Part of the fun about bowl projections are matchups we hope happen, so forget about potential playoff matchups for now and think about these potential bowl games.
Boise State-Washington, with Chris Petersen's new team going against his old team. Arizona-Clemson, with Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez going against the school where he once was offensive coordinator. Duke-Mississippi, with Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe facing the school that unceremoniously dumped him 10 years ago. Auburn-Wisconsin, with two run-heavy teams -- but teams that go about it in vastly different manners -- facing off. And what about Texas-Texas A&M, Ohio State-TCU, Notre Dame-Oklahoma, Nebraska-USC and Miami-Michigan? All are possible, if not necessarily probable.
Remember that four bowls have been added 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.
Thus far, 60 teams have reached bowl eligibility -- nine in the Big Ten, eight in the ACC and SEC, six in the Big 12 and Pac-12 (Washington has six wins but must get to seven because it plays 13 regular-season games), five in the Mid-American and Mountain West, four in the ACC and Conference USA, three in the Sun Belt and two in the independent ranks. There are 22 teams that need one more victory, so another dozen or so could become eligible this week.
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 and Sugar bowls, meaning 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'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.
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.
Note: All times listed are Eastern.