Bowl Projections 2015: Predicting Playoff Standings and Bowl Games Post-Week 9

Bryan Fischer@BryanDFischerNational College Football Columnist November 2, 2015

Jeff Long, College Football Playoff selections committee chairman, discusses the bowl assignments during a news conference Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Grapevine, Texas.   (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
TIM SHARP/Associated Press

It's here. It's finally here. 

There are no more predictions or pontificating; we're actually going to get a glimpse at the College Football Playoff selection committee's thinking and see their top 25.

Some will be upset, while others will be elated. That's how this works. Just keep in mind: There's still a lot of football left to be played in the month of November, especially in conferences like the extremely back-loaded Big 12 and, of course, the SEC.

But still, the postseason picture will become a lot clearer on Tuesday when the first set of rankings come out. A second separation Saturday, if you want to call it that, will sharpen things even more in Week 10. 

For now, though, this is how the bowl picture looks. A hearty disclaimer that these are projecting the rest of the season and, as such, are not completely reflective of the state of college football at the moment.

  • Here are the full Top 25 rankings. The College Football Playoff selection committee will release its first set of rankings this Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
  • As explained last week, the Cotton Bowl is technically a few miles closer to Columbus than the Orange Bowl, but the committee will likely give top-seeded Ohio State its semifinal in South Florida as a way to give them an actual geographic advantage. It keeps the Buckeyes in the Eastern time zone and forces No. 4 seed Stanford to travel across the country at the same time. That gives the Buckeyes a slight nod over Clemson when it comes to the semifinal sites.
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  • With Seth Russell's season-ending neck injury, we predict a wild month ahead for the Big 12, with both TCU and Baylor winding up with at least one loss. By virtue of the Horned Frogs getting their matchup with the Bears at home, they win the league and get the Sugar Bowl spot. Weak non-conference slates are what ultimately keep both Big 12 teams at home in lieu of a spot in the final four.

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  • Florida has all but locked up the SEC East, and it's hard to see them missing out on a New Year's Six bowl game at this point in the year.
  • It's still strange to see an Iowa vs. Utah matchup in the Rose Bowl. Both can lose their respective conference title games in early December, but a trip to Pasadena is a pretty nice consolation prize.
  • The lower-tier bowl picture remains murky. There are good odds we don't wind up with enough eligible teams, and the lack of some conference tie-ins means that some teams could get shipped to some strange destinations.
  • The best non-NY6 game might just be the Russell Athletic Bowl, which could feature ACC Coastal winner North Carolina against a quality Oklahoma State team that will have only lost to top-15 teams by the time the postseason rolls around.
  • If you like offense, you'll love Cal-Indiana in the Foster Farms Bowl and Cincinnati-Kentucky in the Birmingham Bowl. 
  • How about a BCS title game rematch between Florida State and Auburn? That's one dream scenario for the Belk Bowl if Auburn can make it to 6-6. The Seminoles would be heavily favored in this one, though.
  • Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer's send-off game will be of much speculation, and it wouldn't be that surprising to see the Hokies get sent to New York City for the Pinstripe Bowl. That game is closer to Blacksburg than other options, and the top media market in the country will be a great place to say goodbye to one of the greats.
  • Shout-out to Southern Miss, which was one of the worst FBS teams in the country over the past few years but will wind up in the postseason this year.

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You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer

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