good news is the schedule gets much easier. The Mean Green get back to a bowl, but barely. Still, offensive struggles prove to be too much as the Aztecs should be able to stop North Texas. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter 

    Predicted Winner: San Diego State

Las Vegas Bowl

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Dec. 20, Las Vegas

    Predicted Matchup: Utah State (Mountain West No. 1) vs. Arizona State (Pac-12 No. 6)

    The Aggies of Utah State surpass Boise State in the preseason conference poll and win the Mountain West. However, their record isn't good enough for the team to make one of the six "contract bowls" on New Year's Eve/Day. 

    Arizona State is picked sixth from a deep Pac-12 and holds off Utah State, which has improved dramatically from its opening week loss to Tennessee. The Aggies are able to score some points against the Sun Devils' defense, but Arizona State's offense is too much. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Arizona State

Idaho Potato Bowl

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    Dec. 20, Boise, Idaho

    Predicted Matchup: Nevada (Mountain West No. 3) vs. Ohio (Mid-American No. 3)

    Ohio returns to the site where the Bobcats won their first bowl three years ago. A good start has the Bobcats thinking about a group of five bowl slot at the big table, but they limp down the stretch thanks to games against Bowling Green, Akron and Northern Illinois. 

    Nevada takes the opposite road, losing four of its first seven games, but rebounds to win its final five. The Wolf Pack take that momentum and easily cruise past the Bobcats. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted winner: Nevada

Camellia Bowl

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    Dec. 20, Montgomery, Alabama

    Predicted Matchup: Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt No. 3) vs. Buffalo (MAC No. 5)

    An ugly, but not all that surprising, win over Wake Forest in Week 1 is ULM's first stop toward bowl eligibility. The Warhawks have a tough nonconference slate, but conference play gets much easier with games against Idaho, Troy, Appalachian State and New Mexico State. 

    Buffalo scoops up the final bowl spot for the MAC despite struggling through a couple of unexpected losses in conference play. A season-ending win over UMass is just enough to get the Bulls to the postseason. Without linebacker Khalil Mack, Buffalo's defense struggles to get pressure on ULM's passing attack. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Louisiana-Monroe

Miami Beach Bowl

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    Fred Beckham/Associated Press

    Dec. 22, Miami

    Predicted Matchup: Memphis (American) vs. BYU 

    BYU has an automatic tie-in to this game, so all the Cougars need to do is become bowl eligible. Barring a major injury or an unexpected turn for the worse, that's more than reasonable for this team. 

    And don't be surprised if Memphis makes a bowl game in its third year under head coach Justin Fuente. After winning just seven games in his first two years, the Tigers have a favorable enough conference schedule to get to six wins. Still, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is able to make enough plays with his legs against a good Tigers defense to win. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted Winner: BYU

Boca Raton Bowl

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    Dec. 23, Boca Raton, Florida

    Predicted Matchup: FAU (C-USA) vs. Ball State (MAC)

    Well, would you look at that? Florida Atlantic makes it back to a bowl game and, surprise, the Owls get to stay home. There, they'll face Ball State, which has one of the best under-the-radar coaches in the country, Pete Lembo. 

    If the Cardinals get back to another nine- or 10-win season, Lembo could get some calls from other schools. FAU does its best to stop Ball State's rushing attack, which leads to enough plays in the passing game to give the Cardinals the win. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Ball State

Poinsettia Bowl

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Dec. 23, San Diego 

    Predicted MatchupBoise State (Mountain West) vs. Navy 

    The Poinsettia Bowl has an early pick for Mountain West schools, so it will likely want Boise State if the Broncos are still available. Boise doesn't look like the team it once did under former head coach Chris Petersen. After a season-opening loss to Ole Miss, this team doesn't seem bound for a major bowl. 

    The Navy pick is much easier, seeing as the Midshipmen have a tie-in to the game. The Broncos are able to do enough defensively to stop the triple-option despite struggles of their own on offense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter  

    Predicted Winner: Boise State

Bahamas Bowl

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    Dec. 24, Nassau, Bahamas

    Predicted Matchup: Northern Illinois (MAC) vs. Western Kentucky (Conference USA) 

    Northern Illinois and Western Kentucky are off to 1-0 starts and have plenty of playmakers on offense to win games. As a reward, both get to spend their holiday in perhaps the best bowl environment of the postseason. 

    This game comes down to which team can make enough stops on defense. NIU gets the edge here. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter 

    Predicted Winner: Northern Illinois

Hawaii Bowl

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Dec. 24, Honolulu, Hawaii

    Predicted Matchup: Colorado State (Mountain West) vs. Louisiana Tech (Conference USA)

    The Rams are on the up and up with head coach Jim McElwain, who got a prize player in former Alabama running back Dee Hart. Colorado State's rushing attack should be enough to get this team back to the postseason, where it will be too much for Skip Holtz's team to handle.  

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted Winner: Colorado State

Heart of Dallas Bowl

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    Dec. 26, Dallas

    Predicted Matchup: Indiana (B1G No. 8-9) vs. UT-San Antonio (C-USA)

    This just feels like the year Indiana gets back to a bowl game. The Hoosiers have plenty of offense; it's a question of whether the defense can get enough stops to win games. We'll say Indiana gets those stops—and knocks off a Big Ten team it shouldn't in the process.

    UTSA is the most experienced and veteran team in major college football. Following a thorough beating of Houston in Week 1, it would appear to take a wild turn of events for the Roadrunners not to go bowling. The UTSA defense is impressive once again, but Indiana is able to pull away late with its passing game. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Indiana

Quick Lane Bowl

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    Dec. 26, Detroit

    Predicted Matchup: Minnesota (Big Ten No. 8-9) vs. Pitt (ACC No. 7-9) 

    There are only so many things one can take away from season-opening games against cupcakes, but Minnesota and Pitt looked pretty darn good all the same. 

    The Gophers and Panthers took care of business by outscoring Eastern Illinois and Delaware, respectively, 104-20. Minnesota feels closer to contending for a divisional title, but both could easily get buried by the schedule by season's end. 

    This game could feature more offense than you'd expect, but Gophers tight end Maxx Williams is the difference-maker. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter 

    Predicted Winner: Minnesota

St. Petersburg Bowl

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    Dec. 26, St. Petersburg, Florida

    Predicted MatchupCincinnati (American) vs. Boston College (ACC No. 10)

    In a post of predictions, including the Bearcats feels like the biggest prediction of all since, you know, they haven't played a game yet. Nor will they until the third week of the season. But Cincinnati should be able to get plenty of conference wins with new quarterback Gunner Kiel.

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Cincinnati

Military Bowl

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Dec. 27, Annapolis, Maryland

    Predicted Matchup: North Carolina State (ACC Nos. 7-9) vs. Temple (American)

    The Wolfpack get back to a bowl thanks to the play from quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Temple got a huge win in Week 1 against Vanderbilt. Could the Owls be on the rebound after a disastrous 2-10 season a year ago?

    Temple's defense is unable to force North Carolina State's offense into turnovers, and the Owls can't keep up. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted Winner: North Carolina State

Sun Bowl

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    Dec. 27, El Paso, Texas 

    Predicted MatchupLouisville (ACC Nos. 3-6) vs. Arizona (Pac-12 No. 5)

    In their first ACC game, a 31-13 win over Miami, the Cardinals showed that they weren't about to succumb to the supposedly better competition of the ACC. Based off Week 1 only, there's an argument to be made that Louisville is already in the upper echelon of conference teams.

    The Wildcats, meanwhile, are in a deep Pac-12 South that could very well see USC come out of the division on top. Still, head coach Rich Rodriguez has enough talent, although young at spots on offense, to win plenty of games. Louisville's defense, however, is talented and disciplined enough to have success against the Wildcats' spread. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Louisville

Independence Bowl

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    Dec. 27, Shreveport, Louisiana

    Predicted MatchupGeorgia Tech (ACC Nos. 7-9) vs. Ole Miss (SEC Nos. 9-10)

    This would be a rematch of last year's Music City Bowl, which is never ideal, but it's early, so there's plenty of time for this to change.

    The Rebels are a fascinating team: incredibly talented, but could be at an eight- or nine-win ceiling if quarterback play doesn't improve. In a 35-13 win over Boise State, quarterback Bo Wallace threw three interceptions.

    You're not going to be able to do that every game and win by 22 points. The defensive line for the Rebels is enough to be the difference in this game, however. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Ole MIss

Pinstripe Bowl

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    Dec. 27, Bronx, New York 

    Predicted MatchupMiami (ACC No. 3-6) vs. Maryland (Big Ten No. 5-7)

    The battle of former ACC teams will take place in the Bronx between one team that perhaps exceeded expectations (Maryland) and one team that's still trying to fulfill theirs (Miami). 

    The Terps are able to stay healthy (for once!) throughout the season and knock off one Big Ten blue blood. The Hurricanes stick with quarterback Brad Kaaya as he develops into a star, but the defense is still too much of a liability against a healthy Maryland offense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Maryland

Holiday Bowl

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    Dec. 27, San Diego 

    Predicted MatchupUCLA (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten No. 2-4)

    This could be the "seventh" contract bowl, so to speak, involving two teams that had good seasons—but perhaps fell short of playoff hopes. 

    Based off Week 1 only, UCLA and Wisconsin have their fair share of issues to work out. The Bruins need to get better and healthy at offensive line and Wisconsin needs running back Melvin Gordon to be 100 percent (or close) for the rest of the season. 

    The Bruins' offensive line shores up and Wisconsin cannot muster enough offense beyond Gordon against a loaded UCLA defense to make up the difference. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: UCLA 

Liberty Bowl

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    Dec. 29, Memphis, Tennessee

    Predicted MatchupMissouri (SEC No. 3-8) vs. West Virginia (Big 12 No. 5)

    The rise of Georgia in the SEC East knocks Missouri down a spot or two for the time being. The Tigers have a lot of big names to replace, including receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and defensive end Michael Sam, though they're not necessarily void of experience. All the same, the Tigers take a step back from their SEC East title a year ago. 

    West Virginia shows its effort against Alabama wasn't a fluke. The Mountaineers take a step back toward being a contender in the Big 12 by making it to 6-6 and the postseason behind an improved offense. However, the Mountaineers are still growing. The Tigers take this one as the overall better team. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Missouri

Russell Athletic Bowl

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Dec. 29, Orlando, Florida

    Predicted Matchup: Kansas State (Big 12 No. 3) vs. Virginia Tech (ACC No. 2)

    The Russell Athletic Bowl should get an upgrade in 2014 with some of the top teams from the ACC and Big 12. Kansas State is a sexy playoff sleeper, but Oklahoma and Baylor are simply too much for the Wildcats to handle.

    The Hokies have what looks to be a talented defense—though there's only so much William & Mary can tell us about a team—and have settled on a quarterback, Michael Brewer. K-State plays well and is well-coached, but can't get enough points thanks to Virginia Tech's stiffling defense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter  

    Predicted Winner: Virginia Tech

Texas Bowl

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    Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

    Dec. 29, Houston 

    Predicted MatchupTexas A&M (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 4)

    It's not Texas-Texas A&M, but the Texas Bowl does feature former conference members. Call this the "Unexpected Bowl"—unofficially, of course. 

    The Aggies have caught just about everyone by surprise, beating South Carolina in convincing fashion in Week 1. A&M shows it can play with the best of the SEC without former quarterback Johnny Manziel and gets an in-state, nearby bowl as a reward. 

    There, they play Oklahoma State, which has surpassed expectations of its own. The Cowboys gave No. 1 Florida State all it could handle in Week 1 and does some damage in the Big 12. Much like the loss to Florida State, Oklahoma State gives A&M all it can handle. But the Aggies have too much talent and make enough plays on offense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Texas A&M

Music City Bowl

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    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Dec. 30, Nashville, Tennessee

    Predicted Matchup: Mississippi State (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. North Carolina (ACC Nos. 3-6)

    Mississippi State doesn't fall flat in the face of high expectations—but can't quite put together a SEC West title run, either. The Bulldogs gladly go to Nashville as a consolation prize.

    The Tar Heels, meanwhile, fall just short of taking the ACC Coastal after a second straight loss to Duke. The Bulldogs' offense is prolific and the Tar Heels can't come from behind to win. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted Winner: Mississippi State

Belk Bowl

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    Joe Raymond/Associated Press

    Dec. 30, Charlotte, North Carolina 

    Predicted Matchup: Florida (SEC No. 3-8) vs. Notre Dame

    Yes, Florida does in fact get things turned around with head coach Will Muschamp. This is still a prediction only, as the Gators' game against Idaho was delayed due to weather. The Irish looked took care of business in a Week 1 game against Rice, but still have a few far more challenging games their schedule. 

    The Irish's defense is more experienced than it suggests on paper, and does a good job slowing Kurt Roper's offense. It's a low-scoring affair that favors Notre Dame. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Notre Dame

San Francisco Bowl

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    Troy Wayrynen/Associated Press

    Dec. 30, Santa Clara, California 

    Predicted Matchup: Oregon State (Pac-12 No. 4) vs. Iowa (B1G No. 5-7)

    Both teams stumbled out of the gate in Week 1, but pulled off wins all the same. The road gets tougher for the Beavers, which have games against USC, Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State. The Hawkeyes have a more manageable schedule all the way up until the final weeks against Nebraska and Wisconsin.  

    Oregon State's passing attack puts up good numbers and Iowa's offense is unable to catch up. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Oregon State

Peach Bowl

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    Peter Morrison/Associated Press

    Dec. 31, Atlanta 

    Predicted Matchup: Duke (at-large) vs. Central Florida (group of five)

    The Blue Devils make it back to the ACC championship game...where they again lose to Florida State. Central Florida rebounds from a Week 1 loss to become the highest-ranked group-of-five team. 

    Both teams have the athletes in open space to compete with one another. Knights quarterback Justin Holman has a big day, but the defense has no answer for Duke's high-powered O. 

    Matchup Type: Shootout

    Predicted Winner: Duke

Fiesta Bowl

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    Duane Burleson/Getty Images

    Dec. 31, Glendale, Arizona 

    Predicted Matchup: Michigan State (at-large) vs. USC (at-large)

    Michigan State wins the Big Ten, but barely misses the playoff due to losses against Oregon and a stunner to Michigan. USC makes a huge jump after being the surprise team in the Pac-12, making it to the conference championship game. 

    The Spartans' defense, by this point, is better than when the year started. New faces have now become veterans and are able to put a stop to USC's high-tempo offense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Michigan State

Orange Bowl

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    Dec. 31, Miami 

    Predicted Matchup: Clemson (ACC) vs. Alabama (SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame)

    Alabama's mortality against West Virginia proves to be more than a passing occurrence, costing the Tide a couple of games. Clemson loses two more games, but is the top-rated ACC team not in the playoff. 

    But the Tide are angry after a relatively disappointing season and are looking to take it out on someone. After giving up big rushing yards against Georgia, Clemson's defense again falls victim to a bruising rushing attack. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted Winner: Alabama

Cotton Bowl

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    Jan. 1, Dallas

    Predicted MatchupBaylor (at-large) vs. Stanford (at-large)

    A beautiful contrast of styles hits the Cotton Bowl as Baylor and Stanford face off after finishing second in their respective conference—or division, in the Cardinal's case. The Bears go 10-2 and fall short of repeating as Big 12 champs. Still, the defense is once again one of the best in the Big 12. 

    Baylor's offense can't quite get it going at first, but eventually finds holes in Stanford's new-look defense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Baylor

Capital One Bowl

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    Jan. 1, Orlando, Florida

    Predicted MatchupGeorgia (SEC No. 2) vs. Ohio State State (Big Ten No. 2-4)

    Georgia looks like one of the best teams in the country coming out of Week 1. However, the Bulldogs suffer a stunning loss to Florida—Florida!—in their annual rivalry game. Another loss in the SEC title game puts the Dawgs just out of reach in the playoff. 

    The Buckeyes' season proves to still be a success despite the season-ending loss of quarterback Braxton Miller. Ohio State is unable to beat Michigan State and drops another game to Penn State. While Ohio State's defensive line keeps running back Todd Gurley in check, quarterback Hutson Mason makes a few big plays. The Buckeyes' offense still struggles to score points. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Georgia

Outback Bowl

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Jan. 1, Tampa, Florida

    Predicted MatchupNebraska (Big Ten No. 2-4) vs. South Carolina (SEC No. 3-8)

    Another year for Nebraska, another year of falling just short of winning a conference championship. The Huskers go 10-2 during the regular season, but fall to Michigan State in the title game. South Carolina hits a couple more bumps in the road throughout the season, but manages to beat Clemson. 

    Nebraska leans on the athleticism of quarterback Tommy Armstrong and running back Ameer Abdullah to outlast the Gamecocks, who are still looking for answers on defense. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Nebraska

Armed Forces Bowl

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    Jan. 2, Fort Worth, Texas 

    Predicted MatchupEast Carolina (American) vs. Texas Tech (Army/Big 12 No. 7)

    East Carolina, despite being one of the early favorites to end the season as the highest-ranked group-of-five team, loses a crucial game to Central Florida. The Pirates go to Fort Worth instead, where they meet Texas Tech, which finished 8-4. 

    It's a high-scoring affair, with the Red Raiders making enough necessary stops to win. 

    Matchup Type: Track meet

    Predicted Winner: Texas Tech

TaxSlayer Bowl

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    Jan. 2, Jacksonville, Florida

    Predicted Matchup: LSU (SEC No. 3-8) vs. Michigan (Big Ten No. 5-7)

    LSU still has work to do on offense despite a come-from-behind win against Wisconsin. The Tigers eventually get freshman running back Leonard Fournette going and quarterback Brandon Harris ultimately takes the starting job. 

    Similarly, Michigan coach Brady Hoke proved he did the right thing hiring offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier from Alabama. The Wolverines still aren't tops in the East Division of the Big Ten, but the offense improves dramatically and Michigan wins nine games.  

    The combination of quarterback Devin Gardner and receiver Devin Funchess proves to be too much for LSU's coverage defense. 

    Matchup Type: Track meet

    Predicted Winner: Michigan

Alamo Bowl

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    Jan. 2, San Antonio, Texas 

    Predicted MatchupTexas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Washington (Pac-12 No. 2)

    Texas appears to have as good a defense as there is in the Big 12, but injuries to starting quarterback David Ash (concussion) and center Dominic Espinosa (ankle) leave question marks on the offense. The Longhorns get to a bowl, but year one under Charlie Strong is not without its struggles.  

    Washington overcomes its slow start against Hawaii and the offense gets going with quarterback Cyler Miles. The Huskies aren't able to make a huge impact in the Pac-12 North under first-year coach Chris Petersen, but win eight games. 

    They'll must enough offense when Texas cannot come away from a low-scoring, turnover-filled game with a win. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Washington

Rose Bowl

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    Jan. 1, Pasadena, California

    Predicted MatchupOregon (CFP No. 2) vs. Auburn (CFP No. 3)

    The Ducks manage to make it out of the Pac-12, with help from a win over Michigan State in nonconference play, and into the playoff. Auburn weathers a tough schedule and wins the SEC with just one loss.

    The over/under on points in this game is 1,000 since both of these teams like to run fast offenses. Both defenses have athletes, but Auburn wins this game through halftime adjustments that do a better job of taking away Oregon's ground game. 

    Matchup Type: Shootout

    Predicted Winner: Auburn

Sugar Bowl

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    Jan. 1, New Orleans 

    Predicted MatchupFlorida State (CFP No. 1) vs. Oklahoma (CFP No. 4)

    The Seminoles shake off the rust from the Week 1 win over Oklahoma State and win the ACC to get into the College Football Playoff as the top seed. Oklahoma doesn't go undefeated, but wins the Big 12 and squeaks in the playoff as the final seed. 

    For what it's worth, Brad Edwards of ESPN.com is already predicting Florida State and Oklahoma will meet in the playoff semifinal. 

    Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight is improved as a passer, but the Sooners don't have the receivers to beat Florida State's secondary. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Florida State

Cactus Bowl

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    Jan. 2, Tempe, Arizona 

    Predicted MatchupTCU (Big 12 No. 6) Washington State (Pac-12 No. 7)

    Like West Virginia, TCU turns a corner in the Big 12 thanks to a new and improved offense and gets back to a bowl game. The Horned Frogs show off that new offense against Washington State, which goes bowling for the second straight year under head coach Mike Leach. 

    The Frogs' secondary is too good and forces Washington State into multiple turnovers. That keeps the Frogs ahead in this one. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: TCU

Birmingham Bowl

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    Jan. 3, Birmingham, Alabama

    Predicted MatchupTulane (American) vs. Tennessee (SEC No. 9-10)

    Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has a young but talented team that finally gets the Vols back to a bowl game. Without a doubt, Jones has this program headed in the right direction. 

    Tulane battles back from a double-overtime loss against Tulsa to win six games and get back to the postseason, but are no match for the Vols' talented roster. It's a respectable season for the Green Wave, but they don't have the horses to keep up with Tennessee. 

    Matchup Type: Blowout

    Predicted Winner: Tennessee

GoDaddy Bowl

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    Jan. 4, Mobile, Alabama

    Predicted MatchupBowling Green (Mid-American) vs. South Alabama (Sun Belt)

    Bowling Green turns things around after a season-opening loss to Bowling Green. The Falcons' defense is a concern, but the offense wins enough games by itself for the team to make it to the postseason. South Alabama makes its first bowl game as a Division I program, but falls short of winning its first bowl in the process. 

    Bowling Green needs to shore up its defense, but its offense, even without injured quarterback Matt Johnson, could be just fine, as Chip Patterson of CBSSports.com tweets.

    Matchup Type: Shootout

    Predicted Winner: Bowling Green 

College Football Playoff Championship

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    Jan. 12, Arlington, Texas

    Predicted Matchup: Florida State (CFP No. 1) vs. Auburn (CFP No. 3)

    Yep, college football gets its rematch. Despite a tough schedule and an additional semifinal game, Auburn gets back to the national championship to face Florida State.

    This time, the outcome favors Gus Malzahn's team. Auburn's defense struggles against the run, but forces Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston into some costly mistakes. The Tigers' offense keeps clicking, getting enough big plays to make a difference. 

    Matchup Type: Nail-biter

    Predicted Winner: Auburn

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