Week 1 is over, which means it's time to unveil the first bowl projections of the college football season.
Yes, it's a bit early, but some of the fun that comes with college football involves making predictions (or "guesses," if you want to be pedantic) about what's going to happen in a few days, a few weeks and even a few months.
Another fun part of following college football is making knee-jerk reactions. Truthfully, you should try to avoid them. But that can be difficult, and in that vein, a big takeaway from Week 1 is that South Carolina is not going to be in the running for a "big" bowl and that Georgia is the only team in the SEC East that can even think remotely about a potential spot in the four-team playoff. Their respective outcomes shook up our bowl projections, as did (to a much lesser extent) losses by Northwestern and Washington State.
Remember that 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.
Another thing to remember is that the selection committee responsible for choosing the four playoff 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 the 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 from outside the "Power Five" leagues to be in the four-team playoff.)
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.
Note: Start times listed are ET.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MATCHUPS
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
THE OTHER BOWLS
NEW ORLEANS BOWL
ROYAL PURPLE BOWL
NEW MEXICO BOWL
IDAHO POTATO BOWL
MIAMI BEACH BOWL
BOCA RATON BOWL
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
QUICK LANE BOWL
ST. PETERSBURG BOWL
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
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