The BCS is gone, the four-team playoff is in -- and there are more bowls than ever.
It's true: Four bowls have been added to the menu this season, so when you include the two playoff semifinal games that will be played in bowls, there are 38 bowls. That means 76 teams will be in the postseason -- or 59 percent of the 128 teams in the FBS ranks.
One thing to remember about the playoff is that the selection committee responsible for choosing the four teams also will select the eight teams that will be involved in the four other bowls associated with the playoff. This season, the semifinals are in the Rose and Sugar bowls, meaning the 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's not necessarily 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. (Just don't expect a school outside the "Power Five" to be in the four-team playoff.)
The Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls continue to have contracts with various conferences (the Rose with the Big Ten and Pac-12, the Orange with the ACC and the Sugar with the Big 12 and SEC). What does that mean? From the official site of the playoff: "If a conference champion qualifies for the playoff, then the bowl will choose a replacement from that conference. When those bowls host the semifinals and their contracted conference champions do not qualify, then the displaced champion(s) will play in the other New Years Day bowls." (And to think that there were a lot of folks who said the playoff would make the postseason easier to understand.)
When perusing 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 the best possible matchup.
Note: Start times listed are ET.