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College football bowl projections: Oklahoma, Northwestern vault into major games after top 25 wins – CBS Sports

Week 12 of the college football season is in the books, and we have two new teams in the New Year’s Six bowl projections. There have not been any changes to the College Football Playoff projections for a couple weeks now, mostly because those teams have either not played or held serve by winning games.

Back to those New Year’s Six projections. There was Bedlam where Oklahoma trounced Oklahoma State 41-13 to further shake up the Big 12 race. Iowa State remains in first place by a full game after roughing up Kansas State, 45-0. The Cyclones play at Texas next week, and a win would secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. A loss could create as much as a four-way tie at the top of the league standings.

The call here regarding the automatic berth for the Big 12 champion in the New Year’s Six is Oklahoma. The Sooners have bounced back nicely from a rough start, which included a loss to Iowa State. Oklahoma is now playing like the team that many of us thought would have a shot to reach the College Football Playoff. It is too late for that now, but I believe the Sooners will get revenge against the Cyclones in the Big 12 Championship Game and head to the Cotton Bowl.

The Purple reigns in the Big Ten West as Northwestern shut down Wisconsin 17-7 on Saturday night. The Wildcats are the last unbeaten team in the Big Ten West and have already played the other contenders in the division. The record of the remaining teams on Northwestern’s schedule is 5-9. As such, the Wildcats have replaced Wisconsin in the Fiesta Bowl projection this week.

In the Big Ten East, Ohio State had to hold off a late rally from Indiana to prevail, 42-35. Ohio State and Northwestern are now on track to meet for the Big Ten championship in a few weeks if nothing highly unforeseen happens.

Indiana still has to travel to Wisconsin on Dec. 5 in a battle that could possibly decide a third New Year’s Six berth for the Big Ten, although I am not predicting that at the moment.

The two Pac-12 favorites are still undefeated early in their seasons. Oregon held off UCLA, 38-35, while USC won at Utah, 33-17, breaking a three-game losing streak for the Trojans in Salt Lake City.

I am curious as to how the CFP Selection Committee will view those Pac-12 teams their first set of rankings, which will be released Tuesday night. Will they feel like they have seen enough to fully evaluate them? I would not be surprised to see those teams lower in the early rankings but able to quickly climb as they play more games and, of course, register more wins.

Aside from Ohio State and Oregon, the only other projected CFP team in action was top-ranked Alabama, which crushed Kentucky, 63-3. Clemson had its game with Florida State postponed just hours before kickoff on Saturday.

College Football Playoff

Jan. 11

National Championship
Miami

Title game Semifinal winners

Jan. 1

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.

Semifinal

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Clemson

Jan. 1

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans

Semifinal

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Oregon

New Year’s Six bowl games

Since the Pac-12 announced last week that it would not waive the league requirement of teams needing a winning percentage of .500 or better to play in a bowl game, I am short one team for the Pac-12’s bowl spots. I have Houston taking that additional Pac-12 spot in the Los Angeles Bowl.

Of course, this problem could go away if the Las Vegas Bowl does not get scheduled. A couple of weeks ago, when the entire bowl schedule was announced, that game did not appear. However, the Pac-12 and the bowl said they still expected it to be played and were trying to find a place in the television schedule. That still has not happened, and time is starting to run out.

Check out Jerry Palm’s complete 2020 bowl projections.

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