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Bowl projections: TCU will be fourth team in CFB Playoff

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Will it be Baylor, Ohio State or TCU for that fourth spot in the College Football Playoff? We'll find out soon enough, with the playoff field to be unveiled Sunday at 12:45 p.m. Eastern.


» Things you need to know from CFB Week 15: Tide's weakness exposed?


About two hours later, we'll learn who'll be in the so-called playoff affiliated bowls, and a few hours after that, we'll know the entire bowl lineup.

College football: Week 15

Here's our best (and last) guess as to who's going where.

Remember that four bowls have been added this season, so when you include the two playoff semifinal games that will be played in bowls, 76 teams will be in the postseason -- or 59 percent of the 128 teams in the FBS ranks.

Another thing to remember is that the selection committee responsible for choosing the four teams for the playoff also will select the eight teams that will be involved in the four other bowls associated with the playoff. This season, the playoff semifinals are in the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl, but the 12-person playoff selection committee also will pick the matchups in the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Peach bowls.

While there are 12 teams involved in the six games, it won't necessarily be the 12 highest-ranked teams by committee; instead, the highest-ranked team from outside of the "Power Five" conferences is guaranteed a slot in one of the games, even if it falls outside the top 12.

When looking over these bowl projections, remember that a bowl's tie-in with a league doesn't necessarily mean it will get the third- or fourth-, etc., place team from the league; instead, it means it gets the third or fourth, etc., selection from that league. You'll also notice that there is no clear-cut designation for some of the league tie-ins; that's because the leagues and bowl organizers want a lot of leeway to put together what they consider the best possible matchup. For instance, Georgia and Nebraska have met in the past two postseasons; it's hard to imagine bowl organizers would match them for a third consecutive season.

All times listed are Eastern.


» Winners and losers from Week 15's college football games


COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MATCHUPS

ROSE BOWL

Site: Pasadena, Calif.
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 5 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Semifinal game this season.
Projection: Oregon vs. TCU

SUGAR BOWL

Site: New Orleans
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Semifinal game this season.
Projection: Alabama vs. Florida State

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Site: Arlington, Texas
Date: Jan. 12
Time/TV: 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Semifinal winners.
Projection: Alabama vs. Oregon

THE OTHER BOWLS

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NEW ORLEANS BOWL

Site: New Orleans
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 11 a.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West #6 vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Air Force vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Note: Louisiana-Lafayette already has accepted its bid.

NEW MEXICO BOWL

Site: Albuquerque
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 2:20 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West #3/4
Projection: UTEP vs. Utah State

LAS VEGAS BOWL

Site: Las Vegas
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 3:30 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Mountain West #1 vs. Pac-12 #6/7
Projection: Colorado State vs. Utah

FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL

Site: Boise, Idaho
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 5:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Mountain West #5
Projection: Bowling Green vs. Nevada

CAMELLIA BOWL

Site: Montgomery, Ala.
Date: Dec. 20
Time/TV: 9:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Central Michigan vs. South Alabama
Note: South Alabama already has accepted its bid.

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MIAMI BEACH BOWL

Site: Miami
Date: Dec. 22
Time/TV: 2 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. BYU if bowl-eligible
Projection: Memphis vs. BYU
Note: BYU already has accepted its bid.

BOCA RATON BOWL

Site: Boca Raton, Fla.
Date: Dec. 23
Time/TV: 6 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mid-American
Projection: Marshall vs. Toledo

POINSETTIA BOWL

Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 23
Time/TV: 9:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mountain West #2 vs. Navy if bowl-eligible
Projection: San Diego State vs. Navy
Note: Navy already has accepted its bid.

POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL

Site: Nassau
Date: Dec. 24
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mid-American
Projection: Western Kentucky vs. Western Michigan

HAWAII BOWL

Site: Honolulu
Date: Dec. 24
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Conference USA vs. Mountain West #3/4
Projection: Rice vs. Fresno State
Note: One thing to remember about this game is that it makes sense to take a Mountain West team that did not play at Hawaii during the regular season. Fresno State did not.

HEART OF DALLAS BOWL

Site: Dallas
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #9 vs. Conference USA
Projection: Rutgers vs. Louisiana Tech

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QUICK LANE BOWL

Site: Detroit
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #7 vs. Big Ten #8
Projection: North Carolina vs. Illinois

ST. PETERSBURG BOWL

Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Date: Dec. 26
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. ACC #8
Projection: UCF vs. Pittsburgh

MILITARY BOWL

Site: Annapolis, Md.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. ACC #9
Projection: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

SUN BOWL

Site: El Paso, Texas
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 2 p.m., CBS
Matchup: ACC #3/4/5/6 vs. Pac-12 #5
Projection: Duke vs. Arizona State

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INDEPENDENCE BOWL

Site: Shreveport, La.
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN2
Matchup: ACC #10 vs. SEC #10
Projection: Miami vs. Texas A&M

PINSTRIPE BOWL

Site: New York
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #3/4/5/6 vs. Big Ten #7
Projection: Boston College vs. Penn State

HOLIDAY BOWL

Site: San Diego
Date: Dec. 27
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #4 vs. Pac-12 #3
Projection: Nebraska vs. USC

LIBERTY BOWL

Site: Memphis
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 2 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 #5 vs. SEC #3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: West Virginia vs. Tennessee

RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL

Site: Orlando
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #2 vs. Big 12 #3
Projection: Louisville vs. Oklahoma

TEXAS BOWL

Site: Houston
Date: Dec. 29
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 #4 vs. SEC #3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Texas vs. LSU

MUSIC CITY BOWL

Site: Nashville
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 3 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #3/4/5/6 vs. SEC #3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Notre Dame vs. Auburn

BELK BOWL

Site: Charlotte, N.C.
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: ACC #3/4/5/6 vs. SEC #3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: North Carolina State vs. South Carolina

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FOSTER FARMS BOWL

Site: Santa Clara, Calif.
Date: Dec. 30
Time/TV: 10 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #6 vs. Pac-12 #4
Projection: Iowa vs. Stanford

PEACH BOWL

Site: Atlanta
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Peach will play host to a national semifinal in the 2016 season.
Projection: Mississippi State vs. Ohio State

FIESTA BOWL

Site: Glendale, Ariz.
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Fiesta will play host to a national semifinal in the 2016 season. (This site also will play host to the national title game after the 2015 season.)
Projection: Arizona vs. Boise State

ORANGE BOWL

Site: Miami
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 8 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Orange will play host to a national semifinal in the 2015 season. The bowl has a contractual agreement with the ACC.
Projection: Georgia Tech vs. Michigan State

OUTBACK BOWL

Site: Tampa
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN2
Matchup: Big Ten #3 vs. SEC #3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Wisconsin vs. Georgia

COTTON BOWL

Site: Arlington, Texas
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: This is part of the "playoff" bowl group. The Cotton will play host to a national semifinal in the 2016 season. (This site also is the site of the national title game this season.)
Projection: Baylor vs. Mississippi

CITRUS BOWL

Site: Orlando
Date: Jan. 1
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ABC
Matchup: Big Ten #2/ACC vs. SEC #2
Projection: Clemson vs. Missouri
Note: The bowl went back to its old name; it recently had been known as the Capital One Bowl.

ARMED FORCES BOWL

Site: Fort Worth, Texas
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: Noon, ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. Army if bowl-eligible
Projection: Houston vs. Maryland
Note: Army won't be eligible. Maryland is the replacement pick.

TAXSLAYER BOWL

Site: Jacksonville
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 3:20, ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten #5 vs. SEC #3/4/5/6/7/8
Projection: Minnesota vs. Florida

ALAMO BOWL

Site: San Antonio
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 6:45 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 #2 vs. Pac-12 #2
Projection: Kansas State vs. UCLA

CACTUS BOWL

Site: Tempe, Ariz.
Date: Jan. 2
Time/TV: 10:15 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big 12 #6 vs. Pac-12 #6/7
Projection: Oklahoma State vs. Washington

BIRMINGHAM BOWL

Site: Birmingham, Ala.
Date: Jan. 3
Time/TV: 1 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: AAC vs. SEC #9
Projection: East Carolina vs. Arkansas

GODADDY.COM BOWL

Site: Mobile, Ala.
Date: Jan. 4
Time/TV: 9 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Mid-American vs. Sun Belt
Projection: Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State
Note: Arkansas State already has accepted its bid.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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