The start of the Big Ten was expected to influence the outlook on the College Football Playoff. Opening weekend delivered change.
Penn State’s hopes took a major hit after a disappointing loss at Indiana. Michigan, instead, looked like the biggest contender to Ohio State in the East division with its impressive performance against Minnesota. Wisconsin showed an improved offense with quarterback Graham Mertz providing life to its usually conservative passing game.
The impact on this week’s bowl projections sees the Nittany Lions fall out of its position in the New Year’s Six. The Wolverines move into that spot and are poised to rise higher with quarterback Joe Milton giving the offense a new dimension. The challenge is to build up on their success heading to a tough November schedule.
The playoff field remains unchanged. Alabama is projected to be the No. 1 overall seed followed by Clemson, Ohio State and Oregon. Cincinnati solidified its lead among the Group of Five conferences, while Brigham Young continues to look strong enough to earn its way into a major bowl.
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The bowl lineup for this postseason was trimmed by one this week with the announcement of the Holiday Bowl cancellation. Teams in bold have accepted berths.